Ab Main Apni Katha Bakhano (Now i will tell you my story) Tap Sadhat Jihi Bidhi Mohe Ano (I came to this world after doing long meditation) Hemkunt Parbat Hai Jahan (The place where is snow lake ) Sapt Sring Sobhit Hai Tahan (There seven peaks are situated)
Shri Hemkunt Sahib is the sacred place where Guru Gobind Singh Ji spent a long time meditating in his previous birth, as mentioned in Bachittar Natak. The literal translation of Hemkunt is Snow Lake which is surrounded by 7 mighty Mountains collectively known as Hemkunt Parbat. Just close to this sacred lake is the world highest Gurudwara called the Hemkunt Sahib Gurudwara. This star shaped structure of stone and concrete masonry situated on the shores of Hemkunt Lake is of great significance to the sikh community and millions have made a pilgrimage risking their lives to visit this important site where their Guru Gobind Singh Ji once meditated for years finally leaving his earthly form to unite with the almighty.
The Gurudwara is a memorial to Guru Gobind Singh Ji and a reminder of the saints mission. The Hemkunt Sahib Yatra begins from Gobind Ghat passing through forest, mountains and springtime flowers which bring joy to the people on the pilgrimage. Gurudwara Hemkunt Sahib is one of the most sacred religious spots for Sikhs in India. This holy place was the place of meditation of Guru Gobind Singh Ji the tenth master.
Guru Gobind Singh Ji had earlier narrated a story where he meditated on Hemkunt Mountain and it was here that God allowed him to take rebirth in the dark age. The verses of his narrations and with the Sikh Sangat’s assistance the Gursikhs (also known as the true Sikhs) Sant Sohan Singh Ji Tihri wale, Hawaldar Mohan Singh Ji, Bhai Vir Singh Ji and a few others started the research work of this Holy place. Around 1933-1934 AD in Samvat Nanakshi they were able to reach this holy place with the grace of the guru and the Sangat’s assistance. It was around 1936 AD that the Sikh Sangat got the Gurudwara built in this site.
Surrounded by snow laden mountains and situated at an altitude of 15,000 ft above sea level this creates one of the most picturesque surrounding to meditate and find God. The Snow fall makes it very difficult for it to be accessible. Some months of the year the snow even reached 30-40 feet.
As the Guru had rightly said this Holy place is surrounded by seven mountains of the Hemkunt Mountain Chain which are Rudar Himalaya, Bishanpuri, Udgari kanth, Sarga Rohan, Brahmapuri, Mer and Sumer.
The religious journey to Hemkunt Sahib can some time be tedious and a hard one, to travel right and keep yourself safe there are a list of things you should definitely not forget to carry. This could be a simple must have travel list but it is very important you carry things like rain coat, first aid kit, wind cheater, water bottle, torch and cell etc.
The journey to this sacred mountain is made in the remembrance and to see where their tenth guru meditated and realised his oneness with God. Situated on the bank of the holy waters of the river Ganges, and surrounded by the mighty Himalayas the journey is both picturesque and sacred. For eight months of the year the surrounding lake is frozen and inaccessible, it is during the rain that the snow starts melting and the Sikhs begin their journey to this Holy spot through the meadows of ferns and wildflowers.
One of the most important things to know while travelling to place is getting there. Hemkunt Sahib is just about 30 kms from the border of Tibet thus making it one of the corners of India. For those of who prefer to travel in the trains the nearest train station is Haridwar, from there you could easily get a bus to Joshimath and then Ghangaria.
The cold climatic condition makes it inaccessible during the winters hence making summers only time for making a trip to Hemkunt Mountains, especially between 1st week of June to first week of October. Sikh Tourism organises private tours from various cities across India like Chandigarh, Delhi and Amritsar.
While visiting Hemkunt Sahib Gurudwara one has the pleasure to see wonderful places on your route like Alakananda, Ghangharia or Gobind Dham, Lakshman Ganga, Badrinath and Bhyundyan Ganga. The outlet behind the Gurudwara is the source of Lakshman Ganga, which is a small temple dedicated to lord Lakshman.
Ghangaria also known as Gobind Dham is the last human habitation in the valley, with a tourist lodge, log huts as well as huts it serves as a great accommodation place for those to come for the pilgrimage.
What some people miss out after the pilgrimage is the joy of seeing the valley of flowers. As the name suggests this is a scenic marvel spanning 5kms in length and 2 kms in width. In between July and August the valley is filled with blossoming flowers unique to the world so beautiful and delicate compelling you to be lost in the beauty of nature.
The Hemkunt Lake is a marvel in itself. About 2 km in circumference, the clear pristine blue and still waters of the lake creates mirror images of Saptashringa Peaks which surrounds it. Even in the months of July to August thin sheets of Ice still floats on the surface. The rock strewn shores of the lake are covered with moss and flowers that blossom.
Getting to Hemkunt takes a lot of planning because the journey is not an easy one, but with today’s transport facility everything is made possible. You can join any Jatha or make your own travel arrangements. Government buses as well as shared taxis also run between Rishikesh and Govind Ghat although most people prefer their own transport.
The journey to Hemkunt from Gobind Ghat could take as little as one and half hours going upto six hours depending on the weather conditions and the pilgrims making the pilgrimage. It is advisable to leave Gobind Ghat as early in the morning as possible. Majority of the pilgrims start in between 5 am and 6 am.
On reaching Hemkunt Sahib tea is provided to all pilgrims. If you are planning on taking a dip in the holy lake it is advisable to do so before having the tea before your body has cooled off after the climb.
There are facilities made to check in your shoes before you enter the main shrine. Women have a separate bathing room built inside the lower storey of the Gurudwara. People commonly donate Rumala’s (beautiful cloth used to cover the holy granth), ghee, dried fruits, nuts, silk flowers, brass ornaments and blankets. Ardas are said at 10 am and 1 pm daily, and each ardas is completed with a langar of tea and kichri.
It is advised to begin the descent as soon as possible since the weather conditions at Hemkunt are unpredictable. An overnight stay at the Gurudwara is prohibited and it is safe to begin the descent before sunset. The downward journey takes on an average around 2 hours. So plan your journey accordingly to have a safe and a pleasant visit to this holy shrine.
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