Yamunotri yatra is the first Dham among the four holy Dham of Uttarakhand. Goddess Yamuna who is the daughter of Sun and sister of Yamraj is worshipped here. Yamraj is the “God Of Death” so people worship goddess Yamuna and also take a dip in the river Yamuna to increase their life and also remove sins from their life.
Detail explanation of the journey
The first holly Dham of Uttrakhand is Yamunotri yatra Dham among the four holy Dhams also known as Chota Chardham. This holly and adventurous journey start from “Hari Ka Dwar” which is the city of god which is Haridwar. There are basically two routes to reach Yamunotri yatra Dham one is through Shimla bypass road and the other one is through Mussoorie road.
The main route is from Haridwar to Dehradun, and via Raipur road, you will reach Mussoorie. Now a halt is taken here for visiting the beautiful natural waterfall i.e. Kempty waterfall. Kempty fall is famous for its water sports activity and it is a major attraction for kids. After enjoying and relaxing at Kempty fall the onward journey will start, as you will reach the Yamuna bridge which is approx 25 km from kempty fall, here you will be able to see the spectacular view of the river Yamuna.
The other route which was through Shimla bypass road via Chakrata you will reach Yamuna bridge. Yamuna bridge is the confluence point of both the rout towards Yamunotri yatra Dham. Yamuna river flows towards Chakrata in the backside of the Yamuna bridge. As we move forward for the journey you will come across a beautiful town known as Nainbagh. Nainbagh is approx 14 km from Yamuna bridge, it’s a small town in the Tehri district of Uttarakhand famous for its scenic beauty, it is also the confluence point of three districts of Uttarakhand which are Dehradun, Tehri, and Uttarkashi. It is located on the bank of the river Yamuna and you can get the best view of Yamuna river, you will come across more such towns where you can get down to soak your soul and body in Yamuna river like Purola and Damta village.
From Damta village the route gets divided into two, one goes towards the Barkot and Yamunotri Dham falling on the right side and the other one goes towards Lakhamandal falling on the left side. It is also known as “Pauranic Lakhamandal” which is having “Pauranic Pandav Gufa” this place is having its significance in the Epic Mahabharata. Pandavas were sent to Lakhamandal in anonymity by Kauravas when they played a conspiracy so that the future king will be the person among them only and not Pandavas. Kauravas created a palace and their plan was to put that palace to fire so that Pandavas get burned there only. But Pandavas were having the blessings of Lord Krishna. A rat dug a cave that saved them. Even today we can have a view of that cave that got carbon by having flames. After having the thrilling view of Lakhamandal the start of the onward journey to Barkot.
Barkot is a village on the bank of river Yamuna having the best panoramic view and scenic beauty. This is the last village where you can get hotels having all city life comfort before reaching Yamunotri Dham. You can relax and get ready for the upcoming adventure towards Yamunotri yatra Dham. After getting fresh and having breakfast in the morning, the drive will start from Barkot to Hanuman Chatti. Hanuman Chatti is named so because it is a confluence point of two rivers one is river Yamuna and the other one is Hanuman Ganga. Now by covering the approx. 5 km of the distance you will be reaching Janki Chatti. Janki Chatti is the point from where the trek for Yamunotri yatra Dham starts it's about 6 km of the trek.
On the way to Yamunotri Dham while tracking you can have the view of a temple in Kharsali village where the Doli of Goddess Yamuna comes down in winters for 6 months when the main temple remains closed. Now for the other options for people who can’t trek they can opt for horse or Palki, and if you opt for trekking then you can take a stick and with its help, you can complete the trek. The first temple you will come across is “SHANI TEMPLE” which is approx. 3 km from Yamunotri temple. When you will cross this temple and trek further for 1 Km you will come across “BHAIRAV TEMPLE”. The reason behind the “SHANI TEMPLE” is that Goddess Yamuna was the daughter of Sun and Shani dev was her brother, so before worshipping Goddess Yamuna everyone worships Shani dev.
The trek towards the temple around half a kilometer before the Yamunotri temple the market of the temple starts. There are several shops offering puja thali in which you will get “Mata Ka Shringar” and other flowers and fruits which you can offer in the temple. You need to take a dip in Gauri Kund before going for darshan. As you will move forward for darshan you will see the temple of Yamraj who is the brother of Goddess Yamuna. Then you will come across Divya Shila and then you will enter the main temple, inside the temple, you will be standing in a cue and as your turn comes to the pujari will take you thali and offer the Prashad to the goddess and they will take some Prashad from the “garb grah” and put it in your thali. There is a hot water Kund known as “Surya Kund” in which a Potali of rice is immersed and cooked. In 15 min it almost gets fully cooked and then it is offered to birds and crows. If you want you can also do “Anushthan” a small puja with mantra chanting individually done by Purohit. After having darshan you will trek back to Janki Chatti and from there drive back to the hotel in Barkot. And this is how the yatra to the first Dham that is Yamunotri yatra Dham ends.
Places you can visit
While visiting Yamunotri yatra Dham there are a few places that can be visited during the journey. Following is a list of such places that will come your way while traveling to Yamunotri Dham.
Dehradun is located in the foothill of Himalaya and is also the capital of Uttarakhand. It is located at an elevation of 447 meters. According to the mythology, it is said that Lord Rama and his brother Lakshman did penance when they killed the demon king Ravan. Dehradun is one of the oldest cities in India.
Shri Prakasheshwar Mahadev Temple
Shri Prakasheshwar Mahadev Temple is a temple dedicated to Lord Shiva. This temple is located on Dehradun Mussoorie road. While going towards Yamunotri Dham via Mussoorie devotees can visit this temple and take the blessing of Mahadev while going on a spiritual journey.
Mussoorie the queen of the hill, is approx 35 km from the capital city of Uttarakhand, i.e. Dehradun. It is located on the foothill of Garhwal. Mussoorie is a good hill station and also a good option for weekend holidays for nearby states. The food and lodging facilities for the tourists are very good in Mussoorie.
Kempty fall is located in Tehri Garhwal and is about 13 km from Mussoorie. It is a natural waterfall that provides ample options to tourists for water sports activities. You can do sightseeing of Kempty fall while going toward Yamunotri as it is located on Chakrata road.
Yamuna bridge is approx 25 km from Mussoorie. It is an iron bridge from where you can have a magnificent view of the river Yamuna. At the Yamuna bridge river, the Yamuna gets diverted toward Chakrata.
Chakrata is a town which is located in Dehradun. The elevation of Chakrata is about 2118 m. It is a hilly town having sunkissed mountains and spectacular scenic beauty. Solo travelers and backpackers can enjoy their weekends in this town of Dehradun.
Nainbagh is located in the Tehri district of Garhwal. Nainbagh is the confluence point of three districts Dehradun, Uttarkashi, and Tehri. This town is again famous for its natural scenic beauty having the classic view. Adventure activities like trekking and camping can be enjoyed here
Purola is located in the Uttarkashi district in the north-west region. It is having an elevation of 1524 m. it is the gateway to the largest trekking destination that is Har-Ki-Doon.
Damta is a small village located in Uttarkashi. It is also having a spectacular view as most of the village of Uttarakhand is having.
Barkot is a village on the bank of the river Yamuna, located in the Uttarkashi district. It is having the best panoramic view and scenic beauty. The elevation at which Barkot is located is 1220m. This is the last village where you can get hotels having all city life comfort before reaching Yamunotri Dham.
Lakhamandal is an ancient temple located in Chakrata. This temple is also dedicated to Mahakal or Lord Shiva. According to ancient mythology, this is the place where Duryodhan tried to kill Pandavas after the fight held in the epic Mahabharata.
Puranic Pandav Gufa
This is a cave located in Lakhamandal, where Duryodhan created a Castel of wax for killing Pandavas, but by the grace of Lord, Krishna Pandavas got saved because a rat dug a cave through which they came out and saved their lives.
Hanuman Chatti is named so because is it the confluence point of two rivers which are Hanuman Ganga and River Yamuna. Hanuman Chatti gives you the best panoramic view and also a good experience of experiencing nature at its best in the countryside.
Janki Chatti is the hub for the devotees going to Yamunotri Dham. this place is famous for its hot water spring. It is situated at an elevation of 2650 km.
Temple in Kharsali village where the Doli of Goddess Yamuna comes down in winters for 6 months when the main temple remains closed. Goddess Yamuna is worshipped here for 6 months when the main temple is covered with snow.
This temple is located in Kharsali village in the Uttarkashi district of Uttarakhand. This is the first temple that you will visit while going to Yamunotri Dham. After Diwali when the door of the main Yamunotri temple shuts the Doli of Goddess Yamuna is brought down to this temple.
This Bhairav temple is located at Bhairoghati which falls on the way to Yamunotri Dham. This temple is dedicated to Bhairav Nath.
This market starts at 1 km before the temple. The flower and fruits offered to the goddess can be bought here and also “Mata ka Shringar”.
Yamunotri Dham is the main temple which is dedicated to the goddess Yamuna. Goddess Yamuna is the daughter of Sun and the sister of Shani dev and Yamraj. Temple is surrounded by snow-clad mountains and the river Bhagirathi is flowing by its side.
Gauri Kund is a water pond where the devotees take a dip in holy water to remove all the sins and negativity. Since the sulfur content in water is more so being there for more time can harm the body.
Surya Kund is the main Kund of Yamunotri Dham. it is the hot water spring where the rice is cooked in a potaly and offered as Prashad.
Divya Shila or the “Slab of Divine light” is located near Yamunotri Dham. It is a pillar or a precious stone near Surya Kund. the devotee worships Divya Shila before entering the temple.
Garbh Grah is the main part of the temple where the offerings are made to the Goddess. Purohit offers the thali to the goddess and gives the Prashad from Garbh Grah in return.
Shatarishi Kund is about 10 km from the Yamunotri temple. Champasar Glacier from the upper part of Bandarpooch Mountain fed the river Yamuna. The rare species of Brahma Lotus grows here. Saptarishi Kund is the origin source of the river Yamuna.
Things to carry
You need to take your woolens with you because it generally remains cold throughout the year and especially at night. You also need to take your first-aid remedy kit including vomit medicines, banded in case of any miss happens. In Yamunotri yatra, it is very uncertain when it will rain so need to have a raincoat also.
Where to stay
If you are coming from Delhi or any other state then you need to have two days stay at Haridwar and two days stay at Barkot. The reason why only Barkot is that there are more choices among hotels and all facilities including hospitals, petrol pumps. Otherwise, you can also stay in Janki Chatti and Shyana Chatti but with fewer facilities.
There are two options for the airport for domestic as well as international flights you can opt for Delhi airport and if you are a domestic traveler then you can also go for Dehradun Jolly Grant airport.
Best time to visit
The Kapat or door of the temple opens on the day of “Akshay Tritiya” of summer and the dolly of the goddess is shifted in the temple from Kharsali village. From May to June and from till November start is the best time to visit. Akshay Tritiya of winter is the time when the door of the temple shutes again for six months.
Why should we visit Yamunotri Dham?
Goddess Yamuna is also named Kalindi in Dwapar Yug, and the goddess Yamuna is one among the queens of Lord Krishna. Yamuna, Ganga, and Saraswati are the three worshipped rivers in India. The main reason to visit Yamunotri yatra Dham is that it is the origin point of the river Yamuna. Taking the dip in this holy river removes all sin from a person.