Finally my final professionals were over. I took a great sigh of
relief . This time I had thought
of going to Hemkund Sahib as I had heard a lot about. I like to
travel alone as it gives me more opportunity to interact with the
people and to know their culture .
Hemkund is a Sanskrit name derived from two meanings 'Hem' - Himalayas
& "Kund", Bowl so by Hindu mythology it means a Bowl in Himalayas,
where Lord Lakshman did his penance. Guru
Gobind Singh in his autobiographical poem has described it as a place
deep in the Himalayas with a glacial lake and surrounded by seven
peaks where in a previous incarnation he meditated and united with the
master. In 1930, a Sikh soldier Sohan Singh found Hemkund as he was
trekking through this region. He connected it with the place from Guru
Gobind Singh's writings.
I started my journey from Rishikesh, from where Govindghat the
starting point for the journey is 275 km. It was a long journey but
the mesmerizing scenic beauty was awesome. On the way we crossed
several towns Srinagar , Rudraprayag, Karnaprayag, Nandprayag ,
Joshimath & Vishnuprayag. As you drive deeper into the Himalayas
you will follow the gorges and valleys of the mighty Ganges and its
tributaries. The tributaries of the Ganges merge along the way and the
towns at the confluences carry the suffix "Prayag" Sanskrit for
At around 6 in the evening we were at Gobindghat, after a run of
almost 15hours . The
13 km trek from here is along a reasonably well maintained path to the
village of Gobind Dham or Ghangaria. There is another Gurudwara where
pilgrims can spend the night. In addition there are a few hotels and a
well-maintained campground with tents and mattresses.
Next day early morning I started the real trek. . Horses
and Pithu were there for who can not trek. It was a steep
ascent and journey was grueling. On the way
there were snack shops for refreshment. The way was full of ups and downs, Ganga flowing along the
After a 4 hour trek we reached Gobind Dham. After this a 5,000 ft
(1,500 m) climb in 6 km of stone paved path reaches Hemkund. There are
no sleeping arrangements at Hemkund and one is advised to leave by 2PM
to make it back to Gobinddham by nightfall. About 3 km
from Gobinddham is the 5 km long Valley of Flowers. The Indian
Government has declared this valley as a national area and all
activities are now carefully regulated to preserve this valley in its
pristine shape. The best months are July and August, during
the monsoons. Note that during these same months, the Valley can be
closed to visitors if the weather is totally inclement.
Next day I trekked the remaining 6 kms, the path was really steep, the
altitude was taking toll on me. The beauty was at best to smoothen and
lessen my pain. Himalayan rhododendrons bloomed all around . The
flowers bloom all summer long and the varieties vary as you climb. The whole way , all
through the trek one meets cooperative people. The downstream pilgrims
constantly encouraged the upcoming ones and offered sweets and
glucose. The gain in elevation elevated our soul too, no doubt!
The Hemkund peak was our constant companion playing hide and seek with
us. Finally it revealed in all its glory as I reached my destination
after an arduous trek of four hours. Our weirdness was gone in a whiff
when we saw holy lake surrounded by seven huge snow clapped mountains,
collectively known as Hemkund Mountains. the lake was fed by streams
from Hathiparvat and Saptrishi peaks.
There was grand star shaped structure of stone and masonry at
edge of lake. it was the famous holy Hemkund Sahibji Gurudwara. Behind
Gurdwara, in north there were snow capped peaks of Tibet.
After having bath in the waters of chilled lake, I
visited the shrine, there were thousand of pilgrims busy in there
prayers and wishes. I also made certain wishes as usual, spent some
time listening the Ardaaas, holy prayer.
The return trail was less tiring especially after getting enlightened
by visiting such a holy place. After getting back to Gobindghat , I
made a halt, relaxed and got ready for the return journey to
Rishikesh. On returning I was tired but still had a feeling of
satisfaction and enlighten of soul .