Gartang Gali – An ancient route to Nelong and Tibet | Uttarkashi

Uttarkashi is a mountainous district perched in a remote corner of western Garhwal region in the state of Uttarakhand. Known for its temples (the famous Gangotri, Yamunotri, Vishwanath and many others), its verdant valleys, mighty Himalayas, and abundant flora and fauna, the mysterious enchantment of Uttarkashi lures individuals of all types towards it. While winters in Uttarkashi can be harsh, with most of the region buried under the thick blanket of snow, the summer season can be an opportune time to uncover the pristine beauty of this area.

The area beyond Sukhi top (also called the Upper Taknaur range), as we inch towards Gangotri, possess a celestial allure and a charm that seems to belong to a different realm altogether. Harsil, a famous and a quaint little town, located along the banks of the mighty Bhagirathi that gushes down from the high mountain peaks around, is one such heavenly abode. Words would rather do no justice to its beauty and therefore I leave you to absorb its magnanimity through the photos that I have added in this post. I was lucky to find snow during my visit in April’23.  I travelled to Harsil a few years ago and wrote a dedicated post on it. If you would like to read about Harsil – click here

In this post we discover “Gartang Gali”- a wooden bridge, built about 150+ years ago, but only recently (in 2021) renovated and opened for public, i.e., after a gap of 59 years since it got closed. As we traverse up the Harsil valley towards Gangotri, another valley called ‘Nelong’ meet at around the town of Bhaironghati. Nelong and Jadung are two villages located deep inside this valley, falling close to India’s border with Tibet. In the past, perhaps until the Sino-India war of 1962, this route was a crucial passageway for trade and commerce with Tibet.  

What makes this wooden bridge one-off is how it was built by the Peshawari Pathans by cutting the hard granite stone of a vertical wall face at an altitude of roughly 11,000 ft. As you peep below, far below into the hollow, flows the Jadh Ganga (or Jahnavi ganga) river. Undoubtedly, it is an architectural masterpiece, and the creators deserve accolades for envisioning and constructing such a wonder at this altitude where the wind relentlessly assail you and the weather is unpredictable beyond one’s imagination.

Spanning approximately 136 meters in length and 1.8 meters in width, the bridge served as a crucial route for traders to transport jaggery, spices, and other essential goods to Tibet. From Tibetan traders, they mainly purchased salt and wool. In addition, the inhabitants of Jadong and Nelong villages relied on this passageway to link with the more populous villages of the Harsil valley and beyond. There is a popular belief, that the famous Austrian Climber Heinrich Harrer (of “Seven Years in Tibet” fame) had used this bridge and the route to escape to Tibet from India. The role in this film was played by the famous Hollywood actor, Brad Pitt.

How to reach Gartang Gali?

To reach Gartang Gali, one must embark on a 2.0 km trek (one-way) that commences at Lanka (right next to the Lanka Bridge). This start point is situated on the Gangotri highway, a mere 7.5 km prior to Gangotri, 0.5 kms prior to Bhaironghati and roughly 20 kms beyond Harsil.

Google map link for Lanka Bride / Gartang Gali entrance gate –

Visit Timings – Its open all seven days and timings are from 9 AM to 3 PM.

The trek route is more or less of an easy grade (except for a few sections) and it passes through dense forests draped in Deodar trees. It takes roughly an hour to do this trek (one-side) until you arrive at one of the ends of Gartang Gali. The vistas from this vantage-point are indeed awe-inspiring. The majestic peaks around stretch endlessly into the horizon, the gentle murmurs of the gushing turquoise blue waters of Jadh Ganga coursing through the deep ravine creates a soothing melody and the constant chatter of the avian creatures only adds to the enchanting atmosphere that envelops the surroundings.

A permit is needed to visit Gartang Gali | and it’s easy to get it.

Govt. requires individuals/groups to register themselves when undertaking any trek in this region. To visit Gartang Gali, the process is simple, and the permit can be obtained in less than 5 minutes (through an online process)

  1. Click on the website – this is an online single window system created by the district administration of Uttarkashi.
  2. Scroll down to the bottom of the website and proceed for registration. Gartang Gali is an easy trek and therefore once you fill up the entire form and submit (post paying a fee of INR 150/- per person), you will receive the permit immediately in your email account. Note – If you are a foreigner, the fee is INR 600/- per person.
  3. Once you arrive at the entrance gate (or the Gartang Gali Forest Check post), show the soft copy of the permit at the counter. You will be asked to make an entry in a register and that would be all.

One can also purchase a ticket at the entrance gate. Please carry a valid Govt. ID proof with yourself. In this case, you can pay the entry fees upfront at the gate itself. The fee is the same whether purchased online or at the entrance gate.

What else to do in this area?

There’s a lot one can do here. Trust me, you will never get bored as you are already in a heavenly abode 😊. You can visit Harsil or Mukhba or travel all the way to Gangotri to pay your obeisance to Goddess Ganga. There are numerous easy to difficult grade treks in this area. This is a paradise for trekkers. Are you a birding enthusiast? more reasons for you to come here.

I hope you enjoyed the post.

You can follow my Instagram account #travelindevbhoomi to discover the beauty of Uttarakhand.



  1. Thank you for creating such a comprehensive and helpful blog! Your attention to detail and practical tips have made trip planning so much easier. I appreciate the way you’ve highlighted the must-see attractions, hidden gems, and local experiences that make each destination unique.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I am glad u enjoyed reading it. I always try to write a post keeping a solo traveller in mind. Once again , thank you very much for your feedback. It inspires me further.


    • yes, this is a fairly simple walk. If you are in this area, I think you can give this trek a try. Worth the effort. May-June and September/October should be the best time to do it.

      Liked by 1 person

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