Exploring Harsil: The Hidden Gem Of Uttarakhand

Photo of Exploring Harsil: The Hidden Gem Of Uttarakhand by Kuntala Banerjee

Switzerland is a dreamland for globetrotters, a haven for spending vacations. What if you experience a similar heavenly feeling in a small Himalayan village in India? Doesn't it instill a feeling of pride and ecstasy? Harsil, an offbeat tourist spot in Uttarakhand, stands in comparison to the beautiful country in Europe. Truly can be named as the 'Mini Switzerland of India'.


Located at a very prominent location in the state, Harsil falls on the path towards the holy Hindu pilgrimage site, Gangotri. The river Bhagirathi flows past the village, magnifying the eccentric beauty of the little hamlet. It is encircled by the mighty Himalayan mountain peaks, portraying a stunning aura of its own.

Photo of Exploring Harsil: The Hidden Gem Of Uttarakhand 1/4 by Kuntala Banerjee

The Myth

Locals belief that once the two rivers Jalandhari and Bhagirathi had a conflict on their importance and were raging in anger. The gods were worried about them being turbulent and destroy the adjacent lands. They sought help from Lord Vishnu. He transformed himself into a huge stone and controlled the anger of the two rivers. The stone came to be known as Hari-Shila. Hari is the other name of Lord Vishnu and Shila is stone. From then onwards the village, located near the rivers, earned its name as 'Harsil'.

The Enigmatic Charm

The village blooms with its spectacular flora and natural wonders. Wrapped with tall pine, deodar and oak trees, it offers a thrilling experience to the nature admirers. The pristine environment prevailing around the surreal village will surely bring solace to the human heart and soul.

Nestled within the lap of the majestic Himalayan mountain ranges, its gorgeous beauty is unparalleled and limitless. The place is famous for its apple orchards, spread across the valley. The picturesque landscape encompassed with the mystic grandeur enhances the magical charm of the village. No wonder one can spend days after days relaxing within its vicinity, engrossed in its scenic beauty.

Photo of Exploring Harsil: The Hidden Gem Of Uttarakhand 2/4 by Kuntala Banerjee

A Trekker's Paradise

Harsil has a stunning trekking trail through the forests, surrounded by the mountains. The trekkers are greeted by its enthralling green plantations, the soothing breeze and the fresh air. It is a splendid feeling to stroll through the pathways, listening to the birds chirping across the forest trees. The gushing sounds of the waterfalls, the flowing river and the freshness in the air will surely refresh your mind.

Meet The Villagers

While in Harshil, you can visit the village folks residing in there. You get a chance to learn about their life, their occupations, their way of survival, their customs and traditions. The villagers are friendly, simple and love to share their food and drinks with the tourists. The best part is you can taste the local food prepared in traditional cooking methods. The locals often serve as a guide and feel happy to escort you to the apple orchards. You can try out tasting the apples and purchase some of the fresh ones to carry back with you.

Near the village, there is a Tibetan community who have settled there for years and closely belong to the region. Their houses are made of wood, artistically decorated and curated skillfully. You can also find the Jadh tribes residing in the village whose colloquial language is similar to the Tibetan verse.

Photo of Exploring Harsil: The Hidden Gem Of Uttarakhand 3/4 by Kuntala Banerjee

The Religious Significance

Apart from natural beauty, the village has an auspicious inkling as well. Being located at the vicinity of Gangotri, every year during winter the place turns out to be divinely significant. The idol of Goddess Ganga is kept at a place called Mukhba near Harsil. The Goddess stays there entire winter season since the path towards Gangotri remains blocked due to the heavy snowfall.

It is recommended to visit Harsil during the summers. The days are pleasant and comfortable for sightseeing. Winters are better to be avoided as the place is heavily snow-laden and chilled. If you love snowfall then you can visit but you won't be able to trek across the mountain trails.

Photo of Exploring Harsil: The Hidden Gem Of Uttarakhand 4/4 by Kuntala Banerjee

How To Reach

Harsil is well accessible within different parts of the state and also convenient for people travelling from other states.

The nearest railway station is in Haridwar. Jolly Grant Airport is the nearest for travelers boarding flights. Several buses and cars ply between the village and the adjoining areas.

If you want to explore this wondrous place, do hop in and enchant your mind within its natural enigmatic beauty. Follow Tripoto on Telegram to get early access to top travel stories every day.

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