One of the chief mountain massifs in the Gangotri cluster of mountains in the Garhwal Himalayas is the magnificent Chaukhamba peak. ‘Chaukhamba’ literally means ‘four pillars’ and its four impressive peaks rise up to an elevation of 7,138 metres, 7,088 metres, 6,995 metres and 6,854 metres respectively.
The highest peak in the group is Chaukhamba I that lies precisely on top of the Gangotri Glacier and forms the eastern connection of the group. Excellent views of the Chaukhamba can be seen from a place called Guptakashi and the Vasuki Tal Lake that is situated at an altitude of 4,150 metres above sea level. The Gangotri Glacier begins on its western slopes and is one of the largest in the Himalayas. The slopes of Chaukhamba are ideal for major mountaineering expeditions and the best months for climbing are June, July, August and September. The Shivling Peak is also an important part of this group.