Hemkund Sahib

Hemkund Sahib

The Highest Gurudwara in the World- Hemkund Sahib is located amid the Himalayan ranges in the Chamoli district of Uttarakhand. It is a sacred pilgrimage revered by numerous Sikhs every year. This Gurudwara is perched at an altitude of around 4329m above sea level.  It is also named the Gurudwara Shri Hemkunt Sahib and can be reached by trekking through several stunning waterfalls, thick forests, and mesmerizing views of the Himalayas. Hemkund Sahib is an imposing star-shaped structure that is lying on the banks of the pristine lake. One coming here can witness a water body behind the structure and is a source of the Lakshman Ganga. It is the only Gurudwara built at such a massive height. On entering the Hemkund Gurudwara one is welcomed into a giant hall that is fabulously decorated with lights and exquisite tapestry.

One can find several pictures of Sikh gurus, while the apex roof is designed in such a way that they light up the Guru Granth Sahib that is enshrined here. One can witness the four doors at the four corners of Gurudwara and yes a langar hall that is situated close by where the pilgrims are served holy meal free of cost. 

History  of Hemkund Sahib

Shri Hemkund Sahib is a major pilgrimage site for Hindus as well as for Sikhs. Hemkund is the astonishing Lokpal lake located at an altitude of 4329 m from sea level. The Sikh community considers it a sacred region. As the tenth guru of Sikhs- Guru Govind Singh meditated on the tranquil banks of Hemkund in one of his earliest births. Thus the Gurudwara of Sikhs is located on the banks of Hemkund where he meditated. 

As per the mythology Hemkunt has been mentioned in Ramayana. It is believed that Lord Lakshaman- younger brother of Lord Rama, regained his health by meditation on the banks of Hemkunt after the injuries he received from Meghnath during the Rama Ravana war. Thus the Lakshman temple is built at the place where he meditated.

Importance of Hemkund Sahib Yatra

Hemkund Sahib formally known as Gurudwara Sri Hemkund sahib is a highly-revered pilgrimage site for Sikhs. It is believed that Guru Gobind Singh- the tenth guru of Sikhs spent his 10 years in meditation. This gurudwara is visited by numerous devotees from all the corners of India. The Gurudwara has a sacred lake where the devotees take a holy dip. As per the mythology, this place was once used as a meditation ground for Lord Lakshman.

Why people go on Hemkund Yatra

The pilgrims go on Hemkund yatra to pay a visit to the holiest shrine of Sikhs- the majestic Gurudwara.  From May the Sikh pilgrim starts to arrive at Hemkund Sahib to help repair the damaged trail over the winter season first and then go for performing pilgrimage. This tradition is known as Kar Seva or selfless service that is a major concept in the Sikh faith.

Trekking for Hemkund Sahib

The trek towards the Hemkund Sahib starts at Govindghat, after crossing the Alaknanda river on a hanging bridge.  3kms further is the small village of Pulna. The 7kms trail from Pulna to Bhyndar village is packed with picturesque views including cascading waterfalls and cold water springs. One can find the small wayside teal stalls that are run all across the route, one can even hire guides at Bhyundar village. After resting here one can start the trek on the right bank f the Laxman Ganga that continues through the rich vegetation till one reaches a long bridge supported on huge boulders.

The trail becomes steeper and harder and reaches Ghanghria, the base camp for treks to Valley of Flowers and Hemkund sahib. From Ghanghria Hemkunth is almost 6kms away but yes this last stretch of the trek is quite difficult and takes time.