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Pure Humanity - Hemkund Sahib Gurudwara hike

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As the religious Gurudwara of Hemkund Sahib officially opens today for the 2016 season, we reminisce about the hike to the region last year. 

When I compare the trek to Valley of Flowers along with Hemkund Sahib with recent Pangarchula summit hike, I understand why the former is considered easy, but I can assure you on its own, no trek is ever easy since all require some degree of effort.

Before climbing the mountain of Hemkund Sahib I was not at all familiar with the Sikh culture.
Yes I am married to someone from Punjab but I have never been exposed to the devotion and magic I witnessed at 15000 ft above sea level.

There are a number of legends associated with the place, narrations from The Ramayana,from Guru Gobind Singh ji’s life stories and from stories associated with Lord Indra, each one only allowing you to make sense of the beauty.
We had already ventured deep into the Valley of Flowers the prior day and chose to utilize one complete day to experience Hemkund Sahib.This is a very popular trail and at any point you will find someone to walk with you.
The trail is virtually all ascent and along the front face of the mountain,without any intervention to distract the eye you get a clear view of your destination all through the route. Its a slow strenuous climb and you slowly gain altitude of just about 1 km over a distance of 6 km.  

We left our base camp at 6:00 am and about 2 hours later I had only covered 10 % of the trail.

There are a lot of people that will glide pass you propped up on their pony and it will make you doubt your decision of climbing to the top as each leg muscle burns.

There were a number of fellow trekkers from our group who had opted out of the climb  and hence there were just about 5 of us scattered through the trail each one at your own pace.

Climbing alone,there is this little voice in your head that asks you if you are sure about wanting to make it to the top and as you start doubting yourself and as you are at your slowest you begin to hear the chants from the Gurudrawa echoing in the wilderness pushing you to get to the top.

The route only gets better from this point on , you not only walk by the mighty glacier that’s key landmark on the route but also witness the magic the altitude offers.

Beyond the 14000 feet mark the hill sides wake up and magnificent blue poppy stems peep through the pea-green grass.

It has been said that early 20th-century Western plant hunters  came to the foothills of the Himalayas in search of the blue poppy as ornamental flowers for European gardens, but never found any believing that it was a myth.

I suddenly began to enjoy my slow pace and my leisurely trek. But as any hiker knows every second of daylight counts and you need to get to  the top if you want to head back in time.

Just as I picked up my pace and finally caught up with fellow trekkers, I was stunned by golden glow and the sugar-frosted coating of dew on the captivating Brahma Kamal blooms,the much talked about flower of the Himalayas.The flower heads I believe are actually purple,but are enclosed in layers of greenish-yellow, papery petals.

Eventually very tired and exhausted we reached a point where I found that I could either climb up steps to the Gurdwara or take the long path around.

I stopped and considered… both were inclined,the steps were steeper but were promising to be the shorter route , but I do not know how and why but  I chose to take the longer route up and I am glad I did ,because after listening to Shitals strenuous description of the step climb, there is no way I would have made it.  

After about 45 minutes of walking the last ½ km, I staggered into the Hemkund Sahib compound at about 1:00 pm, completely out of breath and it was then that I got the first view of the ‘sarovar’. 

A dip in the sacred lake is believed to cleanse sins and in order to pay my respects,I dipped  myself into the ice cold lake and was


astonished to find that I truly felt rejuvenated.


The sense of community at any Gurudrawa is encouraging and to witness it in the middle of the Himalayas was magical. 

Almost immediately, I was partaking of the delicious Khichdi and tea that was being offered to all the pilgrims.

It was time for the pilgrims to leave holy Gurudwara and head downhill .We left feeling a bit subdued and even more convinced that there definitely was some cosmic energy at Hemkund Sahib,because I was fresh and ready to head back down and felt brand new.




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