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Hemkund Sahib

Hemkund Sahib - The Highest Gurudwara in the World

Hemkund Sahib is the highest Gurudwara of the Sikhs, located at an altitude of 4329 mts in the Chamoli district of Uttarakhand. This holy shrine got its name from the glacial lake Hemkund, adjacent to the Gurudwara whose literal meaning is the ‘Lake of Snow’. 

This pilgrimage place of Sikhs is dedicated to the tenth Sikh Guru, Sri Guru Gobind Singh Ji (1666-1708) and also finds its mention in Dasam Grant, a work dedicated to Guru Ji himself. A small temple of Lakshman, the brother of Lord Rama is also bedecked on the shore of Hemkund Lake

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Hemkund Sahib Tour Packages

Valley of Flowers Swiss Camps Tour Package ex-Govindghat
4 Days / 3 Nights
Rs. 12,500.00
Valley Of Flowers Deluxe Package ex-Joshimath
6 Days / 5 Nights
Rs. 18,000.00
Valley of Flowers Luxury Trekking Package (ex-Joshimath)
6 Days / 5 Nights
Rs. 24,000.00
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Hemkund Sahib Trekking Guidelines and Latest Advisory

Hemkund Gurudwara and Trek is Open for Tourists and Pilgrims with some strict guidelines.

Important Guidelines for Lokpal Hemkund Trek Route 2021

  • Devotees/Tourists to provide a negative Covid-19 report (within 72 hours) OR double vaccination certificate (15 days older)
  • Both Report and Vaccination for pilgrims coming from Kerala, Maharashtra and Andhra Pradesh states.
  • There will be a daily limit for the visitors in each Dham.
  • Only three people will be allowed into the sanctum sanctorum (inside temple) of the shrines at once.
  • Pilgrims will not be allowed to take dip in holy kunds.

Note: The guidelines for travelling to Hemkund Sahib will be updated soon. Check Uttarakhand Travel Advisory and Uttarakhand travel News.

Why Visit Hemkund Sahib?

Perched at a height of 4,329 mts above sea level, Hemkund Saheb is the highest Gurudwara of the Sikh community. 

Hemkunt Sahib is situated 6 kms (steep trek) from Ghangharia (also known as Govind dham), this star-shaped Gurudwara is made up of white marbles and concrete and it is located on the shores of the pristine Hemkund.

Numerous waterfalls, dense forest, enchanting view of the Himalayas, crystal clear lake and the holy Hemkund Sahib Gurudwara are the key highlights of this trekking trip. 

Hemkund Sahib Opening and Closing Dates for 2021

Hemkund Sahib Opening Date 2021: Earlier the opening date of the kapat of Hemkund Sahib Gurudwara was on 10 May 2021. But now due to the rapidly increasing Covid patients in Uttarakhand opening of the Hemkund Sahib Gurudwara canceled on 10 May 2021. The dates will be decided and announced soon in a meeting of trust.

Hemkund Closing date 2021: Hemkund Sahib shrine to close for winter season on 10 October. This Himalayan shrine of Sikh pilgrims is closed annually for the winter season during which the area becomes snow-bound and difficult to access. Around 5,000 pilgrims have visited the Hemkund since it was opened for devotees on 18 September till 30 Sep.

The Trek to Hemkund Sahib

The trek towards the Hemkund Sahib begins at Govindghat, after crossing the Alaknanda river on a hanging bridge. The zig-zag mule track straightens through an ascending valley of terraced fields and vegetation. In the midst, Laxman Ganga tumbles down in a haste to join the Alaknanda. 3 kms. further is the small, pretty hamlet, Puna. Beyond this, the trek becomes more exciting - the Laxman Ganga becomes swifter, and between the green, rocky mountains, you can catch a glimpse of snow-clad peaks.

The 7 kms trail from Pulna to Bhyundar village is full of nature's scenic splendors including cascading waterfalls and cold water springs. Shrubs and wild roses grow abundantly and Rhododendrons colors the area with pink and dark red. Small wayside tea stalls run all across the route and young and enthusiastic tourist guides and porters can be hired at Bhyundar village. 

After resting awhile here, the trek on the right bank of the Laxman Ganga continues through the rich vegetation till we reach a log bridge supported on huge boulders. Crossing over to the left bank now, the trail becomes steeper and harder and 2 kms. from here, you will reach Ghanghria, the base camp for treks to Valley of Flowers and Hemkund Sahib. From Ghangaria Hemkunth is just 6kms away but this last stretch of the trek is more difficult and takes time.

Activities in Hemkund Sahib

Pilgrimage: Hemkund Sahib is one of the most revered Sikh shrines in Uttarakhand and thousands of pilgrims partake in arduous pilgrimage every year. The shrine sleeps under a thick blanket of snow during winters is accessible only in summer. You can also take a tip in the holy waters of Hemkund Lake.

Trekking: Located near Hemkund Sahib, the kaleidoscopic Valley of Flowers trek which rewards trekkers with abundant natural beauty in the form of waterfalls, snow-capped peaks, forests covered with pine and oak trees, gushing rivulets, streams and of course, myriad alpine flowers. Other treks in this region are: Gupt Khal Trek and Bhyundar Khal Trek

Hemkund Sahib Travel Tips

  • Overnight stay isn’t allowed at Hemkund, you can head to Ghangaria for hotels or Govindghat for accommodation
  • Ponies and Palkies are also available if you do not want to trek for any reason.
  • Helicopter services for Hemkund Sahib from Govindghat is available till Ghangharia only. Afterwards, you have to trek to reach Hemkund Sahib Gurudwara.
  • If you have one more extra day then you can explore Valley of Flowers as well along with Hemkund Sahib. Check our Valley of Flowers Tour Packages.
  • The weather changes very rapidly at Hemkund Sahib, so do keep warm clothes and raincoats every time during your visit to Hemkund Sahib
  • During the monsoons, it would be wise to check with local authorities, tour guides or tour operators about the weather and road conditions before you actually plan your pilgrimage.
  • Hemkund is inaccessible from October to May because of snow-bound paths and glaciers that block the way towards Hemkund Sahib.

Staying in Hemkund Sahib

In order to maintain the sanctity of the place, no one is allowed to stay for the night at revered Hemkund Sahib. Though with some exceptions and members of Gurudwara can stay there. So, one has to trek back to either Ghangaria for hotels or Govindghat in order to find accommodation on the same day. At Ghangaria and Govindghat, there are many guesthouses and lodges for tourists and pilgrims. There is also a big Gurudwara at Govindghat and Ghangharia where people can stay at nominal charges.

Hemkund Sahib Food Guide

There are no eating joints or restaurants in Hemkund Sahib. Gurudwara at Hemkund serves free khichri (rice and lentils meal) with tea at no cost to all the pilgrims and trekkers. You can also take your packed lunch along with you to have it there.

History of Hemkund Sahib

Earlier Hemkunt Sahib was known as 'Lokpal' by the local inhabitants, meaning the sustainer of the people. Hemkunt Sahib was mentioned in the autobiography of Shri Guru Gobind Singh. However, the site remained hidden for more than two centuries. It was the famous Sikh historian and poet, Bhai Santokh Singh (1787-1843) who narrated the story of Dusht Daman, which literally suggests the 'vanquisher of evil', a name chosen for Guru Gobind. He also described the 'tapasthan' or the place of worship. 

In late 19th century, Pandit Tara Singh Narotam, a Nirmala scholar compiled a synopsis of the various Sikh pilgrimage places, which included Sri Hemkunt Sahib. On the account of the description provided in the Mahabharata, Narotam traversed to the place where Pandu king had meditated. He was able to verify the site of Sri Hemkunt Sahib and around 1872-1957 A.D., Bhai Vir Singh, a renowned poet-historian agreed to the authenticity of Narotam’s evidence of the discovery of Sri Hemkunt Sahib. He also presented a vivid description of the site in his biography of the tenth guru, Kalghidhar Chamatkar.

However, the person behind the discovery of the present location of the tapasthan was Sant Sohan Singh of Tehri Garhwal, a retired granthi from the army. He was inspired by the description given by Bhai Vir Singh in his work and visited the place accompanied by Baba Kartar Singh Bedi in 1934. Sant Sohan Singh was determined to set up a Gurudwara here and met Bhai Vir Singh in this regard.

Mythology about Hemkund Sahib

As per the Hindu mythology, Sri Hemkunt Sahib was known as Lokpal, a lake which was the meditational grounds of Lakshmana, the younger brother of Rama. There is also a temple of Lakshman adorned on the shore of the Hemkund Lake.

About Hemkund Sahib Dham

Hemkund Lake is fed by the glaciers of the towering peaks namely Hathi Parvat and Saptrishi Peaks. This immaculate lake is enveloped by the seven majestic mountain peaks, each adorned by Nishan Sahib on its cliff. A sparkling river called Himganga also originates from this lake. 

The circumference of the crystal clear Hemkund is 2 kms. The lake is frozen during winters. Hemkund Sahib is also written as Hemkunt Sahib, Darbar Sahib Hemkund.

Suggested Trekking Itinerary for Hemkund Sahib

Day 1: Arrive at Govindghat or Joshimath from Haridwar/Rishikesh by Road.
Day 2: Trek to Ghangharia from Govindghat (13 kms). Night stay in Ghangharia.
Day 3: Trek to Hemkund Sahib and back to Ghangharia. (You can also take ponies)
Day 4: Trek to Valley of Flowers and back to Ghangharia. (You can also save time by directly trekking back to Govindghat, but total trek for the day will become around 21 kms).
Day 5: Trek down to Govindghat/Joshimath. (If interested and time permits, you can also visit Badrinath, Mana Village, and Pandukeshwar. With an extra day, you can also explore Joshimath Places to see and Auli).
Day 6: Drive to Haridwar/Rishikesh or Dehradun.

Latest News & Updates from Hemkund Sahib

30 July  2021: Hemkund Sahib Trek is open now, but bathing in the lake or visiting Gurudwara is not allowed. Check complete Hemkund Sahib Trek Guidelines.
26 April 2021: Doors of the Hemukund Sahib will not open on 10 May 2021. Date will be decided soon in the meeting of trust.
26 April 2021: There was a proposal for developing a ropeway from Ghangharia to Hemkund Sahib, but it is still on papers.
22 March 2021: 6 feet of snow is still there on the trail of Holy Hemkund Sahib. The army will cut the glaciers to make way for pilgrims. 
11 October 2020: The doors of Hemkund Sahib closed from 10 October due to the winter season.

1300 pilgrims attended the last Ardaas at Hemkund Sahib on Saturday (10 October 2020)

11 October 2020: The doors of Lakshman temple closed from 10 October due to the winter season.

Hemkund Sahib Photo Gallery

Indian Army in Hemkund before opening of shrine
The sacred lake of Hemkund Sahib, Chamoli, Uttarakhand.
Reflection of snow covered mountains on Hemkund Lake at Hemkund sahib, Chamoli.
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Tourist Map of Hemkund Sahib

Map for representation only. Map NOT TO SCALE.

Hemkund Sahib Tourist Map

What is Hemkund Sahib famous for?

Hemkund Sahib is famous among tourist as Gurudwara, Lake, Laxman Temple, Trekking, Scenic Beauty, High Altitude Lake, Trek, Sikh Pilgrimage.

Hemkund Sahib is recommended destination for Couples, Family and Kids, Foreigners, Groups, Solo.

Hemkund Sahib is popular destination for following activities/ interests - Adventure, Gurudwara, Pilgrimage, Religious, Trekking.

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