Gosainkunda Trek has always been a popular trek among the Hindu devotees for its religious significance, as well as young adventurers since it is relatively easy and short.
In the past, thousands of Nepali and Indian devotees flooded the area during Janai Purnima also known and Raksha Bandhan or Rakhi as part of religious traditions.
But with its panoramic appeal, it has been drawing visitors during other days too. The best time to go for the trek, however, is during August until the first week of September.
The Gosainkunda Lake is the main attraction for visitors; the lake is 4380m from sea level with a surface of 13.8 hectors (34 acres).
But there are numerous other lakes in the area, all totaling to 108. Together with other lakes, the entire Gosaikunda Lake complex occupies 1,030 ha.
This is Bhairab Kunda, also known as Vish Kunda
The beautiful part about the lake is that it is frozen half the year from October to June, creating an addictive view for the aesthetes who want to dive into the beauty of nature.
It has also been designated as a Ramsar site in September 2007. (According to Wiki, A Ramsar site is a wetland site designated of international importance under the Ramsar Convention, which is a treaty established in 1971 by UNESCO to provide national action and international cooperation regarding conservation of wetlands, and wise sustainable use of resources.”)
Etymology of Gosainkunda Lake
The word Gosainkunda comes from two words: Gosain, meaning monk, and Kunda, meaning pool.
Religious Significance of Gosainkunda Lake
According to Hindu dharma, Gosaikunda is the abode of Shiva and Gauri. If one revisits the scriptures of Bhagavata Purana, Vishnu Purana and the epics of Ramayana and Mahabharata, one can understand the origin of Gosaikunda.
It is said that Lord Shiva created the place himself when he thrust a Trishul (holy Trident) into a mountain so that he could extract water and cool his stinging throat as he had swallowed a poison.
What happened was during Samudra Manthan, a product known as Halahal (poison) came out and the poison was so powerful that it could end the world. To rescue everyone from being annihilated, Shiva inhaled the poison. But when he did, his neck turned blue (That’s how he got the name “Nilakanta”, the one with the blue throat).
As the heat became unbearable, he used his Trishul to cut the mountain so that the water could flow and he could ease the pain. The place is known as Trishul Dhara.
The water is considered to be holy and is of particular significance during Gangadashahara and Janai Purnima. So, if you bathe in the lake, all your pain, sorrows, and sins, including those of your past lives, will be washed off.
During the full moon day of August, the Janai Purnima (also the day of Raksha Bandhan), Raksha Bandhan (a yellow or red protection cord) is worn by the devotees and they take bath in this lake. People do so for cleanliness and safety.
People believe the pool contains an image of Shiva at its center filled with water, and that it has come from Gosaikunda.
Many Hindu, as well as Buddhist devotees, visit the lake for this religious significance. It is also a common place to visit for shamans, the traditional doctors.
The Gosainkunda Trek
The Gosaikunda trek is filled with terraced slopes, settlement of various ethnic group, diverse range of rare wild animals, and varieties of flora and fauna.
From the dense forest of rhododendron, oak and bamboo to beautiful heritage of Tamang and Sherpa groups, leading to the divine lake and the mighty mountain panorama, the trek offers a bit of everything.
The trek is popular on the Dhunhe-Helambu route. The Gosainkunda Trek starts in the Dhunche Bazaar or Syabru Besi in Langtang Himal or in Sundarijal in the Kathmandu valley. It also adjoins the ever so famous Langtang valley trek.
One can also combine both the trek. The basic necessities like accommodation and food are easily available, with hotels and homestays in place for lodging and tea houses for food.