Harsil, sometimes also spelled as Harshil, is a beautiful valley and a cantonment area situated on the banks of the Bhagirathi River. This valley lies on the way to the Hindu pilgrimage, Gangotri but it has its own charm which attracts many visitors every year. Harsil is located at a height of 7,860 ft (2,620 metres) in Uttarkashi district of the Indian state of Uttarakhand at a distance of 73 km from district headquarters of Uttarkashi.
30 km further from this valley, Gangotri National Park region begins, which is spread over the area of 1,553 square km. Harsil is one of the lesser known places of Uttarakhand and it is a preserved gem of nature, unaware of the consequences of being a typical tourist place. Heavenly places like Harsil deserve to remain this way forever.
History of Harsil Valley:
The amazingly beautiful valley became popular for the legend Pahari Wilson or Raja Wilson. Wilson deserted the British army after 1857 of Sepoy Munity. Wilson escaped into the Garhwal region and went to the King of Tehri to hide. But King refused to shelter him. Then Wilson ran to the mountains to hide. But the fortune of Wilson brought him into this valley located on the banks of the Bhagirathi River. Some historians say that the timber trading in Harsil made Wilson so wealthy and powerful among locals that even the local king of Tehri-Garhwal was unable to deal with him.
Things To Do In Harsil:
Surrounded by beautiful valleys, lush green meadows, the well preserved valley of Harsil is still not known by many people. Harsil offers great Himalayan mountain views and beautiful landscapes to indulge in many fun activities such as trekking, photography and sight seeing. The Bhagirathi River serves as an ideal companion for this sleepy town, and one can also visit the nearby region of Gangotri during the trip to Harsil. Sattal, which has seven lakes, is also located near this valley.
Places to Visit in Harsil:
This small picturesque hamlet lies at 6 km from Harsil(or Harshil) valley. This place is well connected to Harsil with roads. Dharali village is perched at height of 648 m above sea level and falls in Rajgarhi tehsil.
It’s the home of the Hindu goddess Gangotri during winters because of heavy snowfall in Gangotri region. Devotees from all parts of the state and country make a visit. During monsoons the area receives heavy snowfall and it is not best time to visit.
Sattal is a cluster of seven small natural lakes near Dharali. A 3 km long trek from Dharali to Sattal would turn out to be an unforgettable journey. Some of the lakes of Sattal have dried up due to deforestation and changing weather conditions.
Best Time to Visit Harsil:
Weather of this valley remains pleasant throughout the year. The best time to visit Harsil valley starts from April and weather remains pleasant till July. One can also visit Harsil during September to November months. During these months weather remains slightly with cool breeze blowing.
The months of winters begin from October till January and Harsil receives a good amount of snowfall. Then again month of February brings pleasant weather.
In winters the region witnesses a large amount of snowfall, which makes it a good destination for solitude seeking snow-lovers.
Snowfall in Harsil:
Harsil valley receives a constant amount of snowfall during winters. Between the months of December and February, the valley remains covered with a thick sheet of snow. During these months, the temperature in Harsil ranges from 0 to 10 Degree Celsius. However by the end of February the weather becomes calm and pleasant. We recommend to inquire about road conditions in advance and pack your bags with woolen clothes before visiting Harsil during Winters.
Staying at Harsil:
Even though Harsil is a lesser known place but it has a large number of lovers who come here again and again to seek solitude. There are a few budget hotels and guesthouses in Harsil. These hotels offer decent staying facilities and serve typical North Indian food. There are a few fast food stalls which offer noodles, paratha and other on-the-go food items.
How to Reach Harsil:
Jolly Grant Airport is the nearest Airport to Harsil valley, situated at a distance of 232 km. Harsil is connected by motorable roads with Jolly Grant Airport and Taxis are available to Uttarkashi, Tehri and Harsil.
The valley is well connected by roads with major destinations of Uttarakhand. Buses and Taxis to this valley are easily available from all major cities of Uttarakhand. Harsil lies on NH-108. Buses and taxis from ISBT, Dehradun are available. Harsil is 280 km away from Dehradun via NH34.