Gangotri is a popular pilgrimage centre, which is located in the district of Uttarkashi in Uttarakhand. This place lies at an altitude of 3750 mt above sea level in the Himalayan ranges. This place rests on the banks of River Bhahirathi. It 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. Here is a guide to this serene town.
Gangotri Temple is situated on the banks of the River Bhagirathi. The temple, perched at an elevation of 3200 mt above sea level, is dedicated to the River Goddess Ganga. This is the highest and one of the prominent temples of the Goddess Ganga in the country. The present shrine was built in the 18th century by Amar Singh Thapa, a Gorkha General. It remains closed during winters because of heavy snowfall. There are several ashrams located close to this temple which offers accommodation facilities to tourists.
Devotees at the temple
Photo Courtesy: Atarax42
Gangnani, a town located in Gangotri, is an ideal destination for visitors who are spiritually inclined. This place serves as a perfect place for meditation. The beautiful view of the mountains and the pleasant atmosphere attracts nature lovers from far flung areas. Rishikund is a famous thermal water spring situated at this place and devotees take a bath in this kund before visiting the temple.
Nandanvan and Tapovan are located at a distance of 6 km from Gangotri, opposite to the Gangotri Glacier. Nandanvan offers the magnificent view of peaks like Shivaling, Bhagirathi, Kedar Dome, Thalay Sagar and Sudarshana. This place serves as a base camp for trekking to the peaks like Satopant, Kharchakund, Kalindi Khal, Meru and Kedardom, to name a few.
Trekkers can trek alongside River Bhagirathi and see Gomukh. It is one of the most famous treks, which involves mountain climbing, boulder hopping, glacier traverse and rock climbing. The trekking route passes through pine trees and birch shrubs at Chirbasa and Bhojbasa respectively. Trekkers pass through Gangotri glacier and Chatturangini glacier on their way to Nandanvan.
Picturesque view of the Gangotri glacier
Photo Courtesy: Arpit Rawat
How to Reach Gangotri
By Air: The Jolly Grant Airport of Dehradun which is about 280 km far from the city centre is the nearest airbase to Gangotri. Indira Gandhi International Airport is the nearest international airbase from where regular flights are available to the airport at Dehradun.
By Rail: The nearest railhead is Rishikesh, located at a distance of 250 km from Gangotri. This railway station is connected to most of the major Indian cities.
By Road: Travellers who wish to travel by road can avail regular bus services from the nearby cities of Gangotri. Both state-owned and private buses are available from all these cities.