Yamunotri Dham Yatra
Yamunotri Dham is the first stop of the Char dham Yatra Uttarakhand (Gangotri, Kedarnath, and Badrinath). The most ancient and revered Hindu pilgrimage Char Dham is located in Uttarakhand. The first and most important stop of this journey is the Yamunotri Temple, which is in a small hill village. Where every year thousands of devotees come for darshan. Yamanotri Temple is the main center of attraction.
This temple is dedicated to Maa Yamuna. Yamunotri Dham is the starting point of the Char Dham pilgrimage located in the Uttarkashi district of Uttarakhand. From here the yatra moves towards Gangotri and finally Kedarnath and Badrinath. Situated in a narrow gorge near the source of the Yamuna River, the Yamunotri Temple is dedicated to the second most sacred river after the Ganges. According to religious beliefs, taking a dip in the Yamuna river gives freedom from premature death. Travelers either walk or use a palanquin or pony ride to reach the temple from Janaki Chatti. This journey to Yamunotri Dham (about 3,233 m above sea level) takes about 3 hours with a steep climb of about 3 km.
The Yamunotri temple is dedicated to Goddess Yamuna, who is said to be the daughter of Lord Surya (Sun) and sister of Yama (God of Death). Inside the temple is an intricately carved idol of Goddess Yamuna in polished black ebony. Sitting beside the flowing Yamuna River, the bright yellow and vermillion-colored temple is visible from afar, dramatically set against a steep hill face.
Two natural hot springs, Surya Kund and Gauri Kund are by the side of the temple. Devotees dip rice and vegetables in the springs as divine offerings. Devotees also pray at Divya Shila, a reddish brown rock near Surya Kund. The temple is said to have been built in 1839 AD and was reconstructed in the 19th century.
Inside Yamunotri Temple
Goddess Yamuna is made of black marble. The temple is dedicated to the river Yamuna, which is represented as a silver idol, decorated with garlands. Hot water springs emerge from the mountain cavities near the temple. Suryakund is the most important kund.
There is a rock called Divya Shila near Suryakund, which is worshiped before offering it to the Goddess. Devotees prepare rice and potatoes for offering in these hot water springs, tied in muslin cloth. The cooked rice is taken back home as prasad.
Puja Performed in Yamunotri
The priests of Yamunotri come from Kharsali village near Jankichatti. He is the administrator of the holy place and performs religious rites well-versed in the scriptures.
Yamunotri Temple Opening and Closing Timings
Yamunotri Temple Remains Opens for Pilgrims from 6:00 AM to 8:00 PM
Aarti Time at Yamunotri Mandir:- 6:30 pm and 7:30 pm
History About Yamunotri
According to ancient legend, sage Asita Muni built his ashram here. Throughout his life, he bathed daily in both the Ganges and the Yamuna. Being unable to go to Gangotri in his old age, a stream of Ganga appeared in front of Yamunotri for him. Champasar Glacier (4,421 m) just below the Bandarpoonch mountain is the birthplace of the daughter of Surya and Chetna, the feminine Yamuna.
The mountain adjacent to the source of the river is dedicated to her father and is called Kalind Parvat, Kalind being another name for the Sun. Yamuna is known for her frivolity, a trait she developed because, according to a common story, Yamuna’s mother could never make eye contact with her dazzling husband.
The Opening and Closing Date of Yamunotri Temple shrine in 2023
The Temple opens on the religious day of ‘Akshaya-Tritya’, which falls, generally, during the last week of April or the first week of May. The doors of Yamunotri Temple will open This year on 22 April 2023. The closing day is always on the sacred day of Bhai Dooj after a brief ceremony. i.e 14 Nov 2023.
Yamunotri During Winters
On Bhai Dooj, Yamunotri Dham is closed to the public for the winter season with Vedic chanting. It marks the closure of the Char Dham temples in Uttarakhand for the winter season.
When the temple is closed for the season, the Doli of the Yamuna is taken (with much fanfare and rituals) to Kharsali, where the pundits and purohit spend the winter months and where they worship during these months. The Yamunotri temple reopens in the months of April/May next year.
Attractions Around Yamunotri
Kharsali is a quaint Himalayan village about 8 km from Yamunotri. Serene and rustic, Kharsali exemplifies rural Uttarakhand with warm and smiling people and wooden and stone houses. Walk around and explore the village at your own pace.
Situated at the confluence of the rivers Hanuman Ganga and Yamuna, the serene encampment of Hanuman Chatti is situated at a distance of about 13 km on the way to Yamunotri Dham. Nestled in the Himalayas and surrounded by dense forests, Hanuman Chatti (at an altitude of 2,400 m) makes a refreshing stop. While devotees stop here to seek the blessings of Lord Hanuman, for trekkers, it is a popular stopover on the way to Dodi Tal and other destinations.
Located about 10 km from Yamunotri, this glacial lake (at an altitude of 4,421 m) is fed by the Champasar Glacier and is the actual source of the Yamuna River. While pilgrims offer their prayers at the more accessible Yamunotri temple at the foot of the mountain, the trek from the temple to the lake attracts professional climbers. It is a tough trek but the view of the emerald-blue lake surrounded by frozen glaciers is stunning. The lake is also said to be the source of the rare lotus Brahma Kamal.
Near By Destination
Barkot is a quaint hill station situated at an altitude of 1,220 meters above sea level. It is located in the Uttarkashi district of the Garhwal division. The Ganga and the Yamuna irrigate the lush green landscape of Barkot, which is made all the more attractive by its remoteness. It invites adventure seekers and nature lovers to its challenging trekking trails and beautiful panoramas. The major attractions are the apple orchards.
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.
One of the Char Dhams (the holiest pilgrimage circuit in northern India with four holy sites), Gangotri in Uttarkashi is a small town with a temple of goddess Ganga at its center. A 12-hour drive from Rishikesh, Gangotri is situated amidst lofty Garhwal Himalayan peaks, glaciers, and dense forests, and is one of India’s highest pilgrimage centers (at about 3,415 meters).
Apart from its divine atmosphere, Gangotri offers stunning views all around. According to Hindu legends, the holiest of all rivers, the Ganges (or Ganges), descended from heaven to earth at Gangotri, when Lord Shiva freed the mighty river from its matted locks.
The actual origin of the river is at Gaumukh in the Gangotri Glacier, 19 km from Gangotri, and can be reached by trekking. After emerging from Gaumukh, the river is known as Bhagirathi and is named ‘Ganga’ after the river Alaknanda merges with it near the town of Devprayag.
Altitude:- 3235 mts
Famous for:- Pilgrim, Trekking
Yamunotri in Summers
Yamunotri has cool summers and very cold winters, with rain in the months of May and June. The Kapat of the Yamunotri temple opens during the onset of summer. The weather is pleasant with a maximum temperature of around 20°C and can get very cold at night. This is the best season for pilgrimage and sightseeing.
Yamunotri in Monsoons
The monsoon in the Yamunotri region starts from late July to August, and various landslides make it difficult to reach the temple. Pilgrims are advised to avoid traveling during the monsoon season. Due to the heavy rainfall in the area, visitors may find it difficult to reach the temple during the monsoon season (July to late August).
Yamunotri in Winters
Winter season starts from November to April, and the weather is freezing cold with heavy snowfall. Snowfall can be enjoyed during winter, especially from the end of November till mid of March. Yamunotri temple is closed during this period. Only pro-trekkers and mountaineers visit the area for various trekking expeditions near Yamunotri.
Best Time to Visit Yamunotri Temple
The best time to visit the holy city of Yamunotri is from April to June and September to November. The temple is open from the last week of April to the second week of November.