|Language||Hindi, Garhwali, English|
|Best time to visit||May to September|
A highly-revered pilgrimage in India, Gangotri is the origin of the sacred Ganges river and attracts tourists in large numbers every year. It is one of the Char Dhams in Uttarakhand, nestled among the lofty Garhwal Himalayas, glaciers, and dense forests, dedicated to Goddess Ganga.
Gangotri is tucked away in the magnificent Garhwal hills at 3048 meters above sea level. It is in the northernmost part of the state of Uttar Pradesh and is very near the Indo-Tibetan border.
Like other pilgrims in India, Gangotri too has a legend. It is said that when Lord Shiva rewarded King Bhagirath after his penance and Ganga came down to earth. However, due to her pride that the earth would get devastated if it came down in 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 the reason Ganga is also known by the name of Bhagirathi.
April to June and September-October is the best time to visit Gangotri. The summers are relatively cool, and winters are cold, with rains in May and June. The temple's gates are open only from May to November for the devotees and tourists.
Being a religious town, Gangotri has many places with religious importance. Here are some of the tourist attractions in Gangotri you can add to your itinerary.
Gangotri Temple - A three centuries-old temple, the Gangotri shrine is a 20-feet high structure of white granite. When the temple gets covered in snow during the winters, the statue is taken to Mukhimath village for six months, where it is worshiped.
Surya Kund - A revered spot near the Gangotri temple, pilgrims visit this place to pay obeisance to the Sun God.
Jalmagna Shivling - Located close to the shrine is Shivling, a natural rock (Shiva worshiped in his phallic form as the originator of life). This is the place where Lord Shiva received Ganga in his locks. It is visible only during winters.
Bhaironghati - It is a small settlement near the temple at the intersection of Jadh Ganga and Bhagirathi Rivers.
Once your darshan is complete, here are a few places you can visit near Gangotri Temple -
Harsil - Located 25 km away from the shrine, Harsil is a peaceful getaway in Uttarakhand, offering serenity in the Himalayas.
Dharali - A beautiful village between Harsil and Gangotri, Dharali has lush trees of pine and deodars, making it a perfect place to relax.
By Air - Jolly Grant Airport is the nearest to Gangotri, situated at a distance of 265 km. Located in Dehradun, this airport is well-connected to Delhi through daily flights. There is an option of hiring a chopper from Dehradun to Gangotri town.
By Rail - Rishikesh railway station, situated 263 km away, is the nearest railway station to Gangotri on National Highway 58. It is well-connected to major destinations in India through regular trains.
By Road- Gangotri is a well-connected town by road with important cities in the Uttarakhand state. State-run and private buses are available on a daily basis from Mussoorie, Delhi, Tehri Garhwal, Rishikesh, Yamunotri, Uttarkashi, etc. Tourism of India provides a private vehicle with a guide for a smooth journey.
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