Gurdwara Hemkund Sahib: When we reach the holy place of Sri Hemkunt Sahib we get a glimpse of Amrit Sarovar (The pond of Nectar) the tank is situated at the height of 15210 ft. above the sea level. This Sarovar is 400 yards long and 200 yards wide. This had been surrounded by the Himalayan peaks. On its three sides the Sapt Sring (seven peaks) are shining elegantly. These peaks change their colours according to the atmospheric conditions. Some times they look snow white, some times of golden colour, sometimes of crimson red colour and sometimes brown blue colour makes them mountains of jewels and rubies. The time has so changed that these seven peaks have been tamed by the devotees of Guru Gobind Singh. Now the seven peaks are adorned with the Kesari Nishan Sahibs every year. When on bright days we see towards these peaks these Nishan Sahibs look like pencils. There was time when no human being even imagined to climb over these seven peaks. But by the Grace of the Great Guru these peaks have become just a game of mountaineering for the Sikhs of Guru Gobind Singh.
In this field the name of Sant Surat Singh is worth mentionable. He was not only a Saint but also a great warrior of possible tasks. The first peak of the left side is not only highest, but also too complicated to be climbed easily. But Sant Surat Singh thought that there was nothing impossible in the world. He planned to conquer this peak and in order to do that he took some iron hooks, chains and other necessary material to achieve the target. He was the first man to climb this peak.The chains and hooks which he had installed on the rocks, had made it easy to ascend the peak.
Now-a-days the devotees of Guru Gobind Singh, who want to climb peak they, with the assistance of these hooks and chains, reach the top without much difficulty.Those devotees who install 'Nishan Sahibs' on all the seven peaks every year, tell that there is also a small pond near the fourth peak, whose water falls into the Hemkunt Sarovar. Near Hemkunt Sahib and even on the upper region flowers are rare. But there is a flower like the lotus grown in the rocks. This lotus flower is called Braham Kanwal. Generally the lotus flowers blooms in water, but when we see it, in the rocks, we are astonished to see such a miracle of the nature.
The lake, fed by springs and waterfalls, is cold. Until mid June, all but a narrow margin of water along the shore is covered by ice. The men bathe outside after removing their clothes beneath a shelter. For women there is a separate enclosure inside the gurdwara itself: a bath fed by water which flows from Hemkunt and then cascades down the slope toward Gobind Dham. Most enter the frigid water slowly, utter a prayer, then take a series of brisk dips before scampering back to shore. Some pause for a moment to have photos taken to preserve the event. Local youths are on hand to photograph, for a fee, those without cameras.
The water of the lake is holy water. It is referred to as amrit (nectar) or jal (holy water). Shops along the route sell plastic bottles which visitors fill when they reach Hemkunt. Later, after the congregational Ardas has been said People like to take some parshad (consecrated food) presented by one of the granthi, Sometimes they are given to friends and relations so that those who could not make the journey can feel a spiritual connection with the sacred place, symbolized by the material object.
Two congregational services are held daily at Gurdwara Sri Hemkunt Sahib, the first at ten o'clock and the second at one o'clock. Both centre around the Ardas (the Sikh standard prayer) and the reading of the daily hukamnama (the verse at the top of the left hand page of the Guru Granth Sahib when the book is opened at random; understood to be the command of the Guru for the day). Often, visitors who can sing kirtan seat themselves behind tabla (drums), harmonium (organs), and microphones to sing before the assembled crowd. Their music and voices are broadcast outside of the gurdwara over loudspeakers, and echo across the surface of the water and off of the surrounding rock walls. Before the group prayer, set shabads are sung by the whole of the congregation. Then the granthi takes the microphone, welcomes the congregation to Hemkunt Sahib, and explains the significance of their darshan and ishnan. He relates the story of Hemkunt as it was told in Guru Gobind Singh's autobiography. He then sings, accompanied by all, another shabad as he unfurls donated rumalas over the Guru Granth Sahib, then he moves to stand before it to begin the Ardas.
The devotees who go towards the seven peaks, they describe that there grow two other varieties of the lotus known as Shiv Kanwal and Vishnu Kanwal. Those are different in size and colour. These flowers can bear the very acute cold weather. The atmosphere around the Hemkunt Sahib is very pleasant and charming. There grows a velvet type of grass, which makes a man very comfortable and peaceful when one sleeps on it. In the pleasant weather the pilgrims enjoy while walking on this grass.
Those people who stay at night in this valley they tell that during night very peculiar and strange sounds are heard.Now Hemkunt Sahib is not a myth but a reality. The Hemkunt-Trust has constructed pacca roads and magnificent Gurdwaras for the help of the devotees..
Some devotees have made it a routine to visit Hemkunt Sahib every year.Thousands of sewaks have been engaged for helping the pilgrims. The people have not to stay in costly hotels. Throughout the journey they get free accommodation and meals.
Some people call Sri Nagar or Switzerland as the heavens on earth but if one has to see the real heaven then he must visit Hemkunt Sahib.The Sikhs are very fortunate that they have two nectar pools to redeem their impiety. One such pool is at Amritsar. Guru Arjan Dev Ji writes, " Who takes bath in Nectar pool of Amritsar, is washed of his all types of sins and vices.”
The second such Sarovar is at Hemkunt Sahib. Those who take a dip in that Sarovar also become pure and get salvation. The perpetual wandering in eighty-four lakh species ends. It has been seen that Amrit brought from Hemkunt Sahib never changes its colour or taste. A devotee, who even drinks few drops of it, feels hale and healthy.