Harsil is a quaint hamlet in Uttakashi district at an altitude of 7,860 ft on the way to Gangotri from Uttarkashi. Its beauty is still unspoiled. Spending some days here can rejuvenate mind as well as health of a nature lover. This village was established by a British named Mr Wilson who was a deserter from the British army after 1857. His cottage is still there.
I went to Harsil from Gangotri on the way back to Uttarkashi. I came down from Bhojobasa in the morning and caught a shared jeep at around 12 noon which was going to Uttarkashi from Gangotri jeep stand. It dropped me on the highway at the entrance of Harsil. There were few staircases and then crossing a bridge on the river Bhagirathi I reached Harsil.
GMVN tourist rest house is in the interior of the village. It is located at the bank of the river Bhagirathi. I kept my luggage in the room and went to the backyard of the rest house beside the bank of the river. I sat there for a long time. The beauty of the place was addictive. In the month of May the water was muddy due to the fast melting and breaking of huge ice blocks from Gangotri glacier at its source. There were woods on the both side of the river. Snow peaks could be seen from there.
I roamed around the village in the afternoon. It was month of May. There were many apple orchards with very tiny green apples on them. I found young shepherds with their flocks of sheep coming back home. Village dogs were following me, they looked handsome, as many tourists would feed them biscuits they were expecting some food from me too. I was scared, one local rescued me from them. As the manager came to know that I was from Kolkata , he offered me egg curry in the dinner, which I denied. I met a family from Gujrat, all of them looked gloomy including their children. It was an exception that even the children looked morose in such a beautiful place. Only the man said “hello” to me when the manager introduced us at the time of dinner. I had to talk to him because the GMVN tourist lodge manager arranged a lift for me in the jeep which they hired to reach Uttarkashi the next day. I regretted later that I agreed to leave the place with them. At that time no other boarder was there in the guest house.
Harsil is the gateway of several trek routes. One can reach there directly from Haridwar or from Uttarkashi. There are few hotels and road side restaurant at the market place. I wanted to visit Nelang from there but could not manage the permit.
Harsil was full of apple orchard. That was not the season of apple but there were small green raw apples on the trees. Though the place was full of cloud and mist still it looked like a heavenly place.