Swathi: Arjun, lets talk
about the Gaumukh Tapovan Trek.It was the one of the first treks you did, right?
When you were 8 years old. Tell us a little more about this trek, it is so old and it used to be very popular at one point of time but I see that
it is not so popular now. So, what is the reason for that?
Arjun: It’s true. Gaumukh Tapovan is one of the oldest treks in our country, in fact,
when I was younger that was, perhaps the only trek which people did, but over a period of time as people got to know other
treks, other beautiful treks in our country like Roopkund, especially Roopin pass, Sandakphu, all these other treks Goechala, they all started emerging and when they started becoming more and more popular Gaumukh-Tapovan, kind of, got lost in the shadow.
But that doesn’t mean it’s not a good trek to do.
Swathi: So, what makes this such a great trek? What is the biggest attraction of this
trek? Arjun: See, Gaumukh-Tapovan, the biggest attraction would be actually Tapovan. And, I would say from
Gaumukh onwards, Gaumukh onwards Tapovan. Because once you are at Tapovan, which is
a high altitude kind of a grassland and it’s a
flattish grassland, from Tapovan you are seeing very big peaks. And
not only are you seeing very big peaks, you are seeing them right from the base. So, you
are seeing Mt.Shivling right in front of you, I mean
, the entire mountain right in front of you, from the bottom to
the top and as you know Mt Shivling is one of the prettiest mountains you could actually
find in our country and then you have the Bhagirathi sisters
on your left, these are again very famous and very beautiful summits. You see other big summits from there, you see the entire Gangotri glacier below you, you have a very good lake, high altitude alpine lake, the neelatal, at Tapovan, to see. So, all in all it is a
wondrous place to be in and lot of these mountain winds are blowing through your tents…its
lovely to be there. And then Gaumukh itself, when
you do this trek,Gaukmukh as you know, is a source of our
river Ganga, So, there’s a lot of sacredness attached to it,lot of religious sentimental
things which are associated with this trek. But, whether you
are religious or not religious, I have seen countless
trekkers…there is something which happens in their demeanor which changes the moment
they stand in front of Gaumukh, when they see this vast
glacier with the water flowing right under it, and this glacier
is not small, it’s huge, I mean, it’s so big that standing in front of it you are
just like a tiny kind of a block, that’s it. And, the whole magnitude
of the place and that implication that this is where the
lifeline of India is, this is where the Ganga starts from, this is where all religious sentiments
come from,…it has a profound effect on people.
I have seen lot of trekkers, whichever faith they are in, they
stand there with their hands folded, right in front of that Gaumukh glacier and take
in that moment of what it means to us and our country. Even
for that it is a very good reason, because in very few treks
you will see such big glaciers and the carving of the glacier, the full face of the glacier.
Swathi: And Arjun, what about the difficulty level of this trek? Is it a difficult trek
to do? Arjun: I wouldn’t call it difficult trek
but there are one or two sections which you need to be little careful about
and you do need to go with a group rather than going alone. One is when you have to cross
the entire Gangotri glacier on top of it, so you actually climb the glacier and you cross over to go towards the Tapovan side. So, there
are crevasses on the glacier because you are almost at the end of the glacier. So, there
are crevasses and you need to know how you weave your way through these crevasses,..the path is quite well defined but you do need to be a bit careful and another tricky section is when you have crossed the
glacier and you have to climb up to Tapovan , you are doing
it on the face of the mountain, it’s like a gorge,……so you
are climbing this and there are lots of loose scree and loose sections so you may lose
your footing there, which is again a bit required that you are
going with a group and not really handling it alone. If you with a
a group I don’t see that as a big problem because there is someone to take care of you
but otherwise, apart from these two sections I don’t see
it as a physically that challenging a trek as such.
Swathi: So..What about the time of the year to go here? Which are the best months to go visit Gaumukh?
Arjun: See, Gaumukh would open up in May, so may would be an excellent time to do or May, June and then again post monsoons, you can do it from middle of September to October, November . Generally these trails are closed on the day of Diwali.
That’s the way the country looks at it, the day diwali closes, the Gangotri temple closes so everybody kind of gets off from the trail.
Swathi: So, fairly well established trek and it is easy to do on your own as well ?
Arjun: Absolutely, you can do it on your own, as I said only on those two sections
you carry someone or get along somebody with you…I did it alone.
Swathi: Thanks a lot Arjun for throwing light on this
Arjun: Thank you so much.