Opposite the triple-peaked Bhagirathi massif, with the lush green meadows of Tapovan at its base, the location of Mt. Shivling lends as much to its popularity as does its 6,543M of pure beauty. Located in the Garhwal range of Himalayas, with its tooth-like jagged peak, the mountain has as much spiritual appeal as it does for climbing. Once referred to as the Indian Matterhorn, you can feel the power and magnanimity of the mountain from its base. An abode of Lord Shiva, its name points to the sacred symbol of Shiv Ling with its base as Tapovan which remains a place of choice for the spiritual yogis to go into long-term meditation despite the harsh conditions of the altitude. Starting from the holy mountain town of Gangotri, the trail for this climb is a stunning assortment of landscapes from the lush forests of Chirbasa to massive open grounds of Tapovan onto a glacial terrain to land you straight on its icy slopes. It also offers splendid views of the much revered peaks in the range, adding to its appeal. A stepping stone for some and for some a challenge in and of itself, the mountain is a thing of beauty and does its share in lending you a dream. It is a technical and challenging endeavor taken on by climbers looking to get a taste of high-altitude climbing and for those preparing for 7000+M peaks in the Himalayas. Since it is a technical climb which requires specific knowledge of mountaineering equipment and a specific set of skills to survive at that altitude in that terrain, this is an expedition reserved for experienced climbers only. Mountaineering certification or alternatively experience in high-altitude mountaineering and extreme temperature is a mandate to undertake this challenging expedition. Stay on this page for information on Mt. Shivling expedition - Itinerary, Routes, FAQs, and eligibility criteria.
Day 1: Make your way to Gangotri (3,415M)
The trek begins from Gangotri which is a mountain city on the banks of River Bhagirathi and is known to be the origin of the holy River Ganga. Located in the Greater Himalayan Range, legend says that this is where Goddess Ganga descended when Lord Shiva released the river from the locks of his hair. This holy city which lies at an altitude of 3,415M is a 245 km drive away from Dehradun – the closest city with an airport.
If you have signed up with Bikat for a drive from Dehradun to Gangotri, the day starts early. Everyone assembles at the meeting point by 7 in the morning so we can start our long drive up to Gangotri, a holy mountain city in the Uttarkashi district of Uttarakhand. Although there’s nothing more on the agenda for today other than the 8-9 hour drive, it is better to leave as early as possible for two reasons:
One, so we can reach as early as possible and give our bodies enough rest for what’s coming the next day. And, two, roads on the mountains are unpredictable. It is always better to account for delays when we start. It is also better to reach before it gets dark.
Day 2: Rest and acclimatization at Gangotri (3,415M)
Day two is reserved for rest and for acclimatization to the altitude. This is important to allow your body to adapt to its new environment and reduce chances of adverse health conditions. You can go around and explore the market, delve into the colors and culture of this high-mountain town and visit some places nearby. A little movement around the city would be good for acclimatization. Also, use this time to go through your checklist and do some last-minute shopping for what you might be missing for the trek.
While the body acclimatizes, we take this time to get together with the group for a debriefing session where we get to know each other better and delve into the happenings of the next few days - schedule, what to expect, basic do's and don'ts in the mountains, how to maintain the sanctity of the environment and other such matters of importance.
We also go for a short acclimatization walk in the evening to adapt to this new environment better.
Day 3: Gangotri (3,415M) to Bhojwasa (3,775M) via Chirbasa (3,600M)
Distance: 14 km Trek
Today is our first day of actual trek. We start after an early breakfast. We will be walking towards Gomukh, the snout of Gangotri glacier. The trail will take us through Chirbasa which is at an altitude of 3,600M and means home of pine in the local language – no points for guessing what kind of trees you are likely to find en route to Chirbasa. The entire trek up until Chirbasa is alongside the roaring Bhagirathi River whose refreshing spirit is likely to keep the spring in your gait alive all the way through. After having our packed lunch here we move on towards Bhojwasa, our campsite for the day. Bhojwasa, in the local language literally translates to the home of birch trees. A view of the very impressive Bhagirathi range of peaks follows alongside. There is a dramatic change of scenery after Chirbasa when the trail starts to get barren and desolate. It is not an overly heavy day. Expect to reach our campsite by the river in the early evening hours. The mesmerizing sunset over the spectacular Bhagirathi range is a perfect view to end your day with.
Day 4: Bhojwasa (3,775M) to Tapovan (4,460M) via Gomukh (4,025M)
Distance: 13 km Trek
We wake up to the majestic view of the Bhagirathi range of peaks and head out for our next campsite after an early breakfast. We will be crossing the snout of the glacier that we saw glimpses of on our way yesterday. We will be walking alongside our companion, River Bhagirathi, till we get to Gomukh. Gomukh, which curiously translates to the mouth of the cow, was named so by sages of the yesteryears for its appearance. Gomukh is known to be the source of Ganga and where it originally begins its long journey through the many regions it flows by. We spend some time exploring the region around Gomukh after which we head on towards Tapovan - one of the finest high altitude alpine meadows in the area. The trail from Gomukh onwards is one on moraine-rich glaciers. The view of the surrounding peaks starts to get wider and wider as the trail from Gomukh to Tapovan gets steeper with every step forward. Tapovan, known for its gorgeous meadows encircling the base of Shivling Peak, is a beautiful campsite bustling with the many fresh water streams and an assortment of wildflowers scattered across its floor. Herds of Bharal (blue mountain goats) running up and down the mountain ridges with magnificent views of Bhagirathi I, II, III in the background, is a common sight here. Is it any wonder why Tapovan remains one of the most preferred spots for spiritually inclined people for their long periods of meditation? We can try some of that as we set up camp here for the night!
Day 5: Acclimatization at Base Camp
A lot is to be achieved during your time at base camp. From the distribution and setting up of all the gear to technical training and practice on the icy slopes. But before then, we have the entire day to rest our bodies and acclimatize to the terrain, altitude and temperature of the base camp which lies at 4,460M – a height gain of approximately 1050M from Gangotri where we started the trek.
Day 6 – Day 18: Expedition
Since the conditions on high-altitude are unpredictable, there is a constant readjustment of plans to adapt to the situation at the time. Providing fixed day-wise schedules is hence tricky. But roughly, the schedule includes rotation rounds between camps which is a standard acclimatization process on high-altitude expeditions. Between Base Camp and Summit, we have 4 camps on Mt. Shivling: Advanced Base Camp (4,700M), Camp 1 (5,300M), Camp 2 (5,850M) and Summit Camp.
Given that high-altitude climbs demand a rigorous acclimatization routine, expeditions usually employ the method of making rotation rounds between camps so as to better adapt to the environment. Living the tenet of ‘climb high, sleep low’ which is a golden rule for survival in that altitude, we make multiple rounds between campsites. For Mt. Shivling, specifically, we make two rounds. The first is when we ferry our load up to the next camp, leave our stuff there and then climb back down to the lower campsite to spend the night. The next day, we climb back up to the camp where we left our stuff and proceed to pitch our tents to now occupy the campsite. What this achieves is a three-fold benefit. Firstly, you can divide your weight between two days so as not to carry a massive amount in one trip. Secondly, it introduces the body to a higher altitude environment but gives it time to better adapt to it by not pushing it in this new height. Thirdly, for each time that you climb the same route, it tends to get easier and easier, refining your technique, skill and adaptation.
After load ferry rotations between camps and occupying Summit Camp on Day 13, we will make our first summit attempt on Day 14. By Day 15, we aim to descend back down to Base Camp and after a day’s rest at base camp, further down to Bhojwasa by day 17 with an aim to depart from Gangotri by Day 18.
Day 19: Depart from Gangotri
Your expedition ends here but not before some celebration. How can we end this adventure without a summit party?
Like we indicated before, the weather on high-altitude is unpredictable as are many other conditions, we would suggest you keep spare days between the end of the expedition and your travel arrangements to head back home.
Day 20 and 21: Reserve Days
In case of bad weather or other difficulties which might set us off schedule during the course of the entire expedition, Day 20 and 21 are set as reserve days. These will only get used if unexpected and unforeseeable conditions present themselves at the last minute preventing us from reaching our destination as planned.
In accordance with the rules and regulation set forth by the Indian Mountaineering Foundation (IMF) for mountaineering expeditions, out of 12 seats per batch:
- 6 seats are reserved for aspirants with a certificate in Advanced Mountaineering Course (AMC)
- 4 seats are reserved for aspirants with a certificate in Basic Mountaineering Course (BMC)
- The remaining 2 seats are reserved for aspirants with previous trekking experience of expeditions above 5500 - 6000 meters
Foreign Nationals - Due to a specific set of guidelines for Foreign Nationals it is recommended to call our support team to gain information on the list of documents and procedure involved in booking a mountaineering expedition with us.
Mt. Shivling is made only for experienced trekkers who want to test their limits. The challenges faced in the trek should not be underestimated. You should attempt this trek only If you have already done treks that climb to 4700-5000 metres. It is recommended not to opt this trek if you cannot get acclimatized in high altitudes. Besides you need to have a strong physical endurance to complete this trek. For details on trek difficulty level, please read on Bikat Rating Scale
A basic mountaineering course is recommended though not mandatory in case of highly experienced & skilled trekkers. At least 2-3 challenging treks along with 20 – 25 total trekking days in the Himalayas. Medical fitness certificate from CMO of a recognized hospital.
Jog/Run for 5 Kms in 25-30 mins Or Walk continuously for 10 kms (with 3-4 small breaks) on plain terrain (slight incline is better) and
Hold your breath for 40 seconds and
3 sets of Climbing 30 – 40 steps in one stretch and
Push Ups – 10 and
Lunges & Squats – 15 X 2 sets
If you are not meeting these benchmarks, please use the preparation schedule to improve your fitness till you achieve the above benchmarks.
How to use an Ice Axe
How to use Climbing boots & Crampons
How to rope up & follow queued climbing/descending
How to self-arrest using an ice axe
Knowledge of Basic First aid
Months of June and September are best for Mt. Shivling expedition.
Click here for packing list.
Gangotri has coverage for all major networks.
The base for Mt. Shivling expedition is Gangotri, around 500 km from Delhi.
Reach Gangotri By Air: At a distance of around 226 km from Gangotri is located the closest airport named Jolly Grant Airport. Situated in Dehradun, the airport has regular flights from India's capital city of Delhi. So, you can catch a flight to the airport and then you can hire a cab from there to reach the sacred town of Gangotri. Taxi or cab charges will cost you around Rs 4,000.
Reach Gangotri By Train: If you like traveling by train, you'll need to reach the Rishikesh railway station which is also the closest at 250 km from Gangotri. After arriving at the railway station, you'll see plenty of cabs ready to take you to your destination. You'll need to pay anywhere between Rs 3,000 and Rs 4,000 as cab charges.
Reach Gangotri By Road: The holy town of Gangotri is also well connected by road with all the popular tourist places in the state of Uttarakhand and outside the state. From places like Yamunotri, Mussoorie, and Tehri, you can easily catch tourist buses to reach Gangotri. There are both private deluxe buses and state buses to reach the town.
Gangotri Temple: Gangotri, the origin of the River Ganges and seat of the goddess Ganga, is one of the four sites in the Chota Char Dham pilgrimage circuit. The original Gangotri Temple was built by the Nepalese general Amar Singh Thapa. The river is called Bhagirathi at the source and acquires the name Ganga (the Ganges) from Devprayag onwards where it meets the Alaknanda.
Places to visit near the Gangotri Temple
Bhagirath Shila is believed to be the holy rock where King Bhagirath prayed to Lord Shiva.
Pandava Gufa, located 1.5 km from Gangotri, is the place where the Pandavas are believed to have meditated and rested en route Kailash. Pilgrims will have to trek up to the Pandava Gufa.
The minimum age limit is 13 years. However, minors aged between 13 to 17 should be accompanied with their parents or guardians. If you are above the age of 60, kindly carry a medical certificate from your doctor that deem you fit for adventure activities like trekking.
You will stay at a hotel/guesthouse in Gangotri on a triple or twin sharing basis. On trekking days you will be accommodated in tents on a twin sharing basis.
We provide 4 seasons tents by Gipfel for higher altitudes which can easily withstand heavy snowfall and storms. They are spacious enough to accommodate 3 people at once with a vestibule to place the backpacks. Our sleeping bags are made up of Heatseeker Pro synthetic insulation that can provide you comfort in -10 degrees Celsius. We also use additional fleece liners to have thermal efficiency even in the extreme temperatures of -17 degrees Celsius. If you carry your own sleeping bag, you will get a cashback reward provided that you inform us as soon as you have booked your trek.
Toilet tents will be provided to you on the trek. These are portable toilets tents where a deep pit will be dug. A shovel will be provided inside the tent to cover the waste after you have made your business. You can take a toilet roll inside. Make sure you dig used toilet paper along with the waste. Though water is recommended in place of toilet paper. Please refrain from using wet wipes as they are non-biodegradable. There will be no facility for bathing on the trek. Go through our blog section for tips on how to maintain personal hygiene on treks.
Since this is a technical climb at extremely high altitudes on snow and ice, all required technical equipment such as Ropes, Helmet, Ice Axe, Crampons, Mountaineering Boots, Jumar, Descender, Harness will be provided. You can refer to the inclusions section for more details.
Vegetarian food will be served throughout the trek. The only non-vegetarian item served on our treks are eggs. Our kitchen staff follows a proper menu for breakfast, lunch, and dinner which has been designed in order to fulfill the nutritional requirements of the participants. There will be milk, poha, eggs, muesli/corn flakes, bread, and butter served for breakfast. Rice or simple roti sabzi will be packed for lunch. In dinner, you will have dal, egg curry or any other vegetarian dish along with rice, roti, and a dessert item. Packed lunch will be provided to you on the days you are trekking. You are requested to carry your own tiffin box and a mug to consume food. The meals consumed on the journey and arrival day are not included in our cost.
You can rent the following items from us- Trekking Pole, Trekking Shoes, Fleece Jacket, Rucksack.
You can expect temperatures to drop to as low as -10°C to -20°C at higher camps on the climb. The more altitude we gain the colder it gets. However, the weather is always unpredictable so be prepared with all the essential layers required to keep yourself warm and dry.
Since this is a technical climb at 6500 M, you can expect snow and ice on the expedition.
If you want to offload your rucksack, you will have to make a request for offloading a few days prior to the trek through an email so that arrangement can be made in advance. You will be charged per day for offloading your rucksack. In case you decide to offload on the spot, you may have to pay a higher price than usual. However, offloading your rucksack is not recommended since it is not a safe practice.
A team of participants will be led by an IMF certified mountaineering guide. All participants are requested to abide by what their leader says. There will also be a team of kitchen staff and porters on the trek. We maintain a 1:8 ratio of trek leader and participants. All our trek leaders and staff have certified training in first-aid and rescue operation.
Yes, the trekking pole is necessary. If you don’t want to buy one, you can rent it from us on minimal daily basis charges. You can request the renting link from us.
Yes, there are stores/shops in Gangotri from where you can buy necessary stuff. Though it is recommended that you come prepared with all the stuff. Please do not leave anything for last minute buying.
Yes, it is absolutely safe for a solo woman to travel in fix departures. Women on the trek will be sharing a tent with each other. In case you are the only woman on the trek, you will be given a separate tent.
Yes, e-certificates will be given at the end of each trek provided that you completed it. It will bear your name, the trek, and the maximum altitude you achieved on the trek.
The pick-up point will be Dehradun ISBT. The drop off point is the same.
Expect to reach Dehradun by late evening, so please plan your further travels accordingly.
ID Proof (Soft Copy to be sent to us in Advance & original to be carried), Medical Certificate (Soft Copy to be sent to us & original to be carried) and Photocopy of ID Proof and passport size photos are the mandatory documents required for the trek.
Cancellations up to 30 days prior to departure date
Between 30 days to 15 days prior to departure
Less than 15 days of departure
No Cash Refund
Cancellations up to 5 days prior to departure date
Cancellations less than 5 days prior to departure