Harsil is a small hamlet, near Gangotri. There are very few civilian establishments here. No phone connectivity except for BSNL. But, the beauty is unparalleled.
Harsil – An Introduction
Harsil was earlier a Cantonment for the Indian Army. Even today, there is a sizeable Army presence and very few civilian establishments. Harsil was our designated stop for the night after Nelang (Nelong) valley. Although, we did not cover much distance, we made up for it by using up all the time we had.
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.
PREVIOUSLY ON THIS TRIP Nelang Valley – The untouched, unspoiled raw beauty
Soon after exiting Nelang, we were exhausted. But Harsil, with its beauty and cool breeze lifted our spirits in no time.
Harsil – Points of Interest
There are no checkpoints to cover here, it’s all Nature and that too, in its full glory. So walk around and find what interests you. For us, it was food initially. 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 : 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.
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.
Harsil – Nearby
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.
There is a cluster of 7 lakes nearby, you could trek to. Read our report here.
Harsil – Places to stay
There are couple of home-stays, you could enquire about them in the main market. No big or fancy hotels here. Stays are basic but clean. Couple that with the super friendly folks – and it becomes a stay you can never forget. 🙂
We even cooked our own food, out of choice of course.
Summing it up
Discussing the last few days over dinner, we realised, how amazing this place, Uttarakhand, becomes during monsoons. But sadly, due to the incessant commercialisation 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?
Keep Rocking, Keep Roaming!
Have you been to this beautiful, peaceful village? How was your experience in Harsil? Any stories or photos to share?