Sri Hemkunt Sahib : World's Highest Altitude Sikh Temple (Day 2)

Tripoto
1st Aug 2016
Day 2

Getting late was now becoming a habit to me. The morning was cold when I woke up at 6 and the quilt was heaven on Earth so I enjoyed the heavenly pleasure of sleeping 3 more hours. By nine I finally decided to get on feet but as soon as I did I felt a pinching pain in my right thigh and with each step it would grow stronger.

I kept my luggage in the cloak room in Gobind Dham Gurudwara, Shazad got me a mule for 500 bucks that would take me to Sri Hemkunt Sahib which is a 6 Km trek from 10,000 feet to 15,200 feet.

Hundreds of pilgrims go to the Gurudwara on foot each day, the mule made it a lot easy for me. The trek's inclination is more than the maximum of a treadmill. In every 10 mins I would scale up to a new height and the weather would only get colder.

Photo of Ghangaria, Chamoli, Uttarakhand, India by Nishesh Singhal
Photo of Ghangaria, Chamoli, Uttarakhand, India by Nishesh Singhal
Photo of Ghangaria, Chamoli, Uttarakhand, India by Nishesh Singhal

​After 3 Kms we stopped for a cup of tea and also for the mules to have some rest. It was so cold that I was now breathing fog.

The beauty of the place was mesmerizing, extremely huge mountains all around, water flowing from the top of those mountains and clouds everywhere : beneath me, above me and among me.

I reached Sri Hemkunt Sahib by 11:30, and as I entered I saw people having hot cups of tea. I met the Ludhiana friends there and they asked me if I was going to take the dip. I had no clue what they were talking of, but as I moved around the place I saw the holy pond where other Sikhs were dipping in. I stood there for 10 minutes and watched them go in, everybody jumped out as soon as they entered.

At 15,200 feet, in 8 degree cold, dipping in icy water was daunting but was luring too and I had unlimited free cups of tea to warm myself up waiting after the dip.

So, I jumped in the pond, made three dips, came out, dressed again, rushed to the food hall, had a warm cup of tea and just kept it holding for 5 minutes and then had the first sip of ultimate satiation. Mixed feelings ran up my nerves, I was extremely cold but happy, tired but active and atheist but was feeling divine to be there.

Photo of Sri Hemkunt Sahib Marg, Chamoli, Uttarakhand, India by Nishesh Singhal
Photo of Sri Hemkunt Sahib Marg, Chamoli, Uttarakhand, India by Nishesh Singhal
Photo of Sri Hemkunt Sahib Marg, Chamoli, Uttarakhand, India by Nishesh Singhal
Photo of Sri Hemkunt Sahib Marg, Chamoli, Uttarakhand, India by Nishesh Singhal

After, the coldest dip of my life I went to attend the prayers that starts at noon. The prayers were in Punjabi which I do not understand but I could feel the positivity all around and the peaceful joy it offered.

After the peaceful prayer, I met Reshma there who was trekking with a group. I joined them in and descended 6 Km to Ghangaria non stop for 2 hours while it rained all the way.

Photo of Sri Hemkunt Sahib : World's Highest Altitude Sikh Temple (Day 2) by Nishesh Singhal
Photo of Sri Hemkunt Sahib : World's Highest Altitude Sikh Temple (Day 2) by Nishesh Singhal
Photo of Sri Hemkunt Sahib : World's Highest Altitude Sikh Temple (Day 2) by Nishesh Singhal
Photo of Sri Hemkunt Sahib : World's Highest Altitude Sikh Temple (Day 2) by Nishesh Singhal

​​​ ​​I had no rain-cover so I was all wet when I reached Ghangaria. I collected my luggage from the cloak room, found a room for 200/- a night and shifted there. I called home in the evening and as soon as my mom got on the phone, first question was where was I, to which I confidently replied that I was in Rishikesh and she was like why are you calling from Ghangaria then, I laughed, busted and went to have dinner.

I didn't have proper clothing as per the weather there because this trip was too impromptu. My bones were chilled and I could not feel any warmth even in the thickest blanket as I tried to sleep.

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