Gangotri Dham Yatra
What is Gangotri Dham and Who is worshipped and why?
Gangotri yatra Dham is a temple dedicated to goddess Ganga. Ganga river is the purest river of the Hindu religion and the most worshipped river. The water of the river Ganga is considered as the purest water and is also used in many Hindu ceremonies for the well being of the family. Gangotri Dham is visited by the devotees as it is the point where the heavenly river Ganga came on Earth after the meditation done by King Bhagirath. King Bhagirath meditated because he wanted his ancestors to get rid of all the sins and get Moksha. Lord Brahma bless him and completed his wish to send heavenly Ganga on Earth so his family can become free from sins.
Detail’s explanation of the journey
The spiritual journey to the second Dham which is Gangotri Dham among the four holy Dham of Uttarakhand also Chota Char Dham. If you will travel from any part of India or any other International countries then you can either opt for Delhi International Airport or Dehradun domestic airport.
The next place of halt from Delhi will be “The City of God” also known as Haridwar. In the city of God, you can experience the best Ganga aarti at Har-ki-Pauri in the evening time the atmosphere at that time becomes magnificent.
After relaxing in Haridwar the next morning your spiritual journey to the Gangotri will finally start. Now after getting all refreshed the journey to Gangotri yatra Dham starts, you will directly be driven to Uttarkashi via Tehri and Chamba. Tehri is one of the districts of the Garhwal region which is having the world’s largest Dam known as “Tehri dam” and you can have the adorable view of Gangotri lake from Gangotri Highway in Uttarkashi.
After that, the next point will be Dharasu Band from where the route will be divided into two among which one way goes to Yamunotri and the other one to the Gangotri yatra Dham. The next point is approx 25 km away from Dharasu Band, which is Uttarkashi City, the next point of halt for that night. Time to check into the hotel and relax for some time and in the evening you can visit Vishwanath temple and also the famous market of Uttarkashi.
The temple is at a walking distance from the Uttarkashi city. In the market you can shop for pure woolens mad16e up of wool from goats, you can also get handicrafts made by local craft men. You can also get religious items and also and books.
After all the shopping you can enjoy a spiritual and calming environment, on the bank of the Bhagirathi river. This Ghat is also known as Manikaran Ghat. The timing for Ganga aarti in winters is 5 pm and during summers the timing is 7 pm onwards. Now the question is why we need a halt at Uttarkashi the answer to this is the distance between Gangotri Dham and Haridwar is a lot which can’t be covered because it’s a hilly area and driving at night in hilly region is just risking your life.
The last we can go up to is Maneri or last to last Natala after that point, not even a single vehicle is allowed to cross during night time. The very next day you can depart for Gangotri Dham which is approx. 95 km away from Uttarkashi and by 10 in the morning, you will reach the Gangotri Dham. On your way to Gangotri Dham, you will come across Gangnani Kund which is a hot water kund where the devotee can take a dip and relax their mental and physical body.
As you move further the beautiful and heavenly village will come across your way. Harsil village is situated on the bank of river Bhagirathi, you can have a view of snow-clad mountains and the major attraction of Harsil village is the apple tree garden.
The Apple garden attracts many devotees during the journey to Gangotri Dham. Further, you will come across Bhairon Ghati which is about 28km away from Harsil village but one can visit this temple after visiting the Gangotri yatra and while returning back this temple is a must to visit.
Now from Bhairo ghati at about 10km of distance Gangotri Dham is located, this 10km of distance is a bit to drive and approx 1 km before the temple you need to get down of your cab or bus and it is parked in the parking. As you go on foot of the temple Gangotri temple market will start where you can get thali for puja and all spiritual items, you will also get “Musk deer Naval” which is very aromatic. Musk deer are only found in Gangotri National park where they leave there naval which is collected by local people and sold in that market of about INR 250.
Now as you will reach the Gangotri Dham you will see the Bhagirathi river and to take a dip in this river is very risky as the water is so cold that it can even freeze your nerves. In the temple, you will see the spot where king Bhagirathi did meditation for bringing heavenly Ganga on Earth. Idols of Lord Shiva and ma Shakti with there son Lord Ganesha can be worshipped. At about 18km from Gangotri yatra Dham, there is a Gaumukh Glacier from where Bhagirathi river is originating and on the way to Gaumukh you can see Cheedwasa, a place with the number of cheed tree then Nandanvan and then Tapovan.
You can cover the distance by trekking and the only person with good physical health are allowed to trek here.
After visiting Gaumukh and offering prayers in Gangotri yatra you will return back to Uttarkashi. On the way to Uttarkashi, you will visit Bairo Ghati, a temple dedicated to Bhairo Nath and is a must to be visited while returning back. In Uttarkashi you can stay overnight as the options for hotels are more in Uttarkashi and you can even opt for shopping if time and energy is left.
Finally, the next morning will be the last day of your journey and you will be transferred back to Haridwar via Rishikesh and if you are from Delhi or from any other state then the last day stay will be given in Haridwar. Lastly dropped back to the respective destinations with the sweet memories of the yatra.
Places to be visited
Following is a list of places that can be visited while going to Gangotri Yatra Dham.
● Bhojbasa: Bhojbasa is located approx 5km before the Gaumukh Glacier, the point from where the Holy Ganga originates. This is a beautiful place and also the last spot where tourists can get accommodation. You can enjoy activities like fishing after getting permission from the Divisional Forest Officer.
● Gangnani: Gangnani is a town which is located approx 46 km from Uttarkashi and can be visited while going toward Gangotri yATRA Dham. Gangnani is the perfect spot for the devotees going on Gangotri Dham yatra to have peace in mind and in their soul.
● Gangotri temple: Gangotri temple is the main temple of Gangotri Dham which is dedicated to Goddess Ganga. This temple is located in the Uttarkashi district of Garhwal. This place is the origin point of the river Ganga in the form of River Bhagirathi coming from Gaumukh Glacier.
● Bhairav Ghati: Bhairav Ghati is located in the Northern mountains of Uttarakhand. This small town is situated in between the bank of river Bhagirathi and Jadh Ganga. This town is having spectacular nature’s beauty.
● Jalmagna Shivlinga: Jalmagna Shivlinga is a shiv linga that remains immersed in water during the summer season. This is the famous attraction point among the tourist.
● Harshil valley: Harshil is also known as the jewel of Uttarakhand. It is an unexplored heavenly valley of Uttarakhand that can be visited while Gangotri yatra dham. This valley is located on the bank of the Bhagirathi river.
● Dharali: Dharali is a beautiful village situated on the bank of river Ganga. It is famous for Apple and Rajma cultivation. It is located approx 6 km from Harsil Village.
● Surya kund: Suraya Kund is holy Kund located near Gangotri Dham. Devotees visit this kund to offer prayers to Lord Sun.
● Gangotri Glacier: Gangotri Glacier is located in the India-Tibet border in the Uttarkashi district of Uttarakhand. Gangotri Glacier which is about 30 km in length and 4 km in width is the primary source of river Ganga. It is on the upper side of the Gangotri temple.
● Kedartal: Kedartal is located in the Garhwal region of Uttarakhand. It is a type of glacier lake near Gangotri Dham. The elevation of Kedartal is 5000m. You can do adventure activities like trekking here.
● Dodi Tal: Dodi Tal is located in the Uttarkashi district of Uttarakhand. It is a freshwater lake and you can reach here by trekking of 24 km from Sangam Chatti. It is also the point where Assi Ganga rises and later joins River Bhagirathi.
● Dayara Bugyal: Dayara Bugyal is a grassland located at an altitude of 11977 feet. It is the perfect adventure spot and activities like trekking, camping and climbing can be enjoyed here.
● Gaumukh: Gaumukh is a source from which the bhagirathi river originates. It is located in the Uttarkashi district of Uttarakhand at a height of 13200 feet.
● Tapovan: The name tapovan is taken from Sanskrit, where tap means amends and van means forest. This place is famous for hot water springs having many medicinal values.
● Jogin advanced base camp: Its base is at Gangotri Dham. the elevation is approx 16000 feet. From here we can get a magnificent view of mountains covered in snow.
● Gangotri National Park: This national park is located in the Uttarkashi district of Uttarakhand. The Holy river Bhagirathi flows through this National park.
● Vishwanath temple: This temple is situated in the Uttarkashi district of Uttarakhand. It was constructed by Parshuram. The 60 cm long shivling is the main attraction of this temple.
● Kalindi Khal trek: This trek is located 6000m above sea level. It is one of the most difficult and challenging situated in the lap of the Himalaya mountains. Located in the Uttarkashi district of Uttarakhand.
● Maneri: Maneri is a small town located in Uttarkashi and is situated on the bank of river Bhagirathi. The major attraction is the Maneri concrete gravity Dam located about 9 km east of Uttarkashi.
● Uttarkashi: Uttarkashi as the name suggests it is the Kashi of North. This district of Garhwal is situated on the bank of River Bhagirathi.
Things to carry
You need to take woolens with you because it generally remains cold in the month of September and October, especially in the night. In the month of April and May, woolens are not necessary to call but still, you can take it with you to be on the safer side. Lastly Medical kit including vomit medicines, banded in case of any miss happens.
Facilities you can get
There are many hotels to stay in the Uttarkashi market area, Maneli and Natala. You can get an ATM facility in Uttarkashi. There are few Government hospitals located in Uttarkashi itself.
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 best time to visit is from April to June and from September to October, as the rest of the time temple remains shut due to extreme cold. It is not advisable to visit the temple during the rainy season as landslide can occur.