According to folklore, a young boy who was looking for his sheep discovered Gaumukh. Because its shape resembled the mouth of a cow, it was named Gaumukh or Gaumukh. Gaumukh is an important pilgrimage destination and every year many men and women travel to Gaumukh to pay obeisance to the gods.
It is situated at a distance of 18 km from the Gangotri glacier. The Bhagirathi River originates at this point and has swift currents in this region. Due to the glacier, the region is rich in flora and fauna. The area has some broken boulders and hard clay like snow. According to studies, the snout of the Gangotri is constantly receding.
Gaumukh is frequented by trekking enthusiasts as the region has some challenging trekking trails. The trekking trail from Gangotri to Gaumukh covers a distance of 18 km. About 9 km from Gangotri, the Chirbasa or ‘abode of Chirbasa’ is visible and about 3 km from Chirbasa is the dangerous Gila Pahar. The Gila Pahar is infamous for its landslides. Lucky trekkers can even spot a few mountain antelopes called Bharals here. These animals are found only at a height of 10,000 feet.
Bhojbasa is the only stop over available for a night halt and it is situated at a distance of 4 km from Gila Pahar. There are a few places that offer accommodation for a nominal charge. Before reaching Gaumukh, you will get to see the majestic view of the Mount Shivling that glistens in the sunlight. Other trekking trails in the regions include the ones to Tapovan and Nandanvan.
The nearest airport to Gaumukh is the Jolly Grant airport in Dehradun, which is situated at a distance of 229 km from Gaumukh. The major railhead is Haridwar which is located at a distance of 230 km from Gaumukh. The region is well connected by roads to Rishikesh, Mussoorie and Haridwar
Being a source of the Bhagirathi River, the River Gaumukh is considered as the true source of the River Ganga. A trek of 18 kms from Gangotri takes you to Gaumukh, the surreal and peaceful area that provides the panoramic views of Bhagirathi peaks.
Tapovan 4300 meters is situated beyond Gaumukh and consists of the magnificent meadows situated at the foot of mount Shivling. The trekking trail is usually gentle, but gets perilously steep at places. The trek is a combined experience of trekking, bouldering, rock climbing and glacier traversing.
On reaching Tapovan, you get to see the mesmerising view of the beautiful snow capped peaks swathed in sunlight. Another attraction of this trekking trail is the sight of Akash Ganga, the actual river Ganga that flows from the Jata of Lord Shiva according to popular belief, bathing the Shiva Linga. The surrounding beauty and tranquility of Tapovan will mesmerize, ease and calm your mind.
Best season: May - October
Duration: 11 Days
Altitude: 4450 m