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The Serene Destination of Hemkunt Sahib

by Madhav Srinivasan 5 year, 7 months ago

The Hemkunt Sahib is a very important religious destination for Sikhs and it is one of the most scenic too, thanks to the high altitude in which it is located. For this reason, the gurudwara attracts both pilgrims and tourists – here’s more about it..

All About the Shrine

The Hemkunt Sahib Gurudwara is located in picturesque Uttaranchal, surrounded by the snow-capped Himalayan peaks at an altitude of 15200 feet above sea level. There is no better location for a place of worship that can offer such peace and tranquility. Adventure enthusiasts and nature lovers will surely love the setting and the walk to the shrine on thier Uttaranchal holiday tours.

The shrine is surrounded by seven hills, called Sapta Sring; and the name Hemkunt literally means ‘snow bowl’ in Sanskrit. The shrine gets its name from the Lokpal Lake, also called Hemkunt. Guru Gobind Singh, the tenth guru, is said to have meditated here in his previous birth and was born here as a savior.

He is also credited with starting many of the customs that Sikhs today follow, like not cutting their hair, wearing the Kara, the Kirpan, a decorative sword worn on the waist, and Kachh, the boxer shorts. Another legend states that Lord Rama’s brother Lakshmana meditated here and there is also a temple dedicated to him on the lake shore.

The snow capped hills in the distance, the seven peaks lush with vegetation, the rocky slopes closer to the lake shore, covered in the yellow-green Brahma Kamal flowers during the summers, give the shrine an unearthly beauty that attracts people of all faiths.

There are glaciers in the higher reaches that feed the rivers which fall into the lake, giving it the crystal clear water that it sports. Many sages and saints are said to have meditated in these hills, notably Rishi Medhasa and Lakshmana. For this reason, religiously inclined Hindu tourists often visit this spot too on thier trip in North India.

Though the shrine was established many centuries back, it was only in the year 1930 (when Solan Singh came upon it accidentally) that it was rediscovered.

Getting to Hemkunt Sahib

This serene shrine can be reached from Ghangharia by a six hour hike through steep mountains; you can reach Gangharia by road from Rishikesh or Haridwar or Dehradun, from almost 300 kilometers away. The nearest airport is in Jolly Grant, about 275 kilometers away, or Dehradun, about 330 kilometers away. The nearest railway station is located in the town of Rishikesh. The roads up to Govindghat are well connected to many other towns; and from Govindghat, Gangharia is about five kilometers away.

The Hemkunt Sahib is open to pilgrims only from June to October, as the high altitude and the heavy snows render it inaccessible for the rest of the year. The first pilgrims arrive in May, clear the snow and repair the trekking paths as ‘Kar Seva’ for the rest of the pilgrims. You can easily visit this holy destination by taking up package tours from Delhi.

To relax in the peaceful mountain breeze while delving into the origins of Sikh culture, you can take a trip to Hemkunt Sahib and find peace in a scenic setting.

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