Shri Hemkund Sahib, located in the Chamoli district of Uttarakhand, is one of the most important pilgrimage destinations for Sikhs in India. Located at an altitude of 15,000 feet, this holy shrine stands on the banks of Lake Lokpal, and is overlooked by seven mountain peaks. Each mountain peak has a Nishan Sahib (Sikh triangular flag) on its cliff. Shri Hemkund Sahib is also revered by Hindus, as it finds mention in the Ramayana.
When will Hemkund Sahib Yatra commence in 2020?
Hemkund Sahib Yatra commences from May and continue till October every year. The Hemkund Yatra opening date for 2020 have been announced as June 01st.
Significance of Hemkund Sahib for Sikhs & Hindus
Hemkund Sahib is accorded the highest respect by Sikhs, and is an important pilgrimage destination for them. It is believed by followers of Sikhism that Shri Guru Gobind Singh, the tenth and last Guru of the Sikhs, meditated here in his previous life. Shri Hemkund Sahib was first mentioned in the Dasam Granth, written by Shri Guru Gobind Singh. It contained his thoughts, and the future of Sikhism in general. However, the search for this holy shrine began only in the 19th century. It was finally traced in 1884 by Pandit Tara Singh Narotam. Much of the credit for the building of this shrine and its popularity goes to Bhai Vir Singh, a renowned Sikh scholar.
Hemkund Sahib is also held in the highest respect by the Hindus because it finds mention several times in both the Ramayana and Mahabharata. In fact, it is believed that Lord Laxmana, brother of Lord Ram, meditated at this site along with Rishi Medhasa (he is mentioned in the Markandeya Purana as Rishi of Durga Saptashathi).
Interesting Facts about Hemkund Sahib
Here are some of the interesting facts about Hemkund Sahib which you will be interested in knowing before undertaking the Hemkund Sahib Yatra 2020.
- The lake located at Hemkund Sahib, and the areas surrounding it, is known as “Lokpal” to the locals.
- Despite Shri Hemkund Sahib being mentioned in the life story of Guru Gobind Singh, it remained undiscovered for more than two centuries.
- The heavy plates that were used to build the holy shrine was carried manually over a distance of almost 10 kilometers, without the use of any machinery of transport.
- It is the only Gurudwara in the world consisting of a pentagonal design.
- The Valley of Flowers, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, is located in close proximity to Hemkund Sahib. It is famous for its meadows that are covered with alpine flowers along with a rich variety of flora.
- It is the only Gurudwara in the world which is located at such a high altitude.
How to Reach?
Although one can reach Govindghat by air, rail and road, ultimately, one will have to trek for about 19 kilometers to reach Shri Hemkund Sahib. Those who find the trek too arduous can always avail the helicopter service.
- By Rail: Haridwar is the nearest railway station to Hemkund Sahib. It is situated almost 283 kilometers from Govindghat on NH 58. Private taxis & buses from Haridwar/Rishikesh to Govindghat are available. From Govindghat, one has to take a 19 kilometers trek to reach Hemkund Sahib.
- By Air: Jolly Grant Airport is the nearest airport to Hemkund Sahib. After landing, one can hire a taxi till Govindghat, after which a 19 kilometers trek will have to be taken to reach Hemkund Sahib.
- By Road: One cannot reach Hemkund Sahib by road, as the last stretch of motorable road ends at Govindghat. After that, one has to take a 19 kilometers trek to reach Hemkund Sahib. Buses and taxis to Govindghat are available from Haridwar, Rishikesh, Rudraprayag, Srinagar, Chamoli and other places in Uttarakhand.
- By Helicopter: Those who find the 19 kilometers trek to Hemkund Sahib too arduous, or have less time on their hands, can take the Helicopter Service to Hemkund Sahib. The helicopter service is available from Govindghat to Govind Dham, also known as Ghangaria (the last 6 kilometers stretch to Shri Hemkund Sahib). From Govindghat to Govind Dham, the helicopter ride will not take you more than 8 minutes. However, the service is subject to prevailing weather conditions, which are at their most unpredictable from July to August.
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