Staff Correspondent

"Close encounter with the natural beauty of the Himalayas"

DEHRA DUN: Thousands of devout Sikh pilgrims dot the hill route from Rishikesh to Hemkund Sahib these days to offer prayers at the Himalayan gurdwara adjoining the Guru Gobind Sahib lake located at an altitude of 4,329 metres in Chamoli district.

The pilgrimage involves a tough trek of about 20 kilometres from Gobind Ghat. The more adventurous ones prefer a two-wheeler to reach the destination. It is a sight worth seeing, complete with colourfully-clad pilgrims moving up the hill roads singing hymns and the gurdwaras en route providing food, shelter and medical care making it one of the most organised pilgrimages in the region.

"The religious aspect apart, the visit provides a close encounter with the natural beauty of the Himalayas," said Paramjit Singh, an engineer on pilgrimage from Ludhiana.

The shrine is open from June 1 to October 5 every year and the number of pilgrims has been increasing every year, a senior official said.

Efforts were being made to make travel more comfortable on this route along with the Char Dham Yatra route.