Gangotri-Gaumukh Tapovan trek is a popular trek in Uttarakhand state of India. Located at the base of the Gangotri glacier. On the other hand, Tapovan is located above the Gangotri glacier. This trek will pass traveller through glaciers. Therefore, it is certainly one of the great treks best meant for adventure enthusiasts from across the globe. The Gaumukh glacier is the source of Bhagirathi and is held in high esteem by the devout who do not miss the opportunity to have a holy dip in the bone chilling icy water. This trail is rated as moderate and therefore can be undertaken by mountaineers and non-mountaineers with good state-of-health.
FIXED DEPARTURE TREK SCHEDULE – 2019
The Gaumukh glacier is the source of Bhagirathi and is held in high esteem by the devout who do not miss the opportunity to have a holy dip in the bone chilling icy water. Gaumukh is where the water of Ganga trickles down from the glaciers. The sages called it 'Gaumukh', because in the distant past, it probably appeared like a cow's mouth. Tapovan is an ideal location for travelers looking for peace and adventure. It is located at an altitude of 4,463 m / 14,640 ft above sea level. It is known for its beautiful meadows that encircle the base camp of the Shivling peak. It is full of bubbling streams, wildflowers and campsites. Herds of Bharal (blue mountain goats) is a common sight from here on mountain ridges. On the far side of the glacier the Bhagirathi I, II, III (6,454 m) provide an equally impressive backdrop. This area is a climber′s paradise.
You will start your journey from Gangotri and end here. You will pass through many beautiful glaciers like Gangotri Glacier, Meru Glacier and Kirti Bamak Glacier while trekking on this trek. Also, you will witness the beautiful views of some of the leading peaks like Mt. Shivling Peak, Gangotri group of Peak, and Kedardome Peak. This trek will give you a chance to visit Bhojwassa from where you can enjoy the panoramic view of Bhagirathi group of peaks. You will also get an opportunity to closely view Tapovan, a beautiful high altitude meadow. You can see Blue Mountain goats (Bharal in local language) on the mountain ridges on this trail.
Gangotri Goumukh trek will take you to Gomukh (cow's mouth) located on the snout of the Gangotri glacier, the legendary source of the Ganges River. The best time for visiting Gangotri Gaumukh trek is between May to June and mid Aug to Oct.
Best Time to Visit
Best time to visit Gomukh Tapovan is in summers (May – June) and Post monsoon (September - October).
In summers:The weather of Gangotri remains salubrious during summers. The Himalayan range is distinctly visible. Carrying woolens is advised.
In monsoons:The greenery of Gomukh Tapovan welcomes the tourist to lose oneself into the wilderness of nature. Enjoy the gazing at the snow capped peaks at Tapovan. There are chances of getting roads blocked for few hours due to landslides but the scenic beauty of Gomukh Tapovan during monsoons is worth taking the risk for. Carrying raincoats is advised.
After Post monsoon:The region gets blanketed in snow during the winter season and the accommodation options are also restricted to few. But Gomukh and Tapovan looks the best during winters and indeed the trek becomes more difficult. Carrying heavy woolens is advised.
In the initial days of the pre monsoon season (May-Jun) there can be some snow along the trail which generally melts by the end of May. Days are going to be sunny and warm (12-20 °C) while the night temperature at the highest campsite would be in the range of 0-8 °C. In the monsoon months this area generally experiences rain but it is rarely of the torrential variety. In the upper reaches it just drizzles and that too not very occasionally. Temperatures around this time are almost like the previous months. In the post monsoon season (Sep – mid Nov) there is hardly any snow at the start with possibility of snow towards the end of the season, which also melts very fast. The days are sunny with temperatures hovering around (10-18 °C) the evenings start getting cold with the onset of October and nights are comparatively colder (- 2 to 8 °C).
Please keep in mind that the above information is not exact and does not account for sudden changes. Whatever the temperatures and conditions rest assured we will be prepared to handle it with ease as we use equipment of very high specifications.
Day 1:- Dehradun to Gangotri
- Altitude: 10,055 feet
- Drive: 241 km (8 hrs)
- Time taken: Start at 06.00 am Reach Gangotri by 3-4 pm.
- Stay: Check in Hotel
Assemble at the Dehradun Railway station by 6.30 AM. Our journey begins as soon as we hit the road from Dehradun. This is a long but very beautiful drive specially after Uttarkashi as you enter the upper Bhagirathi valley. We check into a guesthouse/lodge at Gangotri and savour the spectacular surroundings. In the evening visit the mother Ganga (Gangotri) temple and take a stroll in the Gangotri market. Overnight in the lodge.
Day 2:- Acclimatisation day at Gangotri (10171 ft)
After have breakfast you can enjoy the entire day just being alive in the religious vibes. Now that you are at 10171 ft height, today is the day for acclimatization. Acclimatization is like health supplement to your body to get used to the environmental and low temperatures. While doing that, you can take the advantage of being in Gangotri, one of the four Char Dhams.
Day 3:- Gangotri (10171 ft) to Chirbassa (11680 ft)
- Altitude: 11680 ft
- Trek: 8 km, 5-6 hrs trek
- Trek gradient: Easy to moderate.
- Water sources: Carry sufficient water from Gangotri. You can refill your water bottles from streams on the way.
- Stay: Overnight stay in tents.
After breakfast, set out on the trek towards Chirbassa. This trek is mostly on even terrain with mild gradient. The views of Sudarshan peak early in the trek is quite nice. Today’s hike is a very pleasing one with interesting sights throughout. The forest campsite at Chirbasa next to the Ganga river is a fabulous spot and one is going to completey enjoy the camping experience here. The area is surrounded by Pine (Chir) trees from where it gets its name. Overnight in tents.
Day 4:- Chirbassa (11680 ft) to Bhojwasa (12435 ft)
- Altitude: 12435 ft
- Trek: 5 km, 2-3 hrs trek
- Trek gradient: Moderate level
- Water sources:None. Carry 2 litres of water
- Stay: Overnight stay in tents.
After breakfast, we continue ahead to Bhojwassa. The area gets its name from the bhojpatra or bhoj leaves that were used for writing purposes as paper during the ancient times. The walk from Chirbasa to Bhojbasa is a short and delightful one. Today you get very good views of the Bhagirati peaks and the Gaumukh glacier ahead. Bhojbasa is a very small settlement with a couple of ashrams and govt. guesthouses. After a brief rest at the campsite and lunch we suggest that one hike up towards Gaumukh and return to the campsite towards evening. This will assist in acclimatization and give one great opportunity to take pictures. Dinner and overnight in tents.
Day 5:- Bhojwasa (12435 ft) to Tapovan (14600 ft) Back to bhojwasa via Gaumukh (13452 ft)
- Altitude: 14600 ft
- Trek: 18km, 10-11 hrs trek
- Time taken: Bhojwasa to Gaumukh 5 km & Gaumukh to Tapovan 4 km.
- Trek gradient: Challenging day of the trek
- Water sources: Carry 2 litres of water. Refill water bottles at Gaumukh.
- Stay: Overnight stay in tents.
Early in the Morning enjoy the panoramic view of Bhagirathi group of peaks. After breakfast trek to Gomukh (3890mt), the source of the Ganges. Gomukh is where the water of Ganga trickles down from the glaciers. The sages called it 'Gomukh', because in the distant past, it probably appeared like a cow's mouth. Explore the area and trek to Tapovan, one of the finest high altitude alpine meadows in the area.
The trek from Gomukh to Tapovan is ascent steep, and as we climb, the view of the surrounding peaks becomes clearer. The appear to be just a stone's throw away. Tapovan known for its beautiful meadows that encircle the base camp of the Shivling peak, Tapovan is a very pleasant surprised spot with a large meadow complete with bubbling streams, wildflowers and campsites. Herds of Bharal (blue mountain goats) are a common sight from here on mountain ridges. On the far side of the glacier the Bhagirathi I, II, III (6454mt), provide an equally impressive backdrop. It is also the little wonder where Sadhus and saints choose this spot for extended meditation during the long summer month. Arrive Tapovan and camp. Dinner and overnight stay in camp.
Gomukh: The Gomukh glacier is the source of Bhagirathi (Ganges) and is held in high esteem by the devout who do not miss the opportunity to have a holy dip in the bone chilling icy water.
Tapovan: Tapovan is an ideal location for the tourists looking for peace and adventure. Tapovan is located on an altitude of 4463m / 14640ft above sea level. Tapovan is base camp for Shivlinga peak in Uttrakhand hills. One can also have a nice view of Bhagirathi peaks from Tapovan Meadow. Every year this place has been visited by thousands of tourist including foreigners for adventure activity like mountaineering & trekking.
Day 6:- Bhojwasa (12435 ft) to Gangotri (10171 ft)
- Altitude: 10171 ft
- Trek: 14km, 6-7 hrs trek
- Trek gradient: Moderate level of gradual descent
- Water sources:Spring and manmade water point are available
- Stay: Accommodation in Guest House
Rise early to cherish the few last moments in front of legendary mountains who are shining in the bright sun rays. Mt. Shivling looks prettier as never before, passing its beauty to the adjacent peaks. Together they all make a spectacular sight. It is then time to take these memories back after having breakfast. Carry packed lunch and enough water as you did earlier, because there are no water sources.
Day 7:- Gangotri to Dehradun (Drive 241 km / 8-9 hrs)
Morning Breakfast and then we start our Drive from Gangotri to Uttarkashi at lunch and then drive to Dehradun 170km. At evening trek tours service ends as we reach the station.
The Trip Cost Includes
- All accommodation during trek. (Guest house, Home stay, Camping).
- Services from Dehradun to Dehradun.
- All meals during trek.
- All necessary permits and entry fees to Gangotri National park and first aid medical kits.
- Qualified and experienced mountain guide, and support staff.
- Oxygen Cylinder and stretcher for emergency case.
- High altitude rescue expert trek leader.
- Necessary equipments for climbing, ropes, ice axe and other technical gear for climbing.
- Mules to carry the central luggage.
The Trip Cost Excludes
- Any type of personal expenses
- Hotel accommodation in Dehradun.
- Extra snacks and meals during trek from shop.
- Insurance of the trip
- Things not mentioned under Inclusions.
- Mule or porter to carry personal luggage.
- Personal gear, and equipment
- A rucksack with rain cover
- A water bottle or a hydration pack
- A Hand/Head Torch with spare batteries
- UV Protection Sunglasses
- A trekking pole
Since it is a high altitude trek, at least 3 layers of clothing is mandatory. A full sleeve shirt, a fleece jacket, and a padded jacket are imperative. An additional layer (Thermal bodywarmers) for the evenings in the high altitude campsites are strongly recommended
- Quick Dry Warm lower or Track Pants - 2
- Full sleeves T-shirts - 2
- Thermal Bodywarmer Upper & Lower - 1
- Fleece Jacket - 1
- Padded Jacket -1 (Goose down or feather is preferable)
- Full sleeves sweater - 1 (Needed if you feel cold at high altitudes despite 4 layers)
- Rainwear (Jacket & Pants) - 1
- Thick woolen socks - 1 pair
- Cotton socks - at least 2-3 pairs
- Undergarments - 1 for every day of trekking
- Pair of Warm Gloves - 1
- Woolen cap - 1
- Hiking shoes (Preferably ankle high) -1
- Pair of lightweight Slipper/Sandals - 1 pair.
- Sunscreen lotion, lip balm, toothbrush, toothpaste, hand sanitizer, toilet roll, cold cream, small towel.
- Anti-fungal cream: Carry an antifungal cream if you are sensitive to sweating and prone to skin irritations around genitals or groin area due to lack of bathing.
- For women:
- Tampons or sanitary napkins,
- 2-3 zip pouches to dispose off non-biodegradable waste
- Vaginal wash to avoid any irritation due to lack of bathing.
- Water bottle
- Camera (optional)
- Personal medicine kit. Though our trek leaders carry a fully equipped first-aid kit, make sure you consult your doctor before the trek in case you have any special ailment.
- Dry fruits, energy bars
Fitness Required for Gaumukh Tapovan Trek
At high altitude as the air gets thinner oxygen becomes less abundant.The percentage saturation of hemoglobin with oxygen determines the content of oxygen in our blood. After the human body reaches around 2,100 m (7,000 feet) above sea level, the level of oxygen in our hemoglobin begins to plummet. However, the human body has both short-term and long-term adaptations to altitude that allow it to partially compensate for the lack of oxygen. The Gaumukh Tapovan Trek is an challenging trek suitable for trekkers with prior experience in high altitude treks is recommended.
Who Can Go:-
Here are the fitness criteria for conquering Gaumukh Tapovan Trek:
- Experience of any high altitude trek at least 1 trek
- The climber must be fit and have sufficient stamina to cover 5 km of distance in 30 minutes.
- Trekker should be able to carry a 10 to 15 kg bag pack
- Heart problem, high blood pressure, asthma, and epilepsy cannot be reconciled on this mission. Trekker must not have these conditions mentioned above
If you’re trekking to Gaumukh Tapovan Trek , note that the temperature drops to around -8 to 10 degree Celcius at night. During the day, the temperature will be at around 10 to 15 degrees. While going for summit the extreme temperature could make breathing slightly difficult. Doing breathing exercises before the trek will help. Expand your lungs and learn to breathe deep. This will help you inhale more oxygen and help you breathe comfortably.
- Jog/Run for 5 Kms in 25-30 mins or Walk continuously for 10 km (with 3-4 small breaks) on plain terrain (slight incline is better)
- Hold your breath for 40 seconds
- 3 sets of Climbing 30 – 40 steps in one stretch
- Push Ups – 10
- Lunges & Squats – 15 X 2 sets
The Gaumukh Tapovan trek is graded moderate-difficult. If you have registered for this trek, then here is some information that you must know in order to have a safe trek. At SYTH, we believe that as long as you are well-informed and well-prepared, you can survive easily at high altitudes.
This trek starts at an altitude of 10,055 ft. You are already in rarefied air and will be covering long distances. With significant altitude gain there are chances of being hit by Acute Mountain Sickness. An average trekking day here covers a distance of 10-13 km. The trail from Gaumukh to Tapovan is especially tricky. The route on the glacier keeps changing and having an experienced guide here is a must. After the glacier walk is an extremely steep climb up to Tapovan which takes a toll on your legs. Most of the trek has glacial residue of moraines and scree – which is difficult to walk on.
Monitoring health on a trek
Any abnormal reading will be paid special attention to and action will be taken immediately.
On the trek, your Trek Leader will be monitoring two aspects a day.
- Oxygen Level
- Pulse Rate
High Altitude Medical Kit
Your trek leader will also be carrying a full-fledged high altitude medical kit. This will include basic medicines and specific medicines catering to altitude sickness – Diamox, Dexamethasone . Your Trek Leader will also be carrying a portable oxygen cylinder throughout the trek. In addition to that, there are oxygen cylinders installed at all high campsites for any emergency situations.
Acclimatisation in high altitude
This is one of the most important aspects of travelling in the high Himalayas and cannot be ignored or set aside. Acclimatisation basically means our body adjusting to lower levels of oxygen (rarefied air) & reduced air pressure as me move up. In case one does not acclimatise properly there are chances of the person facing extreme discomfort and this can be fatal in extreme cases. While there is no set route to getting properly acclimatised there are a general precautions and steps that one can take to initiate good acclimatisation.
By Air :-
Jolly Grant Airport is the airport serving Dehradun, located about 25 km from the city. There is a daily flight from Delhi to Dehradun
By Train :-
Take the overnight train to Dehradun from Delhi
- Nandadevi Express - Train no: 12205 (Departure 11:50pm; Arrival - 5:40am)
- Dehradun Express - Train no: 12687 (Departure - 9:10pm; Arrival - 5:00am)
There is regular bus service from Delhi to Dehradun, from Delhis ISBT Kashmere Gate.
We would suggest you to take only government buses from ISBT Kashmere Gate. Private buses ply from outside ISBT and they are not trust worthiness.
Usually buses drop you at Dehradun ISBT. From there you have to come to Dehradun Railway Station