Gartang Gali: An Ancient India-Tibet Route in Uttarakhand

 In Adventure, Destination, Holidays, India, Travel, Uttarakhand

Are you prepared to trace back history and walk on the deadliest Himalayan Skywalk to uncover the ancient trade route? Yes! We are talking about the thrilling and extraordinary Gartang Gali Trek – the ancient trade route steeped in centuries of legend. 

Embark on a breathtaking adventure like never before as you visit Gartang Gali – where adventure meets history near the Indo-China Border.

Get a chance to come face-to-face with history as you explore the Gartang Gali Bridge and find yourself at one of the most incredible hidden gems in the country. Once, a vital part of this region’s trade, the Gartang Gali ancient bridge has been reopened for tourism purposes only after 59 years.

 As you traverse the 136-meter-long mountain staircase, you’ll get to take in the stunning views that seem like they’ll never end, and it’ll be an experience you won’t soon forget. This Gartang Gali Trek offers an opportunity to immerse yourself in the culture and history of India with a touch of adventure. 

So, Hurry Up! Pack your courage, curiosity, and thirst for adventure, and get ready to explore Gartang Gali.

Also Read: Travel Tips For Uttarakhand: Your Guide To Safe And Adventurous Explorations 2023

About Gartang Gali Uttarakhand

Source : The Times of India

The Gartang Gali Trek is a part of Gangotri National Park in the picturesque Uttarkashi district of Uttarakhand. It lies 90 km away from Uttarkashi town on the Gangotri National Highway between Lanka and Bhairon Ghati.

As the Gartang Gali was built cutting the granite rock out of a steep cliff, it offers breathtaking views of the surroundings. You are sure to enjoy the vistas of the rugged Himalayan terrain and the gurgling Jadh Ganga river that flows through the valley. The Jadh Ganga later meets the Bhagirathi river at the confluence near the Lanka bridge. 

The highlight of the Gartang Gali Trek is the magnificent stairways that were prepared by cutting the steep and complex granite of a vertical rock face near Bhairon Ghati. The stairways were then made by laying an iron rod and laying wood on it. The 136-meter-long mountain staircase is a true engineering marvel, carved into the rocky terrain. Therefore, this Gartang Gali 

It’s been painstakingly reconstructed, and it’s a challenge even for the most adventurous person. The bridge is 1.8 meters wide and stands at an altitude of 3,352 meters, or 11,000 feet. It hangs from a rocky edge and overlooks the amazing Nelong Valley below, and the surrounding flora and fauna. As you walk across it, it’s like you’re on air, and you can feel the river rushing by.

This Gartang Gali bridge is said to be the one that Austrian climber, Heinrich Harrer, used to escape from India during World War II and make his way to Tibet. His story was later turned into a Hollywood movie starring Brad Pitt called “Seven Years in Tibet”.

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History of Gartang Gali Uttarakhand 


The Gartang Gali history dates back to the 17th century, when the Pathans of Peshawar (now in Pakistan) along with the local Bhutiya community, made this one of the world’s most dangerous paths by cutting the steep Himalayan rocks. 

This treacherous narrow mountain road played an important role in facilitating trade between Uttarakhand and Tibet, forming an important economic connection between these two regions. The strategic location of this bridge allowed the people from the nearby villages on the Uttarakhand border like – Nelang, Jadung, and Sumla to access the Tibetan plateau and vice versa.

This 150-year-old trade route has been a witness to the glorious trading days between India and Tibet. The Dorji merchants of Tibet reached Uttarkashi using this trade route. The trade primarily involved the barter of essential goods like wool, leather, salt, grains, oil, spices, etc. The Tibetan traders and local residents of the nearby villages used to travel through this route by loading goods on yaks, horse mules, and sheep.

The Gartang Gali history also witnessed the movement of the army during the 1962 Indo-China War. But later, due to the decrease in its usage and shortfall of maintenance, the Gartang Gali bridge was declared unsafe and thus was shut. In August 2021, the Uttarakhand government restored some parts of Gartang Gali and opened it for tourism purposes as a new segment of adventure tourism in Uttarakhand.

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Gartang Gali Trek Uttarakhand

Source : The Times of India

The Gartang Gali Trek begins after the Lanka Bridge on the Uttarkashi-Gangotri National Highway. The trail leading to Gartang Gali is a challenging one and spans over a length of 2.5 km at a whooping altitude of 11,000 ft. This moderate-level Gartang Gali Trek takes a total time of 4-5 hours to complete and reach back to the starting point, depending on the speed.

The altitude and the forest trail of the Gartang Gali Trek, promise you an exhilarating adventure through the Himalayan landscape. Hike through the beautiful forest trail covered with pine, oak and deodar trees. 

You can spot a variety of Himalayan birds and animals as you make your way to reach the Gartang Gali. This forest area on the Gartang Gali trek gives you an opportunity to spot the Blue Sheep (Himalayan Goat) and the rare snow leopard – if you are really lucky!

The highlight of this adventure is traversing the awe-inspiring 136-meter-long mountain staircase near the Indo-China border. Walking on these stairs of the Gartang Gali will make your adrenaline rush like never before! Marvel at the stunning views of the valley and the gurguling Jadh Ganga River that flows below.

The trekkers need to obtain a ticket at the entry point of the Gartang Gali Trek. The cost for Indians is approximately ₹150 and ₹600 for foreigners. The trek not only challenges your physical endurance but also rewards you with unmatched natural beauty and a sense of accomplishment that comes with conquering the legendary Gartang Gali.

Also Read: 15+ Things To Do In Uttarakhand For An Amazing Experience

How to Reach Gartang Gali Uttarakhand? 


Gartang Gali can be accessed through various modes of transportation, making it convenient for travelers to reach this captivating destination.

  • By Road: The most common way to reach Gartang Gali is by road. Lanka Bridge, the starting point of the Gartang Gali Trek, is well-connected to major cities and towns in Uttarakhand as it lies on the Uttarkashi-Gangotri National Highway. One can hire a taxi or take a public bus from nearby cities like Dehradun, and Rishikesh to reach Uttarkashi and further to Lanka Bridge. From there, the trek to Gartang Gali begins, and it can be covered on foot.
  • By Rail: The nearest railway station to Gartang Gali is the Dehradun Railway Station, which is well-connected to major cities in India. After reaching Dehradun, travelers can proceed to Gartang Gali via road, as mentioned above.
  • By Airways: The nearest airport to Gartang Gali is the Jolly Grant Airport in Dehradun, which is accessible via domestic flights from several major Indian cities. From the airport, one can hire a taxi or take a bus to reach the starting point and commence their trek to Gartang Gali.

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Best Time To Visit Gartang Gali Uttarakhand


The best time to visit Gartang Gali is during the summer and early autumn months of May to October. During this time, the weather is relatively mild for trekking and exploration. The snow has melted, revealing the rugged terrain and the spectacular 136-meter-long mountain staircase.

These months offer a pleasant and comfortable trekking experience, allowing you to enjoy the breathtaking beauty of the Himalayas and the Valley to the fullest. However, it’s essential to check local weather conditions and plan your visit accordingly for a safe and memorable journey.

Guidelines To Visit The Gartang Gali Uttarakhand 

Source : The Times of India

When going for the Gartang Gali Trek, it is necessary to follow specific guidelines to ensure a safe and responsible journey. Here are the key points to remember:

  • Do not litter the Gartang Gali Trail. Carry your trash with your and dispose of it responsibly.
  • Avoid leaning on the railing, as it might be loose in some places.
  • Do not engage in activities like dancing or playing loud music that may disturb the natural surroundings.
  • Do carry a water bottle and necessary refreshments as there are no stalls or facilities for the same on this trail.
  • Smoking and Drinking is strictly prohibited to maintain a pristine environment.
  • Do not carry inflammable objects like lighters, cigarettes, etc. that could pose a fire hazard as they may damage the wooden stairs.
  • It is necessary to be physically fit, as the trek involves high altitudes and challenging terrain.
  • During the rainy season, bring an umbrella or raincoat, as there is no shelter on the 2-km trail.
  • Wear comfortable and sturdy shoes (sports or hiking shoes) and full-length lower for a comfortable walk through the jungle.
  • When taking selfies or photographs, choose safe locations to avoid accidents and ensure a memorable, safe experience.
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