Thoughts & Ideas

Thursday, July 31, 2014

The Trip to the Valley of Flowers III - Hemkund Saheb

                                              Gurudwara Sri Hemkunt Sahib Ji
 Inside the Gurudwara

The next day we visited Hemkund Saheb (HS) which is located at an altitude of about 15,000 ft and is a place of Sikh pilgrimage and has a Gurudwara (Gurudwara Sri Hemkunt Sahib Ji) beside a small glacial lake surrounded by seven mountain peaks. It was discovered by a Sikh Army Surveyor in the early 20th century who recognized it as the place where Guru Gobind Singh had done meditation as described in his memoirs. The place is snow bound from October to May every year and, as such, is open for pilgrims only from June to Sept.  

We just did not have the energy to trek up the 5000 feet and so hired ponies. It was a nerve- racking experience traveling on the steep mountain track on those ponies. We also felt more than a little ashamed passing numerous old and young pilgrims stoically doing the same journey on foot.  

 Shridhar & Me

 The only temple in India dedicated to Lakshman

We reached HS by mid morning and the trip was well worth all the trouble. We saw various varieties of beautiful wild flowers on the way, though the surrounding scenery was blocked due to heavy clouds and mist.  On reaching HS we walked around the place and beside the lake a little. We did dip our toes in the ice cold water, but did not have the courage to bathe in it, though there were a number of people having a bath! Next we visited the Lakshman temple also located there before proceeding to the Gurudwara where we sat down to listen to the Gurbani and had prasad. We then had lunch of khichdi and tea at the langar and interacted a little with the numerous pilgrims there from whom we came to know that oxygen levels start falling very fast after 2 pm, so it was advisable to leave by then. It was a painful, tiring 6 km walk back to Gangharia, though it was fully downhill and it was quite late in the evening by the time we reached our hotel. 

Lunch at the Gurudwara - Khichdi with Tea

                                         Some friends we made there - Sikh Pilgrims

                                We crossed this glacier on the way to Hemkund Saheb


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