Gangotri dham is one of the sacred pilgrimage sites Char Dham (Four Pilgrimages), which are four holy and essential places for Hindus and are part of the essential “Char Dham Yatra“. The town of Gangotri is situated on the banks of river Bhagirathi. It is one of the best pilgrimage sites in Uttarakhand state. Located at the height of approximately 3048 meters on the Himalayan range in Uttarkashi district of state Uttarakhand, this shrine of goddess Ganga holds a very important and special place in the hearts of all of us.
Maa Ganga (Mother Ganga), the holy river and much revered deity of Hindus, originates from the Gangotri glacier at Gaumukh, which is about 18 km from the town of Gangotri. It is believed that Goddess Ganga came to earth to wash away the sins of King Bhagirath’s ancestors. A popular legend holds that Goddess Ganga descended when Lord Shiva released the mighty river from the locks of his hair.
Climate:Winter: Snow-bound. Touching sub-zero.
Summer: Cool during the day and cold at night.
Best Season:April to November
Gangotri – The Eternal Gift of Bhagirath’s Penance
Be it man’s urge to placate the Gods above or to quench his desire for adventure, Gangotri is an ideal location. Gangotri, the origin of the sacred river Ganges, attracts tourists in large numbers every year. The confrontation with the daunting rivers and attempts to unravel the mysteries of the supernatural world are ubiquitous sights here. Along with the thrill of conquering nature, what one experiences here is the mystical aura that India is so famous for.
Couched in the magnificent Garhwal hills, Gangotri is at an altitude of 3048 meters above sea level. It is on the northernmost part of the state of Uttar Pradesh and is very near the Indo-Tibetan border. It is approximately 300 km from Dehradun, 250 km from Rishikesh and 105 km from Uttarkashi. The summers are relatively cool and winters are freezing cold, with rains in the months of May and June. For the devotees and tourists, the gates of the temple are open only in the months of May to November.
According to an old legend, Lord Shiva rewarded King Bhagirath after his penance and Ganga came down to earth. However, due to her pride, and the fact that the earth would be devastated if Ganga came down in her full force, Lord Shiva caught her in his locks. It was then proclaimed that Goddess Uma or Parvati,
Shiva’s consort would bathe in the Ganges daily and only then would she descend on the earth. The sacred stone near the temple denotes the place where Ganga first came down to earth. This is why Ganga is also called by the Name of Bhagirathi.
Unique Pilgrimage Attraction
The natural rock Shivling, submerged in the river, is an amazing sight reinforcing the power of the divine. According to mythology, Lord Shiva sat at this spot to receive the Ganga in his matted locks. The Shivling is visible in the early winters when the water level goes down. The picturesque pilgrimage in the hinterlands of the Himalayas is the most sacred spot where Ganga, the stream of life, touched earth for the first time.
Mythological Mystery According to mythology, Goddess Ganga- the daughter of heaven, manifested herself in the form of a river to absolve the sins of King Bhagirath’s predecessors, following his severe penance of several centuries. Lord Shiva received into his matted locks to minimise the immense impact of her fall. She came to be called Bhagirathi at her legendary source.
A long the right bank of Bhagirathi stands the shrine of Gangotri dedicated to the Goddess. Perched at a height of 3042 mts., it was constructed in the early 18th century by a Gorkha Commander, Amar Singh Thapa. Every year, lakhs of pilgrims throng the sacred temple between May and October. By November, Gangotri is covered by snow. It is believed that the Goddess retreats to Mukhba, her winter abode.
Prime Pilgrimage Attraction
Gangotri TempleThe 18th century’s temple dedicated to Goddess Ganga is located near a sacred stone where King Bhagirath worshipped Lord Shiva. Ganga is believed to have touched earth at this spot. According to another legend, Pandavas performed the great ‘Deva Yagna’ here to atone the deaths of their kinsmen in the epic battle of Mahabharata. The temple is an exquisite 20 ft. High structure made of white granite.
Nandanvan TapovanAn arduous trek along the Gangotri Glacier leads to scenic Nandanvan – the base camp for the Bhagirathi peaks that offers a panoramic view of the surrounding Shivaling peak. A trek across the snout of the Gangotri Glacier leads to Tapovan known for its beautiful meadows that encircle the base of the Shivling Peak.
Uttarkashi (99 kms.)An important pilgrimage centre, situated at an elevation of 1,150 mts. above sea level on the bank of river Bhagirathi. Some of the important temples worth visiting are – Vishwanath temple, Ekadash Rudra temple, Gyaneshwar temple and Kuteti Devi Temple. Nearby is the Nehru Institute of Mountaineering. Every year, during the ‘Magh Mela’ people visit Uttarkashi to take a holy dip in Bhagirathi along with the image of their village deity.
Kedar Tal (18 kms.)
An enhancing lake, 4425 mts. above sea level against the splendid backdrop of mighty Thalaiyasagar peak. Accessible through a rough mountain trail, it is the base camp for trekking to surrounding peaks. The trek to Kedartal needs a local guide.
Gaumukh (18 kms.) The snout of the Gangotri Glacier and the source of the Bhagirathi River. Pilgrims trek up to the sacred spot on foot or on ponies to take a holy dip in the ice-cold water.
Dayara Bugyal (93 kms. A breathtakingly beautiful meadow, situated at a height of 3,048 mts. above sea level. A motorable road connects Bhatwari (27 kms. from Uttarkashi) with Raithal village, from where follows a 6 kms. Long trek to Dayara. The famous Sheshnag Temple enroute is an attraction of the trek. From Dayara, one can also trek down to Dodi Tal (30 kms.). During winters, Dayara provides excellent ski slopes over an area of 28 sq.kms.
Nachiketa Tal (131 kms.)
A pleasant trek through lush green forests leads to this peaceful retreat. A small temple along the lake and lovely surroundings are an attraction.
Tehri (173 kms.)
Lying at the confluence of Bhagirathi and Bhilangna rivers is the former capital of Tehri Garhwal principality. It is the site of a giant hydel project.
Narendranagar (239 kms.)
The new capital of erstwhile Tehri state, offers a magnificent view of the Ganga valley of Rishikesh and the plains of Haridwar.
AirportJolly Grant, Dehradun 226 kms.RailheadRishikesh, 249 kms.RoadWell connected to Rishikesh, Haridwar, Dehradun and Delhi.
GANGOTRI DHAM – 4 Nights/5 Days
PLACES COVERED:Delhi – Haridwar – Uttarkashi – Gangotri – Rishikesh – Delhi
Day 1: Delhi-Haridwar (230 Kms/6hrs)
Arrival Delhi Railway Station, Meet & Assist further drive to Hardwar, enroute lunch. Later drive to Hardwar transfer to your Hotel. Visit Har-ki-Pauri for Ganga Aarti in evening. Back to your hotel, Dinner & Night halt.
Day 2: Haridwar – Uttarkashi (150kms/5hr)
Morning visit Haridwar Local Sight Seeing, later drive to Uttarkashi. On Arr. Uttarkashi, Check in Hotel. Later at evening visit Lord Vishwanth Temple. Back to your hotel, Dinner & Night halt.
Uttarkashi: Situated at the bank of river Bhagirathi. The temple of Lord Vishwanath is located here where a massive iron trident is erected. The other important temples situated here are Ekadash Rudra, Bhairav, Gyaneshwar and Goddess Kuteti Devi.
Day 3: Uttarkashi – Gangotri (100kms/3hr)
Early morning, Drive to Gangotri enroute visit Gangnani. Arr. Gangotri, Check in Hotel. Later visit Gangotri Temple. Overnight stay at Hotel.
Gangnani: Further up on way to Gangotri about 26 Kms from Maneri, is the hot water spring at Gangnani, where one can have refreshing bath in the kund called Rishikund. There is a temple near the kund dedicated to the Sage Parashar, believed to be the father of Ved Vyas.
Gangotri Temple: The temple, constructed by the Gorkha General Amar Singh Thapa in the 18th Century, is situated on the right bank of Bhagirathi.
Submerged Shivling: Submerged in the river, this natural rock Shivling is the place where, according to mythology Lord Shiva sat when he received the Ganga in his matted lock. It is visible in winter months when water level decreases.
Day 4: Gangotri – Rishikesh (230kms/7hr)
Early morning, pilgrims after Darshan of Gangotri Temple. Drive straight to Rishikesh. Check in Hotel. At evening visit Gang Aarti at Triveni Ghat. Overnight stay at Hotel.
Day 5: Rishikesh – Delhi (254kms/7hr)
Morning visit Rishikesh Local Sight Seeing. Later dep. to Delhi. On Arr. Delhi, Drop at Railway Station/Airport