Hemkund Sahib, a popular religious and pilgrimage center for both Hindus and Sikhs, is situated in the Garhwal region of Uttaranchal. The name `Hemkund' refers to a lake in the Himalayas. It is located at an altitude of about 4329 meters. And owing to temperatures below zero degrees, it is nearly impossible to reach it between the months November and May i.e. seven months. Hemkund Sahib is also known as Lokpal by many Hindus across the cities in the nation.
Hemkund Sahib in Garhwal is surrounded by snow-capped mountains on all its sides. There is a lake of pristine blue water beside this pilgrimage site. The Sikh shrine of Hemkund Sahib is, indeed, a place of ultimate peace and beauty.
There are seven peaks encapsulating the Hemkund Sahib in Uttaranchal, which is known as the Sapt Sring. It is believed that the penultimate guru of the Sikhs i.e. the Tenth guru called Guru Gobind Singhji, meditated in these mountains for years before getting united with the Almighty. Hence, this star-shaped Gurudwara is a memorial of this guru.
Moreover, according to the Hindu mythology, several other hermits like Rishi Medhasa of the Markandeya Purana and Lord Lakshman, the brother of Lord Ram performed penance at this place. There is even a temple here, which is dedicated to Lord Lakshman.
The ritual of 5 Ks among Sikhs also originated from here. These Ks include:
- kesh (uncut hair)
- kangha (comb)
- kirpan (short sword)
- kara (steel bangle)
- kachh (boxer shorts)
However, the most significant tradition is the uncut hair, which is growing long hair even among men.