The Gaumukh Tapovan trek is easily one of the bestsellers every year in Gangotri, Uttarakhand! It is a haven for spiritual and adventure seekers. The team of ETH promises to make your Gaumukh Tapovan Experience in the Himalayas a very memorable and an enriching one. Gaumukh is the source of the river Ganga. The Ganga is the most revered river in India. Tapovan is an alpine meadow, a few km away from Gaumukh. It is home to many sages meditating in caves here. Tapovan is also the base camp of Mt Shivling (6543 m). The locals hold Mt Shivling in great reverence. The entire region brims with high spiritual fervor. No one can deny the spiritual vibrations of the Gaumukh Tapovan trail. Perhaps, this is why, there are many trekkers who come to the Himalayas more than once to experience Gaumukh and Tapovan!
Legend of How Ganga descended at Gaumukh in the Himalayas near Tapovan
The Legend of how the Ganga River descended at Gaumukh in the Himalayas right near Tapovan is interesting.There was a powerful King, Sagar, who wished to perform the Ashwamedh Sacrifice, a ceremonial horse sacrifice, to assert his supremacy over the 3 worlds. Fearful of losing his seat, Lord Indra abducted the sacrificial horse and tied it at the ashram of Sage Kapila. Immersed in meditation, the sage was naturally oblivious to all this. King Sagar was furious and so ordered his 60,000 sons to find the horse.
The sons found the horse at the Sage Kapila’s ashram and disrupted his meditation. Sage Kapila was beside himself with rage at this and cursed the sons leading to their annihilation. The grandson of King Sagar, Anshuman, pleaded the sage for forgiveness. Sage Kapil said that only if Goddess Ganga descended on to the Earth, the sons sins will be absolved. The son of Anshuman, King Dilip, prayed to Lord Brahma but failed to please him.
Did Ganga finally descend?
King Dilip’s son, King Bhagirathi, performed severe penance. The penance of King Bhagirathi pleased Lord Brahma and he agreed to request Ganga to descend on to the Earth. However, this did not please Goddess Ganga at all but she had to obey Brahma’s orders. So she descended onto the Earth with such a great force that it seemed she would swallow the Earth.
King Bhagirathi again prayed to Lord Shiva now to save the Earth. Shiva agreed to receive the Ganga in his matted locks and thus control her force. This is how she descended onto the Earth and absolved King Bhagirathi’s ancestors of their sins. To this day, millions of Hindus believe that the Ganga will absolve them of their sins.
The following is a day wise itinerary from Gangotri to Gangotri. This entire trek is fully customizable. There are small hamlets near Gangotri like Mukhwa, Harsil, Purali, Bhagori where one can get an insight into the lives of people living in these high altitudes. Should you require transport to or from Gangotri, accommodation at Rishkesh and/or Uttarkashi, please do not hesitate to let us know.