Gangotri Dham – The origin of the Ganges
About Gangotri Dham
Gangotri is a place or Municipality in the Uttarkashi district of Uttrakhand State. Gangotri is the changed version of two Hindi different words “Ganga” and “Utari”(landed down). Gangotri is situated on the bank of river Ganga and is very well known as the place of origin of the Holy river Ganga/ Bhagirathi. Millions of people come here every year to visit Goddess Ganga and pay their obeisance. They secure their afterlife with a dip in the holy Ganga. It is believed that when king Bhagirath took Ganga water into his kingdom, the water of this river relieved king Sagar and his progeny of all the curses. The Ganga is so pure and pious that if someone thinks of it even from thousands of kilometres away it is believed, that just doing grants your every wish. There is one market around 1 km and a restaurant also for food. You can see springs in way of Gangotri; you will rarely get to enjoy such a lovely location, but such locations are abundant throughout Uttrakhand.
Altitude: 3415 meters
Location: 30.98°N 78.93°E
Gangotri Dham is the place where the Ganga river originated. There was a king named Sagar, he had 60,000 sons. Once he organized a Yagya (Yajna), as a part of which, he had to set free a horse. Lord Indra felt threatened by the growing strength and prominence of king Sagar. He stole his horse and tied it up at the ashram of Saint Kapil Muni in Ganga Sagar. When those 60,000 sons reached the ashram, while looking for their horse and they saw his horse in the ashram then they abused Kapil Muni, assuming that it was he who has stolen the horse. The Saint was a learned man and just with the power of his eyesight, he turned those 60,000 sons of king Sagar into ashes by burning them immediately. After this, the king, their father, was heartbroken and worried about how his sons would be absolved of their excesses in the afterlife. He went to consult Narad Muni, Narad Muni told king Sagar that the day Goddess Ganga would reach the earth’s surface is the day when your sons would be absolved of the curse of Kapil Muni. To bring Goddess Ganga onto the earth, King Sagar went into deep meditation as did his sons Anshuman, Asmanjas, and Daleep. It was the king Bhagirath, a fifth generation later, who came to this place and performed extraordinary meditation for Goddess Ganga for 5500 years. It was then that Goddess Ganga granted his wish, but she asked who would hold her powerful flow when she reached the earth. Then she said that there was only one man who could handle the powerful flow and he was Mahayogi Lord Bholenath (Shiva). When the king heard this from Goddess Ganga then he prayed to Lord Shiva. After that Lord Shiva placed his feet firmly on two separate mountains (Sumer and Meru) and chanted “Har Har Gange”. It was then Goddess Ganga started from the heavens above and landed on the forehead of Lord Shiva. Then she kept swirling in the long hair of Lord Shiva for a whole month. It was on the occasion of Ganga Dussehra that Goddess finally landed on the earth’s surface, that is why this place began to be called Gangotri. After that, Goddess Ganga told Bhagirath that she would follow him through the earth, and thus, his ancestors would be rid of the curse of Kapil Muni. With these words, Goddess Ganga establish herself here and a temple was constructed in her honour here. The present temple was built by the Gorkha General Amar Singh Thapa.
Weather of Gangotri is awesome and unpolluted environment, you will love it. The weather is very pleasant during summers, but you have to carry winter clothes. Monsoon season is too difficult for devotees, try to avoid in monsoon season. Winters are freezing with heavy Snowfall, enjoy snowfall in October and November. The best time to visit Gangotri is from April to June and September to November.
You can easily find accommodation in Gangotri and nearby places. As the region is the Garhwal region of Uttrakhand, you can enjoy fresh, healthy, and delicious Garhwali Food.
Opening and Closing Timings
On the auspicious day of Akshay Tritiya which mainly falls in April or May month, the devotees shifted the statue of Goddess Ganga, Goddess Saraswati, and Goddess Annapurna from Mukhba Village to the temple of Bhairava, where devotees worship through the night and leave early next morning to reach Gangotri. After performing rituals, the doors are open for devotees till the Diwali festival in November mainly. Ceremony performs here every morning at 6 am and 7:45 pm.
Places visit in Gangotri
Bhagirath Shila: It is a boulder near the temple, and it is believed that King Bhagirath sat on this boulder and prayed to Lord Shiva.
Pandava Cave: It is said that this Cave is established during Mahabharata times and can be reached in 1.5 km from Gangotri by trek. The Pandavas did meditation and rested while going to the route of Kailash.
Gangnani: It is said that Saint Parashar descended on this place for the conversation of Vaidik Dharma. He couldn’t reach Gangotri because the route was obfuscated, and then he sat here by the bank of river Bhagirathi. There is a boulder inside, he sat on that and kept singing devotional songs. Saint spent many years meditating at this place. He also establishes four Kund; Ved Vyas Kund, Parashar Kund, Vashisht Kund, and Narad Kund.
Sukkhi top: The place is popular for its mind-blowing scenic views, If you are a nature lover or want to capture some beautiful pictures of nature you will love this place. You can take a look at Bugyal from here, the flat area on top of the mountain, which is a sort of Grassland, where snow collects during winters and looks very beautiful. Bhagirathi river looks amazing from here.
Mukhba Village: Village is known as the home of Maa Ganga in winters. There you can see the antique Statue of Maa Ganga which is centuries old.
Gaumukh: It is the second-largest glacier in India which is 39 km long and 4 km wide. Gaumukh is a trek which is18 km from Gangotri, If you want to hire a pony for this yatra you can ride a pony till Bhojbasa. However, the last 4 km of the journey from Bhojbasa to Gaumukh, needs to be done on foot. From here you can see Sumeru Mountain covered with snow.
How you reach Gangotri Dham
Delhi – Haridwar – Dehradun – Mussorie – Barkot – Dharashu – Uttarkashi – Harsil – Gangotri
By Air: The nearest airport is Jollygrant airport which is located in Dehradun. From here you can hire a taxi or take buses to reach Yamunotri via Barkot.
By Train: The nearest railway station is Haridwar, Dehradun, and Rishikesh Railway station. All railway station has easy connectivity with all the major cities. After reaching these stations you can take a taxi or buses.
By Road: The best and shortest route by road is starts from Haridwar or Dehradun via Mussorie. If you are coming via Rishikesh, then the road diverts from Dharasu place to Gangotri Dham.
Heli Services: If you want to go by Helicopter, you can go by Helicopter. You have to book the helicopter tickets before the Yatra.
Distance (approx) from major Cities to Gangotri
Delhi: 497 km
Haridwar: 285 km
Rishikesh: 266 km
Dehradun: 242 km
Mussorie: 213 km
Barkot: 180 km
Dharasu: 130 km
Uttarkashi: 99 km
Harshil: 26 km