• India Sacred Journeys

Encounters with Himalayan Wildlife

Encounters with wildlife at Gaumukh - Tapovan

Gangotri National Park is one of the most beautiful high-altitude wild-life sanctuaries in India. It is unique as Gomukh, the mouth of a giant glacier, feeds water for Ganga, India’s most sacred river.

The unique ecosystem is home to some of the rarest animals on Earth, and if we are quiet and still in meditation, in the early hours at Tapovan, many will reveal themselves to us. The red fox, Himalayan mongoose and yellow-throated marten begin foraging at this time. Cute Himalayan marmots are always keen to scavenge for camp supplies and will bring all their relatives to dine if the word gets out! The bharal or blue sheep roam freely in herds, mostly made up of a strong male with his harem and offspring, or the ousted males. They love to be fed salt and will come regularly for this delicacy. Every morning we can track the new footprints of snow leopard. A day trip to Sundaban will take us to the home of the brown bear.

Numerous endangered bird species can be enjoyed, particularly if an early evening stroll is taken across the meadow.

If there has been sufficient rainfall when we visit, the meadow will be carpeted in a glorious display of wild flowers. For the energetic, on the steep slopes towards Shivaling families of Brahma Kamal, the auspicious king of Himalayan flowers, can be found. This mythic ‘flower of the Gods’ is named after Brahma, the God of creation, and has miraculous healing powers. It is sacred to the Mother, and sought after as an auspicious offering at temples, which has led to a significant decline in recent years. We request that we admire and do not pick the blooms. The mountain tulsi growing enroute, is another medicinal plant, and is highly beneficial for adapting to altitude. We will utilise this on our ascent.