Gangotri Glacier is 28 kilometres long and nearly four kilometres wide. It is located in the extreme terrain of the Uttarkashi region. The glacier flows northwest from right beneath Chaukhamba Peak, and the course of water takes a turn, forming the shape of a cow’s mouth, hence the name Gaumukh. The Gangotri Glacier borders with China, is the primary water source for Ganga and Bhagirathi which is Ganga’s major tributaries.
The largest Himalayan Glacier, Gangotri, is surrounded by the Bhagirathi III, Meru, Shivling, and Thalay Sagar Peaks. The lush meadows and majestic nature all around make for an exciting prospect for hikers and adventurers. Gangotri Glacier comprises 18 tributary glaciers, seven of which are Rakt Varn Glacier, eight are Chaturangi Glacier, and three are Kirti Glacier. Other tributary glaciers contributing to the Gangotri include the Swachand, Miandi, Sumeru, and Ghanohim. The glaciers of Maitri, Meru, Bhrigupanth, and Manda feed the Bhagirathi River.
There are a few popular routes around Gangotri Glacier, a confluence of several glaciers. Choose from various trek circuits such as Gangotri Gaumukh Trek, Gangotri Gomukh Tapovan Trek, Gangotri Tapovan Trek, and Gangotri Trek difficulty varies with the route. These treks range from a couple of days to 4-5 days, are thrilling, and a trail to watch out for in the Himalayan land.
Gangotri to Chirbasa
At 21 345 feet, Sudarshan Parbat towers over the forest checkpoint, providing an unforgettable sight on the first day of the trek. The most notable sights en route are boulders, deserted glaciers, and a cluster of peaks. Arrive in Chirbasa after a long day of trekking. GMVN huts and campsites are the only places to stay in this area. The nearby Bhagirathi river makes the campsite a picturesque hideaway.
Chirbasa to Bhojbasa
A relatively short but unquestionably difficult day of the trek. This climb is made easier for trekkers by a steep climb at the beginning, followed by a gradual upslope. Carry plenty of water with you because there won’t be many options. When you arrive in Bhojbasa, take an acclimatisation walk to Gaumukh before returning to the campsite. Keep an eye out for the 8-9 landslide-prone bends along the stretch. Resting is not advised in this situation. Bhojbasa is the valley’s widest point, and you’ll fall in love with the beauty of the campsite here. A few igloo-like structures can be found here. Staying in these areas necessitates permission from forest officials. A few trek operators will give you an extra day to explore and get to know the area.
Bhojbasa to Tapovan via Gaumukh
This trail will put you to the test on many levels, with its long day, gradual ascents, flat descents, and jagged pathways. The campsite is nestled in the meadows beneath Mount Shivling. With imposing vistas all around, this location will captivate the photographer in you.
Tapovan to Chirbasa
Another challenging day of trekking as you negotiate turns, bends, and climbs to cover nearly 14 kilometres in a single day. This patch is exciting because of the difficult descent followed by a few ascents. If you have time in the evening, you can explore Tapovan, which offers a lot.
Tapovan is 2 kilometres long and makes a lovely campsite. The entire area, however, is not suitable for camping. Neelatal is the location to be on the lookout for Mt. Meru’s closest and most stunning view.
Chirbasa to Gangotri
You have already walked this path. The constant descent can be taxing on your toes. Slow down and enjoy the scenery; the moderate descent is steady and gradual. There are a few streams along the way, so you can splash your face with glacial water from the Himalayas. The wonderful 5-day trek would turn out to be the most memorable journey you’ve ever taken.
Best time for Gangotri Glacier Trek
The Gangotri Glacier Trek is best done between mid-April and June and September-November. The weather is neither too cold nor too rainy. As a result, trekking is not dangerous. The Gangotri Glacier Trek is best done in the summer months. The sky is clear, and the sun is shining brightly. Apart from summer, spring is the most popular time to visit Gangotri. Trekking is a lot of fun in the spring because there is so much greenery everywhere, and the weather is so pleasant.
The Gangotri Glacier Trek is not recommended during the monsoon or winter seasons.
How to Get to the Gangotri Glacier
The Gangotri Glacier is easily reached by road. The trek begins at Gangotri Temple and continues to Gaumukh.
- By air: The nearest airport to Gangotri Temple is Jolly Grant Airport in Dehradun, 257 kilometres away. The airport is well connected to the majority of airports in India. Travel the remaining distance from the airport to Gangotri by bus or private vehicle.
- Rishikesh railway station is the closest railhead, located 243 kilometres from the Gangotri glacier. Cabs and buses frequently run between Rishikesh and Gangotri.
- Gangotri Glacier is easily accessible by road from Rishikesh or Dehradun. Both of these locations are overnight flights from Delhi.