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Tapovan 2005

A Trek to Tapovan

I am alone and crossing the mighty Gangotri glacier just above its snout. I arrived at Gangotri by last bus leaving Uttarkashi at 1400 hrs. It is a route I have traveled on a number of occasions. This time I was feeling much better, since, I knew where Ii was supposed to be spending the night at. I got down at the bus stop and walked through the bazzar towards the temple. A little short of the temple, I took the right lane and crossed the Bhagirthi river over the bridge and moved to the Ishavasyam Ashram. Its a beautiful Ashram overlooking the temple on the other side and is managed by a mountain loving Swami. Swamiji has a large collection of photographs of the surrounding areas and delightful time can be spent with him discussing the mountains and the photography.

A good nights sleep made me ready for the easy and scenic trek towards Bhojbasa. A pay of respects at the Gangotri temple and you are on the trail climbing up a short distance till you reach the flat section. The mighty Sudarshan parvat is in front. The trail is through the jungle and slowly climbing. The Sudarshan parvat pulling you towards it, you reach the gate of the Gangotri National Park. After making the due payments there i move forward on the wide trail. In the far distance the first stop of Chirbasa is visible amongst the chir jungle with the Bhagirathi group forming the backdrop. After quite some walking I reach Chirbasa and sit down opposite the tea shop. There are a few tea shops at this place which offer tea, food and night stay facilities to the traveller at nominal rates. A cup of tea and a wash at the nearby stream refreshes me for the trail ahead.

I pass through the jungle and come out into the open. The trail can be seen moving along the mountain slope and now there is hardly any tree cover. Slowly but steadily, I am gaining altitude. I pass the two mud towers and enter the heaven. I call these towers "Gate to Heaven". Crossing fast flowing streams over the foot bridges and moving along the dusty trail I enter the area, where I am cautioned to be careful of the falling stones. I look up and take steps carefully, again looking up for falling stones. I am thanked for observing caution and so I presume I am on a relatively safe ground. I am now quite near to the days destination. Suddenly, turning a corner, Bhojbasa comes into view down below with the Bhagirathi group in background . I am standing next to a row of tea shops. I sit down for late lunch looking down at the Lal Baba's ashram and also the GMVN's tourist bungalow. Though the tea shops offer night stay facilities I want a neat place and so move down to GMVN. A neat and clean bed at Rs 200/- is mine for the night.

The night was cold but I was comfortable and all set for the trek up to Tapovan. The trail rises immediately from GMVN's TB and joins the trail coming from shops. Thereafter the trail is good and steadily moves up. I reach the last of the tea shops on the trail and have a cup of sweet tea and immediately thereafter I am warned that I am entering the glacier area. The good trail is now gone and is replaced by regularly used trail. The Gaumukh at 4000 meters is now quite near and the strength of the Bhagirthi can be felt right at its origin. All this time Shivling is observing us from right. I move along the left trail, which is moving away from the snout and climbing up slowly. I have moved beyond the snout and now I pickup the trail crossing the glacier and moving towards Shivling. The trail is up and down and some experience is required to move along safely, if you do not want to get lost. A group of porters moving down crosses me and in few minutes its difficult to make out their presence. I am again alone. Looking towards Shivling which has now moved out of site I notice some movement on top of the ridge. Yes, indeed there are a few people standing there. Then I notice people on the slope coming down. My god, I have to climb up. Well, I don't have a choice. I have by now moved to the starting of the climb and last of the trekkers coming down are moving slowly. I wait for them to clear and then start moving up. Of course, the trail exists but it is narrow, loose and bad at some places.

I reach the top and lo the mighty Shivling is in full view upto its base. The Bhagirthi group of peaks commands the right bank of the Gangotri glacier flowing in between. A group of Bharals welcomes me at Tapovan. There are three ashrams at Tapovan out of which Shimla Baba's Ashram is the last one, where at present no one is welcome due to baba's old age. I make myself comfortable at the Lal baba's ashram. The stream flowing through Tapovan is near by. A few tents are also pitched, but for that you will have to have all cooking arrangements. After a simple food I move out to visit the Neela tal towards the right ridge facing the ashram. Well the tal is a small one but real blue. The climb gives me a vantage view of the Raktawarna glacier, Bhagirthi group, Nandan van, and complete Tapovan in the shadow of Shivling. The cold is increasing with the setting Sun so I move back to the ashram.

Next day I decide to walk around the Tapovan and so take the trail moving to the other side towards the Kirti glacier. However, two hours walk brings me to a place where further trail has got washed away and I cannot move ahead. I have to move down by afternoon so I turn back. Pickup my stuff from the ashram and start the journey back to Bhojbasa. The trail from Tapovan to the glacier is bad for moving down. However, moving slowly I am on the glacier and start the traverse. I loose my way and after some trail finding I am back on a good trail. Moving slowly, enjoying the surroundings I clear of the glacier and move down to the stream coming out of Gaumukh. Fill up water to be carried home and move down. I reach the GMVN's TB and get a bed in one of the tents. The dorm's are already filled up by a large team from Gujarat. Next day I reach Gangotri and the clean confines of the Ishavasyam Ashram. End of a good trek and an excellent acclimatising trail.

Tapovan Photos Part I

Tapovan Photos Part II

Tapovan Trek


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Published on: 2006-04-22 (4644 reads)

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