Among the 508 important pilgrimages for Sikhs, Hemkund Sahib is located in Chamoli district in Uttarakhand. Situated at a height of 4,329 meters above mean sea level, it is also the highest gurudwara of Sikh Community. The gurudwara is venerated by Sikhs as it is believed the tenth guru Guru Gobind Singh meditated at the very spot in his previous birth. However, the site vanished from the collective consciousness of the Sikh community in the first half of the 2oth century. The importance of the site came to light from the autobiography of Guru Gobind Singh called Bachitira Natak. Guru Gobind Singh mentioned about his previous life and also the importance of Hemkund. He also described that King Pandu of Mahabharata also performed yoga at the place.
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The literal meaning of Hemkund is ‘lake of snow’. Besides being a religious site, it also attracts scores of nature lovers. Reaching this place is one of the greatest joys for a nature lover. Number of Waterfalls, dense forest and seven peaks of Himalayan range and crystal clear lake water are enough to pull tourists. Trekking is one of the most favourite activities among tourists. The place is also believed to be associated with Hindu god Lakshman. There is also a temple near Hemkund Sahib dedicated to Lakshman.
Reaching Hemkund Sahib gurudwara is an endurance trek as you need to walk 13 km to reach the pilgrimage spot. A motorable road is available till Gobindghat. Pilgrims not only have to endure the rough terrain but also brace for altitude sickness.
Pilgrims often combine trek to the gurudwara with a trip to the Valley of Flowers National Park. Spread over 87.5 sq km, the bio-diversity hotspot is known for its natural beauty comprising alpine shrubs and meadows, milky white streams, snow-clad peaks and pristine air. Valley of Flowers and Nanda Devi National Park, together, constitute the Nanda Devi Biosphere Reserve.
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There are no hotels or guest houses for stay at Gurudwara Hemkund Sahib. You will have to return to Govindghat after visiting the gurudwara. Govidghat has government guest houses, forest guest houses, private hotels and dormitories for visitors. Most of the facilities are budget or medium range. There are no restaurants or hotels at the gurudwara. But the Hemkund Trust serves free tea and meals (known as langar) to all visitors. Partaking of the food served at the langar completes the pilgrimage to the highest gurudwara.
The route to Hemkund Sahib remains open between June and October.
The average minimum and maximum temperature of Dehradun is as given below. The best time to visit Dehradun is also specified.