The word Hemkund means the lake of Snow as the word hem means ‘snow’ and the word kund means ‘a small lake’. Hemkund remains freeze during winter months and the water is icy cold from May to October. Hemkund Sahib is situated at an elevation of 4,320mts above sea level surrounded by seven lofty snow laden peaks of the Himalayas. This collection of seven peaks is collectively known as Hemkund Parbat (Hemkund Mountain). This is the place where the 10th Guru of Sikh community, Shri Guru Govind Singh meditated. Many Hindu rishi’s and Lakshman the younger brother of Lord Rama also did penance at this holy place. The trek of 19km to Hemkund Sahib commences from Govind Ghat by crossing the bridge over Alaknanda River. Hemkund is the source of the Hem Ganga or Laxman Ganga which confluences with the Pushpawati river flowing from the Valley of Flowers. After the confluence at Ghangharia the river is further known as Laxman Ganga. The trek to Hemkund Sahib is very popular amongst adventure lovers and devotees as well. There are no arrangements at Hemkund Sahib to make a night halt and one must come back to Ghangharia or Govind Ghat. The mystic and popular valley of flowers is the best trekking excursion from Hemkund Sahib. The trek is tempting and has a lot to offer during the trek. You can see the gushing river flowing, cascading streams and waterfalls, alpine trees, glaciers, dense forests, snow capped Himalayan peaks, frozen lake, rhododendrons, Brahmkamal, Bhojpatra etc. Brahmakamal is the state flower which is found at a height of around 4000mts above sea level.
Location of Hemkund
Hemkund Sahib is situated at an elevation of 4,320mts above sea level in the Chamoli district of Uttarakhand state. It is located 19kms from Govind Ghat which is the commencement point of the trek. Hemkund Sahib is located on the banks of the crystal clear water of the Hemkund amidst seven lofty mountains of the Himalayan range. Hemkund Sahib is 6km ahead of Ghangharia.
Places to see in Hemkund
Laxman Temple: There is a temple here dedicated to Laxman, the younger brother of Lord Rama. It is believed than Laxman meditated at this heavenly place to focus on his powers and enhance his skills.
Valley of Flowers: Valley of Flowers National Park can be reached by a trek of 16km from Govind Ghat. Ghangharia is the place where tourists rest at night. From Ghangharia there are two paths, one leading you to the sacred Hemkund Sahib and other to the beautiful Valley of Flowers. It is nestled in the west Himalayas covering an area of 87.50sqkms. The valley is entirely covered with the sheets of snow during winters and the flowers bloom here from June to October only. This place is rich in varied and unique flora and fauna. Valley of flowers national park is the home of many endangered animals like brown bear, black Asiatic bear, blue sheep and snow leopard. The valley of flowers was declared as the national park in the year 1982 and it is now a world heritage site. The valley of flowers is situated in the Chamoli district of Uttarakhand state. The virgin beauty of this valley lures the botanists, nature lovers and adventure lovers.
Govind Ghat: Govind Ghat is the commencement point of the trek to Hemkund Sahib and Valley of Flowers. Govind Ghat is situated at an elevation of approximately 6,000ft on NH58 connecting the sacred Badrinath Temple. Govind Ghat has good parking space available where you can park your cars while a visit to Hemkund Sahib. Govind Ghat is located on the banks of the divine Alaknanda River 22kms from Joshimath. Govind Ghat has good accommodation facilities with good hotels, restaurants, resorts and lodges.
Ghangaria: Ghangaria is the last human habitation centre on the way to Hemkund Sahib and the Valley of Flowers. Ghangaria is a small village set at an elevation of 3050mts above sea level, 13km from Govind Ghat. The trek becomes moderate from this point to Hemkund Sahib. The region is opened from May to October as in the remaining months the region is entirely covered under snow. There is a Gurudwara here which provides accommodation. GMVN rest houses and a few more hotels provide accommodation facility here.
Joshimath: Joshimath is one of the four ‘math’ created by Adi Shankaracharya. Joshimath is the home of Shri Badrinath during winters. Joshimath is connected with a cable car upto Auli and this is the longest and highest trolley of Asia.
Badrinath: Badrinath is set at an altitude of 3,133mts above sea level in the Chamoli district of Garhwal region in Uttarakhand state. The deity of Badrinath temple is Lord Vishnu and the temple was established in the 9th century by Adi Shankaracharya. Badrinath Temple is the main attraction of the town and it is visited by every tourist. The temple has a height of approximately 15mts with the top covered with a gold gilt roof. The temple is situated on the right bank of the sacred Alaknanda River with the colorful ‘Singh-Dwara’ at the entrance. The temple remains closed during winter months as the region is prone to heavy snowfall. Badrinath is situates 22kms from Govind Ghat.
Mana: Mana is one of the last villages of India as it is very close to Tibet border. ITBP have set their camp above Mana where you have to go with permission. Most of the tourists who visit Badrinath also come to Mana to see the glimpse of the end of the road. Mana is inhabited by Indo-Mongolian tribes often called as bhotias. Mana is situated 3kms from Badrinath.
Bheem Pul: Bheem Pul is an adventurous place with great mythological importance. This is the place where Bheem threw a big massif rock to make a path joining two mountains so that Draupadi could walk easily on it. Bheem Pul is situated in Mana
Auli: Auli is situated 12kms from Joshimath. Auli is popular for skiing and paragliding. This tourist destination offers stupendous views of the snow clad peaks of the majestic Himalayan range. Asia’s highest and longest cable car is situated in Auli connecting it with Joshimath.
What to do in Hemkund
Enjoy and explore with each and every moment you spend while having this unforgettable trekking experience. Take a sacred dip in the icy water of the Hemkund. Visit Hemkund Sahib Gurudwara and the Laxman Temple. Don’t forget to trek to the enchanting and mystic Valley of Flowers. Do experiments with photography and click pictures of unique flowers but don’t pluck it off. Carry raincoats with yourself as the weather is unpredictable there. Do bring back all the polythene bags if you took some of them while trekking as throwing them anywhere would harm the beauty of such a heavenly place.
Accomodations Hotels in Hemkund
You can stay Kuber Guest House in Govind Ghat and other hotels and lodges. GMVN Rest House is the best option to stay at Ghangaria. Other good places to stay at Ghangaria are Hotel Krishna Palace and Hotel Deepak Lodge. You can also accommodate at the Gurudwara in Ghangaria.
Best time to visit Hemkund
Hemkund Sahib can be visited from May to October month every year. The region is prone to heavy snowfall during winters making the path unable to walk. Every year lakhs of devotees from Sikh religion and Hindu religion as well visit this sacred and heavenly place. During monsoons the trekking route becomes slightly difficult because of the rain but the captivating and majestic views are worth it.
How to reach Hemkund
By Road: The trek of 19km to Hemkund Sahib commences from Govind Ghat. Govind Ghat is situated on NH58 connecting Badrinath. It is well connected with motorable roads from major destianations of Uttarakhand. Govind Ghat is situated 514kms from
By Rail: The Nearest Railway station to Govind Ghat is Rishikesh situated 275kms away. Buses and Taxis are available from Rishikesh to Govind Ghat.
By Air: The nearest Airport to Hemkund Sahib is Jolly Grant near Dehradun situated 294kms away. Taxis are available from here to Rishikesh.