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Hemkund Sahib :: City Information

Best Travel Duration

July to September

About Hemkund Sahib

History of Hemkund Sahib

The high altitude Lokpal lake, known as Hemkund ( 4329 mts.) lies in heavenly environs. A steep trek from Ghangharia leads one to this spot in about four to six hours.

It is an important pilgrimage for both Hindus and Sikhs, as well as for people from other faiths. There is a Sikh Gurudwara and a Lakshman temple built on the bank of the lake.

Encircled by seven snow clad peaks and their associated glaciers, it reflects its surroundings enchantingly on its crystal clear serene waters. The glaciers from Hathi Parvat and Saptrishi peaks feed the lake and a small stream called Himganga flows out of this lake.

As alluded to, in the holy Granth Sahib, Guru Govind Singh, the tenth Guru of the Sikh faith had meditated on the bank of this lake in one of his earlier births. It is widely believed among Sikhs that Guru Govind Singh introduced the features now universally associated with Sikhism. On 15th April 1699, he started the new brotherhood called the Khalsa (meaning the pure, from the Persian word 'Khales') an inner core of the faithful, accepted by baptism (amrit).

The five K's' date from this period: kesh (uncut hair) kangha (comb), kirpan (dagger or short sword), kara (steel bangle), and kachh (boxer shorts). The most important is the uncut hair, adopted before the other four. The comb is sometime designated specially as wooden. The dagger and the shorts reflect military influence, while the bangle may be a from of charm.

It is believed that Lakshman, the younger brother of Ram, meditated by the lake and regained his health after being severely wounded by Meghnath, son of the demon Ravana, during battle.

Despite its ancient connections, Hemkund/Lokpal was discovered by a Sikh Havaldar, Solan Singh and became a major pilgrimage centre only after 1930.

Places to Visit at Hemkund Sahib

Hemkund Lake

Description: Hemkund Lake

The Hemkund Lake (also called the Lokpal Lake) is about 2 km in circumference. Its clear water reflects the Saptashringa Peaks (5,500 m) that surround it.

Gobindghat

Description: Gobindghat

The pilgrimage generally begins at Gobindghat, situated between Joshimath and Badrinath. From the bridge across the Alakananda (at Gobindghat), it is 14 km to the next settlement, Ghangharia, or Gobind Dham as the Sikhs call it. The trek runs all along the Bhyundyar Ganga, ascending and descending at regular intervals. One passes through a varied forest of many types of trees and several meadows covered with dandelions. The forest floor is thick with ferns and huge rocks covered with many types of moss. The walk, though difficult, is nevertheless refreshing; one is awestruck with rapturous exclamations over the pristine beauty of the mountains and springtime flowers.

From Ghangharia, Hemkund is only 5 km away. However, the journey is quite arduous because of a steep gradient. The trek from here to Hemkund is through forests of pine and rhododendron where wild roses, ferns, and alpine flowers bloom. The surging waters of the Lakshman Ganga are also visible.

Gurudwara Hemkund Saheb

 

The Gurdwara Hemkund Saheb is situated besides the lake, amidst a magnificent panorama. The Gurdwara is devoid of any ostentatious embellishments, befitting the austere surroundings.

Lakshman Temple

Description: Lakshman Temple

On the banks of the Hemkund lake stands the little-known Lakshman Temple (also known as Lokpal Temple). It is said that Lakshman had meditated at this place. The mythical Sanjeevani Buti (an ambrosia yielding plant) that cured Lakshman after he was wounded during a fight with Meghnad is said to have been found in the vicinity.

Valley Of Flowers

Description: Valley Of Flowers

Along the way from Gobind Dham to Hemkund Sahib is a path, which turns towards the Valley Of Flowers flanked on either side by majestic snowcapped peaks. The valley is carpeted with more than 300 species of wild flowers like the Himalayan Blue Poppy, Snake Lilly, white and yellow Anemones, Daisies, Calendula and Dianthus. A wide variety of butterflies, snow leopard, brown and black Himalayan bear, tahr, musk deer, bharals and serow are the other attractions of the national park.

How To Get To Hemkund Sahib

By Air:

 

Jolly Grant Airport of Dehradun (268 km from Hemkund via Gobindghat and Rishikesh)  

By Rail:

 

Rishikesh Railway Station (189 km from Hemkund and 170 km from Gobindghat)

By Road:

 

Hemkund, via Badrinath, is 514 km away from Delhi. Delhi Transport Corporation and Uttar Pradesh Roadways buses regularly ply up to Rishikesh from the Interstate Bus Terminus in Delhi. Gobindghat is 20 km beyond Joshimath on the road to Badrinath and 4 km before Pandukeshwar, the point at which there is a diversion for Hemkund and the Valley of Flowers.