Situated in the scenic district of Uttarkashi, Gangotri is a pilgrim town that is settled on the banks of the holy Bhagirathi River. Set against the backdrop of the great Himalayan region complete with clear blue skies, lush green cover, tall trees, and an imminent spiritual vibe. Named after Gangotri Dham, the holy town is home to some incredible viewpoints and the presence of roads makes connectivity possible for tourists from all over. The place is all about celebrating nature in its raw form and the entire region is lined with trekking and hiking trails in order to offer a deeply immersive and a real Himalayan experience.
List of Most Famous Tourist Places in Gangotri
1. Dharali Valley Viewpoint
Dharali is a quintessential traditional Himalayan village. Located just half an hour away from the main Gangotri Dham Temple, Dharali is the perfect place for nature lovers and peace seekers. The slate-roofed wooden homes, tall green trees, lush rolling hills, gushing Bhagirathi River, and a refreshingly serene environment. Unlike other popular tourist places in Uttarakhand, Dharali is known for its peaceful vibe and rejuvenating surroundings. This is the perfect place to sit back, relax, and perform yoga and meditation.
Speaking of scenic traditional Uttarakhand villages, Harsil deserves a special mention. Located at a distance of just an hour from Gangotri temple, Harsil serves as the helipad for Gangotri Dham Yatra by Helicopter. However, it is more than that. Harsil is a breath of fresh air in the spiritually doused region of Uttarkashi. Just like Dharali, Harsil is also situated on the bank of the Bhagirathi River and it remains unspoiled from the hands of commercialism. Recently Harsil has gained a lot of popularity among avid trekkers and adventure enthusiasts for its numerous trekking trails close to the vicinity of this quaint village.
3. Mukhba Village
The small and quaint village of Mukhba is situated very close to Gangotri Dham Temple. It is famous as the winter home of goddess Gangotri. During the winter season, when the region remains completely covered in snow, making the pilgrimage impossible, the idol of the goddess is brought down to the village of Mukhba. This is also an incredibly pious village as it is also the place from where the priest of Gangotri Dham hails. From spirituality to natural beauty, Mukhba village is all about peaceful serenity and calming spirituality. During the Gangotri Dham Yatra, it is impossible to not spot the village en route.
4. Gartang Gali
Gartang Gali is unlike any other adventure experience. Situated by the roaring river along the mountainside via a narrow wooden bridge is this iconic landmark. Situated about 90 to 100 kms from the district of Uttarkashi, the Gali is an adrenaline-pumping experience. Tourists walk through this narrow, wooden pathway which was built about 150 years and was once shut down for service during the 1960s. This wooden step bridge is now open for tourists to visit and have the same experience as the Pathan traders who used to take this route from Tibet to reach Devbhoomi.
5. Gaumukh Glacier Trek
Starting from behind the temple of Gangotri, is the iconic trek to the starting point, the glacier source for the Ganga River, Gaumukh. The trek can be gruelling and kind of challenging. It is a 46 km long trek that goes on for 6 to 7 days, depending on your trekking speed. It takes the trekker on an experience of a lifetime that not many are fortunate to have. The glacier is a massive cow snout-shaped formation from where Ganga River gushes out and goes on to become the life-giving source on the mountains and the plains. The trail takes you through the confines of the Gangotri national park and the other greater Himalayan regions.
6. Gangotri National Park
Gangotri national park is a massive national park that spreads out to an area of about 2,400 sq. km. it is home to lush alpine and conifer cover, glaciers, and peaceful meadows. It is also home to the iconic temple of Gangotri (hence the name) and the Gaumukh Glacier or the origin of Ganga. Established in 1989, the national park is a very well-protected region that is home to a variety of trees, shrubs, and western Himalayan subalpine forests that coexists with a variety of other flora, fauna, birds, and insects.
7. Dodital Lake Trek
The sparkling emerald waters of the Dodital lake which are blessed with scenic vistas all around are famous as one of the prettiest high altitude lake treks in the world. Located at an elevation of over 3,000 metres above sea level, the lake has made its place amongst the towering Himalayas. The lake is named after the fresh Himalayan trout called dodi that is found here. The trek up to the lake is a moderate one but it takes 2 days and starts from Sangam Chatti. There is also a small Ganesh Temple located by the lake that is believed to be the birthplace of Lord Ganesh.
8. Dayara Bugyal
Bugyal in the local Pahadi language means a grazing meadow. Dayara bugyal is undoubtedly the most beautiful and perfectly scenic bugyal treks in the country. The trek lasts for 6 days and its difficulty level ranges from easy to moderate. For hundreds of years and even before that, shepherds have been taking their cattles to graze on the fields of the bugyal and even to this day, you can spot herds of sheep being grazed here that just adds on to the whole experience. The Bugyal also offers a clear and unrestricted view of the Himalayan range at eye level. A trek that everyone should at least go for once.
9. Nelong Valley
Reopened in 2015, Nelong valley is a hub for adventure buffs that love to challenge their adventurous boundaries. The geographical features of the valley bears a striking resemblance to the high altitude cold desert of Ladakh that has earned its name – the Ladakh of Uttarakhand. Walking by the super narrow mountainside where the Tibetan traders used to bring hoards of stuff to Uttarakhand is an eye-opening experience. It was closed off during the indo china war and it opened up recently after some maintenance work. The entire walk is pretty nerve-racking since it is just above the immediate drop by the gushing river and encapsulated within tight and very large mountain rocks on one side and also from above.
10. Kalindi Khal Trek
Kalindi Khal Trek has got to be one of the most underrated yet very interesting treks in India. The trek starts off from Gangotri town and goes through a variety of naturally mesmerizing geographical features like natural lakes, snowfields, rocky terrains, and glittering glaciers. It is considered to be a difficult trek that requires trekking equipment to cover. The trip will have you cover Gaumukh Glacier and an ascent to Tapovan and Nandanvan. This glacial paradise of a trek is recommended only for expert trekkers and mountaineers.