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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