Gangotri, Gangotri Information, Gangotri in Char Dham Yatra
Gangotri
Information about Gangotri

Gangotri, Yamunotri, Kedarnath and Badrinath are the four major shrines that constitute the Char Dham. Among all these shrines, Gangotri is the fourth major and picturesque pilgrimage shrine in the Garhwal Himalayas. The melting Gangotri glacier give rise to sacred Ganga river. The Gangotri Temple is situated at a height of 3140 meters amidst charming surroundings of deodars and pines, about 248 kms. from Rishikesh. The Temple of Gangotri is dedicated to the goddess Ganga and is erected whre she is believed to have been descended on earth for the first time. This temple is visited by lakhs of pilgrims between May and October, every year. By November, Gangotri is covered by snow and it is believed that the goddess retreats to Mukhba, her winter abode. The physical source of the holy river is at Gaumukh, 18 kms. further uphill, along the Gangotri glacier. In summers, the temperature is very cool during the day and cold at night and in winters, it is covered by snow and remains below zero. The best season to visit Gangotri is from April to November. Hindi, Garhwali and English are the main languages which are spoken here.

History of Gangotri

According to Indian mythology, the King Sagar had 60,000 sons. He defeated all the demons in the earth and wanted to stage a Ashwamedha Yagya to declare his supremacy. For this, he sent his horse across the earth accompanied by his sons. The King of Heaven, Lord Indra feared the power of King Sagar and to stop him, he stole the horse and tied it to the ashram of Sage Kapil. When the 60,000 sons saw the horse in Kapil's ashram they got furious and started to attack the hermitage. Sage Kapil was in deep meditation and on hearing the disturbance he opened his eyes in anger and all the 60,000 sons of King Sagar were reduced to ashes, except for prince Asamanjas. Anshuman, the grandson of King Sagar brought the horse back from the Sage and asked for his forgiveness. Sage Kapil told him that the sons can be brought to life only if Ganga is brought from heaven to earth. So, Bhagirath meditated intesely for several years and finally, the goddess Ganga got pleased and came down to earth and manifested herself in the form of river. To prevent the earth from floods, the Lord Shiva received Ganga into his matted locks to minimise the immense effect of her fall. King Bhagirath then worshipped Lord Shiva and Shiva blessed him and released Ganga from his locks in seven streams. The water of Ganga touched the ashes of Sagar sons who rose to the their eternal rest in heaven. These seven streams of Ganga were Bhagirathi, Jahnvi, Bhilangana, Mandakini, Rishiganga, Saraswati and Alaknanda which merge into Ganga at Devprayag. The Goddess Ganga later came to be called as Bhagirathi at her legendary source in Gangotri. The Gangotri Temple is situated on the right banks of the Bhagirathi river. The rock on which King Bhagirath is believed to have meditated, is called Bhagirath Shila and is located near the temple of Ganga.

Tourist Attractions in Gangotri

The main tourist attraction in Gangotri is the Gangotri Temple. The other tourist attraction in Gangotri is the Ganga river and the submerged Shivaling and Gaumukh.

Gangotri Temple
The Gangotri Temple is situated on the right banks of the Bhagirathi river. This temple is dedicated to the goddess Ganga. This temple is situated at a height of 3140 meters. The original temple was constructed by the Gorkha General Amar Singh Thapa in the early 18th century and later re built by the Maharaja of Jaipur. The temple is an exquiste 20 feet high structure made of white granite. Every year people from all around the world visit this shrine between May and October. A number of ashrams and dharamshalas are located on the other side. It is believed that the rock or Bhagirath Shila on which the Raja Bhagirath used to worship Shiva is situated near the temple. The Gaurikund waterfall, one of the most beautiful in the Himalaya, the rocks resembling giant stone chip tools, is nearby.

Gangotri Temple, Gangotri

Shivling
There is a natural rock Shivling which is submerged in the river and an amazing place to visit. According to mythology, the Lord Shiva sat at this place to receive the Goddess Ganga in his matted locks. This Shivling is visible in the early winters when the water lelevl goes down.

Gaumukh
The Gaumukh (Cow's Mouth) is the snout of the Gangotri Glacier and the source of the Bhagirathi river. The trek to the Gangotri glacier starts from Chaukhamba cluster of snow peaks near Badrinath and extends to Gaumukh, the source of the river. The Gangotri glacier is situated at a height of 4255 meters. Several pilgrims trek upto the source to offer the prayers and take a holy dip in the ice-cold water either on foot or on ponies.

Excursions

Kedar Tal (about 18 kms.)
Kedar Tal is an enchanting lake, situated about 4425 meters above the sea level against the splendid background of the mighty Thalaiyasagar peak. This lake is accessible through a rough mountain trail and is the base camp for trekking to the surrounding peaks.

Nandanvan Tapovan (about 6 kms.)
An arduous trek along the Gangotri glacier leads to scenic Nandanvan. Nandanvan is the base camp of the Bhagirathi peaks and offers a panoramic view of the surrounding Shivling peak. A trek across the snout of the Gangotri glacier leads to Tapovan known for the beautiful meadows that encircle the base of the Shivling peak.

Bhairon Ghati (about 10 kms.)
Bhairon Ghati is situated towards Uttarkashi. It is known for the temple of Bhairav Nath, surrounded by the thick forests.

Harsil (about 28 kms.)
The sylvan hamlet of Harsil is located in the mountain district of Uttarkashi. Harsil is known for the scenic landscapes and delicious apples. Sat Tal or seven lakes is situated nearby and is a famous attraction.

How to get here

By Air: 
The nearest airport is Jolly Grant in Dehradun, situated about 226 kms. from Gangotri.

By Rail:
The nearest railway station is located in Rishikesh, about 249 kms.

By Road:
Gangotri is well connected by road to Rishikesh, Dehra Dun, Haridwar and Delhi.

 

States in North India
Delhi || Jammu & Kashmir || Haryana & Punjab || Himachal Pradesh || Madhya Pradesh || Rajasthan || Uttar Pradesh || Uttaranchal

Information about Uttaranchal
Introduction || Geography || Economy || People || Pilgrimage || Adventure Sports || Hill Stations || Trekking || Wildlife Sanctuaries

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Almora || Champawat || Dehradun || Pithoragarh || Ranikhet

Distances from Cities in Uttaranchal
Muzzafarnagar || Saharanpur

Hill Stations in Uttaranchal
Mussoorie || Nainital

Pilgrimage Places in Uttaranchal
Badrinath || Gangotri || Haridwar || Kedarnath || Yamunotri || Other Pilgrimage Places

Festivals of Uttaranchal

Makar Sankranti || Basant Panchami || Phool Dei || Haatkalika Fair || Kumbh Mela || Syalde Bikhauti || Jageshwar Fair || Bat Savitri || Ganga Dusshera || Harela and Bhitauli || Ghee Sankranti || Janopunyu || Khatarua || Jauljibi and Thal fairs || Nandadevi Fair

Wildlife Sanctuaries of Uttaranchal

Corbett National Park || Govind Wildlife Sanctuary || Valley of Flowers National Park || Chandraprabha Wildlife Sanctuary || Nanda Devi National Park
|| Kedarnath Wildlife Sanctuary


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