Gaumukh Tapovan Trek – A Complete Guide

A scintillating adventure – The Gaumukh Tapovan Trek

Gaumukh is the place, which is known as the terminus of the Gangotri glacier and it’s a source of the primary streams of Gangotri river.  This beautiful place is located in Uttarkashi, in the state of Uttarakhand and is a very well known trekking place. This is a very historic and religious and many stories revolve around the name of this place, as it looks like the mouth of the Cow. It’s situated around 18 kms away from Gangotri, and a speedy Bhagirathi river flows through this place.

The scenic views are breathtaking with pieces of broken snow all around and the snow glaciers; it’s definitely one of those heavenly places. This is one of the holiest lands in Uttarakhand and has great mythological history, always bustling with devotees from all over India, to experience the serenity and purity of this place. This place is what is known as the birth of North Indian mythology due to the incarnation of river ganga, and so many stories surround this origination.

About the Gaumukh Tapovan Trek

The Gaumukh tapovan trek is one of those mesmerizing and beautiful places, that is going to give you a spiritual and sensational adventure and it takes you to the Gangotri glacier which is known to be the mouth of the holy Ganges River. The entire 24 km long expanse is a beautiful experience that you will never forget. It starts from the Gaumukh expanse and extends up to the Chaukhamba massif which is around Badrinath. Walk through glacial hues, from the start to the end, you will see the mesmerizing backdrop of Mount Shivling, and you will descend through The Tapovan meadows back to Gangotri.

This is trek is definitely a visual treat and perfect thrill for you, other than the Shivling range, there is Bhagirathi twin peak and Mount Meru. The best part about this trek is you get to witness, the magnificent river that was the reason of life for an entire civilization living there, originating from the Gaumukh snout and eventually meeting the Ocean; it’s an actual spiritual moment. Starting from the Gangotri glacier, the Bhagirathi river flows through Gaumukh and then becomes the river Ganga. Witnessing this beautiful amalgamation is the experience of a lifetime. There are intensely sacred theories surrounding the birth of this river and it is said to have been made to give new life to men, and it the realms of the river are held by Lord Shiva himself.

An Adventure that will Amaze You

The trek passes through larger than life mountain landscapes and gives you an opportunity to camp at the rugged heights, from where you will see the snow covered peaks very closely. The splendid sight of Bhagirathi peak, shining in the moonlight, and the alluring Shivling range from Tapovan, rising in all its glory, will leave you ecstatic. This trek is not an easy journey, but definitely worth the hustle.

The trek to Tapovan ahead of Gaumukh is another thrilling experience; Tapovan means the forest of spirituality. This place exhibits a deep love for nature and travel. This place is named after a sage who is still worshipped here. The place is filled with meadows, streams and flowering plants and it’s one of most amazing high altitude meadow of India. The high points here include the Amrit Ganga, that flows into the glaciers and also the place named Nandanvan, which is another trekking trail often taken up by trekkers here.

The trek to Gaumukh Tapovan is going to be a spiritual trip and a great dose of adventure. It’s going to be a dramatic trail to a place that can never have civilisation but has the most beautiful scenery and wilderness that you will see in the entire world. You need around seven days to soak in the entire beauty of this phenomenon trek. Brace yourself for a long hike, with lots of rough roads, and climate changes, and take up this beautiful journey, that you will remember.

Things to know about the adventure – tips and more

The first thing that you should know before heading on to this lovely adventure, is that you need to get permission from District Forest Officer to be allowed to take this trek, there are limited permits for each day, hence you should book this in advance. You should be well aware that this place has been damaged due to the floods in 2013, so it’s a landslide-prone zone always, hence you should take precautions for your safety. You will get to witness a few wild animals here, like the Bharals which are mountain antelopes, you should stay on the roads and not really venture too inside the jungles at night, to avoid any dangerous interaction with the animals. The only night halting stop after altitude of 10000 ft is Bhujbasa, which has facilities for staying and refreshing before you continue the trek.

And right after the halt, the trek leads you to Gaumukh snout, and eventually the majestic views of Mount Shivling. There are no horses allowed on this trail, so you should be ready to walk through the entire journey. And then begins the trek to Tapovan, this route has become difficult after the floods, you have to cross the glacier after Gaumukh and then reach Tapovan, which quite a risky trail nowadays. The tracks are not certain, you will most definitely have a guide, but it’s very important to take precautions, the climb can be very stiff at the end, it’s going to be a very tough and challenging experience.


How can one reach the Gaumukh Tapovan Trek?

There are number of options available to travel to the base camp of Gangotri Glacier, you can take a flight to Jolly Grant Airport in Dehradun and then drive up to the base camp, or you can take a train to Dehradun, it’s even accessible by road, you can take buses or private vehicles from Dehradun to Gangotri Glacier.

What are the accommodation and other facilities for the Gaumukh Tapovan Trek?

Since it’s a trek, most of your accommodation is going to be in camp tents, but there are guest houses and home stay options available at a few stops. You will get decent meals, and sanitary facilities, and there will always be a trained professional guide available to take you through this adventure.

Are there any restaurant or food facilities available at this place?

Not many eating options will available to you at this trek since it is a non-civilised territory.  The guest houses at Bhajibusa have some basic meals available and you should pack a lot of dry snacks for this place.

What is the best time to go for this Trek?

You can visit this place either during Summer or Autumn that is May, June or September, and October. The weather is mild and pleasant in the day time during summers and the nights are relatively chill. And they say, the best time to go for trekking is during the onset of snowfall in September and October, the place looks even more picturesque, but you should do all the bookings in advance as there are very limited options for accommodation.

What are the essential things that one must carry for the Gaumukh Tapovan Trek?

There is a list of things that you shouldn’t miss out on taking here because it’s a moderate level trek, listing a few most important ones are a wind jacket, woolen, and thermal clothes, cap, gloves, trekking shoes that are comfortable, raincoat, sunglasses, sunscreen, and personal medicines.

Frequently Asked Questions

1) How much in advance should one book the trek?

You should book the trek at least 2 months in advance, which will give a decent amount of time to prepare for the trek

2) Is there any minimum age requirement for this trek?

Since it is a moderate level trek anyone above the age of 10 years can take up this trek, but it is at your own risk

3) What is the minimum temperature at this place?

During May and June, the lowest temperature goes up to 2-degree Celsius, while during September and October it can go in minus.

4) How many hours does one trek in a day?

You will trek around 6-8 hours every day, to cover up to 10-15 km distance in a day.

5) Is it safe to drink stream water here?

Yes, it is safe to use stream water for drinking and cooking here.