Among all the eye-catching scenic places scattered all over Nepal that have the spell-binding power to capture hearts and minds alike, Gosainkunda is one. It is a freshwater lake located at an altitude of 4,380 meters in Rasuwa district. Also, it has been listed under Ramsar site since 2007 which simply defines the place as a wetland site.
From both tourism prospects and religious point, Gosainkunda comes under bucket list of travellers seeking adventure and religious purpose alike. Lying within the boundaries of fascinating Langtang National Park, this lake is an impressive 4 square miles large together with 108 small to medium range glacial lakes located nearby.
During summer, water from Gosainkunda trips and flows down to mix with Trishuli river while six months from October to June, the lake gets frozen. Be it in the scorching summer day with sweat drops flowing behind body back or the cold wintry days where nothing is love more than those giant jackets, a visit to Gosainkunda manages to impress and stamp a heavenly pleasure feeling over your heart, mind, and soul.
Gosainkunda is a fascinating treat to adventurers and panoramic destination lovers. It has exotic glaciers lakes with size varying from small to medium scattered all over the arena, spellbinding Himalayan ranges, magnetic forests filled with Pine trees, bamboo, Rhododendron ,and lush wild nature. Combination of all these aspects, Gosainkunda is a full-on travelling treat with mesmerising beauty. The trekking part, on the other hand, is a plus point to trekking enthusiasts that basically is icing on the cake. Apart from visiting the lake, you can also indulge in various trekking adventures alike to achieve the maximum from this place that offers you infinite ways to relish the adventuring seeking taste buds of yours that are forever craving for panoramic and picturesque destinations. You can either take Dhunchhe-Helambu trekking route or Langtang Valley trek or if the adventure in you wants more, take a combined trek. Combining both the treks will not occur much as a problem to tight schedule and budget since the expenses and time will only slightly increase since both treks are home to the same district.
Gosaikunda is a sought out trekking destination which is short, easy and affordable. Altitude sickness could be a problem for few else every other portion related to this trek is fine. Kathmandu- Gosaikunda trek usually covers 6-7 days. Sundarijal is the starting point of Gosaikunda trek. One can easily reach Sundarijal through one-hour ride from Kathmandu. Popular for family picnics and outings, this spot is also a major place of attraction due to waterfall present in the arena.
A 2-hour walk from Sundarijal takes to Mulpani village and a two hour and half walk through forest of Mulpani leads to Chisapani. One of the famous hill stations nearby Kathmandu valley, Chisapani provides view of glorious sunrise and sunset. Make sure you don’t miss out on this.
After a day at Chisapani, you can start for a 5-6 hour hike to Tuksang, a Tamang community filled with traditional houses in natural aroma, the next morning. Then, take route to Ghopte which lies at 3340 meters above the sea level. Briskly walking and rejoicing through the green Ghopte forest with amazing humidity and scenario, one can experience peace. Better take rest in the local accommodations for the night and the next early morning, start for the ultimate destination – Gosaikunda.
A long walk of 6-7 hours approx. from Ghopte takes to Gosaikunda and once reaching there you can feel that heaven actually exist. Covered by hills all over, Gosaikunda is a beautiful lake where water accumulate from the Himalayas. Greenery all over the place and the clear blue sky is majestically reflected on the water surface such way that for a moment breathing seems avoidable. Breathtakingly beautiful is what Gosaikunda exactly is.
An alternative route to Gosaikunda is also available. Instead of taking walk to Mulpani from Sundarijal, you can simply take a bus trip to Dhunche village or Syabru Besi from Sundarijal. After reaching Dhunche, the trek to Gosaikunda begins. In the first day, you reach Chandan Bari situated at 3200 meters height through a long steep climb. The second day, on moving along the trail, you reach Laurebinayak which lies at an altitude of 500 meters higher than Chandan Bari. Mesmerizing views of the rising and setting sun peeking through the Langtang and Ganesh Himal can be seen while at Laurebinayak along with the greenery surrounding all over.
From this point, you get to choose from either moving ahead on the trek to Gosaikunda or stay back and enjoy Laurebinayak till the fullest. Depending on how altitude sickness impact on individual level, you can take one of the suitable alternatives since both of them are equally lucrative.
The ones who move forward to Gosaikunda can see for themselves the beauty of the freshwater lake and gradually, descent to Sundarijal within four days climbing down Laurebina La, Phedi and hills of Ghopte. On the way back, you can stay at Thadepati, Mangengoth, Kutumsang and many other nearby villages and make yourself comfortable at one of the various hotels available that provide basic accommodation.
Also, you will never have to worry about a place to eat since numerous tea houses are sprayed along the trekking route providing access to easy snacks, water and a perfect spot to lay down for a while and rest.
Along with the prospects of tourism and trekking, Gosainkunda is highly popular for religious value too. As per Hindu mythology, this place is considered to be religious domicile of Hindu deities Shiva and Gauri. The widespread term Samundra manthan used in Vishnu Purana, Bhagavata Purana, Ramayana and Mahabaharata like Hindu scriptures is directly related to the origin of Gosainkunda and clearly specifies its existence back then. A prevalent Hindu legend goes by with a story related to the origin of this lake.
Once Lord Shiva swallowed poison which turned his neck to deep blue color giving him the name NilKantha (lord with blue neck) and to soothe the stinging sensation of the poison on this throat, he extracted water from depth of mountain plunging his Trishul (holy Trident) beneath. The water extracted from the very mountain formed a lake, which is the present day Gosainkunda. This water is considered holy and taking bath in the lake is believed to wash away sins, sorrows, diseases, dosh (bad spiritual effects), and bring prosperity and good health. During festivals like Janai Purnima and Gangadarshan, many devotees from Nepal and India visit this holy place to dive into the holy waters and receive blessings from Lord Shiva.
People following Buddhism also highly value Gosainkunda. On the full moon day, Sharmans (Buddhist Dhami or Jhakri) from all over Nepal come here. They perform a special procession with spiritual song and dance at the beginning of the journey to Gosainkunda and once reaching the destination, masters undergo specific principles and following the rituals, the junior jhakris graduate.
Best Time to Visit Gosainkunda
Best time to visit Gosaikunda is during Autumn and Spring. During winter, you can see regal frozen Gosaikunda Lake and nearby surroundings in wintry form which is undoubtedly pure heaven and unexplainable but due to steep paths and extreme weather, a visit to Gosaikunda during winter is usually not commended. End of February to beginning of June and September to end of December is the best period of the year to visit Gosaikunda. Travelling in July and August is not much of a problem but due to rainfall, the paths may get slippery and view of the surrounding and the sun may not be clear due to clouds.
Weather in Gosaikunda is changeable. A moment the sun is high in the sky; a moment later, dark clouds cover up the horizon. Since there can be rainfall and change in humidity any time, visitors are recommended to carry warm clothes, hiking boots, water bottle, gloves, sunglasses, raincoat, some medicine and light food with them while on trip to Gosaikunda.