Gangotri Dhaam

Gangotri Dhaam Gangotri is situated in Uttarakhand at the height of 3,048 meters in the magnificent Garhwal Himalayas. The 6 meters high Gangotri shrine is dressed in white granite stone and is situated on the right bank of the river, Bhagirathi. As the legend goes, this shrine was built by the Gorkha General, Amar Singh Thapa and rebuilt by the Maharaja of Jaipur. This 18th century temple is dedicated to the Goddess Ganga who is believed to have descended from heaven as the "stream of life" in response to King Bhagirath's penance.

14 kms from Gangotri is Gaumukh, where the source of the holy Ganges - the Gangotri glacier - is situated. Submerged in the water is the "shivling", the rock on which Lord Shiva supposedly sat to receive Ganga.

Gangotri, the source of the river Ganges and seat of the goddess Ganga, is one of the four sites in the Char Dham pilgrimage circuit. The river is called Bhagirathi at the source and acquires the name Ganga from Devprayag onwards where it meets the Alaknanda. The origin of the holy river is at Gaumukh, which is a 40 km trek from Gangotri.

Gangotri can be reached in one day's travel from Rishikesh, Haridwar or Dehradun, or in two days from Yamunotri, the first site in the Char Dham circuit. More popular and important than its sister site to the east, Gangotri is also accessible directly by car and bus, meaning that it sees many more pilgrims than Yamunotri.

Gangotri Dhaam

This small town is centered around a temple of the goddess Ganga, which was built by the Gurkha General Amar Singh Thapa in the late 18th or early 19th century. The temple is closed on Diwali day every year and is reopened in May. During this time, the idol of the goddess is kept at Mukhba village, near Harsil.

Ritual duties are supervised by the Semwal family of pujaris. The aarti ceremony at the Gangotri is especially impressive, as is the temple, a stately affair that sits on the banks of the rushing Ganga. Adventurous pilgrims can make an overnight 18 km trek to Gaumukh, the actual current source of the river Ganga.
For a large number of tourists, Gangotri town serves as the starting point of the Gangotri-Gaumukh-Tapovan and Gangotri-Kedartal trekking routes.
Gangotri is also the name of a series of 3 mountain peaks around 6,600 m AMSL in the region between the Gangotri Glacier and the Khatling Glacier. The river is called Bhagirathi at the source and acquires the name Ganga from Devprayag onwards where it meets the river Alaknanda.
According to Hindu mythology, Goddess Ganga - the daughter of heaven, took the form of a river to asolve the sins of the King Bhagirathi predecessors, following his severe penance of several centuries. Lord Shiva received Ganga into his matted locks to minimize the impact of her fall.

Gangotri Dhaam

 

According to another legend, King Sagar, after slaying the demons on earth decided to stage in Ashwamegh Yagya as a proclamation of his supremacy. The horse which was to be taken on an uninterrupted journey around the earth was to be accompanied by the King's 60,000 sons born to Queen Sumati and one son Asmanjas born of the second queen Kesani. Indra, supreme ruler of the gods feared that he might be deprived of his celestial throne if the 'Yogya' (worship with fire) succeeded and then took away the horse and tied it to the ashram of Sage Kapil, who was then in deep meditation. The sons of the King Sagar searched for the horse and finally found it tied near the meditating sage. The sixty thousand angry sons of King Sagar stormed the ashram of sage Kapil. When he opened his eyes, the 60,000 sons had perished by the curse of sage Kapil. Bhagirath, grand son of King Sagar, is believed to have meditated to bring down the Ganga which brought the sixty thousand sons back into life. The Bhagirathi 'Shila' is located near the temple of Ganga where the holy Ganga first descended on earth from heaven.
Gangotri is closed from November to around April/May due to heavy snowfall. During wintertime the Goddess retreats 12 km downstream to the winter abode at Mukhba.

GENERAL INFORMATION
Clothing: April - May - heavy woolen
June - September - light woolen
October - November - heavy woolen
Languages: Hindi, English and Garwali
The best season for a trip to Gangotri is from April to November.

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