Take the Thrilling Trek to the World's Highest Gurudwara

Discover one of the most underrated treks of India while being on your spiritual journey to the world’s highest Gurudwara. Read more about the place here!

Divya Chauhan
New Update
Take the thrilling trek to the world's highest Gurudwara

Credits: Hemkund

The world's highest Gurudwara is one of the most visited pilgrim sites and sought-after trekking spots. Shri Hemkund Sahib is a pilgrim place for both Hindus and Sikhs. The gurudwara is located at an altitude of 4329 m (15,200 ft.) above sea level in the Chamoli district of Uttarakhand. The holy shrine is adjacent to the glacial lake ‘Hemkund’ – meaning the ‘Lake of Snow’, from where it got its name. There is also a Lakshman temple on the bank of the lake.

The shrine is nestled in the lap of the Garhwal Himalayas, surrounded by 7 marvellous snowy mountain peaks, called Saptrishi peaks. The crystal clear waters of Hemkund Lake reflect nature in all its mighty appearance.

Architectural grandeur

The architectural beauty of the Gurudwara is a mesmerising sight. The two-storeyed gurudwara made of white marble resembles the shape of a star. It is a unique blend of traditional Sikh architecture and natural beauty. The architectural details like the intricate carvings become manifold more attractive against the natural backdrop.

Historical and mythological context

It is believed Lakshmana, the younger brother of Lord Rama from the epic Ramayana, had regained his health by meditating on the banks of Hemkund after receiving severe injuries in the war. The Lakshmana temple is also believed to have been built at the place where Lakshmana meditated.

On the other hand, the history of this place goes back to the late nineteenth century, when a Nirmala scholar, Pandit Tara Singh Narotam, prepared a compendium of various Sikh pilgrim spots along with their descriptions. He also included Sri Hemkunt Sahib. Based on the indications provided in the Mahabharata about the site where the Pandu king had meditated, Narotam trekked up to the spot and was able to verify the site of Sri Hemkunt Sahib.

In recent history, the first person to get attracted towards the task of discovering the actual location of the 'tapasthan' was Sant Sohan Singh, of Tehri, Garhwal, who was a retired granthi from the army. He was inspired by the description of the spot in the work of Bhai Vir Singh. He trekked up the holy spot a number of times and in 1934, he visited the spot along with Baba Kartar Singh Bedi and came back determined to set up a gurdwara there.

He met Bhai Vir Singh, who helped Sant with the necessary material support and provided him with the permission required for setting up a gurudwara. Sant, along with Havaldar Baba Modan Singh, hired a contractor, and a ten-foot square room for the gurudwara was constructed. They established the gurudwara by installing the sacred volume of Sri Guru Granth Sahib in the room. In 1960, the havaldar established a seven-member trust, the Gurudwara Hemkunt Sahib Management Trust. The founding members of the trust were Havaldar Modan Singh, Colonel Joginder Singh Mann, S. Shamsher Singh, S. Raghubir Singh Kabaria, Baba Gurmukh Singh, S. Gurbaksh Singh Bindra, and Colonel Amar Singh.

The yatra to the gurudwara remains open from May to October when the weather is pleasant.

Trekking your way to the Gurudwara

You can reach this holy shrine only on foot from Govind Ghat, located on the Rishikesh-Badrinath Highway. From Govind Ghat, there is a 19 km long trek to reach the shrine. The trek is divided into two parts – first, Govind Ghat to Ghangharia and then, Ghangharia to Hemkund Sahib.

The trek from Govind Ghat to Ghangharia is easy. Ghangharia has small shops, a few hotels, and a holy gurudwara where you can stay. From Ghangharia, the trek becomes a bit difficult because of the altitude and takes about 3-4 hours to reach the gurudwara. While the trek is difficult, it is equally beautiful with serpent-like trails, green plants, and flowers, and the aroma of the rain-drenched mountain soil. When experienced together, the whole trek is nothing but heavenly.

Image Courtesy: Rishikesh Tours

Start your trek to Hemkund Sahib early morning as the gurudwara closes at 2:00 p.m. There is no facility for overnight stay at the Gurudwara, so you must make it back to Ghangharia by dusk.

Hemkund Sahib is truly a heavenly place for nature lovers and spiritual seekers alike. When are you planning to visit the world’s highest gurudwara and gain an experience like no other?


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