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Tapovan Gaumukh Trek

It was the month of may, we started from Uttarkashi around 10 AM in my car. Went to forest office for collecting permit to visit only Gaumukh. (For tapovan you need different permit) as it was the only plan for us. Bought few water bottles and dry fruits for trek.
By 12 PM moved toward Gangotri which is 120km. In between stayed at one of NTPC site office to have lunch. by 4.30 pm we reached Gangotri. Parked the car their but none of 3 took the food and water.

After trekking for a km reached the check point to show permit but guard was not allowing as it is not allowed to enter forest after 4 pm. We requested him alot and finally settled with him giving 50 Rs. By the time visibility was decreasing and we have to still cover 14 km. so we targeted that with speed of 4 km/hr we may reach the ashram by 8pm. It was 7pm and it became very difficult to trek in darkness. we just had our mobile, those nokia fones display as light source. It was the time when bharal, deer or unknown wild life were moving on rocks and throwing stones over us in a narrow track of 10-20 inches along the river ganges.. finally we managed good speed and reached the ashram before 8 pm.

Had the dinner of normal chapati and dal and slept with other 20 odd people in a common hall on a floor. It was very difficult to have sleep in that chilling weather even after walking so much. Next day morning started to trek for gaumukh which was 4 km more. Reached there and saw the origin of ganges from Gaumukh glacier. Divine feeling. The rocks were falling from top in interval of 2-3 second. Taking risk we went to origin one by one to have pic. we go so fast when some rock drops, click the foto and move away immediately within a second to avoid getting hurt from falling rocks.

By the time saw two german girls , had some chat and came to know that they are planning to go tapovan. 6 km vertical climb. We felt ashamed as we have to return from this point and had no permit for tapovan. We asked each other that should we go for a vertical climb without food, water and any montaneering gear. Even snowfall was started. No one opposed the change of plan and unanimously we decided to go for it.

it was around 11 pm and we started for tapovan. Visibilty decreased to few meters and there was no track to follow. We had only sense of direction that tapovan was on that particular side  and we have to move on. But we were wrong. Just after walking for a km we were watching a small river instead of montain. Actually we lost the direction in snowfall and just reached above gaumukh. It was a dead end as we were standing at end of gaumukh glacier which was melting. We immediately changed the direction and found some big stones in which some trackers have painted arrows. We followed it and started the difficult vertical climb of our life time.  We crossed the Sky Ganga a vertical waterfall on that climb. It was amazing. Our cloths were totally wet due to freezing water and snowfall. The most difficult thing in vertical climb without gear is that you have to walk using your hands and push the body upwards. Without gloves the rocks submerged in snow was difficult to grab. In half way we tought to give up but by the time snowfall stopped. and we completed the remaining trek and finally reached the top where beautiful flowers along the stream of sky ganga welcomed us.

We reached at top around 4 pm. Then we planned to go back to bengali baba ashram which was 10km and stay overnite. We reached ashram around 7pm. Now again had a change of plan wheather we should have dinner here or go back. We had not eaten anything since the morning. Gangotri was still 14km there. Again unanimously we decided to go directly to gangotri. So we again started to trek in night. to make the thing worse rainfall started. Still we tracked and reach to our car by 12 mid nite. It was a great relif since marning we had walked 34 odd kilometers including vertical climb.

We got water and food in our car and started to drive toward uttarkashi which was 120 km ahead. Nite driving is not allowed in hills after 8 pm. I was driving and not feeling existance of my legs, tired still i manage to drove and we reached by 4 am morning to my home. 

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