Gaumukh glacier is the source of Bhagirathi River which is also known as Ganga River before the confluence with Mandakni at Devprag. Gaumukh glacier is situated 18kms from Gangotri. 'Gau' means 'Cow' and 'mukh' means 'face' hence combined meaning of Gaumukh is Cow's face. If you carefully observe the glacier it will resemble as a cow's face. Gaumukh is the second largest glacier of India, first one in Siachen. Gaumukh is 30kms in length and approximately 3 to 4km in width. It is a source of the Bhagirathi River which is one of the most importance tributary of the sacred Ganga River. The trek to Gaumukh glacier is easy but it goes through a rocky surface. The trek goes through Bhojhbasa offering splendour of nature enroute. There is a tourist Bunglow at Bhojhbasa, 14kms Gangotri where lodging and other facilities are available. Gaumukh glacier is situated at an elevation of 3,892 meters above sea level. You can encounter several majestic Himalayan peaks like Shivling, Thalay Sagar, Meru-Sumeru Glacier, Bhagirathi 1/2/3 peaks etc. while trekking toward Gaumukh. In recent times, the retreat of the glacier has quickened significantly. Major steps have been taken by the government of Uttrakhand towards thie severe problem. Now only 100 person can trek to Gaumukh each day.
Tapovan is further up and over the Gaumukh Glacier, at the foot of Shivling, a barren area at about 4400 meters elevation, is a seasonal home to various sadhus livin in caves. A place that is unreal and full of energy that one begins to understand what draws the sadh's and sages to this place.
Distance from the lodge: 19kms drive + 14-24 kms trek.
The shortest duration that the trek to Gaumukh Tapovan can be done in is 2 days. (Only Gaumukh) and 4 days including Tapovan.