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After a six day hectic trek in the Garhwal region we were dropped off at Harshil around 40 km from Gangotri on the way back to Uttarkashi. After the flash floods in Uttarakhand tourist groups often prefer Harshil for their night halt on the way to Gangotri. Situated in the military cantonment area, Indian army officials are all over the place building up a stern environment. It was late in the evening and we preferred to retire for the night, at the Snow Valley hotel owned by Rawat ji who was one of the oldest residents of Harshil. Early next morning we were greeted with bright sunny weather as we witnessed the surrounding hills with the splashing sound of river Ganges in the background. A short stroll took us to a shop which had non vegetarian momo and noddles making a perfect breakfast.The main road had a few hotel along its side heading up to the stream which the locals calls Nala. After crossing the bridge the road went ahead to the Bagori village, home to the renowned Bhutia tribes who had migrated from Tibet region during the war with China in the early 1960s. These people usually stay at Harshil in the summer months and return to their second homes in and around Uttarkashi during winters.


Flower garden
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The rivulet flowing through the village
Entering Bagori village..
Entering Bagori village..
Buddhist inscriptions in front of a monastery at Bagori
Buddhist inscriptions in front of a monastery at Bagori

It was the month of June while the people in the plains were struggling to cope up with the heat, residents of Harshil were enjoying a warm sunbath. The younger ones were busy roaming around planning their day while the elderly folks were knitting woollen garments, puffing a smoke and hanging out lazily in their porch. Woollen products was the main source of income for most of the people during the summer months. Most houses I visited had livestock’s (cattle and sheep). Their backyard had gardens where roses were in full bloom.

 
Locals busy making woollen garments
Locals busy making woollen garments

 

Woodens housed with typical designs all along the alley
Woodens housed with typical designs all along the alley

 

The baby's pose..
A little baby’s pose..

The same alley lead us to the end of the village heading to the playground just on the bank of Ganges.It had a helipad alongside it. A cricket match was on between the locals. It was interesting that every big shot on the leg side went into the river. The local guys we speeding down the slopes of the speeding river to stop the ball from getting swept away. After enquiry I found out in every match they used around 20-25 balls which is a expensive affair. The pleasant afternoon had a huge gathering of the locals to watch and enjoy the match.

Cricket ground just along the bank of Ganges
Cricket ground just along the bank of Ganges

 

Cricket ground just along the bank of Ganges
Saurav Ganguly in the making !!!

 

Happy as always
Happy as always

In the evening we had decided to cook and brought chicken from a local store and cooked it up in our hotels kitchen. We were accompanied by another group of guys from Punjab and had a memorable time sharing our stories.

 

My little buddy had lots of stories to share.
My little buddy had lots of stories to share.


Foliage
Foliage

 

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Listening to stories of Harshil from the one and only Rawat ji. His family has been running the hotel since three decades
Next morning we boarded the shared jeep to Rishikesh. Harshil really turned out to be a laid back Himalayan hamlet away from the hustle bustle of city life and congestion of the typical hill stations in the Himalayas. 


General Information :

Location of Harshil-  2620 metres above sea level, 
  • 250 km from Haridwar,
  • 70 km from Uttarkashi,
  • 30 km from Gangotri on the National highway (Gangotri Uttarkashi road).
Best time to visit – May to October, winter has limited accommodation and roads can be blocked due to snowfall.  
 
Accommodation– Hotels serve vegetarian and NON VEGETARIAN food. 
 
Trek Routes – 
Day treks can be done in the surroundings. 
The famous trek to Chitkul in Himachal Pradesh via Lamkhaga Pass starts from Harshil. It is a 10 day trek of moderate gradient. 
A trip to Nelong valley can be organised from here but prior permits are required from Forest officer and Border Security Force at Uttarkashi. 

Harshil – A Himalayan Hamlet
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