Harsil – Gangotri Trip in March – Itinerary, Road Conditions & Updates

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It has been sometime that I have not made a trip to Himalayas, almost three months from the last trip to Munsiyari – Dharchula. It was already too much, so there was a plan popped up for having a short trip to Harsil – Gangotri and I immediately agreed ;)… So, it was back to back trips to Uttarakhand for me and I was more than happy to explore this hidden gem of the Himalayas. In between, formation of the group among some of the active members of DoW, there were about 18 people who ended up joining the trip in total of four cars. Anshul had his friend coming from Mumbai who was a Dentist and there came up the plan of organizing a Dental Check-up Camp at Harsil by DoW. Sany took on the initiative of getting in touch with the DMO up there in Harsil to know the need and spread out the word in the nearby villages about Dental Check-up camp. I have already written about the camp and distribution of required medicines in the DoW Community at the link: DoW – Dental Checkup Camp at Harsil near Gangotri. Now ,let’s have a brief look into my journey to Harsil – Gangotri.

That Amazing View of Harsil Valley
That Amazing View of Harsil Valley

Well, the conditions lived up to the expectations, long, tiring journey of 3 days with some cold conditions especially at nights topped with very very scenic views of higher Himalayas along with 20+ feet high snow walls in the vicinity and the soothing Bhagirathi river flowing besides the hotel. All these things were WORTH the effort we put into the trip 🙂 :)… The road conditions in most of the region were quite good barring few patches in between and the last section of the trip from Uttarkashi to Harsil – Gangotri. It was one very pleasant and deserving long weekend break of three days with some lovely moments spent with the DoW family along with executing the DoW Causes by organizing a Dental Check-up camp for the people in need 🙂 …

Though I am going to write a detailed Travel Tale and reviews of the guest houses I stayed, but just before that I would like to share what itinerary I followed, route I took and the updates on road conditions for reaching these places in Gharwal region of Uttarakhand, that is, Harsil – Gangotri.

Dental Checkup Camp at Harsil
Dental Checkup Camp at Harsil


Dental Checkup Camp at Harsil

Itinerary for my Harsil – Gangotri Trip in March

Well, we had 3 days in hand for Harsil – Gangotri trip including no buffer days as I had to return for an important meeting in office on Monday and we followed the itinerary as below:

  • Day 1: Started the drive from Delhi – Meerut – Roorkee – Haridwar – Rishikesh – Agarakhal – Chamba – Dharasu – Uttarkashi – Bhatwari – Sukhi Top – Harsil. Stayed at GMVN Rest House at Harsil (2,620 Mtrs in altitude), an offbeat place located in Gharwal region of Uttarakhand. We started from Delhi around 3.45 AM after picking up couple of our group members from AIIMS, then joined the group at Rishikesh at 8.30 AM. Start from Rishikesh and stopped at Agarakhal for breakfast at a dhabha and then reached Uttarkashi at 3.20 PM where we had lunch for an hour at Hotel Bhandari. The food was good. We started from Uttarkashi at 4.30 PM and reached Harsil at 7.15 PM which was about 72 KMs from Uttarkashi. Harsil to Bhatwari is 45 KM and Bhatwari to Uttarkashi is 27 KM. Sukhi Top is 8 KM from Harsil. Our total car’s odo reading of the day from Delhi to Harsil was 495 KM.
  • Day 2: We organized a dental check-up camp in the morning at Harsil and left for a short trip to Bhairon Ghati – Gangotri which was about 25 KMs from Harsil. Bhairon Ghati to Gangotri is about 8 KMs. We started for Gangotri from Harsil at around 12.45 and took leisurly time around the high snow slopes ahead of Dharali to reach Gangotri by 2.30. Then, we spent couple of hours there lurking around in snow which was filled all over the town. A sage/saint cooked tea + maggie for us and did not charge anything 🙂 :)… We took the blessings, played in snow and came back to Dharali village at 5.30 PM from where the trek to Mukhba village goes. Mukhba is the village where the idol/deity of Gangotri is kept in winters. The trek to temple was around 1 KM and we trekked to the village for around 25 minutes, asked to open the temple for us for the darshan and took the blessing of goddess. Then, trekked back to Dharali village and reached back to Harsil by 7.30 PM after enjoying an hour or so near the banks of the river.
  • Day 3: This was the day when we started the return journey back home to Delhi via same route of Uttarkashi – Chamba – Rishikesh – Haridwar. We started at 9.20 AM from Dharali after having breakfast, reached Uttarkashi around 12.30 PM where we bought Rhododendron juice. We reached Chamba at around 4.20 PM, Agarakhal at around 5.10 PM and Rishikesh around 6.30 PM. We took the road through Rajaji National Park to exit Rishikesh which was quite nice road, devoid of traffic but unfortunately got stuck in long long traffic jam at Muzaffarnagar. Finally, after a very long day reached Delhi back home at 2.10 AM at night.

The total drive over the trip was 1045 KM done in a budget of around Rs 2800 per head including all. Over all it was quite a nice vacation in Uttarakhand and the best part was the drive through the high snow walls, and dental check-up camp organized to spread some smiles 🙂 🙂 …

GMVN Harsil
GMVN Harsil

Bhagirathi River at Harsil
Bhagirathi River at Harsil

Devils, enjoying by the Bhagirathi river side at Harsil
Devils, enjoying by the Bhagirathi river side at Harsil

Gang of Harsil
Gang of Harsil

Road Conditions for Harsil – Gangotri

Following is the breakdown of road conditions for the trip:

  • Delhi – Muzaffarnagar: Mostly Excellent, smooth sailing toll road though the road is broken with many deep holes at many places in Modi Nagar which takes some time to cover.
  • Muzaffarnagar – Roorkee – Haridwar – Rishikesh: Single lane road at most places, lot of traffic and mix of good + excellent condition road barring few patches.
  • Rishikesh – Chamba – Dharasu: Mostly very good roads with some bad patches in between.
  • Dharasu – Uttarkashi – Bhatwari: Mix of good and average roads with few land slide points and bad patches in between.
  • Bhatwari – Sukhi Top – Harsil: Mix of average and bad roads with 5-6 water crossings and slush stretches.
  • Harsil – Dharali – Bhairon Ghati – Gangotri: Mostly bad roads, widening under way at some places. Some very bad road sections after Bhairon Ghati with couple of water crossings.

The High Snow Walls near Dharali
The High Snow Walls near Dharali


The High Snow Walls near Dharali

The Roads to Harsil – Gangotri
The Roads to Harsil - Gangotri

And it punctured
And it punctured

Phone Signals with Data Connectivity on Roads in Gharwal Trip | Harsil – Gangotri

I was carrying Airtel Postpaid, BSNL Postpaid and Vodafone Postpaid was with some friends. Following was the signal status:

  • All three were working mostly through all the route up to Bhatwari.
  • Beyond Bhatwari, only BSNL connection worked and that too we had to make 60-70 calls before getting connected to someone when we were in Harsil as well as Gangotri. So, do not rely much on phones for emergency beyond Bhatwari 😀 😀
  • Data Connectivity was almost always available wherever the signals were present and at places even 3G was running.

Other Important Updates for Gharwal Trip | Harsil – Gangotri

  • If you are particular about brands in Liquor then it is best that you carry your own as we ended up shocked with even no availability of Old Monk 😉

  • While in Uttarakhand, buy some packets of buns everyday you start in case you like them. They are quite a good partner for tea on a road side tea shack 🙂

  • While going to Harsil, Bhatwari has an SBI ATM which I believe is nearest to Harsil – Gangotri.

  • Seek over the herb by the local name Kingod which is used by the locals to control diabetes, in case you are interested.

  • We filled up fuel at Uttarkashi though there were couple of fuel pumps ahead as well towards Harsil.

  • Harsil also sells quite famous local Rajma (Kidney Beans) & apples and you can buy some of them for you in case you like them.

  • There is a Rhododendron Herbal Juice shop in Uttarkashi about 2-3 KMs before you enter the market area on the right hand side while going towards Harsil. You can get the Rhododendron juice syrup for yourself which can be diluted in water to drink. It is quite useful for heart and overall immunity as per the locals. Quite refreshing when served chilled much similar to Roohafzah.

  • Agarakhal before Chamba is quite a nice place to have some snacks including Samosas and Aaloo Chole.

  • You can watch the confluence of Assi Ganga and Bhagirathi river just near Uttarkashi.

  • The route to Dayara Bhugyal & Bharasu goes 3 KMs from Bhatwari.

Snow Filled Gangotri
Snow Filled Gangotri


Snow Filled Gangotri

Snow Filled Gangotri

Gang of Harsil with the Machines
Gang of Harsil with the Machines

Toll Amounts on the Route

  • There was just one toll that came on the way to Muzaffarnagar: Rs 60

I will start sharing the detailed Travel Tale of this Harsil – Gangotri trip, the reviews of the hotels I stayed and places at which I ate food, very soon. So, stay tuned guys 🙂

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You can call me an Avid Traveler, a Day - Night Dreamer and a Passionate Lover of Himalayas who has a high zest for driving whilst exploring new places in Himalayas & sharing back those Himalayan Travel experiences with the other fellow Travelers... I am in love with Spreading Smiles in Himalayas through DoW Causes & currently enjoying life as Happy Traveling Soul at DoW Community. You can read more about me in detail at the link here ...

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65 Comments

  1. Dipen Singh on

    Hi Dheeraj,

    I loved your post. It is very informative. I will be driving to Harsil with my wife on the 9th of October 2017. After reading your post I am planning to start at about 3:30 – 4 :00 AM. I have a few questions and would be highly glad if you could help me out on them.

    1: Is is safe to travel with a lady ?
    2: How will the weather be in October?
    3: Can you give a list of essential items we should be carrying with us?

    Thanks!

    • 1. Yes Dipen, we never felt unsafe on the route. Of course you have to cross UP to reach Haridwar, I will suggest to stick to Highways and better leave around 5 AM so that morning starts by the time you cross the UP border. Cover up by taking less stops enroute.

      2. Weather will be cool and nights might be a little cold. OVerall nice.
      3. You can check: 40 Must Have Things to Carry

  2. Hi Dheeraj,

    Very informative, Kudos to your work!!!!
    we are also planning a trip from Dehradun to Bhatwari, via Mussorie. How will be the road conditions on Aug 11-15th? Any extra precautions that I need to take?

    • Prem, it is monsoon time during August and I Am sure monsoon will surely create hassles in terms of landslides, road blocks etc.. Please check the weather before going into the route.

  3. Mohan K Ghosh on

    Hello Sir,

    I am planning to go to harsil in second week of june..and i am planning to take my Sedan vehicle…please advice on the road conditions.

    Regards

    M K Ghosh

  4. Subhash Chandra Ghosh on

    HI,
    I’ve gone through your post. Too valuable and informative. Here, I solicit your opinion- I want to go to Gangotri from Haridwar by cycle. No, no I’m not in a hurry. I want to stop at hrisikesh, Narendranagar, Uttarkashi, Harsil, gangotri, and back. Want to enjoy the nature at every place, with other sightseeing places. It may be one month or more. Is it possible ? In the month of September. Will it be too cold ? Solicit your valuable opinion. Thanks !

  5. Tapas Sharma on

    Sir, I intend to start from Chandigarh on 1 st June 2017 in maruti EECO reach uttarkashi same day , next sevond day travel up to gangotri, next third day travel back from gangotri to uttarkashi , fourth and fifth day travel to yamnotri and sixth day come back to haridwar and on seventh day come back to Chandigarh.. Kindly advice first of all whether maruti EECO shall be alright and about my tour plan..thanks..

  6. Hi Dheeraj – Nice , very well articulated article. am planning to go to Harsil / Gaumukh. How do you get permit to trek to Gaumukh ?

    • Prabhat, well you can get the permits from Forest Department Office about 3 KMs from Uttarkashi bus stand. There is a limit of 100 people per day, so avoid weekends or plan ahead in time.

  7. Pankaj Rawat on

    Hi Dheeraj,

    You have done a good job…

    Need your suggestion…We are group of 10-12 people travelling from Delhi – Harsil – Delhi from 01st June – 06th June….We have our own vehicle (2-3 cars)..

    Can you please provide me a 5 Nights 6 Days awesome itinerary for harsil…We wants to cover uttarkashi – gangotri – harsil in 5 Nights…

    We are thinking as per below itinerary :
    1N – Chamba
    2N – harsil
    1N – Gangotri
    1N – Uttarkashi,…..

    Please advice us and provide the best itinerary and places we can cover and enjoy…

    Please suggest and provide the good itinerary which we can cover with small treks like 4-5 km….

    Please advice us…

  8. Varun Kashyap on

    Hi Dheeraj,

    very informative, we are also planning a trip to Harsil and possibly Gangotri (if roads are open). our travel dates are around 28th March. is it good time to travel.

    Also, we have 5-6 days in hand, can we add some other place as well, we are thinking of Chopta, Deoria taal or something else which can be covered

    One more question, when does Gaumukh track offficially starts. any possibility to do it in 1st week of april.

    • YEs, March end is a good time to travel to Harsil and Gangotri and most likely the roads will open by that time of the year. Chopta – Deoriatal will be a bit off on the route. I will suggest to keep the trip leisurely and may be come from Chakrata side.

    • Varun Kashyap on

      Thanks a lot Dheeraj, very helpful!

      any idea for Gaumukh trek do they start along with yatra or possible before as well

      • Varun, if you have a guide with you, you can try to do the Gaumukh but I am not 100% sure about teh accommodation that you will get there or on the way back, so please confirm first. OTherwise it will be quite long to do Gaumukh trek in single day and should not be attempted

  9. Hi!! I have been following your itineraries to plan my trips and have planned and executed successfully many in past. Out of which one was Solo ride to Spiti last year.
    This time, we two friends have planned to visit Harsil – Gangotri from Delhi, on 26th January. We will be travelling by bikes. My concern here is – Would it be possible to make through up to the Gangotri during this time of the year? Or how far we can go on Harsil – Gangotri Highway. Thanks for your all support.

    • No Gagan, the road is closed around Dharali and lot of snow is expected in these days. I am not even sure if you will be able to make it to Harsil too. Please check the weather updates before venturing into the hills and please avoid getting caught under some uneasy situation due to heavy snowfall.

  10. Hi Team, I am planning to go in January, is it advisable to go over there in January end

  11. Hi Dheeraj
    I am planning to take a short trip this month end or beginning of next month.
    Is this time ok for going there and also It’s a women only trip how safe it would be?
    Thanks

    • Yes, it will be a pleasant time to visit Harsil. Things are more or less safe in that part of the world being Himalayas which are less inflicted by tourists 🙂

  12. shibnath chatterjee on

    YOUR ARTICLE IS VERY INFORMATIVE. AT FIRST SIGHT.PICTURES APPENDED ARE VERY NICE.WE WILL USE YOUR TIME-SCALE TO SET OUR JOURNEY AND POINTS OF STAY.i AM ALSO VERY FOND OF THE HIMALAYAS,ITS NATURAL AMBIENCE,PEOPLE,COMPARATIVELY SIMPLISTIC LIFESTYLE OF THE HABITANTS AND WHAT NOT? I FIND A REAL FRIEND IN YOU.WITH THANKS— SHIBNATH

  13. Hello Dheeraj,

    Thank you for the very informative article. We are planning to visit Gangotri between 27th June and 30th June 2016 with my 3 years son. I am very upbeat for the trip but worried of the monsoons. What do you think? I am not going by self drive, but hired an experienced one.

    Could you please suggest me precisely , whether it is risky to go Gangotri during the last week of June 2016?

    • Surya, well, this year monsoon is delayed. You can always check the weather predications and if in case there are predictions of bad weather, better to cancel the trip at the last moment.

      • Hello Dheeraj,

        Thank you very much for your prompt and useful info. Do you have any suggestions for accommodation in Uttarkasi and Harsil?

        what are the precautions that you suggest for this travel, as we are going with our 3 year kid?

        regards,
        Surya

  14. Hi,

    I am planning on a road trip in this road.

    I am planning on taking Zoomcar and am confused between a Scorpio and Ciaz AT.

    As I have driven mostly in the UK, I am no stranger to ghats and tricky roads. But i am more confident with AT in tricky areas.

    Do you think Ciaz will have good enough ground clearance for these roads?

  15. Is it advisable visit with senior citizens along. I am intending to make a trip in 1st week of July 2016..Delhi- Haridwar-Rishikesh- Mussoorie and was wondering if any detour to go to Gangotri.

    Appreciate your response

    • Hi Anjani,

      Are you going to Gangotri during first week of July. We are also planning to go there. So far, we planned to visit mussorie, rishikesh-haridwar, dehradun in that time, and would like to extend it to Gangotri. But, we are skeptical about the monsoons’ effect on the journey.

      what are your thoughts about the monsoon effect ?

  16. Hemant Taparia on

    I want to live near Harsil for 3-4 months in a year for meditation. Can some one help me to find a house of 1 room with kitchen on rent?

  17. gyanugyan on

    Hi, Nice article…. keep it up

    I want to travel Gangotri end of May by driving Tata Vista.

    Just want to know how tough to drive on this road compare to Srinagar-Leh-Manali Highway. I have visited Srinagar – Leh then Leh to Manali. Kindly guide about the roads, curves, width of roads, roads conditions etc.

    Thanks

  18. sir , i want to visit nelang valley , it is same where near to bharighati, gangotri national park , kindly explain the car route from delhi to nelang valley

    • Naveen, it is the same route to Gangotri as mentioned above in the article. Once you cross over Dharali, you reach Bhairon Ghati which is 8 KMs before Gangotri. From ther the road to Nelang Valley diverts to left when going to Gangotri. You will need to arrange permits from Uttarkashi to visit Nelang Valley

  19. Snehal Shah on

    dear Dheeraj…….thanks for the wonderful article……

    am planning to visit Harsil in 1st week of June……can u pls help about the weather condition in the month of june

    thanks…..

  20. I want to go to Gangotri in Mid-March…..1) Will i be able to see the deity? 2) Will a Maruti swift/desire be fine for travel from delhi to gangotri in mid-march? and 3) Will i be able to go to the gangotri national park in mid-march? thanks for all the info that is already present here……..

    • Hello Bharat,

      1. You will be able to see the deity but at Mukhba where the deity is shifted in winter months but not at Gangotri temple which will be closed.
      2. Yes, you can take your dzire to Harsil Gangotri, some sections will be little tricky but mostly manageable.
      3. For that you need to trek and for trek you will need guides and porters.

  21. jaskaran singh on

    Can i go to gangotri on a bike?i will lwave rishikesh on 21st october. How r theroad conditions n snow conditions for people on bike. Or i stayat harsil only? Any advise would be a great help. Thnk u 🙂

    • Jaskaran, road to Gangotri will be open during the time you want to visit. Apart from few bad patches of roads it is all fine. You will enjoy the peace up there for sure.

  22. I am planning to go to Harsil – Gangotri on Oct 2nd in my I20. Is it ok considering the road conditions? Are we going to get the snow walls that this time of the year?

  23. That’s a very comprehensive report on the road conditions of this part of our country. I see an Alto in group. How was its performance?

    Thanks for sharing.

  24. RAVI PUNETHA on

    have you reached up to Gangotri temple…is it allowed to go up to temple when it is closed…?

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