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Gangotri Glacier

Gangotri Glacier

Gangotri Glacier Pilgrimage Site

Gangotri Glacier is located in Uttarkashi District, Uttarakhand, India in a region bordering China. This glacier, source of the Ganges, is one of the largest in the Himalayas with an estimated volume of over 27 cubic kilometers. The glacier is about 30 kilometres long (19 miles) and 2 to 4 km (1 to 2 mi) wide. Around the glacier are the peaks of the Gangotri Group, including several peaks notable for extremely challenging climbing routes, such as Shivling, Thalay Sagar, Meru, and Bhagirathi III. It flows roughly northwest, originating in a cirque below Chaukhamba, the highest peak of the group.
The terminus of the Gangotri Glacier is said to resemble a cow's mouth, and the place is called Gomukh or Gaumukh (gou, cow + mukh, face). Gomukh, which is about 18 km (11.2 mi) from the town of Gangotri, is the precise source of the Bhagirathi river, an important tributary of the Ganges. Gomukh is situated near the base of Shivling; in between lies the Tapovan meadow.
The Gangotri glacier is a traditional Hindu pilgrimage site. Devout Hindus consider bathing in the icy waters near Gangotri town to be a holy ritual, and many make the trek to Gomukh and Tapovan.



Gangotri Gaumukh Glacier

The main source of the Ganges, Gaumukh, is at the mouth of the Gaumukh glacier where blocks of glacier ice fall into the river and pilgrims take a bath in freezing water to cleanse themselves of all the sins. The sight of Gaumukh is incredible with Bhagirathi emerging out of an enormous cavern. Gaumukh is like paradise where one would find things in its purist form. One must visit Gaumukh for the panoramic view and lovely clean air. The holy glacier has much to offer than just its religious significance.

Places to see in Gangotri Gaumukh Glacier

To reach Gamukh, you need to use the steps that lead up from the temple at Gangotrito the main trail going to the ice cave of Gaumukh. There are no temples at Gaumukh. You have to fit and fine to trek for 19-km from Gangotri to Gaumukh. The path is narrow and the fall is steep and yo may face boulders on the trail. The terrain is rough. The first step involves a walk up to Chirbasa (7 km) which is slow as the ascent is very steep. From here to Bhojbasa which is another 5 km is a relatively smooth walk. The mountain view changes dramatically but remains breathtaking nonetheless. You will have close encounters with the river in the stretch from Bhojbasa to Gaumukh. Nnear Gaumukh, there is a lonely, mountainous expanse, which humbles the visitor. You would be bewildered by the three vertical faces of the three Bhagirathi massifs in the north. The Shivaling peak lies to the south of Gaumukh.

It is here that you will find the useful Himalayan silver birch, the whitest bark or any birch at a height of 2,800 and 3,800m. The Himalayan silver birch has a lot of significance. They were used for manuscripts before paper came into the Indian subcontinent. It is also said to have medicinal values used for the treatment of hysteria. Birch is also used in ayurveda for obesity and disorders of lipid metabolism .

article taken from http://www.universeonweb.com/india/indiatourist/Gaumukh.htm


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