Tapovan Gaumukh Trek
Tapovan (4450m/14600ft) is a high altitude Alpine meadow, situated at the base of Mt. Shivling , on the west bank of Gangotri glacier. The word ‘Tapovan’ means a sacred and serene place, where the sages meditate for spiritual bliss. According to Hindu mythology, King Bhagiratha (Lord Rama’s ancestor) of the Ikshvaku dynasty, meditated here to Shiva for Ganga’s descent to the earth. From time unknown, Hindu sadhus or spiritualists come here to pay tribute to Lord Shiva and River Ganges. Tapovan, lush green in summer, blooming with wild flowers, turns golden in post-monsoon season. The valley, flanked by majestic Himalyan peaks like Mt. Shivling (6543m), Mt. Meru (6630m) and Kedar Dome (6808m) is a favourite destination for trekking enthusiastic, both Indians and foreigners. The Bhagirathi Group of peaks – I (6856m), II (6512m) and III (6454m) are visible on the eastern bank of Gangotri glacier. The trail from Gangotri to Tapovan via, Bhujbasa and Goumukh, though only 22 km and two days trek, it covers a vast array of geomorphological features, like the ‘I’ shaped river gorge of Ganges, then the snout of the glacier from where the river originates, followed by the glacier itself with lateral moraine and ice covered glacial debris and finally the steep edge of the glacier. Initially the trail runs amidst pine and birch forest, but crosses the tree line to reach this Alpine meadow where only perennial grasses, sedges, and forbs can survive. Sighting of Bharals (Blue Mountain Sheep) on nearby mountain slopes is common. The high altitude, rarity of oxygen, average 6-7km walk in the difficult terrain and the erratic weather make this a short but challenging trek.
Duration: 4 days of trekking
Total trek distance: 45 km
Maximum altitude: 4450 m/14600 ft
Best season: Mid May to June, September to October end.
Day 1: Haridwar to Gangnani - 235 km - 10/11 hrs (drive)
Pick up in the morning from Haridwar and reach Gangnani (2390m, 7840 ft). Distance around 235 km and can take 11/12 hrs. Night stay in lodge/hotel.
Day 2: Gangnani to Gangotri - 55 km - 2-3 hrs
After lunch we drive to Gangotri. Distance is 55 km and may take 2/3 hrs. Night stay in lodge.
Day 3: Acclimatisation day
cclimatisation day. Gangotri being above 3000m/10000ft, and air is thin. Atmospheric pressure is only 70% that of sea level. It is essential for any group to acclimatise a day before starting the trek. Some prefer to break the previous days tedious journey by spending a night in between Uttarkashi and Gangotri ( like Harshil). Walk around the temple area, if you have more reserves, you can hike towards Kedartal route for couple of hours and back. Night stay in lodge/hotel.
Day 4: Trek to Bhujbasa – 14 km – 7/8 hrs
Trek to Bhojbasa (3700m/12150ft). Distance is 14 Km and may take 7/8 hours. Night stay at tent.
Day 5: Bhujabasa to Tapovan via Gaumukh - 9 km - 5/6 hrs
Trek to Tapovan (4450m/14600ft) via Gaumukh (or Gomukh). Distance is 9 km and may take 5/6 hrs. Night stay at tent.
Day 6: Tapovan to Neel Tal & back - 3 hrs - Bhujabasa - 9 km - 4/5 hrs
Early in the morning hike to the surrounding Neela Tal. Return to the camp site and descent to Bhojbasa. Night stay at tent.
Day 7: Bhujabasa - Gangotri - 14 km - 6/7 hrs
Trek back to Gangotri. Night stay in lodge/hotel.
Day 8: Drive to Haridwar - 290 km - 13/14 hrs
Drive back to Haridwar by evening. Proceed for your homeward journey.
Shared Cab Transportation (Pay on spot):
Depending upon the trek members we can arrange a pick up from Haridwar (reach by 6 am) to Gangotri and back to Haridwar. This will be shared by the team members on actual basis.
Public Transportion Option (Pay on spot):
Otherwise if a trekker wants to reach Sankri by public vehicle then here is how:
- Take early moning bus from Haridwar to Uttarkashi from the Roadways/ISBT bus stand (opposite to Railway station) or a private one from G.M.O.U bus stand ( on the same main road, 2 minutes walk). This will take 7/8 hours. Change the bus to Gangotri (starts around 2 pm in the afternoon) from here, which will take 4/5 hours to cover the remaining 100 Km.
- While returning from Gangotri take the morning bus to Uttarkashi and then then change to Haridwar/Rishikesh.
- One night accommodation at Gangnani (Day 1) in tourist lodge/guest house on sharing basis and meals.
- 3 nights accommodation at Gangotri (Day 2, Day 3 and Day 7) on sharing basis.
- All meals during the trek (from Day 1 dinner to Day 8 breakfast). Regular Indian style nutritious vegetarian food during the trek (includes occasional eggs), breakfast, packed/hot lunch (depending upon the time you reach a campsite), snacks, dinner along with tea/coffee/soup.
- Transport from Gangnani to Gangotri (day-2)
- Excellent Mountain Guide, who will be a local to this particular area and has profound knowledge of the trekking trails around.
- Specialised Cook, Support staff, Porters for carrying the central logistics of the trek.
- All permit fee, camping charges, forest levy required for the trek.
- Stay during trek in tent on sharing basis (triple)
- Sleeping Mattress and Sleeping bag
- Micro spikes/Crampons and Gaiters if needed.
- Basic First Aid and Medical Kit.
- Transportation from Haridwar to Gangwani and from Gangotri to Haridwar
- Charges for still or video camera in Gangotri National Park
- Porter service for entire trek at additional Rs. 1500 for upto 10 kg rucksack.
- Any tip/gratuity to the support staff.
- Any kind of insurance during the trek or transit.
- Any cost which is not mentioned in the “Inclusions” or personal in nature.
Rucksack/Back Pack: 1; (must have). Between 40 to 50 Litres. Don’t buy more than 60L unless you are in expeditions. These will be heavier and can cause discomfort if not fully loaded!)
Rucksack cover (Waterproof): 1; Advised. MUST for protection from rain/dust/stain etc. (Alternately you can keep your clothing and warm jacket inside polythene pack. Do get the pack(s) back to home and re use/recycle).
Daypack/Knapsack: 1; Optional (Can carry along with you with water bottle, food, camera and wind/water proof etc.) if you want to offload your Rucksack in permissible routes.
Trekking Shoe/Boot: Pair; (must have). A good quality trekking shoe/boot must have the following specs :
i) A sticky rubber sole with lug (indentations for better grip).
ii) Ankle support (Medium or high ankle).
iii) Waterproofing membrane. (A must for high altitude and winter treks).
Get a pair and “break-in” well in advance that you don’t face any sores/blisters once you are on mountains.
T-shirt (Base layer while you are hiking): 3/4; (must have). Take at least one Dry fit/Quick dry type which can ventilate sweat/moisture wicking. These are made of synthetic materials.Cotton T-shirts are NOT advised and avoid especially when you walk.
Warm Jacket (Mid layer clothing for warmth): 1; (must have)Warm Fleece Jacket/Synthetic fill (Some refer as Hollow Fill) Jacket/Down feather Jacket.
While hiking you will not require this unless you are hiking in cold conditions. Use this when you cool down at campsite).
Windproof Jacket/Wind Cheater (Outer layer clothing for protection from wind and rain/snow fall): 1 (must have); A hooded one made of water resistant/repellent material is highly advised.
Use this along with Base layer (t-shirt) while hiking unless it is warm and sunny weather. Wear this always as outer later to protect from wind chill be while hiking or at camp site.
Thermal wear (Base Layer once you reach campsite): 1 pair; Upper and lower (Woolly cot). Must for winter treks.
Trek pant: 2 pair (must have) Can be Track pants (avoid cotton), 3 quarter/Cargo or Convertible kind.
One Dry fit/Quick dry track pant is advised. Water repellent/proof quality is a plus.
For altitude above 5000m/16400ft you should use wind proof and water proof trek pants.
Raincoat/Poncho/Waterproof clothing: 1 (must have); Waterproofing during your trek in the Himalayas, be it in summer or winter.
This can be achieved by any of the following:
ii) Use your windproof jacket and hiking pant having water repellent/proofing quality.
ii) A Poncho/Raincoat.
Balaclava/Woolen skull cap/Monkey Cap: 1; (must have) for protection from cold. Made of woolen/synthetic warm material.
Sun cap/Wide-brimmed Hat/Bandana: 1; For protection from sun while you hike.
Under garments/Inner wear: As per need.
Hiking Socks: 3/4 pair; Use full length socks (Don’t use tennis socks). 100% Cotton socks are NOT recommended as these absorb sweat and dry slowly. A pair of woolen material is nice to have especially in winter treks.
Woolen gloves: 1 pair; (must have).
Waterproof gloves: 1 pair; Optional. Useful especially on high altitude treks where snow/ice is encountered.
Camp sandal: 1 pair; Can be a strap on sports sandal or a Hawaiian sleeper.
Walking Sticks/Trekking Poles/Ski Poles: 1 pair/Single; Nice to have, reduces the pressure on knees and gives balance specially while descending. Advised at least one pole for treks involving snow/ice.
Knee cap: 1 pair; Optional. Makes a difference especially if you have knee injuries/problems (Neoprene added variant is better).
Water bottle/Hydration pack: 1; (must have). Good quality plastic bottle.
Sunglasses: (must have) for all the high altitude treks and winter treks. Polarised/Anti-glare is always a better option in snow with UV400 (UV A & B) protection. Trekkers using spectacle can order custom make powered sunglasses.
Torch/Head Lamp with extra batteries: (must have). Head torch keeps your hands free.
Accessories/Toiletries: Optional and try to share when you travel in group.
Sunscreen lotion – Optional. At least 30/40 SPF.
Chap Stick/Cold & Moisturising cream – Optional. As per need. Use small tubes/bottles.
Tooth brush and tooth paste – Carry smallest available tube of tooth paste.
Soap/Soap strip – Carry small pocket size soap, or Soap strip.
Hand sanitiser – Optional. Small bottle.
Tissue roll ( Toilet paper) – This is a must item as water may not be available in the vicinity.
Towel – Medium size (light weight).
Anti-Fungal Powder – Optional. This helps to keep the socks and the trek shoe drier and odour free to an extent. Carry smallest container.
Camera with extra cells: Optional. Normally there is no charging point on the Himalayan trek routes, carry spare batteries/power bank.
Dry food items(Kit): 1; (must have). Carry some dry fruits, chocolate/energy/protein bars and Glucon D/Tang/Getorade.
Personal First-Aid Kit: Optional – Anti septic cream, Betadine/Dettol/Savlon, Band aid, cotton, crepe bandage, safety pin etc.
Medicines Kit: 1; This is a simple guide line and a doctor’s consultation is recommended.)
a) General medicines comprising of headache, fever, vomiting, stomach upset and pain killer (Volini gel/spray)
b) Anti Diarrhoearal
c) Antibiotics – ( choose broad spectrum antibiotics for treating a variety of infections – carry a course of each)
d) Mild analgesics – (Aspirin/Paracetamol etc but DO NOT take Codeine based painkillers).
e) Strong analgesics (Co-Proxamol/Ponstan/Temgesic, use with care).
f) Anti-inflammatory (Nurofen or diclofenac sodium)
g) Diamox – This helps in acclimatisation (a proper dosage is must if taken. Drink lot of water as this is a diuretic drug.
- 100% refund if cancelled before 30 days
- 50% refund if cancelled before 7 days
- No refund after that