Two days of continuous trek was tiring. But the toughest one was to come the next day - Hemkund Sahib. When compared to Gobind ghat to Gangaria and Gangaria to Valley of Flowers, Hemkund Sahib trek is considered hard as one climbs 1000 meters within a short span of 6 KMs. Thus, it is a virtual climb from the word go with hardly any level surface.
As usual, the start time is 6.30 AM and everyone is ready. Last night's leg message by Sohan singh was very useful. We slept last night praying that the weather be clear and there shall be no rain. But we are not lucky when we get up as it is already raining. We have no choice and after a tea and toast routine, we start the trek covering our self with a rain cape. Since it is raining, we do not risk taking our Nikon but take Sony point and shoot.
We follow the same route we took for Valley of flowers and then deviate towards Hemkund Sahib. This is a real climb. As in the Gobind Ghat - Gangaria trail, the mules are part of the crowd and one has to bear the smell of their droppings. We also have company of hundreds of Sikh pilgrims trekking along with us uncomplainingly. The trail looks similar to the one from Gobindghat but much steeper. The complete valley is misty and cloudy with hardly anything visible for a large portion of trek. The sky is cloudy with low hanging clouds completely covering the valley. It continue to rain and the trail is wet and slippery.
|The water falls as we start climbing. Notice the misty surroundings|
|Notice the continuous climb and the valley covered by clouds|
|Clouds, clouds everywhere......|
After four hours of trekking and crossing a half melted glacier, we reach the Lake and Gurudwara around 11 AM. The place is very cold and windy. It is a beautiful lake surrounded by mountains. The water is crystal clear and the reflection of Gurudwara in the lake makes a beautiful sight. Unfortunately, the cloudy weather play spoilsport again. Being a high altitude place, we could feel the difficulty while moving around. We have darshan of the shrine and leave after partaking the prasad.
|Hem Kund Lake|
|The sanctum santorum of Gurudwara|
We are expecting the weather to clear but we are not so lucky. The rains continue and we had to be extremely careful while coming down the trail lest we slip and hurt our legs. Coming down the trail is heavy on the legs and knees. Fortunately, we all came back safe to Gangaria.
This was a bit of a disappointment as the weather played spoilsport. In clear weather, the trek offers fabulous vistas of mountains especially the "Saptha shringi" mountains or seven peaks of Himalayas surrounding the lake.
Clear weather is key to enjoy the complete trip to Valley of Flowers and Hemkund Sahib. We were extremely lucky when we trekked to Valley of Flowers but we were not in this case.
Photo Courtesy - Manish Jain who was part of the group and who dared to bring his Nikon along.
a) Trek to Hem Kund Sahib is hard. Good acclimatisation is a must. It is good to do this trek after Gobind Ghat - Gangaria and Gangaria - Valley of flowers which will help acclimatise better.
b) If you are flying to Gangaria by helicopter, then complete Valley of Flowers trek before attempting Hemkund Sahib.
c) All precautions as mentioned in perevious posts is a must.
d) If you are unfit to do this trek, then you can take the services of a mule.
e) The trail is slippery especially when it is raining. It is imperative that one should wear a good trekking shoe.
f) Make sure to take breaks while climbing up the steep path. This is important as going up very fast could only mean inviting
altitude sickness. Breaks are meant to be standing ones and do not sit
down. Sitting down causes your muscles to relax and getting back on
track can be very difficult.
f) Do not exert on reaching the place. At 16000 feet, it is a high altitude lake and one gets tired very fast due to rarefied atmosphere.
g) The gurudwara in itself is serene and peaceful.
h) One has to be extra careful while coming back as it will be slippery especially when it is raining.
a) Gurudwara - Worship place of Sikhs
b) Darshan - Sight of Deity
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If you need help in planning a trip to Valley of Flowers and Hemkund Sahib, you are welcome to write to me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Happy to help.