Harsil

“A Sublime Valley of Dreams”

Harsil, sometimes also spelled as Harshil, is a beautiful valley and a cantonment area. It lies along the banks of the Bhagirathi River. This valley is on the way to the Hindu pilgrimage, Gangotri. But it has its own charm which attracts many visitors every year.

It sits at a height of 7,860 ft (2,620 meters) in Uttarkashi district of the Indian state of Uttarakhand. The town lies at a distance of 73 km from the district headquarters of Uttarkashi.

30 km further from the valley, Gangotri National Park region begins. This covers 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 this deserve to remain this way forever.

Harsil Overview:

  • Location: Uttarkashi
  • Best time to Visit: Apr – Oct
  • Ideal Duration: 2 Days
  • Railway Station: Dehradun
  • Nearest Airport: Jolly Grant Airport, Dehradun

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 Sepoy Mutiny.

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 destiny 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:

  • Surrounded by beautiful valleys, lush green meadows, the well-preserved valley of Harsil is still not known by many people.
  • This valley offers great Himalayan mountain views and beautiful landscapes to indulge in many fun activities such as:
    • Trekking
    • Photography
    • And sightseeing
  • 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:

Dharali:

  • This small picturesque hamlet lies at 6 km from Harsil (or Harshil) valley.
  • This place is well connected to Harsil with roads. Dharali village sits at height of 648 m above sea level and falls in Rajgarhi tehsil.

Mukhwas Village:

  • It’s the home of the Hindu goddess Gangotri during winters because of heavy snowfall in the 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 the best time to visit.

Sat Tal:

  • Sat Tal 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.

Harsil Valley Route (From Delhi):

Delhi ——> Haridwar ——> Rishikesh ——> Uttarkashi ——> Harsil

Best Time to Visit Harsil:

Weather of this valley remains pleasant throughout the year. The best time to visit Harshil valley starts from April and weather remains pleasant till July.

One can also visit Harshil during September to November months. During these months the weather remains slightly with a cool breeze blowing.

The months of winters begin from October till January, Harshil receives a good amount of snowfall. Then again the 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:

  • 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 Harshil 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 Harshil during Winters.

Few Facts About Harsil or Harshil:

  • Harsil’s apples and Rajma (Kidney Beans) are quite popular in the whole state. They have a rich taste, which one can easily identify.
  • They are very high in demand but the valley can produce a limited amounts of apples and Kidney beans.
  • Harsil was a popular tourist spot in 1980’s also. It was the shooting place for popular Bollywood film “Ram Teri Ganga Maili”.
  • During the 80’s it was more popular than it is now. Today it witnesses only a few thousand visitors per year.
  • Because of the beautiful landscapes, some people refer Harsil (or Harshil) as “Mini Switzerland of India”.
  • It lies on the route to Gangotri, a popular pilgrimage site. One can stop by in the valley while on the trip to Gangotri.

Staying and Food:

  • 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 Harshil.
  • These hotels offer decent staying facilities and serve typical North Indian food. There are a few fast food stalls which offer
    • Noodles
    • Paratha
    • Tea
    • Pakodas
    • And other on-the-go food items.

How to Reach Harsil:

By Air

Jolly Grant Airport is the nearest Airport to the valley. It is situated at a distance of 232 km. Harshil or Harsil is connected by motorable roads with Jolly Grant Airport. Taxis are available to Uttarkashi, Tehri, and Harsil.

By Train

The nearest railway station is Rishikesh, 215 km away from Harsil. Taxis and buses are available from Rishikesh to Uttarkashi, Tehri, and Harsil.

By Road

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.

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