The bollywood movie song “Husn pharaoh ka” will definitely ring through your mind as you approach Harsil located on the banks of Bhagirathi at elevation of 2620 meters. Over the years, this small place has made its name with tourists.
Dense deodar forests and the gushing Bhagirathi add to the charm of this hill town that has mesmerized travellers and adventurers from all over the world.
There are many places to visit in Harsil and after initial acclimatization; you can begin a round of the place.
Mr. Wilson built this cottage in 1864. A deserter from British Army, Wilson came to Garhwal and sought refuge from Tehri Raja. However, on being denied shelter, he moved to Harsil, set up a business and married a local woman.
Later he was on good terms with the Raja of Tehri and was the person who introduced apples in this region. He also built a suspension bridge in the area. Infact, Wilson was so popular here, that people used to call him Pahari Wilson.
The cottage still stands strong and has some photographs of Wilson along with his wife Gulabi.
Another of the places to visit in Harsil is Dharali. Located on banks of River Ganga, Dharali is a small village. It is also popularly known as winter home of Goddess Ganga and is popular for its apple orchards and rajmah fields.
Dharali is also popular among pilgrimages as it is said that sage Bhagirathi mediated here to bring Ganga from heaven to Earth. The village also has a famous Shiva temple which is popular among locals and pilgrims alike.
Harsil places to visit list also includes Sattal which is a cluster of seven lakes that are present in and around Harsil. You will have to trek 3 Km from Dharali to reach this place. The dense foliage of pine trees adds to the beauty of this place and if you are a nature lover, a trek to Sattal will definitely soothe your senses. The Tals (lakes) are named Ram, Sita, Lakshman, Panna, Naldaymanti, Sukha, and Bharat Tal.
At a distance of 25 Km from Harsil, you will come across Gangnani, a riverside location that will definitely leave you awestruck. The mesmerizing view of the Himalayas right in front of your eyes is simply superb. Gangnani also has hot water springs which have made it one of the most popular among places to visit in Harsil.
Gangotri is not too far away and your Harsil tourist places list can also include this name if you have a dedicated day to spare. Gangotri is considered to be the originating place of River Ganga and though it is a small town with a famous temple, the place has its own religious and aesthetic value. A visit to Gangotri will definitely soothe your senses and leave you spiritually peaceful.
What to do in Harsil
A small place it might be, Harsil tourist places will definitely leave you spellbound. Besides visiting the above listed places, there are many things to do in Harsil and you should definitely come with ample time in your hand when you plan a trip to this hidden jewel of Uttarakhand.
As you explore places to visit in Harsil, trekking will happen on its own course. The place is so mesmerizing that your feet will not stop. Oak and deodar forests add to the beauty of Harsil and you will come across many cascading waterfalls and forest fauna when you embark on a trek in and around Harsil.
Harsil falls on the pilgrimage route of Gangotri. During winters, the idol of Goddess Ganga is brought to the village of Mukhba near Harsil. If you happen to be in Harsil during winters, do make it a point to seek blessings of Goddess Ganga.
Things to keep in mind while visiting Harsil
As you finalize your places to visit in Harsil list, do check with the authorities about the road condition, especially if you are planning to go in Monsoons or winters. It rains badly in Uttarakhand and snows heavily in Harsil during winters. Ideally, April to June and September to November should be chosen to travel to Harsil.
Where to stay in Harsil
There are not many hotels in Harsil but luckily you will find some Homestays and GMVN Guest House. Harsil Heritage Homestay is one worthy option and you can book it online through Airbnb.
What to Eat in Harsil
While you will definitely get North Indian cuisine and noodles in Harsil, the trip is sort of incomplete until you try some local preparations. Garhwal region has a rich cuisine history and you should definitely try Gahat Dal, Sisunak Sag and Kappa. The homestay owner will definitely serve you these on request.
How to reach Harsil
Jolly Grant Airport at Dehradun is around 200 Km from Harsil. You can book a cab from airport to Harsil.
If traveling by railways, you can get down at Haridwar, Rishikesh or Dehradun. State transport bus service and taxi can be hired from any of these places to Harsil.
Harsil lies on National Highway 108. State transport buses operate from Dehradun and Haridwar to Harsil on regular basis.