Located amidst the majestic snow covered peaks, Hemkund Sahib is one of the most important Sikh shrines in the world. This majestic shrine is situated at an altitude 15,200 feet above the sea level and so, is accessible by foot from Gobindghat in the Chamoli district of Uttarakhand, India. As the name Hemkund suggest, this shrine is situated on the bank of a lake called the Hemkund Lake. It is believed that Shri Guru Govind Singh Ji, the tenth Sikh Guru, meditated on the bank of this lake until he became one with god. This lake is also associated with many characters like Rishi Medhasa (Markandeya Purana) and Lakshmana (Brother of Lord Rama) in the Hindu epics. Encircled by seven mountains adorned with Nishan Sahib, the Hemkund Sahib Gurudwara attracts not only salvation-seeking souls, but also admirers of the mystic yet heavenly beauty of nature. From the Hemkund lake originates the Laksman Ganga stream (Hem Ganga) that merges with the Pushpawati stream and flows down the valley. Let's know more about Hemkund Sahib Gurudwara.
Hemkund Lake and the seven mountains surrounding it are mentioned in Bachitira Natak, the autobiographical account of Shri Guru Gobind Singh Ji. In this book, he narrates about his birth, mission and also describes the place where he meditated in his previous birth for many years to be one with the supreme power. The Guru was first born as Dusht Daman in Sat Yug with a mission to destroy evil power and establish the power of god. When this mission was accomplished, Dusht Daman was asked to meditate at Hemkund, until the god called him. It is believed that he meditated in this place for years and finally united with the almighty. The legend doesn't end here. Dusht Daman took rebirth in Kal Yug as the son of the ninth Guru and became the tenth and last living guru of the Sikhs.
It is claimed that the Hemkund Sahib was founded by Sant Sohan Singh, an Indian army personal in 1930. Sohan Singh died around 1937 and another Sikh soldier, Havildar Modan Singh, who assisted Sohan Singh then, laid the foundation of the present Gurudwara, and opted to live here till his death in 1960. Now, Hemkund Sahib is designated as a special place of worship by Sikh religious organizations.
Lord Lakshman, brother of Lord Rama, is believed to have visited Hemkund and paid penance here. A temple dedicated to Lord Lakshman marks this event and so, the place is also a holy spot for Hindus.
A trip to Hemkund is the best way to see the most beautiful hill stations and tourist spots located near this area. The beautiful Valley of Flowers, with many rare species of flowers like the Brahma Kamal, is situated at a distance of 3 kilometers from Hemkund Sahib. It is not wise to miss this place if you plan to visit Hemkund Sahib. The famous hill station, Nainital is about 15-20 km away from here.
Sri Hemkunt Sahib is accessible only in the summer season. The peak season is from June to October. The rest of the year is not considered apt for visit as heavy snow fall blocks off the trail leading up to the shrine.
How To Reach Hemkund
The neared air base is Jolly Grant located in Dehradun, 307 km away from Hemkund. It is connected with major cities like Delhi through numerous flights.
The Nainital Railway station is the nearest rail link and is located at a distance of 293 kilometers.
You can go up to Gobindghat by the Rishikesh-Badrinath highway, and from there pilgrims take trek up to the hill top. Gobindghat, the base station, is well connected to other part of the country and also connected directly to many important tourist spots like Rishikesh, Kotdwara, Dehradun, Haridwar, Nainital, Ranikhet etc.
Being mentioned by spiritual leaders like Guru GobindJi, Hemkund is an exteremly holy shrine for Sikhs. Located in the lap of adorningly beautiful Himalayas, the trip to the shrine will definitely be an unusual experience.