It has been some time that I have not made a trip to the 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, apart from a few active members of the DoW Community, about 18 people ended up joining the trip in a 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 at my journey to Harsil – Gangotri.
Let's quickly dive into the details:
Weekend Trip to Harsil & Gangotri
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 beside the hotel. All these things were WORTH the effort we put into the trip 🙂 :)…
Travel Tip: You can check the detailed travel guide of Harsil which covers everything in detail for making a road trip to this place in Garhwal.
The road conditions in most of the regions were quite good, barring few patches in between and the last section of the trip from Uttarkashi to Harsil – Gangotri. It was one enjoyable 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 guesthouses I stayed, just before that I would like to share what itinerary I followed, the route I took and the updates on road conditions for reaching these places in Garhwal region of Uttarakhand, that is, Harsil – Gangotri.
Itinerary for my Harsil – Gangotri Trip in March
Well, we had 3 days in hand to visit this offbeat place in Uttarakhand and make Harsil – Gangotri trip including no buffer days as I had to return for an important meeting in the office on Monday and we followed the itinerary as below:
Day 1 | Delhi to Harsil via Uttarkashi
Started the drive from Delhi – Meerut – Roorkee – Haridwar – Rishikesh – Agarakhal – Chamba – Dharasu – Uttarkashi – Bhatwari – Sukhi Top – Harsil.We stayed at GMVN Rest House at Harsil (2,620 Mtrs in altitude), an offbeat place located in the Gharwal region of Uttarakhand.
We started from Delhi around 3.45 AM after picking up a 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 odometer reading of the day from Delhi to Harsil was 495 KM.
Trip Suggestion: Do not forget to check my travel guide about Manila – An unknown place in Uttarakhand.
Day 2 | Harsil – Gangotri – Mukhba – Harsil
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 km from Harsil. Bhairon Ghati to Gangotri is about 8 km. We started for Gangotri from Harsil at around 12.45 and took free time around the high snow slopes ahead of Dharali to reach Gangotri by 2.30.
Then, we spent a couple of hours there lurking around in the snow. The snow 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 the snow, and came back to Dharali village at 5.30 PM from where the trek to Mukhba village goes.
Mukhba is the village where they keep the idol/deity of Gangotri 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 the 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 | Harsil to Delhi via Rajaji National Park
This day was when we started the return journey back home to Delhi via the 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 a nice road, devoid of traffic but unfortunately got stuck in a long, long traffic jam at Muzaffarnagar. Finally, after a very long day reached Delhi back home at 2.10 AM.
The total drive over the trip was 1045 KM done in a budget of around Rs 2800 per head, including all. Overall 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 🙂 🙂 …
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 in 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 landslide 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 underway at some places. Some very bad road sections after Bhairon Ghati with a couple of water crossings.
Did you know? In winter months Harsil experiences an average high of 12-15 Degrees with the lows hovering around 0 degrees. It is one of the places of Uttarakhand near Delhi to experience snowfall.
Phone Signals with Data Connectivity on Roads in Gharwal Trip | Harsil – Gangotri
I was carrying Airtel Postpaid, BSNL Postpaid and Vodafone Postpaid were with some friends. Following was the signal status:
- All three were working mostly through all the routes 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 an emergency beyond Bhatwari 😀 😀
- Data Connectivity was almost always available wherever the signals were present and at places, even 3G was running.
Pro Travel Tip: Do not forget to check my list of things to carry on Himalayan trips.
Other Important Updates for Gharwal Trip | Harsil – Gangotri
- If you are particular about brands in Liquor then you should carry your own as we ended up shocked with even no availability of Old Monk 😉
- While in Uttarakhand, buy some packets of buns every day you start if you like them. They are quite a good partner for tea on a roadside 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 a 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 you can dilute in water to drink. It is quite useful for the 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 the Assi Ganga and Bhagirathi river just near Uttarkashi.
- The route to Dayara Bhugyal & Bharasu goes 3 km from Bhatwari.
Toll Amounts on the Route
- There was just one toll that came on the way to Muzaffarnagar: Rs 60
Travel Tip: You can plan a trek to Gaumukh as well in case you have decent number of days in hand and club it with a trip to Harsil.
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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hello dheeraj jii…kaise ho…need ur advise for my upcoming trip to uttrakhand.. planning for nelong valley this august 2018 for 3-4 days…..starting on 14th night…..how abt weather there…. and looking char dham yatra?
is it a ideal time to go looking both these things? or shall i postponed it till september 1st week?
Well during those days it will be monsoon and hence I will suggest only traveling to Harsil after monsoon is over. September is still better time to visit Harsil.
Hi Dheeraj Bhai,
How are you??? I need your advice.I am planning a trip to Gangotri from Delhi on Tata Manza on 14th April for 6 days.How will be the weather condition there?? What are the places we should cover.We want to Trekk Gaumukh Glacier,Can we do that during mid april??
I am doing good bro, thank you 🙂 … I hope the same for you.
I believe you can make a trip trek towards Gaumukh but as I have not done myself personally, I cannot be 100% certain. Regarding trip, 6 days should be perfectly fine for Harsil, Gangotri trip in April.
Can we go to harshil/ gangotri in Jan or Feb ?
Yes Abhay, you can travel to Harsil in Jan/Feb. The road ahead of Harsil around Dharali is where the main blockade happens.
yes you can go but that time is winter, so you can enjoy snowfall in there.
Dheeraj ji, is there cheapest hotels are available in Harsil, we are going to harsil in 2nd week of June 201. Please advice.
Harsh, best will be to book KMVN or hunt on the spot which I will not suggest because it will be season time of Char Dham yatra.
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?
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
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.
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.
M K Ghosh
Road conditions are fine to travel to Harsil by a hatchback barring couple of bad patches in between
road condition is good but i suggest to you hire local driver for harsil.
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 !
No Subash, in a month it should surely be possible with ease. And September will be a good time to visit this region.
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..
Tapas, you will be able to make the trip with Eeco and your plan seems good to me. May be instead of Gangotri, you can stay in seclusion at Harsil
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.
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…
Your plan looks OK to me but one night in Gangotri is not sure if it will add value, you can cover Gangotri as a day trip as well from Harsil.
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.
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
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.
Hi Team, I am planning to go in January, is it advisable to go over there in January end
Harsil will be cold but you can surely go and try out couple of days of secluded vacation.
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?
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 🙂
In which month did you went to harsil?
We went in March to Harsil.
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
Thank you Sibnath ji, best wishes for your trip to Harsil – Gangotri.
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.
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?
Surya, I mostly use KMVN/GMVNs only bhai when traveling in Uttarakhand
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?
Go for Scorpio as it will be better.
BTW, for Harsil, Ciaz shall be good too.
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
Yes Anjani, there are sufficient arrangements and stays at Harsil
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 ?
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?
You can surely get one after reaching up there. If not Harsil, you will find one at Dharali village or mukba village
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.
Not really, there will only be couple of patches which might be a bit slushy but nothing what you didnt encounter with Manali – Leh or Srinagar.
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
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
Snehal weather shall be OK to visit Harsil in June. Harsil is very nice and calm place.
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……..
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.
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.
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?
Sunaina, i20 shall be fine to take up there. There are only couple of sections where it is bad rest is fine and mostly manageable. No snow will be there.
Thanks Dheeraj!! But the place is beautiful without the snow as well….right?
Yes Sunaina, as you can see in the pictures, it is quite beautiful . The snow is only available ahead of Harsil towards Dharali and Gangotri in above pictures.
Very good n informative article. Keep it up.
Thank a lot Dr. Dilip 🙂
Thanks for the reply. i wish to do this trip in my Swift. Hence the query and worry:)
I think that shall be able to do it with some careful driving 🙂
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.
Ravi, almost too good but at one time the oil chamber got a hit and a nut loosen through which oil started dripping but was managed by m-seal 🙂
have you reached up to Gangotri temple…is it allowed to go up to temple when it is closed…?
Yes brother, if the road is open no one stops you. But, yeah I believe you need to take the permission for Gaumukh, AFAIK. 🙂 🙂
nice going dheeraj… just a update.. the toll amount is Rs 80.
Thanks a ton Vipin bhai, will update it