Nearly 24 km long, 8 km wide and 4,255 meter high, the Gangotri glacier melts down to the world's most talked-about river, the Ganga, at Gaumukh. Located well-inside the Himalayas, Gaumukh presents the Himalayan panorama in a nutshell. Hence travellers come here with a pilgrim's fervor and the pilgrims arrive with a traveller's determination. A large cavern at the base of the glacier, from where the melted water trickles down, bears a resemblance to the cow's mouth and hence the name Gaumukh, 'gau' is cow and 'mukh' mouth.
At 4,255 meters, Gaumukh is topped by several peaks of the Greater Himalayas – Bhrigupanth, Sivalinga, Bhagirathi etc. The mountainside trail from Gangotri to Gaumukh is lined with birch and other trees.
HOW TO REACH
The route to Gaumukh is through the nearest town, Gangotri. Direct buses ply from Rishikesh to Gangotri covering the distance of 299 km. Gangotri is the last point on the motorable road from Haridwar. Gaumukh is a gradual trek of 18 km along the left bank of swiftly flowing Bhagirathi River from Gangotri Temple. Horse ride is also permissible along this trail. Chirbasa comes after 7–8 km journey. Taking some rest here the journey resumes towards Bhojwasa, 6 km from Chirbasa. Bhojwasa, a ruggedly beautiful terrain, is 14 km from Gangotri. Spending the night at Bhojwasa and beginning early next morning, Gaumukh can be reached trekking or riding the last 4 km.
BEST TIME TO VISIT
Summer (mid April to mid June) and autumn (mid September to mid October) are most suitable for Gaumukh visit.
Garhwal Mandal Vikas Nigam Tourist Rest House, Bhojwasa.
Rent: Dormitory is Rs. 250/- per bed.
Contact: Baba Lalbihari Das
Lalbaba Dharmartha Trust
Bhojwasa Asram, Gomukh
TRAVEL TIPS Always carry an umbrella or a raincoat to protect from sudden outpours.
Those who would like to trek beyond Gaumukh towards Tapabon are advised to take a guide along.
At Chirbasa travelers can have some snacks and have launch in choti hotels at Bhojwasa. The arrangements are simple and prices are quite reasonable.