The Source of Ganga River
Gangotri shrine is one of the four Char Dham pilgrimage sites in Uttarakhand. It is the highest and most significant shrine dedicated to the holy river “Ganga,” which is revered as Goddess by Hindu devotees. The holy river’s source is at Gaumukh, which is located in the Gangotri glacier and can be reached via a 19-kilometre trek from Gangotri Temple.
Gangotri Temple is covered from all sides by snow-capped mountain peaks of the Himalayas with the holy Bhagirathi river cascading by its side. Because of its scenic beauty and divine origin, Gangotri is an ideal location for soaking up peace and tranquillity.
Gangotri also stands as a base for various treks like Gamukh, Gangotri national park, Bhojwasa, etc. Also, there are many interesting and rejuvenating places near Gangotri for you to experience and here are some of the most famous ones:-
At this location, Ganga is thought to have reached the earth. Another legend holds that the Pandavas conducted the enormous “Deva Yagna” here in order to atone for the deaths of their relatives during the Mahabharata’s epic war.
1. Jalmagna Shivling – The Jalmagna Shivling is a famous Hindu religious destination in Dharali Village near Gangotri, Uttarakhand. The Shivling is submerged under the river and can be seen during the winter season when the water level in the river drops. According to Hindu mythologies, Lord Shiva sat at this place when he received Goddess Ganga in his locks when she descended to the Earth.
2. Harsil – Uttarakhand’s pristine and undiscovered gem, Harsil which is situated on the bank of river Bhagirathi offers a plethora of possibilities for those looking for peace and tranquilly under the shade of the Himalayas. In recent years, Harsil has gained a lot of traction among tourists and adventure seekers because of its link to various challenging trekking trails. It is located at a distance of about 25 km from the Gangotri Dham.
3. Gaumukh – The Gangotri Glacier ends at Gomukh, also called “Gaumukh”, which is also the source of the Bhagirathi River, one of the main headstreams of the Ganges River. The glacier’s terminus is shaped like the mouth of a cow, hence famously known by the name Gaumukh, where “Gau” means cow, and “Mukh,” means mouth. This place lies at a height of about 13,200 feet and is famed for being a haven for pilgrims since it is where the Ganga origins.
4. Kedartal – Kedartal often referred to as Shiva’s Lake is a glacier lake in the Garhwal area of the Himalayas, perched at a height of 4,750 metres. The lake is thought to have been given to the Ganges by Lord Shiva as a benediction for reaching the earth. Kedar Tal offers up close and magnificent views of mountains including Thalay Sagar, Bhrigunath, Meru, Mount Gangotri, and Manda Parvat. The Kedaratal hike is a lovely and natural tal that is located 17 kilometres from Gangotri. Between the months of September and November and April and June is the ideal time to visit Kedartal.
5. Mukhbaa – On the way to the pilgrimage of Gangotri, Mukhba (Mukhwa), a little village near the town of Harsil, is located on the banks of the Bhagirathi River. It is the winter abode of goddess Ganga, at the time when the Gates of Gangotri temple are shut during winters, the idol is placed in a temple at Mukhba for worship. As one of India’s holiest locations in the north, this place is well-known among devoted Hindus. One must trek 1 km from Dharali, which may also be reached on a way to Gangotri which is 20 kilometres away from Harsil.
Gangotri receives the most pilgrims between the months of May to October making it the ideal time to travel there.
Due to its extensive rail, aviation, and road networks, Gangotri is easily reachable.
By Air: The closest airfield is Jolly Grant Airport in Dehradun. You can rent cabs or board local buses to make the final 7 hours of drive to Gangotri after getting off the plane.
By Train: The Capital Dehradun railway station is the closest and is located 242 kilometres away from Gangotri. Buses and taxis are always available outside the station after you get off the train. Also, you can opt for state runned buses to travel more economically.
By Road: Local buses connect the holy town of Gangotri with places like Mussoorie and Yamunotri. It is also reachable from other significant cities, such as Chandigarh, Delhi, etc.