The Grade 11s have returned from a fantastic yatra to Hemkunt Sahib in Uttarakhand. This is a special site for Sikhs as it marks the location where Guru Gobind Singh became one with God in a previous life. The Gurdwara is a 15 km hike from Govindghat and rests 4320 meters above sea level.
This was the first class trip to head out this year. The Grade 8s are currently hiking for five days outside of Dharamshala. We’ll hear all about their trip next week.
This one week trip involved quite a bit of travel. On Saturday night, we started by taking the overnight train from Amritsar to Haridwar. When we arrived in Haridwar around 9am in the morning, we transferred into five vehicles and began the twelve hour drive from Haridwar to Govindghat where the hiking would begin.
Govindghat to Gangaria
The hike to Hemkunt Sahib happened in two parts. On the first day, after doing our yatra meditation for the first time, we hiked the thirteen kilometers from Govindghat to Gangaria. It took approximately six hours. When we arrived in Gangaria, we bowed at the Gurdwara and played some kirtan before enjoying an evening bonfire.
Gangaria to Hemkunt Sahib
On the second day, we hiked the much steeper six kilometers from Gangaria to Hemkunt Sahib. Arriving at the top around 11am, we dipped in the ice cold sarovar, reciting Benti Chaupai. After the dip, we warmed up with some chai and kitchari before bowing in the Gurdwara and participating in the final Ardas of the day. Once the Ardas was complete and we’d had several servings of prashad, we went to the cave of Rishi Dusht Daman to do our meditation. Around 2pm we started our decent back down to Gangaria.
Govindghat to Gangaria
On the third day, we hiked from Gangaria back to Govindghat. This was an enjoyable and leisurely hike. When we arrived in Govindghat, we had langar, played kirtan in the Gurdwara, and did our meditation before beginning four rounds of Mafia, lead by Hargobind and Himmat Singh. If you haven’t played, it’s a fun party game and you can read about it here.
Relaxing in Rishikesh
The next morning, we got back into the vehicles at 4am and drove to Rishikesh for some recreation. After dropping off our bags at the Gurdwara, the students went out in groups to explore Rishikesh before meeting at the best Italian restaurant in Rishikesh for dinner. We had a lovely meal together with caprese salad, lots of fire-roasted pizzas, wonderful pasta and panna cotta and tiramisu for dessert. After dinner, we stayed and played charades in the warm summer air before going back to the Gurdwara for our evening meditation. The boys then slept outside on the balcony while the girls slept inside with the fans going full blast.
The next morning we had a little more time to enjoy Rishikesh before we got on an afternoon train back to Amritsar. It was a whirlwind trip, a great yatra and a wonderful opportunity to bond as a class.
Sharing the Experience with MPA Staff
All those on this trip were fortunate to have the opportunity to travel to Hemkunt Sahib. While at Hemkunt, we collected prashad and saropas for the MPA staff to share with them upon our return home.