Gaumukh Tapovan Trek

A Journey to the Source of River Ganga

TREK DIFFICULTY

Moderate-Difficult

TREK DURATION

8 days

HIGHEST ALTITUDE

14,203 ft

A Journey to the Source of River Ganga

Gaumukh Tapovan is one of the most rewarding treks you will ever do.

There are summit views and there are ‘big’ summit views. On the Gaumukh Tapovan trek, you don’t just see the best views of Mt Shivling. You see Mt Shivling right from the base to its summit. And if you don’t know about Mt Shivling, it’s one of the most beautiful looking mountains in our country. No wonder the mountain has been featured in our gold calendar every year since it was published.

But wait. Not only Mt Shivling, you see the Bhagirathi sisters from top to bottom. Sometimes we feel the Bhagirathi sisters are even grander than Mt Shivling because the three of them form a massif, which dominates the landscape.

Then why do more people not do the trek you ask?

Unfortunately, the popularity of other treks brought the Gaumukh Tapovan trek down from its grace. It’s almost like a new generation movie star replaced an older star. It sounds silly, but that’s what happened to the Gaumukh Tapovan trek. Treks like RoopkundRupin Pass and the Hampta Pass gained popularity. And Gaumukh Tapovan fell in popularity.

As is the mentality of most trekkers, if they find one trek attractive, they just rush towards the new offering. It is a mistake.

Before we begin, here are some quick facts about the Gaumukh Tapovan trek:

Gaumukh Trek is a 46 km trek hiked over 6 days (8 days including the drive to and from the trek,) in the Greater Himalayas. It lies in the state of Uttarakhand and begins and ends at the pilgrim town of Gangotri.

The trail snakes through the Greater Himalayas within the confines of Gangotri National Park. It is a moderate-difficult trek (more on this ahead on this page) that can be attempted by beginners if you prepare well. 

Gaumukh Tapovan is one of the most rewarding treks you will ever do.

There are summit views and there are ‘big’ summit views. On the Gaumukh Tapovan trek, you don’t just see the best views of Mt Shivling. You see Mt Shivling right from the base to its summit. And if you don’t know about Mt Shivling, it’s one of the most beautiful looking mountains in our country. No wonder the mountain has been featured in our gold calendar every year since it was published.

Gaumukh Tapovan - Complete Trek Information

We have always wanted trekkers to be well-informed before they go on a Himalayan trek. Knowledge is the difference between a safe trek and a dangerous one. It’s also the difference between a wholesome experience and a superficial experience.

Use this section to learn about the Gaumukh Tapovan trek. It has in-depth information about each day of the trek, what to expect, and how you need to prepare for it. Many years of expertise have gone into this content. Trekkers find that extremely useful.

Gaumukh Tapovan Videos
low-preview-hqdefaulthqdefault
low-preview-hqdefaulthqdefault
low-preview-hqdefaulthqdefault
low-preview-hqdefaulthqdefault

Expert Speak

Arjun Majumdar Founder, CEO

low-preview-de4eb62d df11 4d79 98a4 69ca83c50be6 screenshot 2021 08 18 at 7de4eb62d df11 4d79 98a4 69ca83c50be6 screenshot 2021 08 18 at 7

Arjun Majumdar Founder, CEO

Arjun Majumdar, the Founder of Indiahikes, went on this trek in 2015. As one of the veterans of the trekking community in India, he’s an expert when it comes to Gaumukh Tapovan Trek. Here’s Arjun talking about one of the top treks in our country.

What I Like and Don't like About the Gaumukh Tapovan Trek

What I Like About the Gaumukh Tapovan Trek

low-preview-de4eb62d df11 4d79 98a4 69ca83c50be6 screenshot 2021 08 18 at 7de4eb62d df11 4d79 98a4 69ca83c50be6 screenshot 2021 08 18 at 7

Arjun Majumdar Founder, CEO

Arjun Majumdar, the Founder of Indiahikes, went on this trek in 2015. As one of the veterans of the trekking community in India, he’s an expert when it comes to Gaumukh Tapovan Trek. Here’s Arjun talking about one of the top treks in our country.

1. The Gaumukh glacier


I have not stood at the snout of such a gigantic glacier in my life. The Gaumukh glacier snout must be as high as a ten-storey building. Big chunks of ice, as big as cars, continuously fall with thunderous sounds from the mouth of the glacier. I remember the ground reverberating with every fall.

Below, the opening of the glacier was a big cavern, from which the Bhagirathi flowed. I have seen rivers forming from under a glacier. But I have never seen a river, in its full width, flow out from under a glacier, right at its source. It was stunning.

low-preview-5cb8b99e c861 48db b1c7 f0cbe588fee6 gaumukh gangotri glacier trek atul rana indiahikes5cb8b99e c861 48db b1c7 f0cbe588fee6 gaumukh gangotri glacier trek atul rana indiahikes

Minuscule trekkers standing before the mouth of the Gangotri glacier. Picture by Atul Rana

2. The crevasses on the glacier

Traversing the glacier from one end to another was fantastically adventure-filled. The surface of the glacier was a maze of crevasses. Some so small that you hardly notice them, some big enough to swallow you whole.

Deep down in some of the big ones, the colour of the ice was green with a bluish tinge on their walls. Rivulets made a channel through them, sometimes disappearing into a dark abyss. It was fascinating seeing this spectacle.

Navigating these crevasses, literally tip-toeing over to the other side, ultimately clambering up to Tapovan, is an adventure that stays with me. It is fun, and frankly, quite adventurous. I admit I had my moments when my palms were sweaty.

low-preview-2f7578ec 5e1a 4aa3 b290 279c7631ddb5 gaumukh tapovan indiahikes jude gaumukh glacier2f7578ec 5e1a 4aa3 b290 279c7631ddb5 gaumukh tapovan indiahikes jude gaumukh glacier

Crevasses on the Gaumukh glacier. Picture by Jude Rayen

3. Mt Shivling and the Bhagirathi sisters from Tapovan

a. Mt Shivling
I was expecting Tapovan to be a flat grassland. It wasn’t. It was a bit bouldery, a bit grassy but a very large open land. I remember the moment when we got to Tapovan. Just as we clambered into Tapovan, all my trek mates stood rooted to their spots.

They were witnessing something that they had never seen before. Right in front of them, almost less than a stone’s throw away was the entire Mt Shivling from its base to its summit.

Mt Shivling was no ordinary mountain. It was the most beautiful mountain my trek mates had set their eyes on. Like a beautiful young lady with her slender neck, and her head held high, Mt Shivling stood in front of them with grace and elegance.

I finally understood why photographers travelled from across the globe to take pictures of this majestic mountain.

b. The Bhagirathi sisters
On the other side, right across the Gangotri glacier, we saw the Bhagirathi sisters. The three summits in one massif. I’ll be frank here. Even though Mt Shivling is the Greek God of beautiful mountains, it was the Bhagirathi sisters who held our attention longer.

The three sisters: Bhagirathi I, II and III. All of them nestled together in one isolated massif — and the entire massif standing tall from its base to the summit. You don’t see such mountain views in other parts of the world.

At that moment I understood what it meant to be at Tapovan. I was not witnessing spectacular mountains. I was seeing something utterly unique in mountain views. In trekking circles, if there is a list of grand scenes to see, I would put this view from Tapovan in my top 3.

low-preview-2442d5c5 b037 404c 9d13 0f3ce170ce96 bhagirathi sisters indiahikes %281%292442d5c5 b037 404c 9d13 0f3ce170ce96 bhagirathi sisters indiahikes %281%29