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With the place shrouded in fog, the pilgrim gets the impression that the two storied pentagonal gurudwara is seemingly suspended amidst the seven peaks and anchored to the ground by the gleaming silver of the Hemkunt lake.

The pilgrim is overwhelmed by the darshan (sight) of Sri Hemkunt Sahib and the fact that one has at last reached the final destination. A plunge into the sarovar to to cleanse oneself is a must . This is a holy ritual followed  in most gurudwaras, The men do so in the open while for the ladies, part of the stream has been ingeniously diverted into the lower floor of the gurudwara for them to take the plunge in privacy . The icy waters originating from glacial seem daunting but the ishnaan (holy bath) refreshes one, not just physically but spiritually. The cold is quelled with the piping cups of hot tea served immediately after the ishnaan.

Considering the water of the Hemkunt lake as holy many people fill their bottles with the water terming it as  'amrit' (nectar) . The pilgrims don new clothes after the ishnaan  and head towards the darbar sahib situated on the upper floor As one climbs up to the darbar hall , one cannot but feel the urge and desire to pray - such is the atmosphere . Across the carpeted hall , the pilgrims approach Guru Granth Sahib to pay their respect.

As they bow their heads and do the parikarma ( going around the platform ), Almighty is thanked for all that he has blessed them with and the fact that they have successfully reached the destination of Hemkunt. Offerings are made in  the form of rumalas (cloth used to cover the Guru Granth Sahib), ornaments , items for the langar , flowers etc. Wrapped in blankets , the pilgrims meditate , read or recite from the japji sahib, sing sahad kirtan or just immerse themselves in the ambience of the place . Two congregational services are held at Hemkunt Sahib-one in the morning at around ten and another in the afternoon.

The granthi tells the gathered congregation the significance of the journey proceeding on the story of Hemkunt as it has been described in Bachitra Natak. Unified by the ardas the people pray in unison . Cries of ' Jo bole so nihal , Sat Sri Akal!' rent the air and are repeated a number of times . The karah prasad is then savored with a unique sense of satisfaction and contentment . After the pilgrims come down from the darbar hall, langar prasad is also served.

When the fog lifts the surroundings come into view , the pilgrims stand in front of the lake and try to locate the seven peaks which are marked by flags. Excited voices reveal the success of having been able to do so . The sevadars at the gurudwara then tell the pilgrim various stories about celestial vision and sounds. Many people go to the small Laxman Mandir near the gurudwara to pay their respect .Some look for brahma kamals- unusual flowers with a heady fragrance growing on the slopes around the lake.

The pilgrims cannot stay beyond a few hours because the place becomes too cold with time and the air is rarefied, therefore the descent to start early for climbing down  to as difficult as climbing up. The objective for most for the people is to either reach Gobind Dham to halt there for the night or even proceed further down to Gobind Ghat spend a restful night.

As pilgrim readies to undertake the journey back , thoughts come crowding into his mind , a recollection of the past journey and the efforts put in .During the time of ascent , the entire concentration of the pilgrim is focused on the ultimate destination. The difficult terrain is crossed but it is only now that one realizes that if even now , with better roads , it is so difficult to travel up to Hemkunt- what must it have been for the people , who made the unique and beautiful gurudwara at Hemkunt possible , at a time with virtually non -existent roads ! It is but natural for the pilgrim to utter silent words of gratitude and admiration for the people whose dedicated efforts made the gurudwara at Hemkunt possible. The gurudwara at Hemkunt leaves a deep impression on the pilgrim which is why , inspire of all encountered , one keeps returning again to undertake the scared journey to Hemkunt.

Hemkunt Sahib


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