Shri Hemkund Sahib
Hemkund Sahib is the highest gurudwara in the world, standing tall at a height of 4,329 metres above sea level. It lies between seven sacred hills by the banks of the sacred Lokpal Lake, in the lap of the Garhwal Himalayas in eastern Uttarakhand. Adjacent to the Gurudwara is a small Lakshman temple, which is a holy place for the local Hindus. The autobiographical account of the tenth Sikh Guru Govind Singh says that it was at Hemkund that he meditated in his previous birth. lt is the only gurudwara connected with the previous birth of a Sikh Guru and is an important pilgrimage place.
Hemkund Sahib has striking architecture. The roof is built in the shape of the urdha kamal or an inverted lotus flower. The urdha kamal is an important flower in the Granth Sahib, and represents the soul of man yet to be blossomed with enlightenment and maturity. The pentagonal shape of the Gurudwara is also significant in Sikh belief. The devotees undertake a parikrama oi' the shrine before entering, then take a holy dip in the cold waters of the lake and recite the holy Jalji. The devotees exchange the waters between the holy sarovar at the Golden Temple and the Hemkund Lake.The granthi recites the commandments from the holy book or the Hukamnamah.
Hemkund Sahib is an lB-kilometre trek from Govindghat. The journey is difficult and at times, the snow has to be moved to make way. The last 5-kilometre stretch is the most challenging route and devotees determined to reach the gurudwara amidst all the hardships are overwhelmed with a sense of achievement after reaching.