Situated at an altitude of approximately 4,329 meters, on the pristine shores of Hemkund Lake, stands the magnificent Gurudwara Sri Hemkunt Sahib Ji, also known as Hemkund Sahib. This revered Sikh shrine attracts countless pilgrims each year. According to the holy Granth Sahib, Guru Govind Singh, the tenth guru of Sikhs, engaged in deep meditation on the serene banks of Hemkund Lake during one of his previous incarnations. Surrounded by majestic snow-capped peaks, this gurudwara’s idyllic natural surroundings and its trekking routes, including the famous path to the Valley of Flowers, make it a favored destination for trekkers and tourists alike. From the lake, a small stream called Himganga originates.
Legend has it that Lakshmana, Lord Rama’s younger brother from the epic Ramayana, found solace and regained his health by meditating on the banks of Hemkund after suffering severe injuries in battle. The Lakshmana Temple is said to have been constructed at the very spot where his meditation took place.
During the winter months, the gurudwara remains cloaked in snow, but every summer, it reopens its doors for the annual pilgrimage known as Hemkunt Sahib Yatra.
How to Reach
Hemkund Sahib is not directly accessible by air or train. The nearest airport is Jolly Grant Airport in Dehradun, which is approximately 290 kilometers away. From the airport, you can hire a taxi or take a bus to reach Govindghat, the starting point of the trek to Hemkund Sahib.
If you prefer to travel by train, the nearest railway station is Rishikesh Railway Station, which is about 273 kilometers away from Govindghat. From there, you can hire a taxi or take a bus to reach Govindghat.
The most common way to reach Hemkund Sahib is by road. Govindghat is well-connected by road and can be reached by buses or taxis from major cities like Rishikesh, Haridwar, and Dehradun. Regular bus services operate between these cities and Govindghat.
Once you reach Govindghat, you need to undertake a trek of approximately 19 kilometers to Ghangaria, and then a further 6 kilometers uphill to reach Hemkund Sahib.
Clothing and essentials
When visiting Hemkund Sahib, it is essential to wear appropriate clothing to ensure comfort and safety during your journey. Here are some clothing suggestions:
- Layered Clothing: Hemkund Sahib experiences varying temperatures, so it’s recommended to wear layered clothing. This allows you to add or remove layers based on the weather conditions.
- Warm Inner Layers: Start with a thermal or woolen base layer to provide insulation and retain body heat in colder temperatures.
- Insulated Jacket: Carry a warm, insulated jacket to protect yourself from chilly winds and low temperatures, especially during early mornings and evenings.
- Trekking Pants: Wear comfortable and durable trekking pants that allow ease of movement. Opt for quick-drying and moisture-wicking materials.
- Warm Accessories: Carry a woolen hat or beanie, gloves, and a scarf or neck gaiter to keep your extremities warm.
- Waterproof Outer Layer: Pack a waterproof and windproof jacket or poncho to protect yourself from rain or unexpected weather changes.
- Sturdy Shoes: Wear sturdy, waterproof trekking shoes with good traction to navigate the uneven terrain and ensure stability.
- Socks: Choose moisture-wicking and warm socks to keep your feet dry and comfortable during the trek.
- Sunglasses and Sunscreen: Protect yourself from the strong sunlight at high altitudes by wearing sunglasses and applying sunscreen with a high SPF.
Remember to pack a small backpack to carry essentials like water, snacks, a first-aid kit, and extra layers of clothing. It’s also advisable to check the weather forecast before your trip and pack accordingly.