Gangotri temple derives its name from the place of origin of the Ganga River. It is dedicated to Goddess Ganga. This temple is located in the town of Gangotri itself in the state of Uttarakhand. It is on the banks of the river Bhagirathi. It is one of the pilgrimages among the chota char dham. The word Gangotri means, ‘the origin of Ganga’. The river at the origin is known as Bhagirathi and as it makes its way forward towards the Dev-Prayag, it is known as the Ganga. The temple is an exquisite 20 feet high structure made of white granite. Every year people from all around the world visit this shrine between May and October. The main tourist attraction in Gangotri is the Gangotri Temple. The other tourist attraction in Gangotri is the Ganga river and the submerged Shivalinga, Gaumukh, KedarTal, Nandanvan and Tapovan.
The Gangotri temple was built by the Gurkha general, Amar Singh Thapa. The history says that the goddess Ganga took the form of a river to exculpate the predecessors of king Bhagirathi from his sins as the goddess Ganga is said to be the symbol of purity. It washes away all the sins. The legend about the temple says that, during the ashwamedha yagya organized by king Sagar, lord indra abducted all his horses and tied them near the ashram of sage Kapil. Sixty thousand sons of Sagar were perished by rishi Kapil. King Bhagiratha, the grandson of king Sagar mediated hard to please Goddess Ganga and prayed to her to cleanse the soul of his ancestors. As a result Goddess Ganga took the form of river and came down on earth.
It is located on the greater Himalayan ranges at a height of 3,100 meters which lies in the district of Uttarkashi and in the state of Uttarakhand.
This was built in 18th century. It is made up of granite. A submerged rock in the form of partial Shivling is there alongside the temple. It is of great significance as it is believed that this is the place where Lord Shiva entangles the waves of river Ganga in his matted lock.
Apart from the temple and the glacier there are many tourist spot nearby. Travelling six kilometers north from Gaumukh, there is located the Nandanvan and Tapovan. Nandanvan is the base camp of the Bhagirathi peaks and offers a panoramic view of the surrounding Shivling peak. A trek across the snout of the Gangotri glacier leads to Tapovan known for the beautiful meadows that encircle the base of the Shivling peak.
BhaironGhati is situated towards Uttarkashi about 10 kms . It is known for the temple of Bhairav Nath, surrounded by the thick forests.
The sylvan hamlet of Harsil is located in the mountain about 28 Kms from Gangotri in district of Uttarkashi. Harsil is known for the scenic landscapes and delicious apples. Sat Tal or seven lakes is situated nearby and is a famous attraction.
Kedar Tal (about 18 Kms from Gangotri) is an enchanting lake, situated about 4425 meters above the sea level against the splendid background of the mighty Thalaiyasagar peak. This lake is accessible through a rough mountain trail and is the base camp for trekking to the surrounding peaks.
How to reach Gangotri
Air:The nearest airport is Jolly Grant in Dehradun, situated about 226 kms from Gangotri.
Rail:The nearest railway station is located in Rishikesh (249 kms) and Haridwar (274Kms). Haridwar is most connected one with other major cities.
Road: Gangotri is well connected by road to Rishikesh, Dehra Dun, Haridwar and Delhi.
Accommodation at Gangotri
There are many hotels both budget and luxury class for all kinds of visitors. There are both Government and corporate guest houses available as well. Many lodges and Dharmasalas are available at a very affordable price. Food is very affordable for all kinds of visitors.