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India >> Uttarakhand >> Garhwal >> Harsil
Harsil Garhwal, Uttarakhand
  Overview   Holiday Ideas 
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Harsil is a small village and a cantonment area, on the banks of Bhagirathi River, on the way to Hindu pilgrimage, Gangotri in Uttarkashi district of Indian state of Uttarakhand.


This sylvan hamlet is well-known for its natural beauty and delicious apples. The winding shady roads, tall conifers, lofty mountains, the turbulent Bhagirathi, apple orchards, gushing streams, hot springs, beautiful waterfalls, green meadows and treacherous glaciersall add to Harsil's allure. With the Nanda Devi Sanctuary being close and the resplendent soaring mountains around Harsil at 9,005ft while 10,000 ft at Gangotri makes it Indias ultimate arena for adventure, a haven for those seeking high adrenalin doses.


The drive to Harsil along the Bhagirathi River from Uttarkashi itself is a pleasure. The winding road with hairpin bends, its sudden ascents and descents along the valley is enjoyable, maybe nerve racking for some, the sublime scenery of the verdant Bhagirathi valley with the rambling river and the snow capped peaks looming in the horizon holds one stupefied.


Harsil is thus far untouched by tourism, because the majority of travellers move on to Gangotri. There are several camping facilities, short walks or long treks are ideal along the river and into the bordering lush green forests.


Harsil has it share of legends; the most popular was that of the ghost of Raja Wilson (Pahari Wilson), a British Army deserter and adventurer. Frederick E. Wilson who chanced to have set foot on Harsil eventually, settled in the village, married a local beauty and built a two storeyed mansion with Swing Bridge across Bhagirathi. He amassed enormous fortune and his prosperity and wealth eclipsed the Raja of Tehri giving him the name, Raja Wilson.


The ghostly tale revolves around the swing bridge. It was never rebuilt after it collapsed, just traces of it still remains, today pilgrims walk down and cross a small footbridge on their way to Gangotri. According to the locals, on moonlit nights one can still see the courageous Raja Wilson galloping down the area, coaxing the unwilling pilgrims to have faith in using his (alas) long vanished creation.


Sattal two kilometers from Harsil is the village of Bharali,  a 7-km trek from this village brings you to Sattal, a group of seven lakes, set amidst beautiful surroundings and an excellent camping site.



Couched in the magnificent Garhwal hills, Gangotri, the origin of the River Ganges, is at an altitude of 3048 meters above sea level. It is on the northernmost part of the state of Uttrakhand and is very near the Indo-Tibetan border.


According to Hindu mythology, Lord Shiva rewarded King Bhagirath and Goddess Ganga took the form of a river to absolve the sins, following his severe penance. Her pride and might to cause devastation on earth if willed, compelled Lord Shiva to ensnare her in his locks. The sacred stone near the temple is believed to symbolises the place where Ganga first came down to earth. This being the reason why the River Ganga is also known as the Bhagirathi.  


Gangotri, the source of the River Ganges and seat of the goddess Ganga, is one of the four sites in the Char Dham Yatra (The Pilgrimage Circuit). 


Gangotri Glacier

This glacier, source of the Ganges, is one of the largest in the Himalayas with an estimated volume of over 27 cubic kilometers. The glacier is about 30 kilometers long and 2 to 4 km wide. Around the glacier are the peaks of the Gangotri Group, including several peaks notable for extremely challenging climbing routes, such as Shivling, Thalay Sagar, Meru, and Bhagirathi III.


The Gangotri glacier is a traditional Hindu pilgrimage site. The terminus of the Gangotri Glacier is said to resemble a cow's mouth, and the place is called Gaumukh. Gaumukh, which is about 18 km from the town of Gangotri, is the precise source of the Bhagirathi River.

 Getting there



On the way to Gangotri in Garhwal.





25 km before Gangotri temple.

 Fast Facts
Name Harsil Best Time To Visit May to November
Location Garhwal   Uttarakhand   North   India  
Open From 0000-00-00  To 0000-00-00 Type Hill Station
Temperature Summar   10-15C      Winter   0-5C      Rainy   5-10C
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