Gangotri is a popular pilgrimage centre, which is located in the district of Uttarkashi in Uttarakhand. This place lies at an altitude of 3750 m above sea level in the Himalayan ranges. This place rests on the banks of River Bhahirathi. Gangotri is a holy site of both Char Dham and Do Dham Pilgrimage. According to mythology, Goddess Ganga in order to vindicate the sins of King Bhagirath and his predecessors transformed into a river known as Ganga. Lord Shiva took Ganga in his matted locks to save the earth from flooding. The source of the river Ganga or Ganges is Gaumukh which is located at a distance of 19 km from Gangotri. The river Ganga is known as Bhagirathi at its point of emergence.
There are dense forests in the upper catchment area of the Bhagirathi River. The geography of the region comprises snowy mountains, glaciers, tall ridges, deep gorges, vertical cliffs and narrow valleys. The elevation of the site ranges from 1800 to 7083 m above sea level. Tourists can see here sub alpine conifer forests, alpine shrubs and green meadows. This forest was announced as the Gangotri National Park which spreads till the Indo-China Border.
Gangotri is famous for its ancient temples and religious beliefs. The Gangotri Temple is a major Hindu pilgrimage centre of the region. This shrine was built by the Gurkha King, Amar Singh Thapa in the 18th century. Large numbers of devotees visit this temple to worship Goddess Ganga. Tourists can also visit the Gyaneshwar Temple and Ekadash Rudra Temple. The latter shine is famous for the celebration of Ekadash Rudrabhishekam Pooja.
Bhagirathi Shila and the Submerged Shivling of Gangotri are associated with various religious values. This natural shivling is only visible during the winter season when the level of water lessens. Bhagirathi Shila is a piece of stone atop which King Bhagirath is believed to have meditated. Tourists can also see the beautiful Gauri Kund and Surya Kund which are located near the Gangotri Temple.
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Trekking can be enjoyed to the fullest in Gangotri. Pandava Gufa can be reached by a short trek from the town. This cave (‘gufa’ in Hindi) is believed to be the meditation site of the Pandavas, the mythological warriors and kings of the great epic ‘the Mahabharata’. Tourists can also enjoy trekking to Dayara Bugyal situated at an elevation around 3000 m above sea level. This is a high altitude beautiful meadow, from where travellers can enjoy the views of the mighty Himalayas. There are two trekking routes which start from the villages, namely Barsu and Raithal and lead to the meadow.
The Sheshnag Temple can be visited on one of the trekking routes. Tourists can also enjoy Nordic and Alpine skiing here during the winter season. Auli, Mundali, Kush Kalyan, Kedar Kantha, Tehri Garhwal, Bedni Bugyal, and Chiplakot Valley are the nearby places which are ideal for skiing. Gangotri town is the base camp of the Gangotri-Gaumukh-Tapovan trekking.
The Kedartal is also connected to the destination by a trekking route. Ganges Glacier, Maneri, Kedar Tal, Nandanvan, Tapovan Vishwanath Temple, Dodi Tal, Tehri, Kuteti Devi Temple, Nachiketa Tal, Gangnani are the popular tourist hotspots located around Gangotri.
The summer season is pleasant whereas the winter season is freezing cold with heavy snowfall.
The destination is easily accessible by air, rail, and road. Tourists can reach the destination by hiring taxis from the Jolly Grant Airport located at Dehradun. There are frequent flights available from the Indira Gandhi International Airport, New Delhi to Dehradun.
Trains are also available from the railway station of Rishikesh. Tourists can also avail regular buses from the nearby cities to Gangotri.