with Rishikesh and Uttarkashi
We haven't set the date for our next pilgrimage to Gangotri.
Please email us if you are interested.
Gangotri is the traditional source of the river Ganga. Here in the Garhwal region of the high Himalayas, the nature is spectacular, the air rarefied, and the spiritual vibration tangible. Our visit includes receiving blessings of Gangotri Temple, dedicated to Ma Ganga, and walks and meditations in the beautiful surroundings
En route to and from the heights of Gangotri, we'll also stop in 2 other towns noted for their own special connections with the sacred river.
Gangotri is no more than a village in size, nestled in a narrow valley at the foot of towering mountains. Much of the spiritual appeal is the river itself and the spell it casts on all who approach it.
The temple was built in the 18th century on the spot where it is believed the Ganga first descended to earth.
Gangotri is associated with several other sacred traditions. One of the best known is the belief that the Pandavas made their great Deva Yagna in the vicinity to atone for the deaths of their relatives in the battle of Mahabharata.
The river enters Gangotri as a turbulent rushing stream, milky green in colour. It meanders, forming its own channels in a wide, boulder-strewn riverbed.
Within the town the river transforms itself. The water now flows in spectacular waterfalls and pools within the walls of dramatic rock canyons. Devotees search in the river for sacred stones.
Below town, these canyons become high cliffs towering over the water.
Above town, most buildings quickly vanish and the river becomes very natural. Every now and then a small ashram or a sadhu's kutir lies tucked into the trees. There are boulders for sitting or meditating, and pools and sandy areas for bathing.
An easy walk, shaded by giant deodars, with views of the river canyon far below, takes us to "Pandu Guha", a large cave attributed to the Pandavas, located directly under a huge boulder.
The Ganga first becomes visible as it emerges from the Gaumukh Glacier. Over the centuries this glacier has receded 19 km (about 12 miles) above Gangotri.
Most of 1 day will be devoted to walking above the river, in the direction of the Gaumukh Glacier.
Instead of hiking all the way to Gaumukh, which would require additional days, pilgrims can walk for as long as they feel to, then turn around and walk back. From the start of the trail the views are delightful and the vibration is strong.
In Rishikesh and Uttarkashi
As we make our way up to Gangotri, we'll spend 1 night in Rishikesh, a town in the foothills of the Himalayas famed for its ashrams and yogis, attracting thousands of pilgrims every year.
Rishikesh is considered a principal "gateway to the Himalayas". The Rishikesh area is also the point at which the Ganga leaves its mountain origins and flows out into the plains of northern India.
The drive between Rishikesh and Gangotri is spectacular in itself, with views of high peaks, untouched nature, and Gangotri National Park.
Uttarkashi will be a stopover both going to and coming from Gangotri. The town is known for its powerful Vishwanath Temple, which has a spiritual connection with the temple of the same name in Varanasi. Indeed the very name Uttarkashi means "Kashi (Varanasi's ancient name) of the North". According to Skanda Purana, Uttarkashi is the abode of Lord Shiva in Kali Yuga, and one of the 12 Jyotirlinga Shiva temples. Many great saints have lived here.
Our previous piligrimage's schedule.
Tuesday 4 October
Depart New Delhi on Dehradun Shatabdi train. Breakfast on train.
Arrive Haridwar. Travel by jeep to Rishikesh and settle in hotel.
Opening gathering, and satsang with Mataji Vanamali Devi.
Dinner at hotel.
Wednesday 5 October
3:00 or 4:00 pm
Depart Rishikesh by jeep
Visit Vishwanath Temple, walk by river
Dinner at hotel
Thursday 6 October
2:00 or 3:00 pm
Visit temple, river walk
Evening arati at temple
Dinner at local café
Friday 7 October
Walk on Gaumukh Trail above river
Dinner at local café
Saturday 8 October
12:00 or 1:00 pm
5:00 or 6:00 pm
Walk to Pandu Guha
Dinner & gathering at hotel
Sunday 9 October
8:00 or 9:00 am
3:00 or 4:00 pm
Arrive Haridwar (visit an ashram if extra time)
Dehradun Shatabdi departs; dinner on train
Arrive New Delhi
Accommodations, Meals, and
We'll stay in 2 or 3-star hotels in Rishikesh and Uttarkashi. In Gangotri accommodations are rustic guest houses. Rooms have attached bath and hot water, but no room heaters. Breakfast and dinner are included. Gangotri has very limited electricity.
About the Altitude
We'll ascend gradually, taking 2 days to reach Gangotri at 3,040 metres (9,973 feet), thus avoiding most discomfort people might feel with altitude. A medical check-up for high altitudes is advisable if you have health concerns such as blood pressure, diabetes, asthma, or a heart or lung condition. At such an elevation it is common to feel shortness of breath and your body may move more slowly than usual.
At Gangotri we'll increase our physical activity gradually, as we get used to the altitude. The activities are optional, and you can have an enjoyable time without extensive walking. We'll offer slow group walks of 1 to 3 hours, and you may walk longer if you wish.
Double occupancy: To be finalised.
Single occupancy (private room): To be finalised.
Please note: If you do not have a roommate, we will try to
connect you with another single pilgrim of the same sex. If a
roommate cannot be found, you will need to pay for single occupancy.
If you snore, we ask you to room with someone you know well, or
pay for single occupancy.
The programme fee includes train Delhi-Haridwar-Delhi, all group transportation, lodging and 2 meals a day, and tips. Not included in the programme fee are lunches, snacks, and beverages; medical insurance or medical care should you need it; and personal hotel expenses such as room-service snacks.
Completed application form and 1st payment of Rs. 5,000 due by 1 July in order to purchase train tickets in time. Payments by cheque or bank draft payable to "Ananda Sangha", or in person in Gurgaon by cash. Your participation is confirmed only when we approve your application and receive 1st payment. Balance of the fee is due by 1 September. In case of cancellation, Rs. 1,000 of fee is non-refundable. Cancellation close to date of departure may incur additional costs.
Preparation for Pilgrimage
Weather? What to pack? What to wear? Luggage restrictions?
We'll help you through all these questions and more by e-mail, with letters on preparation and answers to any individual questions.
This pilgrimage will be led by Keshava
and Daya Taylor of Ananda Sangha India.
They will be assisted full-time
by a guide from Discover Tours, the Indian tour operator that has guided
Ananda pilgrimages for 20 years.