Known as the camper’s bay of Uttarakhand, Harsil is an unspoiled village and a cantonment town. It is a favourite among tourists seeking peace and serenity in the lap of the Himalayas.
Harsil is situated on the banks of Bhagirathi River at an elevation of 2,620 m above sea level, 25 km from the popular pilgrimage of Gangotri.
Harsil has become popular in recent years with nature enthusiasts due to its picturesque location. Harsil is relatively untouched and offers panoramic views of the beautiful mountains.
Harsil is an ideal if you are looking for an andrenaline rush. The Bhagirathi River serves well to the village and tourists also chose to visit the nearby region of Gangotri during their trip to Harsil.
Tourists also visit the village of Dharali located on the banks of the River Ganga which is widely known for its beautiful apple orchards. The Shiva Temple at Dharali is its prime attraction.
Harsil is inhabited by a small number of Jadhs, an ethinic group of the Bhutiyas whose language bares a stark resemblance to Tibetan.
Harsil is popular for the legend of ‘Pahari’ Wilson also known as Raja Wilson. Frederick E. Wilson was an adventurer, who is known to have deserted the British Army just after the Sepoy Mutiny of 1857. He escaped into Garhwal and sought refuge with the Raja of Tehri. Unfortunately, the Raja was faithful to the British and refused to offer sanctuary.
Hence, Wilson escaped into the mountains where he married a beautiful Pahari girl by the name of Gulabi. For work, Wilson entered into a contract with a London-based company and built a fortune out of the export of skins, fur and musk. Around this time, the British were building the Railways in India and there was great demand for quality wooden sleepers for the rails. Wilson cashed in on the opportunity and sent huge deodar trees floating down the river to the plains.
Wilson is believed to have built a double-storied mansion in the village of Harsil and a bridge over the river.
Harsil has limited accomadation options. There are a few budget hotels. The Chardham Camp offers tourists food and stay. Tourists also prefer to stay at Dharali and Gangotri.
The average minimum and maximum temperature of Gangotri is as given below. The best time to visit Gangotri is also specified.