Hemkund Sahib | An Adventurous Pilgrimage

By    December 23rd 2015    30 Comments  Posted in Adventure, Hemkund Sahib, Pilgrimage, Trekking, Uttarakhand

It was our strong desire of trekking in the higher Himalayas that initiated the journey from Ghangaria to Gurudwara Sri Hemkund Sahib. But as we began the journey, faith came in. Pilgrims of all ages were on this difficult trek; a complete uphill trek that certainly demands physical fitness. More than the physical fitness, their faith on Waheguru (Guru Govind Singh) and chanting his name “Satnam Waheguru” was driving them most on this arduous trek. For us also, no more it remained a walk in the Himalayas, but became a more meaningful one, to reach one of the most sacred Shrine of Sikhs that lies in the higher Himalayas at an elevation of 4632m (more than 15000 feet).

Legend has that, Sri Guru Gobind Singh, the tenth and last Guru of the Sikhs meditated at Hemkund in his previous life. In this place, a Gurudwara was first built in the year 1935-36 by Sant Sohan Singh. Later in the year 1960 the present structure of the Gurudwara was built with a roof like an upside down lotus.

It was our yet another day with an early start, at six in the morning, from the base camp Ghangaria. We stayed two previous nights in Ghangaria which lies at an elevation of more than 3000 m. Our yesterday’s trek to the Valley of Flowers did help us for proper acclimatization. So we were confident to go on this trek without much trouble. As we climbed few hundred meters from Ghangaria we saw the beautiful waterfalls. We were to go above the top of that to reach Guruduwara. On the initial part of the journey, the horsemen were not only offering rides to the shrine but also a word of caution about the steepness of the trek. However, their cautions did not let us down and we continued walking uphill slowly.

Waterfalls on the way to Hemkund Sahib

Waterfalls on the way to Hemkund Sahib

Gurudwara Sri Hemkund Sahib is considered as the most sacred pilgrimage place of the Sikhs which is visited by large numbers of pilgrims every summer from all over the world.

The initial part of the Trek

The initial part of the Trek

Ghangaria Base camp as seen from the top

Ghangaria Base camp as seen from the top

Though the trek to Hemkund Sahib is much difficult than the Valley of Flower still it bored larger traffics than the later. The path was testing everyone’s physical and mental strength, but almost everyone was completing it successfully taking each step chanting the name of Waheguru. Certainly the steep hike was taking toll on all, but I saw none leaving on the halfway. Obviously it’s the faith that was doing the wonder – the trick of trekking successfully on such steep trail by the elders. What surprised me more was that some young people found horse ride as more convenient means to reach the Shrine while elderly pilgrims were climbing the steep trek although stopping and huffing quite regularly.

Enjoying the scenic view enroute

Enjoying the scenic view enroute

The Mountain Views

The Mountain Views

There were only a few tea shops on the whole trek to Hemkund Sahib. A cup of normal tea did cost us Rs.25/- though not unexpected at that height. All along the road we did encounter with wild Himalayan flowers, some of them we have already seen in the Valley of Flowers yesterday. As we climbed a few more kilometers we saw many Himalayan Blue Poppy flowers. Many Brahmakamal (Sacred Lotus) plants started appearing by the side of the treks. But they were few near the trek. Brahmakamals occupying the vast areas of nearby mountain slopes were beckoning us to reach them by leaving the actual trek. It was hard to resist and we responded to that.

Reaching out for more Brahmakamals

Reaching out for more Brahmakamals

 Brahmakamals

Brahmakamals

 Brahmakamals

Brahmakamals

Brahmakamal blooms in the higher Himalayas and has many varieties of it. The flower has a lovely fragrance too. It blooms only once in a year during July to mid October. While trekking during the day hours you cannot see a fully bloomed Brahmakamal as they starts blooming late in the evening, open up as the night progress, close down after the midnight and wither away before dawn. So it blooms at night and remains for that night only. This Himalayan flower is the official state flower of Uttarakhand.

Closely looking at a Brahmakamal

Closely looking at a Brahmakamal

 Brahmakamals

Brahmakamals

How wonderful it was to sit amidst the Brahmakamal plants! But we had also to reach the shrine. So we came back to the main trek climbing carefully the slippery mountain. Reaching at the bottom of the final climb we saw two routes there, longer one goes uphill gradually and the shorter one is with very steep stairs of about 1100 Nos. We took the longer route and reached the Guruduwara Hemkund Sahib at 10 AM after trekking for 2.50 hours from Ghangaria.

First view of Gurudwara Sri Hemkund Sahib

First view of Gurudwara Sri Hemkund Sahib

Guruduwara Hemkund Sahib is located by the side of a crystal clear lake and surrounded by seven Himalayan peaks. On the bank of this magnificent lake also lies a small Lakshman temple. The glaciers from the nearby mountains feed the lake and a small stream known as Lakshmanganga flows out of this lake through the Bhuyandar valley and merges with river Pushpawati in Ghangaria. It then flows as Lakshmanganga and meets with Alaknanda in Govindghat.

The Lakshman Lokpal Temple by the side of the Lake

The Lokpal Lakshman Temple by the side of the Lake

Lokpal Lakshman Mandir

Lokpal Lakshman Mandir

Much before the Sikhs found this holy place and started coming here for pilgrimage, Hemkund or Hemkunt has been a holy place for Hindus. They have been visiting it for centuries and called it as Lokpal Lakshman Mandir. Belief is that Lakshmana, the younger brother of Lord Ram, meditated at this place and the lifesaving magic drug Sanjeevani Buti that cured wounded Lakshmana in the battle of Ramayana was collected by Hanuman from this place.

Most of the pilgrims were taking dips in the ice cold water of the lake before entering into the Gurudwara. Their belief is much respected but I had a little courage to follow the ceremony. So I took some water in my cupped palm and tossed it over my head before entering in the Gurudwara.

In the Lake!

In the Lake!

Surrounding views of the Lake

Surrounding views of the Lake

We sat for a while in the Gurudwara and listened to the morning prayers, and then we went to the Langar where tea and Khichdi (a recipe made from rice and lentils) were serving to the visitors. We ate and set off our return journey. It was a day bound journey to Hemkund Sahib as staying overnight is not allowed and there are no such facilities too. Return journey took lesser time and we reached the base camp Ghangaria by trekking for an hour or so.

Darbar Hall of Gurudwara Sri Hemkund Sahib

Darbar Hall of Gurudwara Sri Hemkund Sahib

Sukhasan of Sri Guru Granth Sahib in the Gurudwara

Sukhasan of Sri Guru Granth Sahib in the Gurudwara

The difficulty level of this trek is Strenuous. Hemkund sahib is 6 Km from the base camp Ghangaria. From the nearest road head Govindghat one can reach Ghangaria by trekking of 15 Kms. To ease the difficulties of trekking one can choose to go on horseback. Depending on your affordability you can also hire helicopter service to reach Ghangaria and enjoy the lovely bird’s eye view of Himalaya.

30 thoughts on “Hemkund Sahib | An Adventurous Pilgrimage”

  1. Ritesh Gupta says:

    Wonderful & Amazing Picture. I just feel Hemkund Sahib through you blog.

    Thanks

    1. Anupam Chakraborty says:

      Thank you Ritesh for liking it 🙂

  2. Prasad Np says:

    Hemkuntd Sahib is on my wishlist for long.. and thanks for sharing the pictures of the real Brahma Kamal,, I have often seen pictures of a cactus passing as Brahma Kamal….

    1. Anupam Chakraborty says:

      Yes Prasad these are the real Brahmakamal (not fully bloomed) can be seen during day hours! I wish you to undertake this journey soon. Thank you.

  3. Indrani says:

    You are blessed to see all this in real. Great pics.

    1. Anupam Chakraborty says:

      Thank you Indrani! Pray for me that I can stay well to go and wander to many such places 🙂

  4. Arun says:

    Brahmakamal looks amazing! Great post and awesome pictures!

    1. Anupam Chakraborty says:

      Glad that you liked the post, Arun! Thank you

  5. Yogi saraswat says:

    Wow ! Reacalling my memories of this place in 2007 . Beautiful pictures indeed.

    1. Anupam Chakraborty says:

      Great to know that you too undertook this journey. Thank you very much for your nice words.

  6. sachin tyagi says:

    Nice trip..anupam ji.

    1. Anupam Chakraborty says:

      Thank you Sachin!

  7. Harshita says:

    Wonderful pictures.You were too lucky to see bhramkamal

    1. Anupam Chakraborty says:

      Thank you Harshita! May God bless me! I want to see many such things 🙂

  8. Wow.. truly amazing shots..

    1. Anupam Chakraborty says:

      Thank you Ranjani!

  9. Silentsoul says:

    Wow.. beautiful log. The photo of Ghangaria base is out of this world.. Bravo

    1. Anupam Chakraborty says:

      Thank you Silentsoul! It’s always special and wonderful to read your comments on my post.

  10. Mridula says:

    Brings back a lot of fond memories and some of the aching limbs too! Lovely pictures.

    1. Anupam Chakraborty says:

      I read about your journey to Hemkund Sahib. It was wonderful. Thank you for your kind words.

  11. I was planning to visit VOF n hemkund sahib in aug only but cloud burst forced me to postponed the program, if every thing goes well then will try to go in 2016.

    Beautifully written n equally supported by awesome pic.

    1. Anupam Chakraborty says:

      My best wishes are with you. Thank you very much Mahesh ji

  12. Mesmerising images. Brahmakamal seems like easy to find here. All the best for 2016.

    1. Anupam Chakraborty says:

      Thank you very much Sandeepa and Chetan!

  13. Wow what a amazing pictures…..

    1. Anupam Chakraborty says:

      Thank you Selfdrivetrips!

  14. darshan Kaur says:

    Bahut sunder ! Jab mein gai thi tab bhi yahi najare the ।

    1. Anupam Chakraborty says:

      Thank you Darshan ji

    1. Anupam Chakraborty says:

      Thank you 🙂

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