The popular treks to Gomukh -- the source of the Ganga, India's 'holiest of holy' rivers -- will not be as simple as it has been over the centuries.
The Uttarakhand government has clamped heavy restrictions on the number of people undertaking the 18 kilometre trek from Gangotri to Gomukh.
"We have decided not to allow more than 150 people to undertake the trek over a month," Uttarakhand Chief Minister Ramesh Pokhriyal 'Nishank' told a press conference in Lucknow on Saturday evening.
Nishank was in Lucknow on a day-long visit to resolve various issues, pending between the Uttarakhand and Uttar Pradesh governments ever since the Himalayan state was carved out of UP nine years ago. He also held a
two-hour long meeting with his UP counterpart Mayawati in this regard.
According to Nishank, "The restrictions had to be imposed essentially because of the increasing human pressure on the Gangotri glacier, that has been receding at an alarming rate."
He said, "Ganga is the national invaluable heritage, with which we cannot afford to risk anything so we decided to take this first step towards preserving it."
Admitting that the mushroom growth of hotels in Gangotri -- the last motorable road head on the route -- was responsible for increasing pollution of the Ganga at that point, the Uttarakhand chief minister said, "A sustainable plan would be drawn up soon to curb such pollution as well."