Harsil – A supremely beautiful and quiet hamlet

Harsil was our designated stop for the night after Nelang (Nelong) valley. Although we did not cover much distance today, we made up for it by using up all the time we had.

Harsil is a small hamlet, close to Gangotri. There is a sizable Army presence here because it used to be a complete Cantonment town during the last few decades. Even now, there are very few civilian establishments. There is no phone connectivity except for BSNL.

PREVIOUSLY ON THIS TRIP Nelang Valley – The untouched, unspoiled raw beauty

The local populace seem predominantly Buddhist. In this part of Uttarakhand, only in this small village will you see the colorful prayer flags that are so typical of Spiti and Ladakh – regions close to Tibet. Some folks who were displaced in the 1962 war from Nelang, must have settled around here, bringing with them, the Buddhist way of life.

Signs of proximity to Tibet, notice the prayer flags
Signs of proximity to Tibet, notice the prayer flags

Soon after exiting Nelang, we were exhausted. But Harsil, with its beauty and cool breeze lifted our spirits in no time.

With views like these, how can one not stop every 5 mins?
With views like these, how can one not stop every 5 mins?
RELATED Video log of Harsil coming soon on YouTube. Subscribe to get updates.

The famous Dimsum guy (momo-wala) was away on vacation, so we could not try that and settled for a plate of Noodles instead. My God! were they spicy. Almost felt like I chewed on Bhut Jolokia! My face was on fire!!. Top Tip for anyone travelling to the region – ask your food to be less spicy. Trust me, it will still be spicy, but at least, your face/mouth/esophagus/stomach won’t burn.

Walking around Harsil

With the fire in our stomachs doused, we decided to have a walk around the village.

A walk to remember, lol!
A walk to remember, lol!
Much more comfortable than a recliner!
Much more comfortable than a recliner!

It is a major hub for trekkers with treks starting to almost everywhere in every direction from here. Have a look at the direction board we came across.

Take your pick, all routes lead to heaven!
Take your pick, all routes lead to heaven!
Signs of proximity to Tibet, notice the Buddisht shrine on the hillock
The raging stream

A gushing stream and numerous other channels dot the grasslands between Harsil and Bagori. Sky was filled with ominous clouds. Sun did peak out a few times but quickly retreated.

We just sat there, gazing into oblivion thinking about, well, nothing. It is not an easy thing to do – think about nothing. But in the favorable environment of Harsil it was not that difficult.

For city dwellers, places like these are nothing short of a heaven! Listening to the music of chirping birds, rustling leaves, flowing streams instead of that godforsaken rapper shouting his lungs out on a FM channel, inhaling the clean, cool, somewhat damp air instead of fumes, takes one into a meditative trance.

In a pensive mood. Harsil does that to you.
In a pensive mood. Harsil does that to you.

Ours got broken when the sky opened up. It was raining again. We got some chicken to cook and headed back.

Delicious "desi" chicken
Delicious “desi” chicken
Masterchef Neeraj
Masterchef Neeraj

The serious side talk

Discussing the last few days over dinner, we realized, how amazing this place, Uttarakhand, becomes during monsoons. But sadly, due to the incessant commercialization of most of the places (including rivers), there are catastrophic consequences of rains. Nature should not be meddled with, ever. We don’t think about the next few generations and what they will inherit after us. I am sure Nature will have the final word, but the important thing is, will we learn and stop before it’s too late?


Have you been to this beautiful, peaceful village? How was your experience in Harsil? Any stories or photos to share?

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