Gomukh, the terminus or snout of the Gangotri Glacier, from where Bhagirathi River originates, is one of the primary sources of the Ganges River. The place is situated at a height of 13,200 ft. It is one of the largest in the Himalayas with an estimated volume of over 27 cubic kilometers.
Gomukh is also referred to as "Gaumukh" or "Gomukhi". The word "Gomukh" (go + mukh) literally means "Mouth of a Cow". According to some sayings, earlier the snout exactly looked like "Mouth of a Cow".
Gomukh is mentioned in the Puranas. It is said there that searching a lost sheep a shepherd boy reached near a glacier in Gangotri, the snout of which exactly looked like the mouth of a cow, and thus it got its name 'Gomukh'. From then many saints, holy travellers, as well as religious people went there to worship the place.Gomukh is 18 km from Gangotri in the foot hills of Bhagirathi at a height of 4255m. It is the snout of the Gangotri Glacier. The Bhagirathi river here is pretty speedy. Around the snout, nature presents a wild topography. There are bolders scattered here and there with some pieces of broken snow, along with the hard clayey snow of the glacier. The Gomukh snout is rapidly moving backwards. According to the modern research the snout has moved 1 km in just 70 years.
The trail to Gomukh begins from Gangotri, about 18 km (11.2 mi) from Gomukh. It was heavily damaged by rockslides by the 2013 North Indian Floods as was road access to Gangotri.
9 km ahead of Gangotri is Chirbasa, the abode of Chir trees. After 3 km of Chirbasa comes the dangerous Gila Pahar, the place well known for its landslides even prior to the 2013 destruction of much of the trail here; near-sheer cliffs down to the river must now be traversed.
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