Hemkund Sahib (Formerly Gurudwara Shri Hemkund Sahib Ji) is a Sikh place of worship in the Chamoli district of Uttarakhand. The place is in devotion to the tenth Guru of Sikhism- Shri Guru Gobind Singh. Guru Ji has himself mentioned the place in his work ‘Dasam Granth’.
The name ‘Hemkund Sahib’ comes from the words ‘Hem’ meaning ‘Snow’ and ‘Kund’ meaning ‘reservoir or pond’, hence meaning ‘The reservoir of snow’. This is because the location of the pilgrimage site is amid the snow-capped Himalayas and the water of the ‘kund’ in its front is as cold as snow. It is also a part of the Char Dham Yatra in Uttarakhand, the holiest pilgrimage in India.
What is the history of Hemkund Sahib?
According to the history of Hemkund Sahib, initially, local inhabitants built it under the name of ‘Lokpal’ which means ‘the one who sustains people’. Later, when the famous Sikh historian Bhai Santokh Singh narrated the tale of ‘Dusht Daman’ and the place of worship or ‘tapasthan’.
However, Sant Sohan Singh of Tehri Garhwal discovered the present form of the temple. He visited the place with Baba Kartar Singh Bedi in 1934. Also, according to Pandit Tara Singh Narotam, it is one of the places where King Pandu meditated. Moreover, the Dasam Granth says that God ordered Guru Gobind Singh to take birth while he was in deep meditation at the mount of Hemkund Sahib.
What is the significance of Hemkund Sahib?
The significance of Hemkund Sahib is that it is one of the most religiously important Sikh pilgrimage sites. As per beliefs, Lakshaman, the younger brother of Lord Ram meditated near the lake of Hemkund Sahib. Pilgrims cannot access the site from October to April due to harsh weather conditions.
Pilgrims arrive in May and repair the damage of the path to Hemkund Sahib that occured over the winter, which is traditionally popular as ‘kar seva’ (selfless service), an important concept of Sikhism. Due to its religious importance, it becomes an important stop in the Char Dham Yatra within Uttarakhand.
What are the timings of Hemkund Sahib?
Here are the timings of Hemkund Sahib:
|Morning||5 AM||12 PM|
|Evening||2 PM||9 PM|
What are the festivals celebrated at Hemkund Sahib?
Some of the festivals celebrated at Hemkund Sahib are:
- Guru Gobind Singh Jayanti: This is the day on which Guru Gobind Singh was born. Gurudwaras take out processions on this day. Moreover, people sing devotional songs during the procession and share sweets and a cold drink or a sharbat among the adults and children.
- Maghi: This day celebrates the martyrdom of the “Forty Immortals,” forty followers of Guru Gobind Singh who had previously deserted him. They fought bravely against overwhelming Mughal army forces and died. Later Guru Gobind Singh blessed them and said that they had attained ‘Mukti’ or salvation.
How to reach Hemkund Sahib?
Here’s how to reach Hemkund Sahib:
- Air: Jolly Grant Airport of Dehradun, 268 km from Hemkund Sahib is the nearest airport.
- Train: The nearest railway station is Rishikesh, 189 km away.
- Road: Buses are available from ISBT Kashmere gate to Rishikesh. From there one can reach Gobind Ghat via road and then trek to Hemkund Sahib.
Where to stay near Hemkund Sahib?
Some of the places where one can stay near Hemkund Sahib while undertaking the Char Dham Yatra are:
- Hotel Heaven: The hotel offers facilities suchlike parking and telephone. Backed by a team of skilled professionals, the property ensures that all needs of guests are fulfilled timely. Moreover, in case of medical emergencies, doctor on call facility can be availed at the hotel.
- Hotel Sudarshan Palace: Amenities such as bed, bottled drinking water, access to common balcony and attached bathroom with hot/cold running water facility and toiletries are available within all the 14 rooms in this two-floored accommodation. Hotel Sudarshan Palace has facilities such as 24-hour front desk, garden area and parking facility within its premises.
- Shri Krishna Palace Hotel: This accommodation in Chamoli features a multi-cuisine restaurant. Housing a total of 36 well-maintained and spacious rooms, this hotel in Chamoli provides basic in-room amenities like a comfortable bed and an attached bathroom with toiletries and hot and cold water supply. Guests can avail of additional services like room service, medical assistance and laundry during their stay at the property.
What are some places to visit near Hemkund Sahib?
Some of the places one can visit near Hemkund Sahib are:
- Badrinath Temple: Badrinath Temple is a Hindu temple dedicated to Lord Vishnu in the Garhwal region of Uttarakhand. The majestic River Alaknanda flows beside the temple. Devotees believe that the statue of the Deity Lord Vishnu is Swayambhu in nature meaning that it is self-manifested. Beliefs also say that that Narada attained salvation atop the Narad Shila present at Badrinath.
- Hanuman Chatti: The presiding deity of the temple is Lord Hanuman, and the temple derives its name from an interesting mythological event involving Hanuman and Bhima. Moreover, it is present at the head of a very popular trekking destination.
- Narsingh Temple, Joshimath: It is an ancient temple for Lord Narshimna, the fourth incarnation of Vishnu. It is present in Chamoli district of Uttarakhand, and is one of the 108 ‘Divya Deshams’ of Vishnu. Since the temple is a part of ‘Sapt Badri’, it is also popular as Narsingh Badri Temple. This temple along with the Badrinath temple and Hanuman Chatti is a part of the Char Dham Yatra within Uttarakhand.
- Valley of Flowers: It is an Indian National Park present in the Western Himalayas in Uttarakhand. It is region rich in diversity of flora and fauna including rare and endangered species of plants and animals. This place also finds reference in Hinduism because yogis are known to have visited the valley for meditation.