Hemkund Sahib Tour Package
Hemkund Sahib is a holy pilgrimage site of the Sikh community in the Chamoli district of the state of Uttarakhand and has been designated as a special place for worship. It is set within a glacial lake and surrounded by seven snow clad mountain peaks collectively called Hemkund Parvat. The Gurudwara (Sikh Temple) is located in the Himalayas at an elevation of 15,200 ft and is accessible only by foot from Gobindghat on the Rishikesh Badrinath Highway.
Hemkunt Sahib is devoted to the tenth Sikh Guru Guru Gobind Singh Ji (1666-1708) and finds mention in Dasam Granth - a scripture narrated by Guru Gobind Singhji Himself. Known as the Sanctum Sanctorum of India, this is an area to which since times immemorial, great religious teachers and sages have retreated to seek communion with the Great Unknown, in an effort to wrest the secrets of eternal life and uplift the soul of man.
It is here on Hemkund Parvat, 976 meters further above the world famous Valley of Flowers, at a height of 15,200 ft, Gobind Singhji came meditate and seek peace for his tortured soul. This pilgrimage spot of very great significance for the Sikhs . In the Holy book of the Sikhs, the Guru Granth Sahib, Guru Govind Singh made a reference that in one of his previous births he had meditated on the shores of a lake which was surrounded by seven snow covered peaks. In 1930, Havaldar Sohan Singh discovered this lake and identified it as the one referred to the in the Guru Granth Sahib!
The search for and discovery of Hemkund Sahib came out of the desire of the Sikhs to erect shrines to honor places consecrated by visits of the tenth Guru during his lifetime or, as is the case of Hemkunt Sahib, during his previous lifetime! Sikhs started looking for Hemkunt Sapatsring in the late nineteenth century. Pandit Tara Singh Narotam, a 19th century Sikh scholar, traced the geographical location of Hemkund. He included Hemkund Sahib as one among 508 Sikh shrines he described in Sri Gur Tirath Sangrah (published 1884).
Sohan Singh was a retired Granthi from the Indian army who was working in a Gurdwara in Tehri Garhwal. In1932, he read the description of Hemkunt Sahib in Bhai Vir Singh's Sri Kalgidhar Chamatkar (1929). The account of the place and the meditation of a great yogi there was based on the tale of Guru Gobind Singh's life and previous life as told in Bachitra Natak and the Suraj [Prakash] Granth.
In 1930, Sant Sohan Singh stated he had found Hemkunt Sahib as stated in Bachitra Natak. To some extent he was financed by Bhai Vir Singh, a well to do romantic poet of Punjab. Bachitra Natak captured the imagination of Sikhs due to beautiful poetry, songs and verses that resonated to their sentiments and music.
Sohan Singh was assisted by Havildar Modan Singh of the Bengal Sappers and Miners, who laid the foundation of the first building and opened access of the public through Govindghat. He settled and remained here till his death in 1960. Design and construction of the present Gurudwara began in the mid 1960s, after Major General Harkirat Singh, Engineer-in-Chief, Indian Army visited the site.
Hemkund is inaccessible due to snow from October through April. The first Sikh pilgrims arrive in May and set to work to repair the damage to the path over the winter. This Sikh tradition is called kar seva (work service), an important tenet of the Sikh faith of belonging to and contributing to the community.
The take off point for Hemkunt Sahib is the town of Govindghat about 275 km from Rishikesh. The 13 km trek is along a reasonably well maintained path to the village of Ghangaria where pilgrims can spend the night at another Gurudwara here as well as some hotels and a campground with tents and mattresses. A 3,600 ft climb on a 6 km stone paved path leads to Hemkund. There are no sleeping arrangements at Hemkunt Sahib so it is necessary to leave by 2 pm to make it back to Govindghat by nightfall.
From Delhi, tourists take the train to Haridwar and then travel by bus to Govindghat via Rishikesh. It is also possible to drive from Delhi to Govindghat about 500 km which takes about 18 hours. The main town near Govindghat is Joshimath.