How much walking will be required? What is the difficulty level?
A: Treks can range from 2.5 miles (4 km) to 6 miles (9.5 km). Treks range from easy to moderate difficulty. Elevations range from 4,400 ft / 1,300 m to 12,800 ft / 3,900 m.
Q: How can I prepare for this pilgrimage?
A: Physical fitness and overall good health are important elements for a spiritual excursion such as this. If you haven’t already, we suggest that you begin a regular practice for conditioning the body. Aerobic exercise is especially helpful to prepare for trekking and high altitudes. One method is fast walking, building up to a steady pace on inclines, hilly terrain, and/or stairs, and increasing distance*.
The yogic breathing techniques (pranayama) of kapalabhati, bhastrika, and nadi shodhanam (alternate nostril breathing) are also good preparation, as is the practice of agni sara to energize the solar plexus and help sustain vitality. These practices are best done regularly, starting with a few repetitions and progressing gradually, according to your capacity. If you don’t know these techniques, we recommend that you take a pranayama or hatha yoga class with a qualified instructor. Yoga International provides instructional articles and videos on some of these techniques including contraindications, as do Path of Fire and Light, Vol. 1, and Science of Breath by Swami Rama. These can be ordered through Himalayan Institute Press at (800) 822-4547 x4, or online.
Q: What will the weather be like during early October?
A: Weather and temperatures can change suddenly in the mountains. Generally, in October at the higher elevations, the days are sunny with daytime temperatures around 50 – 65 °F (10 – 18 °C) and cold evenings ranging from 28 – 46 °F (-2 – 8 °C). Be prepared for a full range of temperatures and conditions.
Q: What is the highest altitude on the trek?
A: The Gangotri trek leads to the source of the Ganga at Gomukh, the highest point on our journey. The altitude at Gomukh is 3,898 m / 12,789 ft.
* Consult with your physician before beginning this or any exercise program. If you experience any unusual discomfort, discontinue exercise and consult with your physician.