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 goddessGanga and is erected where 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.
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 rebuilt 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 Gangotri Temple Uttaranchalnumber 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,
The other nearby places of interest are-
.Surya Kund : A place where pilgrims offer their prayers to the Hindu Sun God.
.Vishnu Kund : A holy place of worship where pilgrims offer their prayers to Lord Vishnu-the preserver.
.Brahma Kund : A holy spot where the pilgrims offer their auspicious prayers to Lord Brahma -the creator.
.The submerged Shivling : This is a site a pilgrim must visit. This site has immense visual value. It speaks a silent language of God’s power. It is believed that Lord Shiva sat here to tame the gushing force of the river Ganges in his locking mates.
.Nandavan Tapovan : This site is ideal for excursion. Nandan Tapovan is situated at distance of 6 Km from Gangotri. A trek along the Gangotri glacier leads to this beautiful place which is really a visual treat. One can see the beautiful Shivalik peak from here.
.Uttarkashi : Uttarkashi is another place to visit. It is situated at a distance of 99km from Gangotri. This place is accessible after a long trek along the Gangotri glacier. situated at an elevation of 1,150 mts. above sea level on the bank of river Bhagirathi. There are some important temples to visit in Uttarkashi like-
2. Ekadash Rudra temple
3. Gyaneshwar temple
4. Kuteti Devi Temple
Kedar Tal : It is a beautiful lake, 4425 mts. above sea level. This lake is placed at the exotic backdrop of the Thalaiyasagar peak. This place is accessible after rough mountain trekking. Kedartal serves as a base camp for trekking to the other surrounding mountain peaks.
Gaumukh : It is the mouth of the sacred Gangs river. Pilgrims reach the spot after a long trek from gangotri. The pilgrim offer their prayers to the Goddess and take a holy dip in the chilling water of the Ganges.
Bhairon Ghati : This spot is surrounded by thick forest and is situated towards Uttarkashi. This place is famous for the famous temple of Bhairo Nath.
Harsil : This location is situated in the mountain district of Uttarkashi. Sat Tal is a nearby tourist destination. Harsil is famous for it’s scenic beauty and for delicious apples.
Gangani : This place is noted for it’s splendid landscape, thermal springs and peaceful surroundings. Bhatwari a small upcoming town 12 km away from Gangani is a must visit.
Maneri : Maneri is a spot that is worth visiting for its beautiful surroundings, the nearby lake and also the dam across the river Bhagirathi.
Dayara Bugyal : Dayara Bugyal is famous for its magnificent ski slopes spread over an area of 28 sq.km. Dayara is approachable from Bhatwari after a 6km trek. Bhatwari is 27 km from Uttarkashi. The famous Shashang temple is an attraction while trekking. This spot is famous for it’s splendid scenic beauty. The spot is situated at a height of 3048 meters.
Dodi Tal : This sparkling lake is situated at an elevation of 2286 mts. The lake is surrounded by dense forests. The famous himalayan fresh water fish are found here in abundance. This site is a must visit for auatic life lovers.
Nachiketa Tal : This spot is famous for its beautiful scenery. A small temple along the lake is also very famous. This spot is approachable after a pleasant trek through a rich green forest.
Tehri : This spot is famous for a giant hydel project. This beautiful spot lies in the confluence of the Bhagirathi and Bhilanga river. This spot is generally visited by tourists who like to travel and venture more into this beautiful pilgrim spot after paying homage at Gangaotri.
Narendranagar : From this spot one can view the beautiful scenic beauty of Ganga valley of Rishikesh and the plains of Haridwar. Narendranagar is the new capital of erstwhile Tehri.
Things to remember:
.The main season to visit Gangotri is April to November.
.One may carry light woolen in summer.
.One should carry very heavy woolen in winter.
.The colloquial language is Hindi, Garhwali & English.
.The nearest airport is Jolly Grant, 226 km from Dehradun.
.The nearest railway station is Rishikesh.
.The road route is well connected Well connected to Rishikesh, Haridwar, Dehradun and Delhi.
.A number of ashrams, dharamshalas, guest houses, private guest houses serve as a convenient stay.
.The local eating joints dhabas are an ideal place to eat. They serve tasty vegetarian food. Non vegetarian food and liqour is prohibited.