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Hemkund Trek

On reaching Ghangaria, the official base camp for two major famed treks in Uttarakhand’s Chamoli district (Valley of Flowers and Hemkund Sahib), one would always get the advice of attempting the tougher one first. The trek to Gurudwara Shri Hemkund Sahib Ji or simply Hemkund, is a hardy trek demanding good fitness and stamina. A revered pilgrimage, devoted to Guru Gobind Singh, the tenth Guru of the Sikhs, Hemkund constitutes a holy lake surrounded by seven mountain peaks. Devotees have climbed to the summits of the seven peaks and put a ‘nishan sahib’- the triangular flag depicting weaponry emblematic of Sikh valor. At a surreal height of 15,200 ft, the Sikh temple surrounded with many ages of devotional belief is a focal point of spiritual tourism in the ‘land of the gods’ Uttarakhand state. What many people do not know is, adjacent to the gurdwara there is a temple dedicated to lakhmana-- a religious mythological figure rarely found to be deified in the Indic traditions. The trek shall reveal many fables and lore surrounding these sites enshrouded in the mists of Himalayas. Besides these rich cultural findings, you are sure to enjoy the magnificent snow peak views and the mosaic of flowers during the summers, the beautiful ‘brahma kamal’ blooms are an exclusive attraction on the hemkund sahib route. The gurdwara has outfits at the lower heights of the trail providing food, lodge, and comfort to travelers and pilgrims headed for Hemkund where you would love to stop by and enjoy delicious hot meals.

What Is Hemkund Trek?

Chosen by trekkers on the same go with Valley of Flowers trek, Hemkund is a revered Sikh yatra that brings devotees from around earth’s corners. As legends have it, Guru Gobind Singh, the tenth and last guru of the Sikhs had attained moksha after prolonged meditation at this site. The auspicious godliness reverberates in nature all around here, located at a height of 15,200 ft. the trek is a stiff uphill climb from Govindghat, traversing all in all 15 km. Set in the backdrop of the Lakshman Ganga river valley’s mythical beauty, this trek will bring you through pathways covered in wildflowers during summer time. The way up is roughly bound in concrete for the pilgrims as many elderly people choose to make this pious journey. Look out for wild roses, the Himalayan blue poppy, and brahmakamal among other treasured alpine bloomings along this route. The surging silver waters of Lakshman Ganga can be seen many leaps below making an exquisite frame. In other attractions, the sikh temple on the top of the mountains holds sumptuous buffets for the pilgrims. After a long hike through the mist and cold, food seems to have never tasted so good and nourishing!

Why Should We Go for the Hemkund Trek?

  • A unique religious-cultural experience of India’s spiritual traditions. It is amazing to find devotees across age and gender coming from all walks of life to pay their respect at the shrine of the tenth guru.
  • The Lokpal Lakshman temple adjacent to the gurdwara is similarly rich in legends and religious beliefs.
  • A hardy trek that tests stamina and fitness, not a good option for children though can offer a stimulating first time experience for beginners.
  • The opportunity to make this trek on the same trip with the Valley of Flowers trek fabled for its beauty. The two treks share the same base camps-- Govindghat and Ghangaria.
  • A journey through Nanda Devi Biosphere Reserve, a UNESCO world heritage site of natural importance-- home to bharal, Himalayan black bear, snow leopard, and more in fauna.
  • Exquisite flowers like Himalayan Blue Poppy and brahma kamal are also easy to spot.

How High Is the Hemkund Trek?

This trek will take you to a height of 14, 100 ft at the site of the Sikh temple, starting from 5,997 ft at the base camp Govindghat.

When to Visit?

To experience the flowering phenomenon in this area, time your visit during May to June. In autumn, the route remains open to access from September to mid October, after which this route closes due to heavy winter snow.

How to Reach?

By Air: Jolly Grant Airport in Dehradun is the closest to access the Hemkund Sahib trek, From here, you can find transport to Rishikesh, and from thereon to Govindghat by Badrinath bound public transport or shared cabs.
By Rail: Both Rishikesh and Dehradun Railway Station are good to access trek. Dehradun railway station is better connected with rest of India.
By Road: Govindghat on the Badrinath road can be accessed through Rishikesh, which is connected with many towns and cities in northern India by Uttarakhand State Transport run busses.

Are There Any Shops Available On the Hemkund Trek?
You can find many shops till Ghaghariya to shop for books and multimedia resources on the Valley of Flowers and Hemkund Sahib, as well as stores for trek ears and supplies.

What to Pack for Hemkund Trek?

  • Large or medium size backpack, and a duffle side bag for extras
  • Water bottle
  • Sun hat
  • Warm cap
  • Base layers
  • Fleece jacket
  • Outer jacket
  • Rain jacket (essential for the monsoon months)
  • Sturdy trekking shoes and a pair of floaters
  • Flashlight
  • Trekking pants, several pairs
  • UV-protection glasses
  • Thermal socks

Is There Any Possibility Of Altitude Sickness?
Altitude sickness remains a possibility on the Hemkund trek given the difficult nature of the trek, limited water intake, and lack of awareness. Attention to fitness from two to three months prior to joining the trek, medical consultation regarding preventive medication like Diamox courses, and proper meals and hydration is necessary.

How Busy Is the Hemkund Trek?

This route remains pretty busy with pilgrims and trekkers during the given times in summer and autumn.