Source of the Sacred Ganges Trek

from $2,749.00
  • Reviews 1 Review
  • Vacation Style Holiday Type
  • Activity Level Moderate / Challenging
  • Group Size Small Group
    4 - 16
All about the Source of the Sacred Ganges Trek.

This trip visits a remote and highly spectacular part of the Indian Himalaya. Garhwal, celebrated in Hindu mythology and religion is locally known as the ‘Abode of the Gods’. In this massif, beyond the Hindu shrine at Gangotri, the mighty Ganges River has its source. Emerging from a glacier, this great river rushes down to the plains in a torrential flurry.  Our itinerary includes two short treks. The first trek is a warm up and takes us off the beaten track from the small village of Barsu to Dayara Bugyal and Bakaria Top for great panoramic views of the Garhwal Himalaya. We then move on to Gangotri and trek to Tapovan, where Shivaling and other mightly peaks are almost close enough to touch. We also visit the holy town of Rishikesh on the banks of the Ganges and the ‘Queen of hill stations’  Mussoorie.

The tour package inclusions and exclusions at a glance
What is included in this tour?Items that are included in the cost of tour price.

* All breakfasts, 10 lunches and 10 dinners
* All accommodation
* All transport and listed activities
* Tour leader throughout
* Flights from London (if booking incl. flights)
* Arrival and departure transfers

  1. Day 1 Arrive Delhi; flight to Dehra Dun; drive to Rishikesh; evening Ganga aarti

    The group flight will arrive into Delhi in the morning and we will transfer to the domestic terminal, from where we fly to Dehra Dun. On arrival at Dehra Dun, we join our vehicles and drive to Rishikesh. The road soon leaves the plains behind and starts to wind its way into the hills. It should take about 1.5hr (25km) to reach Rishikesh. Every evening as dusk descends the Ganga Aarti is performed on the banks of the River Ganges. An aarti is a devotional ritual that uses fire as an offering. Candles and flowers are sent floating down this most holy of Indian rivers as offerings to the Goddess Ganga. For Hindus the ceremony is a powerful and uplifting ritual. Those who have made their own flight arrangements (Land only) will join us either at the airport in Dehra Dun or at the hotel in Rishikesh. Your leader will do a trip briefing this evening.*Standard hotel*

  2. Day 2 Drive to Uttarkashi and then on to the small Garhwali village of Barsu (2,250m)

    We continue heading north into the hills following the Bhagirathi River all the way to Uttarkashi, an important pilgrimage centre on the banks of the Bhagirathi River, famous for its ashrams and temples and the Nehru Institute of Mountaineering. The drive takes us through many small towns and terraced farmland. A short way after Uttarkashi we leave the main road to Gangotri and climb into the hills. Ahead we will start to see the mountains of Garhwal – Srikanta, Gangotri 1,2 and 3. We spend tonight in the small Garhwali village of Barsu.Basic hotel

  3. Day 3 Short acclimatisation trek to Dayara Bugyal with wonderful views of the Indian Himalaya

    Today we now start the first of our two treks. This short first trek will be great for acclimatisation and also affords wonderful views of the Indian Himalaya. More remote than the Source of the Ganges trek we still get wonderful views from spectacular campsites. On a clear day we are woken by a wonderful sunrise across the valley of Srikanta and Gangotri 1,2 and 3. We set off trekking after breakfast and the trail climbs all morning through mixed forest of oak, rhododendron and pine. We stop for lunch at Barnala, a clearing in the forest, where there is a small temple and great mountain views. It is another couple of hours climbing to our camp at Dayara Bugyal. We are now above the tree line and meadows and ridges stretch out all around us. Our camp is a little further on than the shepherd huts in a quiet /bugyal /(a high altitude meadow). From camp on a clear day we get views of Srikanta, Gangotri 1,2 and 3, Joanli, Draupadi Ka Danda and Bandarpunch.*Full-service Camping (sleeping altitude 3,450m)*

  4. Day 4 Trek to Syari Bugyal; optional walk to our camp via Bakaria Top (3,800m)

    For the energetic there is an optional walk to a fantastic viewpoint called Bakaria Top at 3,800m (for those who do not want to do the peak they can go with the cook and ponymen direct to camp). Please note if you do the optional walk the distance covered will be 6.8 miles or 11km and it will take 6-7 hours. We will carry a packed lunch and set off up a series of bugyals (meadows) and ridges. We are almost above the treeline now and open meadows and distant mountain views surround us. It will take around three hours to Bakaria Top and the climb is well worth the effort. On a clear day we have magnificent panoramic views of the Garhwal Himalaya – Srikanta, Gangotri 1,2 and 3, Joanli, Draupadi Ka Danda and Bandarpunch are some of the named mountains but there are many more without names. In the far distance we can even spot Uttarkashi. We descend a short way for lunch and then trek down easy ridges to join the main trail, which undulates up and down ridges to our camp tonight at Syari Bugyal, where we spend two nights.*Full-service camping (sleeping altitude3,400m)*

  5. Day 5 Day walk to the viewpoint at Surya Top then on to Uchlaru Top (3,900m)

    We spend two nights at the beautiful Syari Bugyal and for those who want to we can trek to the fantastic viewpoint at Surya Top, the highpoint of this warm up trek. From camp we ascend onto the ridge above us and follow the ridge climbing all the time. As we gain height the views become more and more spectacular. It will take us about 4hrs to Surya Top and further to Uchlaru Top at 3,900m. From here we get amazing views as we are even closer to the great Himalayan peaks. We take a packed lunch so we can enjoy the views and in the afternoon we descend to our camp.*Full-service camping (sleeping altitude 3,400m)*

  6. Day 6 Last day of acclimatisation trek descending back to Barsu

    Today is the last day of our acclimatisation trek. We descend back to the tree line and enter thick forest. As we descend we can still see the mountains ahead and in spring the rhododendrons, gentians and primulas add an extra dimension of colour.  We finally emerge from the forest at the village of Barsu, where we started our trek.*Basic hotel (sleeping altitude 2,250m)*

  7. Day 7 Heading further north today we drive to Gangotri; afternoon to explore the temples and town

    Our warm up trek is now complete and we head further north and closer to the mountains, to the start of the Source of the Ganges trek at Gangotri. The road follows the valley as it winds its way into the hills, still following the Bhagirathi River. The higher it gets the narrower it becomes and we start to see impressive rock spires and snow capped peaks rising above the valley. We will arrive in Gangotri by lunchtime and have the afternoon to explore the temples. Gangotri (3,415m) is the seat of the Goddess Ganga. It is an important Hindu pilgrim town and origin of the River Ganges. It was here that the Goddess Ganga descended when Shiva released the river from the locks of his hair. The river here is called the Bhagirathi and it only becomes the Ganges after it’s confluence with the Alaknanda at Devprayag.*Basic hotel (sleeping altitude 3,415m)*

  8. Day 8 Begin our trek to the Source of the Ganges heading to Bhojwassa. 

    We now begin the second trek to the source of the Ganges called Gaumukh. It is 19km from Gangotri, which will take us one and a half days. The trek starts with an easy climb surrounded by magnificent scenery. We pass the checkpost for the Gangotri Conservation Project, and continue following the river with impressive cliffs on our left. We get wonderful views of Mount Manda (6,510m), the Bhagirathi Massif and other surrounding peaks. We continue ascending through forests of pine and birch to Bhojwassa (which means home of birch trees). Ahead we can see the glaciated boulders and Bhagirathi peaks towering over the Gaumukh springs. A short distance above camp we will get our first views of Shivling (6,543m), the spectacularly shaped Matterhorn of India.*Full-service camping (sleeping altitude 3,790m)*

  9. Day 9 We reach the Source of the Ganges at Gaumukh; continue on to our camp at Tapovan (4,500m) 

    From Bhojwassa we trek gradually uphill for 5km to Gaumukh. This is the actual source of the Ganges and is where the many pilgrims will trek to. The river starts at the snout of the Gaumukh glacier and is one of the holiest places for Hindus to visit. We leave the pilgrims behind as we cross the Gangotri glacier. Ascending the lateral moraine we follow a steep cairned trail that leads to the east side of the glacier. We continue on to Tapovan (4,500m), probably the most spectacular camp of the trip with stunning views of Shivling, Meru, Kharchkund and the Bhagirathi peaks. The peaks are so close we can almost touch them and here is some of the most stunning Himalayan scenery. We spend 2 nights here to enjoy the spectacular setting.*Full-service camping (sleeping altitude 4,500m)*

  10. Day 10 Optional day walk to Meru base camp or relax in this beautiful setting; option to visit an ashram

    Spend a day in Tapovan, with time to enjoy the stunning scenery and views or take an optional walk to Meru base camp. The trail follows the right side of the valley and ascends the rocky moraine towards Meru base camp. The views are even more stunning as Shivling rises dramatically above us. Called the Matterhorn of India it is an impressive sight and from camp we can see the face called the Shark Fin, which to date has only been climbed once. We may spot Blue Sheep here up on the grassy plateau of our camp. We return to camp for lunch and the afternoon is free to enjoy the views and we can visit an ashram that is close by.*Full-service camping*

  11. Day 11 Trek down the valley from Tapovan to Chirwassa

    Hopefully we will get a ast stunning sunrise over the great peaks around us before we leave this mountain arena and retrace our steps down the valley past Gaumukh and Bhojwassa to Chirwassa.*Full-service camping (sleeping altitude 3,800m)*

  12. Day 12 A short trek back to Gangotri; drive to Uttarkashi for the night

    We finish our trekking today with a short walk back to Gangotri, where we meet our transport for the drive down the valley to Uttarkashi for the night. The drive is approximately 100km and will take about 4 hours.*Basic hotel*

  13. Day 13 Drive to the busy hill station of Mussoorie favoured by the British Raj. 

    Today we descend into the foothills and drive from Uttarkashi to Mussoorie. The scenery is no less spectacular as we descend the valley. The drive takes us through forested areas, small busy towns and farmlands.  After around a 5 hour drive we will reach the busy hill station of Mussoorie where we spend the night. (altitude 1,880m)*Standard hotel*

  14. Day 14 Morning free to explore the hill station of Mussoorie; afternoon train to Delhi

    We have time this morning to explore Mussoorie. Called the ‘Queen of Hill Stations’, it lies in the foothills of the Garhwal Himalaya. Now a bustling Indian town it was founded by the British, who were trying to escape the heat of the plains. It became the centre of the Great Trigonometric Survey of India and Sir George Everest lived here. The ruins of his home can still be seen with views of the Doon Valley and the peaks of the Himalaya. In 1850 the first beer brewery in India was built here. Even though the shops are all now modernised, a stroll down the Mall Road still evokes that sense of the British Raj. In the afternoon we take the train back to Delhi, arriving late evening.*Standard hotel*

  15. Day 15 End Delhi

    Those on the flight inclusive package will depart for London this morning for the daytime flight back to London; Land Only arrangements will finish after check-out from the hotel.

Package Confirmed Dates Trip Status Trip Status Price (PP) Excluding Flights Price (PP) Including Flights  
May 17, 2020
September 27, 2020
October 18, 2020
May 15, 2021
September 25, 2021
October 16, 2021