Gangotri Char Dham Registration 2023
Gangotri Dham is also one of the most sacred pilgrimage centers of the Hindus. Gangotri Dham, the second of the four holy places(Char-Dham) in Uttarakhand, is dedicated to Maa Ganga. Gangotri is a small town with a temple of Goddess Ganga at its center. Gangotri is situated amidst lofty Garhwal Himalayan peaks, glaciers, and dense forests, and is one of the highest(3,145 meters (11204.07 ft) pilgrimage centers in India.
The Ganges is considered the most sacred of all the rivers mentioned in Hindu scriptures. Mother Ganga descended from heaven to earth in Gangotri Dham itself. That’s why this place was named Gangotri. This is the place from where Lord Shiva released the mighty Ganges on earth from his hair. The actual origin of the river Ganges is the Gaumukh Glacier, 19 km from Gangotri. As far as you can complete the thrilling journey by trekking. From its origin, Ganga is known as Bhagirathi. The Alaknanda River meets the Bhagirathi at Devprayag. from where it came to be known as Ganga.
History About Gangotri
Ganga, a beautiful vivacious maiden, is said to have been born from the Kamandalu (water vessel) of Lord Brahma. There are two versions of this particular birth. One states that after ridding the universe from the demon Bali in his rebirth as Vamana, Brahma washed the feet of Lord Vishnu and collected this water in his Kamandalu.
Another legend has it that the Ganges came to earth in a human form and married King Shantanu – the ancestor of the Pandavas of the Mahabharata, bearing seven children, all of whom were thrown back into the river by her in an unexplained manner. The eighth – Bhishma – was spared due to the intervention of King Shantanu. However, Ganga then leaves him. Bhishma plays an important role in the grand epic of Mahabharata.
Attractions Around Gangotri
Places that are near Gangotri
The serene white temple is shadowed by the mighty Himalayan peaks and the banks of the fast-flowing Bhagirathi. The immaculately clean complex has several other temples around it and a beautiful idol of Goddess Ganga is enshrined inside it. The devotees take a dip in the Bhagirathi before walking up to the temple to offer prayers. The Char Dham Yatra begins in the west and ends in the east, starting with Yamunotri Dham, and Gangotri Dham is the second stop on the circuit.
Surya Kund and Gauri Kund
Just 500 meters ahead of the Gangotri temple is the waterfall Surya Kund, where devotees offer prayers to Lord Surya. An iron bridge connects it to another spring, Gauri Kund, which is also considered sacred.
A natural rock lingam submerged in water is one of the most popular places in Gangotri. Located near the Gangotri temple, this place can be clearly seen during the winter season when the water level is low. Devotees consider this place sacred as it is believed to be the place where Lord Shiva sat holding the river descending from heaven in his locks.
Mythology states that after performing severe penance to please Lord Vishnu, Goddess Ganga transformed herself into a river to wash away the sins of King Bhagirath’s ancestors. As the current of the river was very powerful and could cause serious destruction, Lord Shiva offered to flow the river by collecting it in his locks before it overflowed.
The avalanche source of the river Ganges is the place where you can see the stream that emerges from a snout-like opening in the glacier and flows down as the Bhagirathi. The trek from Gangotri to Gaumukh is moderately challenging and can be completed in about 10 hours.
This small cave, about 1.5 km from the Gangotri temple, is a popular stopover for devotees. Legends say that the Pandava prince from the epic Mahabharata stayed in this cave, hence the name. A walk of about 2 hours through an ancient forest takes you to this cave, where a sage resides. It is also popular as the place of famous yoga, Baba Ramdev is said to have spent some of his formative years here.
Kedartal, popularly known as the lake of Lord Shiva, is a stunning circle of emeralds surrounded by snow-capped peaks. While the trek of about 18 km from Gangotri to the glacial lake is challenging, the view of the clear water reflecting almost the entire Thalayasagar peak is a once-in-a-lifetime experience. It is one of the highest glacial lakes (about 4,912 m) in Uttarakhand. Standing on the banks of the lake, it is awe-inspiring to see an almost bird’s-eye view of some of the highest peaks of the Himalayas: Manda, Bhrigupanth, Meru, and Thalaisagara.
A beautiful meadow situated at an altitude of about 4,463 m, Tapovan is about 25 km from Gangotri. It is the base camp for climbing several peaks like Shivling and Bhagirathi and is said to be one of the most beautiful high-altitude meadows. Nearby is Nandanvan, a meadow at the base of the Bhagirathi massif.
The scenic Bhairon Ghati(Valley) is situated near the confluence of the Ganga and Bhagirathi rivers. About 10 km from Gangotri, it is known for the temple of Bhairav Nath, which is situated amidst dense forests.
Near By Destination “Harsil”
A hidden jewel near Gangotri Dham, Harsil is a serene Himalayan hamlet surrounded by snow-capped mountains, pine forests, and apple orchards. Popularly known as the Mini Switzerland of India, time seems to have stopped in this poetic hill station dotted with traditional houses and ancient temples.
A paradise for nature lovers, Harsil also offers many opportunities for adventure seekers like trekking and hiking. The landscape is nourished by the Bhagirathi River. Harsil is known for its production of apples which, according to local lore, were introduced to the area by Frederick E. Wilson, a British settler.
It is said that Wilson fell in love with Harshil and a local girl and made this village his home. He introduced apple cultivation in Harsil and transformed its economy. Today, Harshil apples are popular across the country and the annual Harshil Apple Festival is a big attraction!
Harsil has another mystery, which attracts tourists. This was the place where legendary filmmaker Raj Kapoor shot portions of his super-hit film Ram Teri Ganga Maili. The village post office, which was featured in the film, is still standing here today, as it was almost 40 years ago! Walk around the small township and hear the villagers proudly remember the film.
The average maximum temperature of Gangotri is around 10 to 15 degree Celsius. Warm and woolen clothing is required almost throughout the year. The average minimum temperature easily drops below the zero-degree mark. The best time to visit Gangotri is from April to June and from September to November. The temple remains open from the last week of April to the second week of November. The climate of Gangotri remains pleasant throughout the year. The summers in Gangotri are cool, while the winters are quite cold.