Gangotri is mostly known as a Hindu pilgrimage destination rather than a tourism destination. To some extent, this is right, but things have lately begun to alter here. The number of tourists visiting Gangotri is growing with each passing year.
It is located at a height of 3,100 metres in the Greater Himalayan Range. It is a Hindu pilgrim town on the banks of the Bhagirathi River in Uttarakhand’s Uttarkashi district.
Due to the harsh winter environment, the Gangotri temple is only open for six months of the year! When visiting Gangotri or Harsil, there’s a lot to see and do nearby, and I’ll go through the highlights with you. During the winter, the idol of Goddess Ganga was moved from Gangotri to Mukhba village.
Gangotri temple was built in the 18th century by Gorkha General Amar Singh Thapa, is located near the location where the goddess Ganga is claimed to have originally fallen on earth from heaven in response to King Bhagriath’s pleas! Gangotri is Goddess Ganga’s highest and most significant temple. The Gaumukh glacier, the origin of the Bhagirathi River, is 18 kilometres from Gangotri and can only be reached on foot. One can go on horseback up to a certain point, after which they must travel by foot.
Gangotri remains open from May to October and closes on the day of the Diwali celebration. Due to heavy snowfall, the Gangotri temple is closed throughout the winter.
Ganga Ji – One river 3 names
The Gangotri glacier, also known as Bhagirathi, is where the Ganga originates. The name Ganga appears only when the river flows through Devaprayag and merges with the Alaknanda. The majestic journey of India’s most sacred river begins in Gangotri and continues as Bhagirathi before becoming the Ganga.
How to reach Gangotri Dham
Start your journey from Delhi to Haridwar, stay at Haridwar and admist the spiritual Ganga Aarti at Harki pauri Ghat. After Haridwar proceed towards Rishikesh.
Rishikesh – Yoga city of Uttarakhand,
With the Himalayas as a background and the pristine Ganga River running through it, Rishikesh is a prominent destination for tourists and pilgrims visiting northern India. Rishikesh is well recognised as the “Yoga Capital of the World”.
Here, also you can enjoy the spiritual Ganga aarti at Triveni Ghat or Parmarth Niketan.
Second Destination is Uttarkashi which is approx. 168 km ( about 4 to 5 hours) from Rishikesh. Mostly it is the base location for the pilgrimage, but it is more than a base location. In Uttarkashi there is a famous Kashi Vishvanath temple (Same as Kashi Vishvanath at Varanasi).
Sri Kashi Vishwanath Temple on the banks of the Bhagirathi River is one of the holiest and oldest temples in the whole of Uttarkashi. The temple has a beautiful view of the river Bhagirathi and the mountains around it. Also visit the Maneri Dam in Uttarkashi.
After Uttarkashi proceed towards Gangotri, it is the most picturesque road towards Gangotri. It is 99 km from Uttarkashi via Harshil. Harshil is the most scencic and beautiful place, one can plan a one night at Harshil to enjoy the snow peaked mountains. From Harshil, Gangotri is one – hour drive and here you’ll ride through dense deodar forest with snow covered mountains.
The temple get open on Akshay Tritiya and get closed at the end October and mid of November. While visiting the Gangotri Temple here are some points to visit:
Gomukh, often spelled “Gaumukh” or “Gomukhi,” is the terminus of the Gangotri Glacier and the origin of the Bhagirathi River, one of the river that flow into the Ganga. It is located in the Uttarkashi district of the Indian state of Uttarakhand, at an elevation of 4,023 metres (about 13,200 feet). It is an 18KM Trek.
Gauri Kund and Surya Kund
Where to Stay:
There are many option from luxury to budget lodging and modest guesthouse, also there is a GMVN guest house which is very convenient for everyone to stay.
Tip:- GMVN is government tourist rest house and it is present in all the Garhwal Region. There are two types Government tourist rest house GMVN (Garhwal Mandal Vikas Nigam) in Gaharwal region and KMVN (Kumaon Mandal Vikas Nigam) in Kumaon Region.
This can be booked online
Website for GMVN:- https://gmvnonline.com/
KMVN :- https://kmvn.in/