The name Gangotri invokes a sense of spirituality in most of us. Since the place is one among the Chota Chardham, instinctively, we classify it under pilgrimage tourism. But there is a lot more to Gangotri than just the religious and spiritual connection. It is, after all, a part of the Himalayan range and thus holds the majestic beauty and diversity of the Himalayas and all it has to offer.
The giant Gangotri group of peaks at an altitude of 6000 – 8000m – Chaukhamba, Kedarnath, Thalay Sagar, Shivling, Meru, Bhagirathi, though distant, are yet mesmerizing and beckons all. It doesn’t matter if you are just a wanderer or a serious trekker, the national park of Gangotri has scenic beauty to enchant every kind of traveler.
Gangotri National Park is the third largest national park of India with a total area of 2,390 sq km spread in the western Himalayas. Gangotri is the home to the most auspicious river Ganga, and the Gaumukh where the Ganges originates is within the boundaries of Gangotri National Park.
If you are a nature lover, then the Himalayan range of Gangotri will truly take your breath away. The flora and fauna of Gangotri are magnificent. The snow-capped mountains followed by vast alpine shrub meadows and at the lower elevations, the shooting coniferous trees. Isn’t this the same beautiful picture of Himalayas you had in mind?
The Gangotri National Park holds gigantic hilly terrains, flat meadows and vegetations like Chirpine deodar, Fir, Spruce, Oak and Rhododendrons in its arms. The distant snow-clad glaciers can keep you charmed for hours together.
Snow leopard, ibex, tahr, Himalayan barbet, himalayan blues sheep or Bharal, serow, pheasants, partridges, doves and pigeons, all call the national park as their home. Lucky you if you can spot much more!
The Himalayan Blue Sheep
A stop at water springs, and a few hot water springs – which you may get if you pursue, is the best way to unwind and refresh your mind when you are here at the nature park.
Gangotri National Park is always on the wish list of a bird lovers. The park has documented 150 species of birds. Look at the bewitchingly beautiful Himalayan Monal perhaps be called Monarch.
The Himalayan Monal
The other birds to spot at the park are Koklass pheasants, Himalayan Barbet, Himalayan snowcock and many more exotic species.
Hiking & Trekking
Mountaineering is a sizzling activity around the Himalayas, and Gangotri National Park is no exception. Trekkers and hikers have a lot to explore in this region. The trek from Gangotri to Gaumuk at an altitude of 4023m (approx), through Chiribasa and Bhojwasa, is moderate one as it is a gradual ascent with few steep stretches and a series of level walks. Some call it moderate trek and some tough, but the experience is out of the world for all those who take it up.
Further up Gaumukh to Tapovan, at an altitude of 4466m, is a steeper trek. Only seasoned trekkers are expected to hike the rugged and cragged glacier, else ametuers, with the help of professional guides.
Adventure seekers have enough in this region to challenge and keep oneself occupied. Hang gliding, paragliding, river rafting, skiing, jeep safari, mountaineering and hiking are the most enjoyed recreation sports in the park.
Hill stations are the best getaways for summers and Gangotri is the adventurous, less crowded, offbeat destination to get away from Delhi and northern regions of the country. Apri to July are the best months to visit Gangotri. When the whole nation is sizzling with scorching sun, the weather at Gangotri is just perfect to unwind and cool down your nerves. And, visiting Gangotri National Park is the best leisure activity you can take up when you are here at Gangotri.
Few travelers do prefer the lush green beauty of September and October too or even later once the Gangotri temple is closed and the region sees a sharp fall in tourist traffic. Gangotri remains closed and mostly deserted during winters (Dec-Mar).
How To Reach Gangotri
Dehradun to Gangotri National Park is a curvy ascending 315km long road which can be covered in a day’s journey by a car or bus. Once you reach Gangotri, the Gangotri national park is just 8km from the town. Though there are not many options to stay at Gangotri (except the govt run GMVN tourist rest house and some ashrams), there are some good hotels around Dharali and Harsil. Prakriti Retreat is the most recommended hotel located at Dharali, 18km em-route Gangotri, offering leisure stay for all type of travelers. Perfect location and hotel services (availability of much needed hot water at all times and the in-house restaurant and cafe) make it one of the most preferred places to stay near Gangotri.
It doesn’t matter the purpose of your trip but once you are here, the land of Gods ensures you are bathed in spirituality and peace and filled with divine grace. So plan your next trip to the Devbhoomi that will spellbind you with its pristine beauty and serenity.
Credentials: Norma Moras Rodrigues
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This post was written by cbmaster