Gaumukh / Gomukh
Adventure / Trekking | Pilgrimage
At a distance of 19 km from Gangotri, Gomukh or Gaumukh is the source of Bhagirathi River situated in Uttarkashi district of Uttarakhand. The word Gomukh literally means Face of a Cow because earlier the snout exactly looked like face of a cow. It is one of the popular pilgrimage and trekking site near Gangotri.
Gomukh is one of the primary sources of the Ganges River. The sight of Gaumukh is incredible with Bhagirathi emerging out of an enormous cavern. The place is situated at a height of 13,200 feet and is the second largest glacier of India with 30 km in length and 4 km in width, first one being Siachen. The river is called Bhagirathi at the source and acquires the name Ganga from Devprayag onwards where it meets the Alaknanda. From Devprayag, the river flows 2,480 km to meet Bay of Bengal.
Gaumukh is a popular Hindu pilgrimage site as well as trekking destination. The Gomukh snout, due to the excessive visits of the tourists is rapidly moving backwards. According to the modern research the snout has moved 1 km in just 70 years. The trail to Gomukh begins from Gangotri, about 19 km from Gomukh. It was heavily damaged by rockslides during 2013 floods. The path is narrow and the terrain is rough. About 9 km ahead of Gangotri is Chirbasa, the abode of Chir trees. After 4 km of Chirbasa comes the dangerous Gila Pahar, the place well known for its landslides.
Only 2 km from Gila Pahar is Bhujbasa, the only night halting place on the way with accommodation. The trek to Tapovan and Nandanvan starts from here. After trekking 4 km from Bhujbasa, one reaches Gomukh, the snout of the Gangotri Glacier. Just before reaching Gomukh, the majestic view of Mt. Shivling welcomes the trekkers to the place. The route after Bhujbasa can be quite difficult and one has to cross a boulder zone to reach Gomukh. Bhojbasa can be reached by trekking or horses from Gangotri. From Bhojbasa horses are not allowed and trekking is the only way to reach the site.
The 3 day trail to Gaumukh is open for trekkers and pilgrims from May to October. The best time to visit Gaumukh Glacier is between May to June and September to November.