Trekking to the Holy Waters of Gosainkund
Situated at 4,380 meters above sea level, Gosainkund is an area of Nepal which is rich in natural beauty and religious significance. Hindu mythology relates how Lord Shiva dipped in the lake to relieve the agonizing pain he was experiencing as a result of swallowing poison to save the world. The account relates that it was after this event that the lake was named Gosainkund.
Adherents of the Hindu faith believe that if a person is immersed in the waters of Gosainkund and then pays a visit to Lord Shiva’s temple, that person will attain Nirvana with little effort. This belief has prompted thousands of pilgrims to visit Gosainkund to take a dip in the water during the religious festivals on Janai Purnima and Dashain. There is a temple dedicated to Lord Shiva on the shores of Gosainkund. Prayer flags and ceremonial bells are a common sight in the Gosainkund area.
Gosainkund is a popular trekking destination that forms part of a number of trekking trails. One of the recommended trails leaves from Dhunche, which is an eight hour journey by bus from Kathmandu. On day one trekkers climb to Sing Gompa at a height of 3,250 meters and the following day they tackle the steep climb to Gosainkund, which offers spectacular views from a nearby summit at 5,140 meters. The lodges around the lake offer basic overnight facilities. Trekkers can then retrace their steps to Dhunche or continue to Tharepati and connect with the popular Helambu or Langtang routes. To avoid the possibility of altitude sickness resulting from the rapid ascent from Dhunche to Gosainkund, those who are not accustomed to the high altitude may prefer to approach Gosainkund from the Helambu and Langtang routes.
Bird watching in Nepal is a very rewarding experience and birders agree that including Gosainkund in a trekking expedition is worthwhile. Birds that have been spotted in the area include Grandala, Red-fronted Rosefinch and Smoky Warbler. Other species that bird watchers can expect to see on their way to and from Gosainkund include the Mountain Hawk Eagle, Upland Buzzard, Satyr Tragopan, Collared Grosbeak and White’s Thrush.
Certainly from a nature-loving trekker’s point of view, Nepal is top of the list for its diversity and rugged natural beauty. Trekkers who have made the journey to Gosainkund agree that it is a tough trail, but is definitely well worth the effort.