Uttarkashi is a picturesque and surreal hill station which can be explored in Uttrakhand Tour packages and it is beautifully flaunts snow-laden hills, picturesque valleys, glaciers, and verdant alpine woods. It is regarded as the getaway to Gangotri and Yamunotri pilgrimage. Not only it attracts spiritual tourists but due to its scenic places, and moderate to challenging trekking routes it also attracts adventure lovers and hard-core trekkers. The entire place is dotted with large and small Hindu temples that offer a great opportunity for devotees to take a pilgrimage tour.
The Best Time To Visit Uttarakashi
The aptest time to explore this fantabulous destination is in Summers and autumn as the number of festivals is celebrated at this time. One can easily reach here by air, rail or road. The district Uttarkashi is named after its headquarter town, Uttarkashi. It is an ancient place that holds a rich cultural heritage. The languages here spoken are Garhwali and Hindi. Uttarkashi has been held sacred by Indians for ages where the sages had found solace and spiritual aspirations and thus performed penances. One can find woollen clothes made from sheep’s wool, pretty wooden sculptures, eco-friendly baskets and a lot more other pretty items. People here enjoy Garhwali music and it is also traditional music here. Several fairs are organised in Uttarkashi like- Cultural fair, religious fairs like- Magh Mela, Krishi Mela that is organised by district administration Uttarkashi. Several visitors from all over India attend these fairs to rejoice in the occasion.
Uttarkashi of the north is the town in the Uttarakhand state of India. It is also named Somya Kashi as it was here that Lord Parashurama did strict penance to control his anger after killing the sinful Kshatriya clan twenty-one times. It was known as Vamavat Gram during the Mahabharata. During the first century, BC Uttarkashi was the capital city of the Naga Kings till the end of the fifth century. During the sixth and seventh century, it was also the capital city of the popular central Himalayan kingdom of Brahmpur that finds mention in the travelogue of the renowned Chinese traveller Huen-Tsang. On 24th February 1960, Uttarkashi became the district in the state of Uttar Pradesh and the Uttarkashi town became the district headquarter for the newly formed district. Today Uttarkashi district lies in the state of Uttarakhand.
Places To Visit In Uttarkashi
1. Kashi Vishwanath Temple
Kashi Vishwanath temple is one of the sacred and one of the oldest temples in beautiful Uttarkashi, nestled on the banks of the river Bhagirathi. One can witness the fantastic views of the river Bhagirathi along with the surrounding majestic mountains from this temple. This temple is part of several Chardham yatra itineraries. Kashi Vishwanath temple is devoted to Lord Shiva and is believed to have initially constructed by Sage Parshuram and later renovated by Maharani Khaneti, wife of Sudarshan Shah, in the year 1857. As per the legend, lord shiva considers this as his abode from the second part of the Kaliyug. It is believed that when Kashi or Varanasi will be submerged under water then Lord Kashi Vishwanath will get shifted to this temple in Uttarkashi.
Another tale related to this temple is that sage Rishi Markandeya had so much love and devotion to Lord Shiva that the lord himself protected sage the Yama, the god of death who came to take the sage’s life at this very place where this temple is situated. One can find Shivlinigam here that is 56 cm in height and has a tilt to the south. Oen can even find the sanctum sanctorum in which there are goddess Parvati and Lord Ganesha. Nandi is in the outer chamber of the temple.
The temple has also the image of Sakshi Gopal and the sage Markandeya represented here as in meditation. The nearest railway station is the Rishikesh and Dehradun railway station located at a distance of 167kms from Uttarkashi while the nearest airport- Jolly Grant is located at a distance of around 171kms. One can visit this temple throughout the year.
Harsil is a fantabulous place in beautiful Uttarkashi. Harsil is nestled at an altitude of 2620 meters and is nestled on the bank of the river Bhagirathi. It is truly a nature lover’s paradise and is the perfect place for adventurers. As per the legend, Harsil got its name from the rivers Bhagirathi and the Jalandhari as once they argued over their significance. Lord Vishnu is also known as Hari was asked to intervene. He then turned himself into a great stone, a Shilla and absorbed their anger. It is believed that even today after Hari-Shila the waters of the two rivers have become a little less turbulent.
Best time to visit - The aptest time to explore the stunning Harsil is in the summer season as the weather remains salubrious. Avoid monsoon season as the village always remains in danger of landslides. One can even visit in the winter season as one gets to capture the mesmerizing views of the majestic hills. Harsil is renowned for its tranquillity and scenic places. One planning to visit this pretty destination then do not miss to explore some of the mind-blowing places like- Dharali- nestled at a distance of almost 6kms from Harsil and is famous for its apple orchards. Dharali is situated on the bank of river Ganga that is all surrounded by pine trees. Pay a visit to the sacred Shiva temple that is the major attraction here, Mukhwas village- renowned as the home of the goddess of Gangotri. This pretty village is at a distance of just 1km from Harsil.
The Gangotri region experiences heavy rainfall during winters therefore the devotees worship here as the gates of Gangotri remains temporarily closed due to heavy rainfall, Kedar Tal- is situated at an elevation of 4750m. it is one of the highest lakes in Uttrakhand state and thus attracts several visitors. It is surrounded by Himalayan peaks- Thalay Sagar, Bhrigupanth, Jogin1 and Jogin2. It also offers trekking opportunity to the trekkers, Dodital Lake- is one of the popular trekking destinations in Uttarkhand state and is situated at an altitude of 3024m above sea level. It is at a distance of around 25.6km from Harsil. Visit this place and get a chance to explore the dense forest of deodar, Dayara Bugyal- a paradise for trekkers. Dayara is one of the most beautiful meadows in Uttarakhand and is situated at an elevation of 3048m, Gangotri Glacier- another trek for adventure enthusiasts. It is located at a distance of around 47.8kms from Harsil. One can even visit the beautiful Gangotri temple that is just 29ksm form from this place, Gangotri-one of the part of Chota Chardham, Gangotri is nestled at a distance of almost 25kms from Harsil. There are other places too that are worth visiting that will surely make your vacation the most surreal one.
Apart from all the fabulous places, Harsil makes for a great base point for several exhilarating treks in Uttarkhand. Some are- Khatling Glacier, Dayara Bugyal along rock climbing in Gangotri. The amazing valley of Harsil is filled with oak and deodar trees that truly makes it a trekker’s paradise. The trekking routes takes one through gushing waterfalls, verdant hills all covered with pine and oak trees. Harsil is indeed a well-preserved gem of Uttarakhand state that truly deserves to be explored. Harsil is accessible from Uttarkashi and Gangotri and is well connected with roads. One can easily reach here. One can even choose air and rail services to a certain extend to reach at least halfway to the place. The nearest airport from Harsil is the Jolly Grant Airport in Dehradun and is at a distance of around 232kms. Rishikesh and Haridwar railway station is the nearest railway station from Harsil, but Haridwar seems to have better connectivity and is at a distance of around 262kms. Travellers wanting to reach Harsil by road can easily reach Harsil is well-linked with other cities and towns of the state of Uttrakhand through roads. The nearest bus station from Harsil is Uttarkashi that is well connected with prominent cities.
3. Gangotri Temple
Gangotri temple or shrine is one of the four revered Chardham in Uttarakhand state. This temple is devoted to Goddess Ganga. Several devotees pay a visit to this temple to seek blessings every year. As per the mythology related to the Gangotri temple is that Ganga responding to the kind Bhagirath’s prayer decided t come down to earth, warning that her rapid downpour will annihilate the earth and thus Lord shiva held the soaring river Ganga in his luscious locks to save the entire mankind. It is believed the place where Jalmagna Shivlinga lies in the place where Lord shiva received goddess Ganga in his locks. When the river Ganga started flowing on earth the Gangotri temple was erected to shelter her. Gangotri temple is nestled amidst the lush green hills as the river Ganga flows beside the shrine. The temple is made in the Katyuri style of architecture.
The inner sanctum holds a raised platform where along with the idol of Ganga, idols of several goddesses- Yamuna, Saraswati, Annapurna are also present. There are several other places in the vicinity where trekkers can trek and enjoy the fantabulous Himalayan views. Gangotri temple opens at the end of April month or in the first week of May and gets closed at the time of Diwali. It remains open for just six months of the summer season only as the region is prone to heavy snowfall.
The stunning Khedi waterfall is nestled at river Bhagirath, Maneri in Uttarkashi. The water is located on the way to Gangotri from Uttarkashi. Plan a trip here and enjoy the fantabulous views of the river Bhagirathi.
4. Mukhba Temple
Mukhba is the winter shrine of Gangotri. Mukhba or Mukhwa is a beautiful small village in the town of Hasil on the banks of river Bhagirathi, on the way to the pilgrimage of Gangotri. It is nestled at an altitude of 2620mts above sea level. This place is renowned as the idol of Goddess Ganga is brought down to Mukhwa from the shrine of Gangotri in the Upper Himalayas and kept here throughout the winters as Gangotri becomes inaccessible due to heavy snowfall. On the occasion of Diwali every year the idol of Ganga is brought down to the temple in Mukhwa with a procession of devotees and the army band of Garhwal rifles. The Mukhwa village has two temples of Ganga one is made of concrete and marbles and the old temple is made up of Deodar and brass.
Market of Uttarkashi
Grab a chance to shop for all sorts of religious souvenirs and the Uttarkhand varieties of woollens and wooden handicrafts in Uttarkashi. Shopaholics can shop from some famous markets of Uttarkashi.
Here is a list of some of them are- Main Market, Joshiyara Market, Gyanshu market and Tilot Market that sells souvenirs and some items made from wood handicrafts.