Be it man's urge to placate the Gods above or to quench his desire for adventure, Gangotri is an ideal location. Gangotri is a world renowned Pilgrimage in India. Gangotri is the origin of the sacred river Ganges, attracts tourists in large numbers every year. The confrontation with the daunting rivers and attempts to unravel the mysteries of the supernatural world are ubiquitous sights here. Along with the thrill of conquering nature, what one experiences here is the mystical aura that India is so famous for.
The Pilgrimage in India is couched in the magnificent Garhwal hills, Gangotri is at an altitude of 3048 meters above sea level. It is on the northernmost part of the state of Uttar Pradesh and is very near the Indo-Tibetan border. It is approximately 300 km from Dehradun, 250 km from Rishikesh and 105 km from Uttarkashi. The summers are relatively cool and winters are freezing cold, with rains in the months of May and June. For the devotees and tourists, the gates of the temple are open only in the months of May to November.
Like other Pilgrimage in India Gangotri too has a legend associated with it. According to an old legend, Lord Shiva rewarded King Bhagirath after his penance and Ganga came down to earth. However, due to her pride, and the fact that the earth would be devastated if Ganga came down in her full force, Lord Shiva caught her in his locks. It was then proclaimed that Goddess Uma or Parvati, Shiva's consort, would bathe in the Ganges daily and only then would she descend on the earth. The sacred stone near the temple denotes the place where Ganga first came down to earth. This is why Ganga is also called by the name of Bhagirathi.
The best time to visit the holy town of Gangotri is between the months of April to June. The summer months in Gangotri have a pleasant weather and are ideal for sightseeing and pilgrim visit. Gangotri temple is open during these months. During the days, the temperature rises around 25 degree C but the nights are pretty cold. Monsoon starts in mid- July and continue up till August. It is best to avoid this time as there are landslides in the region at this time. A visit at this time is unsafe. During the winter months (November-April), Gangotri is freezing cold and there is heavy snowfall too. At this time, the place is visited by mountaineers and trekkers.
The shrine of Gangotri is around three centuries old. It was renovated in the 20th century and is a 20-feet high structure of white granite. During the winters the statue is taken to Mukhimath village for six months, where it is worshipped. There is a natural rock Shivling (Shiva worshipped in his phallic form, as the originator of life) as well. It is called the Jalamagna Shivling. This is the place where Lord Shiva received Ganga in his locks. It is visible only during winters.