Gangotri is a town in Uttarkashi district in the state of Uttarakhand, India. It is a Hindu pilgrim town on the banks of the river Bhagirathi and origin of River Ganges. According to popular Hindu legend, it was here that Goddess Ganga descended when Lord Shiva released the mighty river from the locks of his hair.
The holy river Ganga is known to be originated from Gangotri itself, through the prayer made by king Bhagirath. Gangotri lies at an altitude of 3,200 mts about the sea level in Uttarkashi district where thousands of devotees pay their visit to wash away their sins in the urge of salvation. The Ganges is believed to be the sacred source of purity and sanctity and so before visiting the temple, devotees take a holy dip in this mighty river. The shrine of Gangotri temple is 18th century old with an exquisite 20 ft structure made of white granite and people can enjoy the tour fully during the months of May to June and September to October.
SIGHT SEEING & EXCURSION: Gangotri Temple: As the legend goes, King Bhagirath used to worship Lord Shiva at the sacred stone, near which this 18th century temple is located. The slab on which King Bhagirath is believed to have meditated is called Bhagirathi Shila. The mother Ganga is worshipped as Goddess and the holy river in the temple. Before performing the Puja rituals, a holy dip in the Ganga flowing nearby the temple is a must. The Pujari's (priest) belong to Brahmin community from Mukhwa village. Ten of them are selected by rotation every year to perform all the functions covering the temple and they also perform the duties of pandas. Submerged Shivling: Submerged in the river, this natural rock Shivling is the place where, according to mythology Lord Shiva sat when he received the Ganga in his matted lock. It is visible in winter months when water level decreases.
Kedar Ganga Sangam: Around 100 Yards from the Ganga Temple flows the river Kedar Ganga. Starting from the Kedar Valle, this river meets the Bhagirathi on its left bank.
Kedar Tal: This spectacular and enchanting lake is situated at a distance of about 18 Kms. from Gangotri, negotiable through a rough and tough mountain trail. The trek is very tiring and there are testing moments even for a hardly trekker. There is no facility of any kind on the way and one has to make all arrangements in advance. A local guide is a must. The lake is crystal clear with the mighty Thalaysagar (Sphatikl-ing) peak forming a splendid backdrop. The place is about 4000 mts. above sea-level and is the base camp for trekking to the Thalaysagar, Jogin, Bhrigupanth and other peaks.
Dayara Bugyal: Bugyal in the local language means "high altitude meadow," The road to Dayara Bugyal branches off near Bhatwari a place on Uttarkashi-Gangotri road about 28 Kms. from Uttarkashi. Vehicles can go up to the village of Barsu from where one has to trek a distance of about 8 Kms. to reach Dayara and other route is via village Raithal, 10 Kms. from Bhatwari, from where one has to trek about 7 Kms. to Dayara Bugyal. Situated at an elevation of about 3048 mts., this vast meadow is second to none in natural beauty. During winter it provides excellent ski slopes over an area of 28 sq. Kms. The panoramic view of the Himalayas from here is breathtaking. There is a small lake in the area and to camp by this side is a memorable event. From this spot one can trek down to Dodi-Tal which is about 22 Kms. away, through dense forests. Sat-Tal: Sat-Tal, meaning seven lakes, is situated just above Dharali, 2 Kms. beyond Harsil. The trek of about 5 Kms. is rewarding as this group of lakes is situated amid beautiful natural surroundings. It also provides lovely camp sites.
Gaumukh: The Gaumukh glacier is the source of Bhagirathi (Ganga) and is held in high esteem by the Devotees who do not miss the opportunity to have a holy dip in the bone chilling icy water. It is 18 Kms. treks from Gangotri. The trek is easy and at times people come back to Gangotri the same day.
General Information: Altitude: 3048 mts. Climate: Summer – Cool during day and cold at night Max: 20°C & Min: 6°C; Winter – Snow bound touching sub zero. Season: April to October Clothing: Heavy woolen throughout the season. Languages: Hindi, Garhwali and English.
Accessibility: Air: Nearest Airport is Jolly Grant (262 Kms.). Rail: Nearest railhead is at Rishikesh, 226 Kms. away. Road: Gangotri is connected by road to Uttarkashi, Tehri Garhwal and Rishikesh and from there to other parts of the country. Bus services of Samyukt Rotation Yatayat Vyawastha Samiti connect Gangotri with many centres in the region like Haridwar, Rishikesh, Tehri, Uttarkashi etc.