I was wet till the waist and was forced to continue with the hike in my wet lowers.It was a 500 metres climb to Tapoban so we took it slow and reached at around 7.30 pm in the evening. As we entered Mauni babas ashram it started raining heavily with flecks of snow. We had maggi followed by dinner with rice roti and sabji.
Babaji who was staying in Tapoban for last 7 yrs,was interacting only with signs as he had taken maunvrat (vow of silence).He lives throughout the year in Tapoban. He gets all his stuffs packed by travellers and porters from Gangotri.He has been captivated by the peaceful serenity of this dreamland ever since he came here.
We headed to our small stone walled rooms which had basic mats and blankets and dozed off in a flash. The constant creaking and jumping of the rats (most probably) disturbed many times in the night. We woke up at 6.30 am and got ready for trek around tapoban and sunderban.
It was a sunny day as we headed towards Sunderban along the ridge of Gangotri glacier. The view of stretch of the glacier with Bhagirathi peak on the background was a visual treat for every mountaineer.Mt Shivling and the Tapoban meadow with Akash Ganga flowing through it completed the 360 degree panoramic view. In around 20 mins our guide showed the trail heading towards Nandanban going down into the glacier moraines.Trails are identified by stack of stones piled up,otherwise its very easy to get lost out there. Gangotri glacier was a 27 kms long glacier ending in Gamukh giving rise to the holy Ganges. In 2 hours after crossing several stretch of snow fields we finally reached the viewpoint of Sundarban.
The glacier here takes a V shaped turn and it this is where the Mt Kedardome and Sunderban peak are located.Campsite at Sunderban was 1 km ahead. Assessing the ruggedness of the terrain camping in Sunderban requires the best of equipments and camping skills. After a short photosession the weather started to turn bad,it started drizzling so we headed back to Mauni babas ashram and was served with lunch.
Post lunch due to bad weather condition bad we dropped our idea to go to Neel taal instead we roamed around taking snaps. Mauni baba performed his daily rituals while we experienced the beauty of the sun setting in the mountains imparting them a fiery red colour. Some other trekkers had arrived in the evening .We exchanged our travel story with them. Next morning I woke up early for some sunrise clicks. After breakfast we started early at 7am.In around 40 mins we reached the Akash Ganga stream,which was flowing swiftly as usual.We successfully crossed it and headed downwards.
Rockfalls and loose stones were making our trek difficult .In around 2.5 hours we came down the cliff. Crossing the glacieral moraines was tough during descent.Stack of stones being a guiding source for heading in the correct direction.In another 2 hours we finally descended down the glacier.We rested at a small temple for 30 mins gearing up for the remaining 4 kms of trek to Bhojbasa. We finally reached Bhojbasa at around 2pm and headed to GMVN guest house for a lunch later heading on to Ram babas ashram for night's stay.
Early next morning around 7 am we headed back to Gangotri cherishing our memorable experiences. We reached Gangotri at around 12.30 pm.Post lunch we booked a cab for Harshil.
GENERAL INFORMATION & SHORT ITINERARY -
Day 1 - Gangotri to Bhojbasa (14kms) (Night halt Tent/Ashrams/GMVN), gradual incline , 6-8 hours for average trekker.Day 2 - Bhojbasa to Gaumukh to Tapoban (9kms) (Night Halt -Tent/Ashram) hike of 6-7 hours, steep climb from Gaumukh onwards through moraines & boulders. Need to cross a stream (Akash Ganga) 1 km before Tapoban. Must start very early morning.Day 3- Tapoban(4500m) to Sunderban (4700m) (6kms) and back 3-4 hours walking at gradual incline, Neel taal in afternoon Day 4 - Tapoban to Bhojbasa.Day 5 - Bhojbasa to Gangotri.
Alternative routes -
1. From Gamukh to Raktaban, 6kms 5-6 hours ,camping equipments needed .2. From Gamukh to Nandanban and Vasukital ,camping equipments needed 3. From Tapoban to Sunderban and Kirti glacier,camping equipments needed 4. Tapoban to Meru glacier and back
Guide - Bhim Singh (contact number – 9557213252) – Charged Rs 1400 per day including food, he is an expert Nepali guide, very helpful. Porters are available at Rs 600-700 according to demandPermits – DFO office near Gangotri taxi stand makes the permit, it's a work of 10 mins, permits will be checked at entry and at Chirbasa.National Park entry charges separate.Local association charges – Rs 100
This trip was originally published on MyTr@vel Diary.