Where to stay: In Yamunotri
There are many dharamshalas in Yamunotri, apart from a GMVN Guest House that has 3 dorms. A popular facility is the Hanuman Mandir Dharamshala run by Rambharose Das (famously know as Nepali Baba), who has not stepped out of Yamunotri for more than 40 years now. It has around 30 rooms and they charge Rs 500-700 per room. Other big dharamshalas where pilgrims may spend a night are Yamuna Ashram (35 rooms), Kali Kamli Dharamshala (8 rooms), Ramanand Ashram (8 rooms) and Kalindi Ashram (8 rooms). None of these have telephones. GMVN (see alongside for contact details) and the Kali Kamli Dharamshala (Tel: Head Office Kolkata 033-22686701; Rishikesh 0135-2430006; Rudraprayag 01364-233318, 233220; Badrinath 01381-222215, 222377; and Kedarnath 01364-263261; Email: babakali@ sify.com) undertake advance bookings.
In Barkot (32 km before Yamunotri)
The main GMVN Guest House in Barkot (Tel: 01375-224236) has 17 rooms, four of which are deluxe. The GMVN Tourist Rest House (no phone) in Barkot has 2 rooms, with better views than the main guest house. Attached bathrooms with geysers are provided. The facilities are kept neat and clean. Here, food is available only on order. GMVN also has a dormitory in Barkot where many pilgrims can stay. Leisure Hotels (Tel: 224080, 011-26413304, 26447803; Tariff: Rs 1,800 per person per night; Rs 14,400 for the Char Dham Yatra inclusive of food) offer luxurious tented accommodation just outside Barkot. Radheshyam Camps (Dehra Dun Tel: 0135-2436977/ 88; Ahmedabad Tel: 079-26403666/ 3777/ 4222; Tariff: depending on package but roughly equivalent to Leisure Hotels) also have tented accommodation, which needs to be booked in advance. Chouhan Annexe (Tel: 224276; Tariff: Rs 675-1,800), also in Barkot, has 40 good rooms. Indra Palace (Tel: 224255; Tariff: Rs 500-800) is another option. Their bathrooms have geysers.
In Sayana Chatti (13 km before Yamunotri)
This is the place where buses generally halt. There are many hotels near the bus stand such as Hotel Kalindi (Tel: 01375-233385; Tariff: Rs 500 approx), which has 20 rooms; Hotel Himalaya (Tel: 233321; Tariff: Rs 500 approx), which has 30 rooms; and Deepin Lodge (Tel: 233318; Tariff: Rs 500), which has 37 rooms. Remember to secure bargains in the tariff during off-season. The GMVN facility here has 9 rooms but no telephone.
All the hotels have basic facilities. Many eateries around the bus stand offer special Gujarati food.
In Rana Chatti (11 km before Yamunotri)
Sometimes the buses can go beyond Sayana Chatti up to Rana Chatti, which too has a few basic hotels. Hotel Chauhan (Tel: 01375-233309; Tariff: Rs 500) and Hotel Ganga Yamuna (Tel: 233301; Tariff: Rs 500) are the main ones.
In Janki Chatti (5 km before Yamunotri)
Hotel Mandakini (Tel: 094129-33148; Tariff: Rs 500) and Hotel Neelakanth (Tariff: Rs 500) are basic hotels near the taxi stand. The GMVN facility (24 rooms, 2 dorms) can be reached by walking for about a kilometre, and it can be booked by calling other GMVN offices.
Where to stay: In Gangotri
There are several private hotels and ashrams here as well as a GMVN Tourist Rest House (Tel: 013772-22221; Tariff: Rs 400-1,300), which is 100m away from the temple. The Great Ganga (Tel: 22272; Tariff: Rs 300-600), the best hotel in Gangotri, and Bhagirathi Sadan (Tel: 22244; Tariff: Rs 300-600), which is nice and clean and next to the river, make for good options. They are both located next to the temple and one can see the aarti in the temple from the balconies of both these hotels. A number of ashrams are located on the other side of the river, some of which provide accommodation to visitors. The Ishavashyam Ashram is among the best. Here, the collection of Swami Raghavendrananda, a good photographer who has captured many places in the Himalaya on film, is an added treat for visitors.
In Bhojbasa and Chirbasa
GMVN has a modest guest house in Bhojbasa (14-km trek east, ahead of Gangotri) but it has no phone lines. Damaged by snow at the time of writing, they were only providing dormitory accommodation in tents. In Chirbasa (9-km trek east, en route Bhojbasa), shelter can be found in tents provided by the local dhaba owners, who also provide quilts on rent. Simple vegetarian food is available in roadside dhabas. There are many places en route Gangotri from Uttarkashi (like Harsil, Dharali, Lanka and Bhairon Mandir) where visitors can stay the night.
In Harsil (about 28 km before Gangotri)
Harsil has a big army camp near its many hotels. Leisure Hotels (Tel: 013773-232249, 011-26413304, 26447803; Tariff: Rs 1,800 per person per night) also have their camps nearby. The main hotels, all of which offer basic comforts, are Skylark (Tel: 232203; Tariff: Rs 400-600), Snow Valley (Tel: 232205; Tariff: Rs 400-600) and Mini Swiss (Tel: 236212/13; Tariff: Rs 400-600). Among these, only Skylark has geysers in its bathrooms.
In Dharali (about 25 km before Gangotri)
Hotel Springdales (Tel: 01377-232222, 09412026249; Tariff: Rs 550-850) is opposite a pretty waterfall and by the banks of the river.
In Gangnani (59 km before Gangotri)
Hotel Rishilok (Tariff: Rs 500) has 10 rooms but no phones or geysers. GMVN (Tel: 01346-222222, 222271; Rs 500-700) also has a guest house in Gangnani. There are other hotels too.
In Uttarkashi (100 km before Gangotri)
Hotel Shivlinga is a couple of kilometres from the main bus stand. The rooms open on to a lawn by the river. On the other side of the river are huge, green hills. If you are having dinner on the lawn, you can see the amazing sight of the moon coming out from behind the mountains. Near the bus stand is Bhandari Hotel (Tel: 01374-222203; Tariff: Rs 300 upwards), which has a good restaurant on the ground floor.
The Kali Kamli Dharamshala (Tel: Kolkata 033-22686701, Rishikesh 0135-2430006, Rudraprayag 01364-233318, Badrinath 01381-222215 and Kedarnath 01364-263261; Email email@example.com) has many rooms. The Ganga Putra restaurant next to the temple is a good place to eat.
Where to stay: In Kedarnath
All the places mentioned here are simple lodgings with very basic facilities.
Besides the GMVN Tourist Bungalow (Tel: 01364-263210; Tariff: Rs 400-1,400), the temple committee (Tel: 267228, 263231) runs a guest house. Apart from these, there are several private hotels and dharamshalas that offer cheap accommodation. Punjab Sindh Awas (Tel: 263202; Tariff: Rs 200-600), which is clean, airy and comfortable, is the biggest and best guest house; it’s located near the post office, very close to the temple. Food is available. Other dharamshalas are Bikaner House (Tel: 263201; Tariff: Rs 300), Himachal House (Tel: 263225; Tariff: Rs 300) and Agrawal Bhavan (Tel: 263231; Tariff: Rs 300). It is very difficult to get through to telephones in Kedarnath and advance bookings may not always be possible. In peak season, when accommodation could be a problem, help may be sought from the pandas.
In Guptkashi (32 km before Kedarnath)
GMVN Guptkashi (Tel: 01364-267221; Tariff:Rs 650-800) is a good option. It has seven rooms. Near Guptkashi, pilgrims can stay in Leisure Hotels’ tents (Tel: 011-26413304, 26447803; Tariff: depends on package). The Radheshyam Group (Tel: 0135-2436977/ 88 and 079-26403666/ 3777/ 4222, 09412972964; Tariff: depends on package) also has tents there.
In Gaurikund (14 km before Kedarnath)
GMVN Gaurikund (Tel: 01364-269202; Tariff: Rs 600-700) is the best place to stay. The rooms, toilets, bedding and quilts are clean. Not all rooms have Western-style toilets; hot water available on request (Rs 12 per bucket). During season, it’s almost impossible to get accommodation here without prior booking (see Tourist Offices Listings on page 984 for all GMVN offices). Requests are processed centrally. The temple committee here has a guest house (Tel: 269204; Tariff: Rs 400-600) with 9 rooms; bargaining during off-season can get you almost 50 per cent discount on the tariff. There are many private hotels in Gaurikund which provide basic accommodation; most charge around Rs 300 for rooms. Among these is Devlok (Tel: 269243; Tariff: Rs 100-600) near the hot springs but the location is crowded and noisy. Rooms are reasonably clean; very few have attached bathrooms and not all have Western-style toilets. Bedding is provided but it’s not very clean; be wary of bed bugs. Panjab Sindh Awas (Tel: 269207) is a better option and is recommended. Other options are Annapurna (Tel: 269209), Dhariwal Guest House (Tel: 269225) and Sunil Lodge (Tel: 269205; Rs 200), near GMVN Gaurikund, also reasonably clean.
In Rudraprayag (90 km before Kedarnath)
The sangam of Mandakini and Alaknanda is visible from the GMVN (Tel: 01364-233347; Tariff: Rs 900-1,600; dorm bed Rs 150) property, which is a great place to stay while here. The other options include Hotel Pinaki (Tel: 233363) of the Radheshyam Group, and Monal Resorts (Tel: 233901-02).
Where to stay In Badrinath
Narayan Palace (Tel: 01381-222380/ 1; Tariff: Rs 2,000 upwards) is Badrinath’s most luxurious option. There is running hot water, the linen is clean and there is plenty of choice in terms of food. Another new luxury hotel by the name of Park Inn was under construction at the time of writing. GMVN’s Hotel Devlok (Tel: 222212; Tariff: Rs 350-1,150; dorm bed Rs 80) is the best bet and the Travellers Lodge (Tel: same as Hotel Devlok) offers dormitory accommodation (Rs 50 per bed). Just across the river, pilgrims can stay at Govind Seva Sadan (Tel: 222408; Tariff: Rs 250), which has 30 basic rooms and an excellent view of the temple.