More than the destination of glacial lake Vasuki Tal (16,010 ft.), this 10 days’ trek is about the journey through the Garhwal Himalayas in the North Indian State of Uttarakhand. You walk over large stretches of glacier on foot while soaking in the stellar sights of huge peaks all along. The expedition gives you an extreme Himalayan experience requiring very fit experienced trekkers to attempt it. Mid-April to June and August to Mid-October are the best times to do Vasuki Tal Trek. Here are some highlights that make this trek worth trying:
Gangotri: Like several other treks in the belt, it’s a round trip from and to Gangotri (9,576 ft.), a small Hindu pilgrimage town in the Uttarkashi District.
It is located on Greater Himalayan Range on the banks of the gushing River Bhagirathi. Gangotri Temple, Bhagirath Shila (a rock on which King Bhagirath is believed to have meditated for Lord Shiva to unlock Ganges from his bun and get the River on land. Bhagirathi is named after him.), Pandava Gufa (a cave where Pandavas said to have rested en route Mt. Kailash), and submerged natural Shivalinga (Lord Shiva is believed to have sat here to receive Ganges in His locks), are worth your time. Take a trip to the market to get an insight into the local culture aligned to Yogic & Vedic principles. You get only vegetarian, yet super delicious meals. Spend the second day as well at Gangotri to acclimatize.
River Bhagirathi: After originating from Gomukh, Ganga has 2 headstreams, Bhagirathi and Alaknanda. They both unify at Devprayag and this resulting River of confluence is then called the Ganges. Being near to its origin, River Bhagirathi is quite aggressive. In the evening Bhagirathi ‘aarti’ is performed. It’s a beautiful spiritual experience. The River keeps you company along some stretches through the trek.
Bhojwassa (12,440 ft.) Campsite: On the third day, en route Bhojwassa, you pass through Chirwasa (11,811 ft.). The route from Gangotri to Chirwasa is along River Bhagirathi. Cruise through thick woods to reach Bhojwassa, where you root your first camp. Uttarakhand is also called Dev Bhoomi (Land of Gods) and it’s difficult not to find a temple. So, there is a temple near the River, around which is great for spending a few relaxed hours. As if this was not enough, the snow laden Bhagirathi Group of mountains afford a breath taking sunset and sunrise views.
Gomukh (12,763 ft.): is the origination point of River Ganga melting down from the Gangotri Glacier. Gomukh is a Hindi word meaning cow’s mouth. Once upon a time, the structure used to look like similar to a cow’s mouth. It is 18 kms away from Gangotri town. Despite the very chilled water, the devotees take holy dip in it. Irrespective of your beliefs, this place has something about it that fills you emotionally.
Tapovan (14,642 ft.) Campsite: Feeling cleansed internally, you head for Tapovan, one of the most stunning alpine meadows in the Garhwal Himalayas. The climb is quite steep from Gomukh. However, based at the foot of white Mt. Shivling (21,466 ft.), the green grassland of Tapovan dotted with wildflowers and streams justifies the effort. You fix your camp at the foot of this majestic mountain. Bhagirathi Ranges (21,175 ft.) outline the vista at the far end. Blue mountain goats called Bharal will be frequently spotted on most green patches from here on. You halt again at Tapovan on your way back from Nandanvan on day 7.
Nandanvan (14,239 ft.) Campsite: Further from Tapovan on day 5, you reach the very stunning Meru Glacier set right to Mt. Shivling. Spend some peaceful time here. Beyond this it’s like a ropewalk risk trek. Go back to Gomukh Glacier to reach Nandanvan. You literally walk over the vast Gangotri Glacier flanking two mountain ranges midway. Negotiate very carefully, since the Glacier is randomly patched with big crevasses. Being ice, it’s going to be very slippery too. No slips and strictly no falls are your primary focuses here. By the time the glacier finishes, you are so done with ‘slip preventing’ walks that you are thankful even for the subsequent rocky terrain. Be careful though, several rocks and boulders are loose. After some more effort, you reach the land of Nandanvan that you will fix your tents on.
Vasuki Tal (16,010 ft.): The 6th day you head for the destination this trek owes its name to. Tread along the Chaturangi Glacier to reach the base of massive Vasuki Parbat (22,284 ft.) and Mt. Satopanth (23,212 ft.), where lies this small yet beautiful glacial lake. Spend some time here and get back to your Nandanvan campsite. The 7th night is back at Tapovan.
Chirwasa (11,811 ft.) Campsite: For a change, you can halt on the 8th day at Chirwasa instead of Bhojwassa. Just before Chirwasa, the route is quite barren and has been given an alias of ‘Arctic Tundra.’ The raging River Bhagirathi breaks the eerie silence of long stretches of lands. Fix your camp here at Chirwasa and enjoy the shades of sunsets and sunrises over the massive white peaks. Day 9, you reach back the town of Gangotri. The group disperses on the morning of day 10.