Gangotri is a famous pilgrimage center located in the Uttarkashi district of Uttarakhand. It is situated in the Himalayan ranges at 3750 meters above sea level. It is perched on the banks of river Bhagirathi. Gangotri is a holy place for both Char Dham and Make Do Dham pilgrimages. It is the second stop of the Char Dham Yatra of Indian Hindus, while Yamunotri Dham is the first stop. The origin of the Ganges at Gangotri Tirth is about 24 km from this place which is called the Gangotri Glacier and is estimated to be situated at an altitude of 4225 meters.
According to mythology, Goddess Ganga took the form of Ganga to wash away the sins of King Bhagirath and his forefathers. Lord Shiva locked it in his locks to save the earth from flowing out. ‘Gaumukh,’ the source of the Ganga or river Ganga, is located 19 km from Gangotri. The river Ganga is known as ‘Bhagirathi’ at its origin.
Gangotri Temple History
On the right side of the river, Bhagirathi is the temple of Gangotri, dedicated to the Goddess. Situated at 3042 meters, the Gangotri Temple was built in the early 18th century by Amar Singh Thapa, a Gorkha commander.
Gangotri Temple Architecture
The architecture of the Gangotri temple is quite simple. The temple follows the Katyuri style, with five small peaks at 20 feet. The holy temple faces east so that the first rays of the sun fall on it. The temple is constructed of white marble stone, and the sanctum sanctorum is built on a high platform.
The inner sanctum houses idols of the goddess Ganga as the main deity, along with goddesses Yamuna, Saraswati, Annapurna, Mahalakshmi, and Bhagiratha. An idol of the great saint Adi Shankaracharya also sits in the sanctum sanctorum. Four small temples are dedicated to Lord Shiva, Ganesha, Hanuman, and Bhagirathi.
Gangotri Temple Significance
Gangotri Dham has special importance for Indian Hindus and is considered a pilgrimage area for people who believe in Sanatan culture. The water of Ganga ji collected near the Gangotri temple is considered nectar and is taken by all the devotees to their homes. It is said that in this Gangotri Dham, during the Mahabharata war, the Pandavas Performed Dev Yagya to atone for the killing of their ancestors and relatives by their own hands, and then they were absolved of this sin.
A Shivalingam-like structure is visible after the Gangotri temple during winter. Abhay is said to be where Lord Shiva brought down the mother Ganges on earth by holding her in his locks. In the evening, the Gangotri temple is decorated grandly, and Ganga Aarti is performed on the banks of the river Ganga. Various fruits, flowers, and lamps are immersed in the Ganges in small boats during Ganga Aarti.
Mythology About Gangotri
Mythology 1: After slaying the demons on earth, King Sagara organized an Ashwamedha Yajna to declare his supremacy. The horse, which was to be taken on an uninterrupted journey around the planet, was to be represented by the 60,000 sons of Queen Sumati and Asamanja, the son of another Queen Kesani. Indra, the supreme ruler of the gods, feared that he might be deprived of his throne if the ‘yajna’ was successful. He then picked up the horse and tied it to the hermitage of Kapil Muni, who was in deep meditation then. The sons of King Sagar searched for the horse and found it connected to the meditating Kapil Muni. Sixty thousand angry sons of King Sagar attacked the hermitage of sage Kapil. When Kapil Muni opened his eyes, King Sagar’s 60,000 sons died due to his curse. King Sagara’s grandson Bhagiratha is believed to have meditated on Goddess Ganga to appease Goddess Ganga to clean the ashes of his ancestors and free their souls, granting them salvation.
Mythology 2: According to Hindu mythology, after many centuries of severe penance, Goddess Ganga took the form of a river to wash away the sins of King Bhagiratha’s ancestors. To reduce the immense effect of the fall of Maa Ganga, Lord Shiva held Maa Ganga in his hair. She came to be named Bhagirathi at her mythological source.
Temple Opening & Closing Seasons
The Sacred shrine of Gangotri temple opens on the auspicious day of Akshay Tritiya Every Year.
Temple Aarti Time
The Gangotri temple aarti timings are 6:00 AM in the morning and 7:45 PM in the evening.
Places to Visit in Gangotri
Yamunotri Dham is one of the famous Chhota Char Dham of Uttarakhand. You can also visit its favorite sightseeing places in Yamunotri Dham Yatra. So let us show you the significant areas of Yamunotri through this article.
Gangotri Temple, a religiously significant temple in Hinduism, is located in the quaint town of Gangotri in the Uttarkashi district of Uttarakhand State. The temple is the tallest and most important temple dedicated to Goddess Ganga.
Gangotri is one of Uttarakhand’s four holy dhams (Char Dham), along with Yamunotri, Badrinath, and Kedarnath. This temple is a must-see attraction situated at an altitude of more than 3000 meters above sea level, amidst lush green hills and with the mesmerizing Ganga flowing on its banks.
According to a legend, the river Ganges originated here. About 300 years ago, Amar Singh Thapa, a Nepalese general, built this temple to honor the goddess. The pleasant holy vibe in the air is enough to explain why the temple is of such importance to all.
Surya Kund is a stunning waterfall in Gangotri. It is situated at a distance of 500 meters from Gangotri Temple. Suryakund holds religious significance as it is believed that Goddess Parvati used to bathe here and offer prayers to the Sun God. Every time the sun shines, a rainbow is formed when the water falls into the pool. The best time to visit Surya Kund is early morning.
Harsil is situated on the banks of river Bhagirathi at an altitude of 2620 meters above sea level.
It is an unspoiled and secret gem of the state of Uttarakhand that offers great opportunities for people seeking peace and tranquility in the lap of the Himalayas.
This quaint village has become popular among travel enthusiasts and nature lovers recently.
Harsil offers several adventure trekking routes that you can do in the vicinity of Harsil. Holidays in Harsil are a refreshing experience where you can do meditation and yoga.
Dharli is famous for its apple orchards, and red bean cultivation, jo is located 2 km from Harsil. An ancient temple in this village has an idol of Lord Shiva.
Ancient legends believe that Bhagiratha did penance at this place to make Ganga flow from heaven to earth. The temple stands to prove the incident.
The Submerged Shivling is located near the Gangotri Temple and is a natural Shivling, visible only in winter when the water level goes down. Lord Shiva is believed to hold the river Ganges in his hair at this holy place.
Bhairon Valley is located in the Uttarkashi district of the Indian state of Uttarakhand. It is a small settlement in the mountains of northern India at the confluence of the Jadh Ganga and Bhagirathi rivers. It is about 10 kms from Gangotri town.
The temple of Bhairav Nath is surrounded by the lush green dense grove, from which one can easily reach the Jahnavi river on foot.
Gangnani is a small townlet located 46 km from Uttarkashi on the way to Gangotri. Gangnani is ideal for the spiritually inclined and those pursuing peace of mind. Being a perfect place for reflection, Gangnani is a perfect destination for nature lovers exploring the Uttarkashi district of Uttarakhand state. Surrounded by Gangotri, Gangnani offers breathtaking views of the mountains.
Bhojbasa is located 5 km before the Gaumukh Glacier, the source of the Ganges River, and at an altitude of 3,775 meters above sea level. To reach Bhojbasa, one has to travel 14 kms on foot from Gangotri. The trek goes via rugged terrains along the Bhagirathi River.
Bhojbasa serves as the last point of accommodation on the way to the sacred Gaumukh Glacier. This beautiful place offers breathtaking views of the Bhagirathi peaks.
Gangotri is one of the giant glaciers in India. The Gangotri Glacier originates from the north pole of the Chaukhamba mountain range, which is the source of the holy river Ganga. The glacier’s terminus is Gaumukh, a popular trekking point from Gangotri.
The water of the Ganges is considered extremely pure and curative. Because from where it flows, there is a source of mineral material and medicinal plants.
Best Time To Visit Gangotri
Gangotri remains cool throughout the year, so the best time to visit the site is between April – June and between September – October. The summers here are pleasant, which is also the ideal time to visit Gangotri Temple.
How to Reach Gangotri
By Air: Jolly Grant Airport is the nearest airport to Gangotri, located at 250 kms. Jolly Grant Airport is well linked to Delhi with daily flights, and Gangotri is well connected to Jolly Grant Airport by road. You can also hire a helicopter service from Dehradun to Gangotri.
By Train: Rishikesh Railway Station is the closest railway station, about 243 kms from Gangotri. The railway station is located on NH58. Taxis and buses are available to Gangotri from Rishikesh, Tehri Garhwal Uttarkashi, and many other places. However, most of the trains also run from Haridwar Railway Station.
By Road: Gangotri is well-linked by motorable roads with major destinations in Uttarakhand. Located at the end of NH108, buses to Rishikesh are available from ISBT Kashmere Gate, Delhi. Buses and taxis are easily available for Gangotri from significant destinations in Uttarakhand, like Rishikesh, Dehradun, Tehri Garhwal, Uttarkashi, etc. You can hire a car or take a taxi from Delhi to Gangotri.