Gangotri - Bhujabasa - Gaumukh Trek 

A 3-day, 36Km, trek to Gaumukh (3890M), the Source of India's holiest river, Ganges, as it emerges from the Gangotri Glacier, from below the Bhagirathi Peaks


Gangotri

An ash covered Sadhu .... and his friend, at Gangotri   

******

I arrived at Gangotri at 2:30PM on 16th July 2007 after a 4.5  hr share-sumo ride from Uttarkashi.

In the morning, I  had checked out from the nice & big GMVN-TRH at Uttarkashi, and walked to the Taxi Stand on Bhatwari Road. The Share Sumo left at 10AM and after a pretty scenic ride along the Bhagirathi all the way (via Gangnani, Harsil, Lanka) to reach Gangotri (3050M). At Gangotri, checked into the GMVN across the river after crossing a bridge over the roaring waterfall of Bhagirati (pictures below and right) 

 The waterfall at Gangotri 

 Courtyard of Gangotri temple

 

Me at the entrance arch Gangotri  

Trek to Gaumukh

Day-1 Gangotri - Bhujbasa 14kms

On 17th July 2007, at 7:00AM I set out on the trail to Bhujbasa and Gaumukh. I carried only a small backpack, with bare minimum stuff required for the 3-day trip. I climbed the steep steps leading up from the temple's backyard. 

These steps reach upto the main trail, where a signpost displays the start of the trek and the distances of 14 KMs to Bhujbasa and 18 KMs to Gaumukh:

 

 After 5 hrs looking back at the trail

 A scary 5" wide tree bridge to cross!

 Bhagirathi Peaks (I -6856M, III-6454M) from Bhujbasa

 The 5 Dhabas on the Bhujbasa Ridge seen looking up from GMVN.  

The 14 KM trek fom Gangotri to Bhujbasa took me 7 hrs including a few rest stops. The trek was long and strenuous, but there was no danger spots (except a few tree-log crossings over rushing streams). At Bhujbasa, I stayed in the GMVN dormitory (Rs 250/- a night). The canteen food was basic, but the Alu Paratha was OK.  Had a hot water bath from bucket. The weather was pretty cold, the temp dropped to 15*C, late in the evening. 

There were 2 Malayalee men, with me in the Dormitory. Later a Mexican solo girl trekker also came in to the Other dorm there. We talked to a Guide for Tapovan, who asked for Rs 900/- for 2 day return trip; but ultimately I didi'nt go as the trail was not that OK according to the GMVN caretaker and I was more than happy with my Gaumukh trek, the next day.

Day-2   Bhujbasa - Gaumukh  -      Bhujabasa  (day trip) 8 kms 

Early next day, 18th July 2007, at 6:30AM I set off for Gaumukh. The trail was pretty easy and ok most of the way, but the last 1 KM involved scrambling over huge boulders in order to reach the river emerging from the Gaumukh. I reached there around 8:00AM after a 1.5 hour trek. The river emerging from the bend, around Gaumukh, in a rushing, noisy torrent with big pieces of ice floating in it! My fingers nearly froze, as I filled my bottle with the "holy" water, like all other pilgrims were doing.   

 Wildfowers on trail to Gaumukh

 Bhagirathi peaks in the morning

    Thats me .....  at Gaumukh 

 More wildflowers on return trek

Got back to GMVN Bhujbasa by 9:45AM and spent the rest of the day relaxing & reading in the sun outside the GMVN front porch.

Day-3 Bhujbasa-Gangotri 14kms

19th July 2007 - Dropped the idea of going to Tapovan and so started back for Gangotri very early at 5:30AM. Steady walk back to Gangaotri ... this time in 5.5 Hrs and reached Gangotri at 11AM 

Since most of the day was still open, I decide to get back to Uttarkashi and stay there for the night. 

So I collected my main bag from GMVN and went to the taxi stand directly. Was lucky to get a share-4WD that left Gangotri at 11:45 and dropped me at Uttarkashi by 3:15PM.

I checked into the same big & nice GMVN TRH at Uttarkashi. The double room there was just Rs 375/- for my single occupancy. Spent the evening checking out my email, at the "Choice" Broadband Internet Cafe .... just 200M away from the GMVN.

Next day, will head toward Valley of Flowers, near Joshimath ..... hoping to reach at least Srinagar. 





The bridge at Gangotri ..... to cross from GMVN to Temple. You can see the temple and the bathing ghat steps, to right of the bridge. And the mountains heading towards Gaumukh, the physical source of Bhagirathi.  

Bhagirathi river makes roaring waterfall at Gangotri ...  To hear the roar of this Waterfall see this video clip

The Gangotri Temple (3050M) on teh bank of Bhagirathi river

 

Looking back at Gangotri .... 5 minutes into the trail, after climbing the  steep steps, from the backyard of the Gangotri Temple complex. My BSNL mobile phone worked for 3-4 Kms beyond Gangotri ..... with the signal from the cell-tower seen in this picture.

 

After 5 hrs of trekking, the trail veers right .... and then the Bhagirathi Peaks I, II,  III become visible at the head of the valley.

 2:00PM .. arriving at Bhujbasa ... looking down from the Dhaba's ridge ... Bhagirathi peaks in front ...  Green-roof GMVN TRH to left .... and the Baba Ashram with white temple spire in forground .... and behind that the green-hut of Hydro Research station measuring Waterflows and Glaciers.

Shivling Peak (6543M) becomes more and more visible .....  on the right of the valley ..... as we near Gaumukh.

 8:00AM ... as I neared the Gaumukh the sun rays too reached the rocky mouth of the Cave & the Bhagirathi Peaks to were well lit up in sunshine.

   

The Bhagirathi emerging with gushing roar from the Glacier at Gaumukh

9:45 Back at Bhujbasa ...  the entire valley view towards  GMVN, Baba Ashram and the Dhabas on the ridge of Bhujabasa

 

That's the kind of narrow and uneven tree-log bridges one had to cross over 3-4 rushing streams  ... it was a tough, balancing act for me! 

Back at Gangotri ... 10:45AM ... you can see the silver painted temple down there on the right of the Bhagirathi river (to right of the green roof)