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Gangotri Dham, located at the height of 3,100 meters (approx.) on the Himalayan range in Uttarkashi district of Uttarakhand, holds a very special place in the hearts of Hindus. It is one of the four sacred and important pilgrimage sites of Chota Char Dham Yatra in Uttarakhand. Amid all the natural beauty and grace which the mountains and altitude of the place affords, what makes Gangotri one of the holiest places is its intimate connection with River Ganga (the Ganges).
Ganga Maa (mother), the much revered deity of Hindus, originates from the Gangotri glacier at Gaumukh which is some 18 km from the Gangotri town. It is said that Goddess Ganga came to earth in order to wash away the sins of King Bhagirathi's ancestors. From the folds of mythology till the present time, Ganga River has always been a sacred source of purity for the mankind. Coming to Gangotri for a religious tour is not only a religious duty but a spiritual calling too.
A picture of serenity, the humble abode of Maa Ganga is situated by the side of Bhagirathi River. Located in Uttarkashi district of Uttarakhand, the revered temple is one of the four pilgrimages in the Chota Char Dham circuit of Garhwal Himalayas. Mother Ganga is present in the premises of the white temple building in the form of a small silver idol. The amazing mountain range of Himalayas and the flowing Bhagirathi by the side makes for a perfect setting to behold the life-giving, gentle yet powerful deity. The pilgrims are required to bath in the crystal clear waters of the pious river before visiting the main shrine.
As the winter season gets ready to knock on the doors of the mountain region, Goddess Ganga gets ready to leave for Mukhyamath temple in Mukhba village, 20 km downstream. The transfer takes place on the auspicious day of Diwali (Oct/Nov) amid vedic chants and elaborate rituals. With greater joy and enthusiasm, the Goddess is brought back to the Gangotri temple on the occasion of Akshaya Tritiya (April/May).
Best Time to Visit
Gangotri remains cold almost round the year, yet the best time to visit this place is in between April and June, and September and October. Summers here are quite pleasant, which also mark the ideal season to pay homage at the Gangotri shrine. Monsoons are accompanied by heavy rainfall and it's the time when travelling becomes a little difficult. Winters are freezing here with a lot of snowfall making the weather too chilly.
In Gangotri, the summers set in the starting of April and end in the month of May. Being one of the perfect seasons of Gangotri, summer is extremely pleasing here. Winter season in Gangotri starts in the month of November and lasts till March. Winters here are too chilly accompanied by heavy snowfall.
Places To Visit
A Shivling made from natural rock is submerged under water and is easily visible in winters when the water recedes. It is said to be the place Lord Shiva sat on while he tied Ganga in his matted hair. Dividing it into 7 streams, Shiva saved earth from the massive force of Devi Ganga.
Gaumukh and Tapovan
To witness the holy birth of River Ganges at Gaumukh, one can take up a picturesque and exciting trek surrounded with peaks and soaring peaks. One can further trek to Tapovan which is about 4 km from Gaumukh. Tapovan has meadows, beautiful flowers, streams and incredible views of surrounding Himalayan Peaks such as Shivling and Bhagirathi. Tapovan is also a base camp initiating a number of mountaineering tours.
Bhairon Nath Temple in Bhairon Ghati
Some 10 km downstream from Gangotri, near the point where Jadh Ganga (also called Jhanvi River) merges with Bhagirathi, lies the temple of Bhairon Nath. As per a legend, Bhairon Nath was chosen by Lord Shiva as the protector of the region. And every visit to the Gangotri temple should be followed by a visit to the temple of Bhairon.
Moving about 3 km from Bhairon Ghati one can reach Lanka Chatti to witness one of the highest river bridges of the region; the bridge over River Jhanvi is quite a spectacle in its own right.
How To Reach
Jolly Grant airport, Rishikesh Road, Dehradun, is the nearest airport to Gangotri. Hire a cab or get a bus from here.
Regular trains to Haridwar and Dehradun are available at all times of the year. Hire a cab or get a bus from here.
Gangotri is connected with motorable roads, and buses and taxes from important destinations like Rishikesh, Dehradun, Uttarkashi and Tehri Garhwal are easily available.
I am glad i visited it once in my life time. I was really amazed to see the flow of gangaji (river) oh my god it was wowwwww i really dnt have words for it bt it was flowing like anything , wat speed amazing. happy to b here once
Really No Words Are Enough To Describe The Mesmerizing Beauty Of This Amazing Holy Shrine Especially In Snowfall.
Gangotri, the origin of the River Ganges and seat of the goddess Ganga, is one of the four sites in the Chota Char Dham and it’s at an altitude of 10200 feet. The river is called Bhagirathi at the source and called as Ganga from Devprayag onwards where it meets the River Alaknanda. The origin of the holy river is at Gaumukh, set in the Gangotri Glacier, and is a 19 km trek from Gangotri.