Yamunotri is the source of the Yamuna River and the seat of the Goddess Yamuna in Hinduism. It is located approximately 30 kilometers (19 mi) north of Uttarkashi. It is one of the four sites in India’s Chota Char Dham pilgrimage. The sacred shrine of Yamunotri, source of the river Yamuna, is the westernmost shrine in the Garhwal Himalayas, perched atop a flank of Bandar Poonch Parvat. The chief attraction at Yamunotri is the temple devoted to the Goddess Yamuna and the holy thermal springs at Janki Chatti (7 km. Away).
Yamunotri Dham temple sanctifies thousands of moods and spirits bringing the origin of River Yamuna. It is the only place where the devotees can find both the amalgamation of hot and cold environment. The Himalayan environment is purified and freezes with the cold tides of the glaciers of River Yamuna and the sides are remained warmed up with thermal springs which are known as ‘Kunds’ of Goddess Shakti.
A visit to Yamunotri temple is a full day tour from Uttarakhand’s main towns including Rishikesh, Haridwar or Dehradun. The temple is accessible by 13 Kilometers trek from the town of Hanuman Chatti and six Kilometer walk from Janki Chatt during the months of May to June and September to November for the best spiritual expedition.
SIGHT SEEING & EXCURSION:
Temple of Goddess Yamuna: The temple was built by Maharani Gularia of Jaipur in the 19th century. It was destroyed twice in the present century and rebuilt again. The temple remains closed from November to April/ May.
Surya Kund: There are a number of thermal springs in the vicinity of the temple which flows into numerous pools. The most important of these is Surya Kund is known for its very high temperature of 190° F. Pilgrim cook rice & potatoes here to offer to deity in the temple.
Divya Shila: Near Surya Kund there is a slab of stone known as Dibya Shila or the slab of divine light. This slab is worshipped before puja is offered to Yamuna.
Jankichatti: 216 km from Rishikesh, this is the last halting point en route Yamunotri. This is the place where all pilgrims have to return for the night halt, the same day because of the extremely limited accommodation options available at Yamunotri. The 6 km trek to Yamunotri from here is a steep climb & thus has to be started on early morning to return to Jankichatti for night halt, the same day. Ponies & dandies can be arranged a day before for negotiating the trek for those unable to cope with trek physically. The thermal springs here offer a spectacular sight and a refreshing bath for the pilgrims. Surroundings the place are lush valley with a profusion of confirms, rhododenrons, cacti & several species of Himalayan shurbs and one can enjoy panoramic view of the fabled snow-clad Yamunotri peaks.
Hanumanchatti: Hanumanchatti is the last motorhead on way to Yamunotri & is the hub of activities in season. It is a place of confluence of Hanuman Ganga and Yamuna rivers, from where the trek to Dodital (3,307 m) starts. The trek from Hanumanchatti starts with a gentle climb and the 7 km trek through Phoolchatti & Jankichatti is most enjoyable as the path trails its way through wooded hills & meadows shaded with beautiful green, while the fragrance of the Himalayn trees & shurbs permeate the cool mountain etc.
Lakhamandal: This is a cultural and historical trek in the Jaunsar – Babar region, at the foothills of the stately Garhwal Himalayas. The tribes here, known as Jaunsaris, practice polygamy and polyandry. Lakhamandal is a large village on the banks of Yamuna, known for its temple ruins. The ruins at Lakhamandal give an indication that in the past it must have been a major temple town. Many believe that Lakhamandal is the same Lakhshagriha described in Mahabharat.
Kaurava Prince Duryodhana had built a palace made of lac, in which he tried to burn the Pandavas alive. The villagers believe that there is a secret passage that emerges few kilometers downstream today in the center of the village there is a Temple dedicated to Bhagwati and Lord Shiva. In the temple complex stand two life size stone statues. Perhaps they are the Dwarpals of a much older temple. With the legend of Jay and Vijay, the Dwarpals at the gates of heaven but most of the villagers believe the statues to be that of Bhima and Arjuna.
Altitude: 3,235 mts.
Climate: Summer – Cool during the day and cold at night. Min 6°C & Max 20°C, Winter – Snow-bound / touching sub-Zero.
Clothing: Summer – Light woolens / winter – Very heavy woolens.
Languages: Hindi, Garhwali and English.
Air: Jolly Grant is the nearest Airport, 196 km from Yamunotri via Dehradun.
Rail: Rishikesh (213 Km) and Dehradun (172 km) are the two railheads.
Road: The road to Yamunotri diverts from Rishikesh – Gangotri road at Dharasu. Important road distances: Hanumanchatti 13 km. Dharasu 107 km; Tehri 149 km.
Trek: The trek to Yamunotri is truly spectacular, dominated by a panorama of rugged peaks and dense forests. From Hanumanchatti, it is a tedious 13 km trek or 5 km trek from Jankichatti. The trek can be covered on foot or on ponies. Palanquins & porters are also available on hire.