HOW TO REACH –
Gangotri (dist. Uttarkashi, Uttrakhand) is the starting point of the Gaumukh trek. It is about 500km from Delhi, 270km and 287km from Rishikesh and Haridwar respectively. It can be reached in the following ways:
1) Road –
a) Public Transport: Two direct buses run from Rishikesh and Haridwar to Gangotri early morning at around 5am. However, this service is available only during yatra season and it is advisable to book beforehand. Availability and timing of these buses can be enquired by calling on 0135-2430344. The total journey time ranges from 10 to 14 hours depending on the road conditions. The return journey can also be covered using these buses as they depart from Gangotri itself. Alternatively, one can take a bus to Uttarkashi and take a shared cab costing about 300Rs. per person. Buses from Uttarkashi to Gangotri run from 5am to 3pm, but it is better to enquire about the timings with the bus stand country.
b) Personal Transport: From Delhi, one can take the Meerut-Roorkee-Rishikesh-Dharasu Bend-Uttarkashi-Harsil-Gangotri route. Alternatively, one can opt for Delhi-Saharanpur-Dehradun-Mussoorie-Dharasu Bend and then proceed to Uttarkashi and further to Gangotri via Harsil. Both routes are about 500km.
2) Railways – One can reach Dehradun/Haridwar/Rishikesh via train and then proceed to take a cab or use public transport.
3) Airways – One can take a flight to Dehradun, and then a cab/train to Haridwar or Rishikesh and opt for public transport or cab till Gangotri
Elevation – Gangotri is at an altitude of 3415m, whereas Gaumukh is almost 3892m at the snout of the Gangotri glacier.
Trek Duration – Two days, and overnight stay at Bhojbasa.
Distance Covered via Trekking – About 18km.
Best Time to Go – May – June or September – October
Permits – To be taken from District Forest Officer, Uttarkashi, in Gangotri or online. ID proof required. Cost Rs. 150 per person (Indian) and Rs. 600 per person (foreigners). Timing for Gangotri office are 8am to about 10am, and it is open all week (including Sunday). For online booking: please refer to http://www.swsuttarkashi.com/Permission/GangotriNationalPark
1) Gangotri: Various hotels and ashrams ranging from Rs.300 to Rs.1500 depending on quality and amenities provided.
2) Gaumukh: While there is no accommodation at Gaumukh itself, accommodation is available in Bhojbasa (14km into the trek). Three ashrams are present costing Rs.300-400 per person per day all inclusive. The nature of stay in the ashram is basic. The GMVN rest house can be booked online costing about Rs.350-400 per dormitory bed, exclusive of food (which can be pretty expensive)
3) Another option is camping; one can pitch his/her own tent till Bhojbasa.
Misc. Tips –
1) There is no mobile connectivity of any sort after an hour into the trek, however BSNL and Airtel work fine before this point and in the town.
2) Being a high-altitude trek, there is risk of AMS. Proper acclimatization at Gangotri is thus recommended before trekking.
3) High ankle hiking shoes are to be preferred for maximum comfort and minimum injuries.
4) Temperatures vary widely in the mountain on an hourly basis, try to dress in layers and bring a light jacket for cold nights (even in summers)
5) The trail is well marked and hence a guide is not necessary, however options are available in the Gangotri town itself. Hiring a guide also contributes to the local economy of the people and gives unique insight into the local Himalayan culture.
6) Ponies are available till Bhojbasa to those who cannot trek, costing up to Rs.1500 per pony.
7) While you are discovering the unexplored and exploring the discovered, please refrain from dumping waste in mountains and practice responsible tourism to preserve the beauty for further generations.