The Glacier Land

Sayantan Ghosh

Photographs: Author
Category: Trekking, Hiking
Date of Publication: Jan 2 , 2013Vol-01 Issue-02

Date of Journey: 13th October, 2012

Duration: 12 days

Trail Length: 55km (Gangotri-Tapovan-Gangotri)

Highest Altitude: 14500 Ft. (Tapovan)

Team Members:5

Sayantan ghosh, Avijit Routh, Sangat Mondal, Subhajit Ghosh, Jagdeep Singh Sohal

Guide: Uttam Sing Rana (Mob: 08755074635)

Route: Howrah- Delhi- Rishikesh- Gangotri- Bhojvasa- Gaumukh- Tapovan- Chirvasa- Gangotri- Haridwar- Delhi- Sealdah

Our Team reached Delhi on 14th October, 2012. From there we immediately started for Gangotri via Rishikesh and reached the spot on 16th. On the morning of 17th, around 10 am we left for the trial to Gaumukh-Tapovan, the mouth of the mighty river Bhagirathi or Ganges and also our destination.

Journey - Chirvasa and Bhojvasa:

On 17th morning we wished to leave as early as possible for our expedition but we were yet to get the permission copy that is required for trekking on Gangotri trial from the authorities of Gangotri National Park. Mt.ShiblingThis engaged our morning activity and after collecting the permission copy the nine of us ventured out around 10 am along with our guide and three porters carrying our luggage. Each of us were carrying our own rucksack bag containing our individual stuffs and this apart, we had two tents, cooking stoves, utensils and food stuffs carried by the porters. Our first destination was Chirvasa and then Bhojvasa. Chirvasa is 9 km from Gangotri and takes around three to four hours to reach. Although the distance is not much, the trail track is rough, steepy, dangerous and prone to landslides which makes the duration taken to complete the trial uncertain. We were advised to reach Chirvasa by afternoon as we had to cover Bhojvasa on the same day before dawn.

The road was adventurous as well as dangerous but the aesthetic beauty of the land and our sporty spirits captured our imagination entirely to let any feeling of fear settle into our consciousness. CravasesAll throughout the trial, the roaring Ganges was of our co-trekker flowing in the opposite direction, keeping us on track. The panoramic beauty of the land mixed in vibrant colors of green, maroon, pink, blue against the dead grey and white rocks further kept our spirits high. After four hours of long walk we reached Chirvasa at around 2:00 pm. We took a short break here to refresh ourselves, had lunch which mostly consisted of dry food and snacks and set out again for Bhojvasa, 6 km from Chirvasa. The same scenery accompanied us until 4:30 pm, when suddenly after taking a blind turn the burning Mt. Shibling came to the view, coming out of the obscurity of the cloud. The very sight left us speechless at once, though at the same time we were made aware of the biting wind that was already freezing us by this hour. At around 6 pm we reached Bhojvasa. The porters covered the trial before us and by the time we reached the spot our tents were already pitched and the dinner partially prepared. A hot cup of steaming tea was the most welcoming thing we had to fight the temperature and fatigue of the day. After having some light dinner we slept in our tents with the roaring Ganges downhill rhythmically breaking the silence of the night and giving us the feel of the surrounding we were in.

Gaumukh and Tapovan:

The next day was the most adventurous day of our trek. We were headed toward Tapovan, our final destination. Lying a further 7 kms away from Gaumukh at the foot of Mt. Sibling it is the ancient home of all spiritual hermits. We ventured out with the early sun rays keeping in mind that we have a rough and unfriendly trail to cover. The biggest challenge was to cross the famous Gangotri Glacier (4-5 kms) and thereafter a stiff terrain of approximately 1 km, barren, arid and dry.

The Gangotri Glacier is the second largest glacier in India after the Siachen Glacier. gangotri glacierWith the chilly hostile wind blowing against us, marching the glacier was a tough job. Slowly the lush greenery of the Himalayas narrowed and finally disappeared. Most of the landscape was arid, rocky and loose with small pebbles constantly falling from above. There were deep crevasses along the side we walked, and at the end of the glacier was a stiff climb of nearly a kilometer inclined to 60 degrees. Then again a march of a mile leads us to Tapovan- The Devbhumi. The clock showed around 4 pm. As usual our porters had reached the spot long before us to keep all the arrangements ready.By the time we reached, all of us were exhausted and hungry, our stomach growling. The hot cup of soup prepared by the porters was the best reviving thing we had in that weather and surrounding.


Next day early morning we were scheduled to leave for Nandanvan, the base camp of Mt. Bhagirath. However, the weather was unfavourable and at this high altitude every fancy depends upon the mood of Mr. Weather and Mr. Temperature!! The only source of water at Nandanvan is a nala or a small stream which has dried out and the quantity of water we were carrying couldn't have sustained 13 of us for two days. So counting all the odds we had to conclude our trek at Tapovan.

We decided to halt for the day at Tapovan, moved around discovering the whole area, enjoyed the panoramic view and virgin nature, inhaled the ice-cold but unpolluted air and gave our stiff and aching limb a little rest. We took plenty of pictures to capture and document our experience so as to share it with you and as a reminiscent.

Return Journey:

Every story that begins has to end. So next morning we woke up very early to enjoy the last few minutes that was left of our Gangotri-Tapovan trek. To our great delight the sky was completely clear and as the first orange golden aurora kissed Mt. Sibling we were all amazed. The beauty enchanted us as well as saddened us for our journey was coming to end. After having light breakfast we were on our way back to Gangotri via Chirvasa.

All in the entire Gangotri-Tapovan trek was a priceless experience. No doubt it was exhausting and at high altitude we had little respiratory problem. But the sanctity of the land was worth everything and if you wish to visit heaven on earth, Tapovan is the place to be.

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