Gangotri is one of the char dhams of India, one of the four pilgrimages which every Hindu must take once in his life time. It is located in the northern most part of the Uttaranchal State and very near to Indo-Tibetan border. It is believed that at this place River Ganga touched the earth for the first time.
At Gangotri there is a natural rock Shivling submerged in the River Bhagiarthi. In early winters when water goes down, one can view this shivling. The temple is built on the banks of River Bhagirathi, which is dedicated to Goddess Ganga. This temple was built in 18th century by Gorkha Commander Amar Singh Thapa. The white marble temple is about twenty feet tall and shines beautifully in sunlight with snow peaks at background. There is a stone near the temple called 'Bhagirath Shila', shila means rock. It is believed that King Bhagirath meditated at this place for penance and River Ganga touched the earth.
The most popular excursion from Gangotri is Gaumukh, which means cow's mouth. It is the source of Bhagirathi River and snout of the Gangotri Glacier. Pilgrims need to trek about 18 km from Gangotri to take a dip in the holy water here. After a hard trek along Gangotri Glacier one leads to scenic Nandanvan, which offers a panoramic vies of Shivaling Peak. A trek across the snout of Gangotri Glacier leads to Tapovan, this place has beautiful meadows that surround the base of the Shivling Peak. Uttarkashi is another sacred place on the banks of River Bhagirathi, which has temples such as Ekadash Rudra Temple, Vishwanath Temple, Kuteti Devi Temple and Gyaneshwar Temple. During the 'Magh Mela', people from various villages take a holy dip in river along with the deity of their village. Kedar Tal is an enhancing lake accessible through a tough mountain trail. Nachiketa Tal is again a beautiful lake with a small temple along the lake and charming surroundings, which is also accessible by a trek. Dayara Bugyal is also an interesting excursion at a distance of about 93 km from Gangotri. It is a wonderful meadow and the route to Dayara offer enchanting sights. The place is covered with snow during winter and popular base for skiing activity. There is Sheshnag Temple on the way to Dayara.
Gangotri is accessible by rail, road and air route. Jolly Grant Airport of Dehradun is the nearest airport to this place. Rishikesh is the nearest railway station to Gangotri. Road route is also convenient due to regular bus service to Gangotri from Haridwar, Rishikesh, Tehri, Uttarkashi and other important places. Tourists can even hire private taxis as a mode of transport to have more comfortable journey.
Along with the visit to religious places such as Gangotri Temple, Gaumukh, Uttarkashi and other temples, the sports like trekking and skiing make your Gangotri tour even an adventurous experience
Last Updated On: 2011/07/13