How to plan a trip to Harsil will be certain question on your mind if you are planning to visit the surreal valley of Harsil.
Having spent almost a couple weeks in Harshil, I am quite certain, that I’ll be able to provide all the relevant information you need for a successful trip to Harshil.
How to Plan A Trip To Harsil – All You Need To Know
Surrounded by impressive looking peaks, towering pines, pristine villages, beautiful rivulets, apple orchards, Harshil is nothing short of a dreamy wonderland.
Based on my travels, I’ve curated this blog to help my fellow travelers plan a trip to Harsil. In case, you were looking for reasons to motivate you to make a trip Harshil, here are 7 reasons why harsil is famous and worth it.
How To Reach Harsil ?
Reaching Harshil is not that easy to be very frank if you are relying on public transport. You’ll have to break your Journey. But here a few different ways to reach Harshil.
- Reach Dehradun from Delhi. Take overnight press cab to Uttarakashi. Take a shared cab to Harshil.
- Reach Rishikesh/Haridwar. Take early morning bus to Gangotri (During Yatra season). Get down at Harshil.
- Take an overnight bus from Delhi to Uttarkashi. Then take Shared Cab to Harshil.
In my opinion, the first option is the best one if you want to reach Harshil relatively quickly. Reach Dehradun by 10 PM and then take an overnight press cab to Uttarkashi. Take early morning shared cab to Harsil.
The second option will only work during the Char-Dham Yatra season. Reach Haridwar and then board early morning bus to Gangotri. Get down at Harshil which is km before Gangotri.
The third option will take around 17.5 hours to reach Uttarakashi. Post which you can opt for shared cabs to Harshil. Please note that you might have to opt for the cabs on the next day as cabs do not run post noon especially when the Yatra season stops.
Harshil valley Itinerary
If you are planning a Harshil valley trip. I would suggest that you at least plan it for a week. There so much to do in Harshil. Alternatively traveling slow or a peaceful workation will also work out well.
I personally have curated this 10 day itinerary which is a mix of popular places and lesser-frequented places along with a bit of hiking.
You can add or cut down places according to the time you have. Here is a detailed Harshil valley itinerary blog, in case you want to all the relevant details. But here is a brief itinerary.
Board evening bus to Uttarkashi from Delhi OR Overnight Press Cab From Dehradun.
Reach Uttarkashi and leave for Harshil. Overnight in Harshil or Bagori
Explore the beautiful Bagori village today and hike to Lama Top. Stay in Harshil or Bagori for the night
Head to the winter abode of Goddess Ganga which is around 4km from Harshil. Overnight in Harsil or Bagori
Today explore the truly rustic villages of Jhala, Purali and Jaspur from Harshil. Spend the night at Harshil or Bagori
Head to famous Gartang Gali. Overnight at Harshil or Bagori
Today you’ll be hiking to Satal near Dharali. Overnight stay in Harshil or Bagori
Visit the Gangotri Dham from Harshil. Overnight stay in Harshil or Bagori.
Visit the beautiful village of Cholmi. Overnight stay in Harshil or Bagori.
Start early from Harshil and reach Uttarkashi and further to Dehradun or Haridwar.
Arrive in Delhi early in the morning.
Where to Stay in Harshil ?
Unlike popular tourist resorts like Mussorie, Rishikesh, Nainital there are limited accommodation options at a select few places.
Harshil market is where all the hotels and guesthouses are located at in Harshil. Bagori and Dharali village also offer accommodation options.
I personally stayed in Bagori village, which is a heritage village with a sea of traditional houses, temples and an impeccable view of the high mountains.
I stayed at The Harshil Homestay () run and hosted by a Mountaineer and cyclist Sabita Mahato. She is an incredible host and will ensure that you have a delightful experience during your time in Harshil.
Where to Eat in Harshil
Harshil, as I mentioned earlier is not a tourist resort by any means. So if you are expecting fancy cafes, cafe-like food, multi-cuisine restaurants you’ll be left disappointed.
But with that being said, there are decent number of small eateries and restaurants serving basic North India food like Paratha, Roti-Sabzi, Dal-Chawal etc apart from Momos and chowmein.
Most of them are located in Harshil market area. There are a couple of Dhabas in Bagori, There are few Dhabas and restaurants in Dharali as well.
If you are staying in homestays like in Bagori, the food will be mostly taken care off by the homestay itself. But remember it will be basic north Indian food and local delicacies.
By the way, if you want to eat traditional Garwhali food or even fast food like Pizza, you should contact Sabita, the host of The Harshil Homestay.
By the way, if you are a solo traveler wondering how safe it is to visit Uttarakhand alone, here is a detailed blog on the same.
Things to do in Harsil & Places to Visit in and around Harsil
Harshil valley has a lot to offer and here are some of the things to do and places to visit while in Harsil valley for a delightful experience.
Pay A Visit To The Rustic villages of Harsil
The heritage and rustic villages of Harshil are really a sight to behold. I personally was in awe of the villages I visited during my trip.
While the villages like Dharali and Bagori are frequented by tourists, there are numerous beautiful locales in Harshil with surreal vistas and a glimpse of Garwhali culture and lifestyle.
Rustic villages of Harshil like Mukhwa, Dharali, Cholmi, Jhala, Jaspur, Purali are all hiking distance from Harshil market and Bagori village.
Witness The Engineering Marvel of Yester Years – Gartang Gali
Gartang Gali is an ancient wooden bridge placed to navigate to difficult rocky terrain to facilitate the trade between Tibet and India back in the day.
Thanks to conflicts with China, the ancient trade route via Gartang Gali was off-limits for the travelers for several decades. But recently Uttarakhand government has restored it and opened it to everyone without any permits.
Go Hiking On The Pristine Trails Around Harsil
It doesnt matter if you are an avid hiker or a casual hiker, Harshil has got you covered. From multi-day crossover treks to day hikes, Harshil has got it all. Some short hikes include with rewarding vistas include.
- Lama Top hike from Harshil market
- Satal hike from Dharali Village
- Bagori to Jhala, Purali, Jaspur villages
- Lal Devta hike on the Kyarkoti trail
Some longer multi-day treks near Harshil include
- Kyarkoti hike from Bagori village
- Lamkhaga pass, a crossover from Harshil to Kinnaur in Himachal.
- Sukki Top hike from the village of Sukki
- Awanu Bugyal ‘
- Dhundhar Khanti Trek
Experience Garwhali Culture by Attending Festivals
Like all the Pahari regions, Festivals dedicated to local deities are celebrated with full zeal in Harshil. I was apprised of numerous festivals (Mela’s) that take place throughout the year.
Villages like Mukhwa, Jhala, Purali would be the best ones to experience the Garwhali culture and its festival.
Winter Abode of Goddess Ganga – Mukhwa Village
Dreamy locale of Mukhwa and the winter abode of goddess ganga is one of the most picturesque villages I’ve visited in the Himalayas.
With beautiful traditional-styled houses, eccentric culture and surreal landscapes with views of Harsil horns, Mukhwa is much more than just the Winter Abode of Goddess Ganga.
Pay Homage To Goddess Ganga At Gangotri Dham
Gangotri Dham, one of the most sacred sites for Hindus is located just km from Harshil. Therefore, if you are staying in Harshil and have the time be sure to seek blessings of Goddess Ganga.
Gangotri also acts as a base to treks like Gaumukh and Kedartal.
Please do not that Gangotri Dham remains open only from May-November. Post which the abode of goddess Ganga shifts to village of Mukhwa for the bone-chilling winters.
Visit Nelang Valley – The Ancient Trade Route Between India And Tibet
A beautiful valley which once thrived, had to be abandoned completely due to the Indo-China conflict of 1962.
The villages of Nelang and Jadung had to be abandoned. But a few years back the valley was opened for tourism but with strict permits and a lot of restrictions.
Based on encouraging conversations with the local, I’m certain that restrictions will be further eased in the near future.
Is There Network Connectivity in Harshil ?
Airtel 4g and Jio 4g work fine in Harsil. In fact, if you were planning for a quaint workation, Harsil should certainly work out for you.
Streaming videos, working on collaboration apps like teams, zoom works fine in Harshil. From my observations, Airtel 4g works better than Jio 4g in my opinion.
So carry both Jio and Airtel if you are planning for a workation in Harsil. Most of the homestays or hotels in Harsil do not provide WIFI yet.
That brings me to the end of this blog. I hope that you have an idea about how to plan a trip to Harsil.
In case you have any queries relating to how to plan a trip to Harsil, do reach out to me in the comments and I’ll be happy to help.