Distance: 2 Km (approx)
Sat Tal literally means Seven Lakes and is approximately 2Km away from Prakriti Retreat. The enchanting natural beauty of the interconnected lakes surrounded by the foliage of pine trees makes for a beautiful spot to feel one with nature. It’s a slightly steep trek but not an arduous one and can be undertaken easily. Keep taking breaks on the way and experience the beautiful scenery at your leisure.
Distance: 2 Km (approx)
Mukhba is the winter home of the idol of Goddess Ganga of the Gangotri Shrine. It is a beautiful village across the river from Prakriti Retreat. You can cover the distance on foot, crossing the river on the wooden bridge to reach this tiny hamlet. During the transfer of the idol to and from Gangotri, the procession is a must see event that includes large number of devotees, local musicians and the army band of the Garhwal Rifles.
Distance: 5 Km (approx)
Harsil is one of the most well known towns in this region situated on the banks of the Bhagirathi river. It is also a cantonment (army) area and therefore parts of Harsil have restricted access. The busy Harsil market has everything from local dhabas and tea stalls to hotels and banks. Wilson Cottage in Harsil is one of the major attractions. The cottage is the replica of the original house of Fredrick E Wilson, a British Army Officer who deserted the army in 1857 and escaped to Garhwal. He later became a wood merchant and married a local Garhwali girl.
Distance: 5.5 Km (approx)
Further beyond Harsil at less than a kilometer is the picturesque sheep herders’ village of Bagori. The concrete path and a few small bridges across the mountains take you to this settlement that is mostly Tibetan and Garhwalis. Though a lot have changed in past decade in terms of construction of houses, you can still come across few traditional houses that are made of wood and stone.
Distance: 22 Km (approx)
Restricted for civilians since the 1962 and recently been opened to tourists (in 2015), Nelong Valley is a must visit destination. The valley is often referred to as the Ladakh of Uttarakhand because of similar geography and climate. It was a former Indo-China trade route and today visitors can see the relics of the Gartang Galion wooden bridge and the Lal Devta Mandir. Since it’s a part of the Gangotri National park, you could also spot some rare wildlife species like the musk deer, snow leopard, Himalayan blue sheep and Bharal. Visitors are allowed only on prior permission and fulfillment of basic paperwork. Foreigners are currently not allowed entry to Nelong Valley. A short 30-45 minute drive from Prakriti Retreat takes you to the valley’s entry point and you can easily spend a couple of hours driving through the valley enjoying the surreal natural beauty of the region.
Distance: 18 Km (approx)
Gangotri is one of the four “Dhams”; others being Yamunotri, Badrinath, and Kedarnath). It is where river Bhagirathi descends (the river is renamed Ganga after it merges with Alakhnanda at Devprayag). Gangotri temple is the main draw here and visitors from different parts of the world arrive after the temple opens during last week of April until end of October every year. One cannot miss the spiritual vibes when surrounded with so much faith and natural beauty. You can cover the distance from Prakriti to Gangotri by road in 30 mins.
Distance: 42 Km (approx)
Gaumukh is the second largest glacier in India, after Siachen. The trail is open to trekkers from May to October each year and is 20Kms from Gangotri Temple. It is one of the most accessible Himalayan Glaciers and on the route you will pass through the hamlets of Chirbasa and Bhojbasa (preferred overnight stopover). 4 Kms from Bhojbasa and you can see the majestic Shivling Peak and a view of the vast Glacier which is 23Kms long and 4Km wide.
Distance: 48 Km (approx)
While most return to Gangotri via Bhojbasa from Gaumukh, more adventurous and seasoned trekkers proceed to Tapovan which is 6Km beyond the glacier. Tapovan means “a place for sages to meditate” and as per Hindu mythology, this is the place where King Bhagirath meditated to Lord Shiva for Ganga’s descent to earth. Located at the base of Shivling Peak, Tapovan is a high altitude alpine meadow on the west bank of the Gaumukh Glacier. It is a much loved destination of trekkers for its pure and mystical natural beauty and thrilling hiking experience.
Distance: 33 Km (approx)
Uttarkashi is home to quite a few natural hot water springs, the most famous one being at Gangnani village en-route Gangotri (46Km). It is essentially half way between Uttarkashi town and Gangotri and serves as a quick stopover for almost all religious tourists. The site is known as “Rishikund” and has religious significance, for it is here that devotees cleanse themselves before proceeding to Gangotri.
Distance: 51 Km (approx)
Bugyal in Garhwali means meadow. At an altitude of 3048m, Dayara Bugyal is one of the most beautiful meadows in the country. The panoramic views of the upper Himalayas and the lush green expanse stretching to 28 sq km are enchanting and unforgettable. On the way you would pass by the Barnala Tal, a natural high altitude lake. The trek is of easy to moderate range and considered ideal for beginners.