Hemkund Sahib, also spelled as Hemkunt Sahib, situated in Chamoli District of Dev Bhoomi Uttarakhand around 4,632 meters above sea level is a Sikh Gurudwara visited by thousands of Sikh pilgrims from June to September every year. Literally meaning the lake of snow, Hemkund Sahib holds its importance as being the place where 10th Sikh Guru Govind Singh meditated in his previous birth.
Previously, before Sikh people recognized the place as Hemkund, the place was called ‘Lokpal’ by the locals. In the high altitude, surrounded by seven spectacular snow-capped Himalayas, the lake at Lokpal attracts nature lovers. Today, besides Sikh pilgrims from around the world, nature lover adventurers too trek to Hemkund.
Gurudwara Hemkund Sahib
Gurudwara Hemkund Sahib, the only Gurudwara in such a height, is different than other Sikh pilgrimages in architecture too. It is the only pentagonal Gurudwara in the world. Hemkund Sahib pleases the pilgrims with amazing environs, enchanting beauty of nature, wonderful architecture and overwhelming peace. Laxman Ganga flowing from the crystal clear lake Hemkund adds to making the Gurudwara Hemkund Sahib heavenly.
Gurudwara Hemkund Sahib is a symbol of human spirit that can not be defeated by any challenges. Desire of Sant Sohan Singh to rediscover the former life meditation spot of Guru Govind Singh and establish Gurudwara there finally materialized. Besides the harsh climatic conditions, difficult terrain, distance and snowfall during the whole winter; Sant Sohan Singh and team built Gurudwara at Hemkund, Sant Mohan Singh took the responsibility of guarding the Gurudwara and spent the cold nights in tree trunk of Govindghat during winter. This is the faith and deep respect of Sikh devotees towards Guru – “waheguru” being their only holy mantra (chant).
Trek to Hemkund Sahib
The trek to Hemkund Sahib begins from Govindghat, around 19Km from Joshimath. Joshimath to Govindghat is a motorable road. From Govindghat, tourists should either trek or hire a pony or porter to Ghangaria. The route is 14Km steep hill with breathtaking beauty. Laxman Ganga river in one side and tall Himalayan range on the other side, trekkers find it difficult to distinct between physical pain of trekking in the steep mountain terrain and from the joy of enchanting Himalayas, mesmerizing rivers and the sweet smell of flowers. Trekkers need to be careful in this trekking route to keep themselves on the safe side – the side of Himalayan ranges or else the pony may dash them down to the river. This route is usually crowded as it being the route for tourists to Valley of Flowers National Park.
Ghagaria is the spot for night rest as it is not allowed to stay in Gurudwara Hemkund Sahib. Ghagaria to Hemkund Sahib is 6Km steep hill trek.
Hemkund Sahib | Best Time to Visit
Hemkund Sahib is open from 5th June to 5th October every year. Ice blocks can still be seen on the upper layer of the mesmerizing lake if visited early June. After September, the high altitude area gets colder day by day and snow fall begins after a month. Thus, the best time to visit Hemkund Sahib is from June to September. Skipping monsoon months may be wise if the tourists find difficult covering the steep hill during rain.
Raincoat and warm clothes are the must have items along with comfortable shoes for long and difficult trek. Medicines for cold and dizziness are also recommended.
Hemkund Sahib | How to Reach?
First the pilgrims or tourists to Hemkund Sahib should reach Rishikesh to Joshimath. Govindghat is the next spot through roadways from Joshimath, 19Km away. From Govindghat begins the trekking to Gangharia, 14Km and from Gangharia Hemkund Sahib is only 6Km. Here we discuss on the ways to reach Joshimath:
- By air: Jolly Grant Dehradun is the nearest airport 21Km from Rishikesh and 268Km from Joshimath.
- By rail: Rishikesh railway station is the nearest railhead 251Km from Joshimath.
- By road: Joshimath is well connected by roadways to most parts of Uttarakhand state. Joshimath leads to Govindghat, Chamoli through motorable road.
Route to Hemkund Sahib
- Valley of Flowers – Ghangaria – Hemkund Sahib
- Dehradun – Rishikesh – Srinagar – Rudraprayag – Karnaprayag – Chamoli – Pipalkoti – Joshimath – Govindghat – Ghangaria – Hemkund Sahib
Hemkund Sahib | Places to See
- Ghangaria: Ghangaria is the village that works as base camp for trekkers to Hemkund Sahib as well as Valley of Flowers. The route to Hemkund Sahib and Valley of Flowers divert from Ghangaria the village with hotels and almost no houses. Much crowed during June-July and August, Ghangaria is 6Km from Hemkund Sahib and 3Km from Valley of flowers.
- Famous destinations near to Hemkund Sahib, you must visit are — Valley of Flowers | Badrinath | Joshimath | Nanda Devi National Park