Yamunotri is the origin of the holy River Yamuna and is located at an altitude of 3293 mt above sea level on the Bandar Poonch Parvat. This glacier is located at a distance of about 1 km from the holy shrine of Yamunotri, which is quite difficult to reach. The destination is situated close to Indo-China border. Trekking up to Yamunotri requires a day and the route traverses through dense forests and uneven terrain. Devotees can also hire horses and mules to reach the shrine. Here is a guide to this sacred place.
Yamunotri Temple is situated at an elevation of 3235 mt above sea level in the west of the Garhwal Himalayas. An idol of the Hindu Goddess Yamuna, along with that of the Hindu God Yama, is enshrined in the temple. Yama is considered to be the brother of the Hindu Deity Yamuna. This temple was originally built in the 19th century by Maharani Guleria of Jaipur. The temple gates open on the pious day of 'Akshay Tritiya', which is the third lunar day of the bright half of the Hindu month Vaishakha, and close on the second day after Diwali. Yamunotri, the origin of the River Yamuna, is also situated nearby. Other prime attractions of Yamunotri are the two hot springs, namely Surya Kund and Gauri Kund.
The Divya Shila at the temple
Photo Courtesy: Guptaele
Surya Kund is a thermal spring, which is located in proximity to Yamunotri. The temperature of the water has been recorded at 88˚ C. The hot water of the spring is used for cooking potatoes and rice (that are put into the boiling water of the spring in a muslin cloth), which is offered as 'prasad' to the deity. After offering the prasad to the deity, it is distributed amongst the devotees.
View of the Surya Kund
Photo Courtesy: Guptaele
Hanuman Chatti is situated at an altitude of 2400 mt above sea level, at the meeting point of the River Hanuman Ganga and the River Yamuna. Earlier, this place was the starting point of the trek to the popular Hindu pilgrimage site Yamunotri, located at a distance of 13 km from here. A motorable road has now been constructed between Hanuman Chatti and Janki Chatti. Devotees can buy necessary items like medicines and raincoats from this place. Moreover, they can avail accommodation facilities here as there are more accommodation options in comparison to Yamunotri.
How to Reach Yamunotri
By Air: The Jolly Grant Airport is the nearest airport to Yamunotri and is located at a distance of 210 km. This airport is connected by regular flights to the Indira Gandhi Airport in New Delhi.
By Rail: The railway stations of Rishikesh and Dehradun are nearest to Yamunotri, which are situated at a distance of 200 km and 175 km, respectively. Both these railway stations are well connected to major Indian cities.
By Road: Travellers can avail bus service from nearby places like Hanuman Chatti to reach Yamunotri. They will be able to avail bus and taxi services only up to Hanuman Chatti from major cities, such as Dehradun, Tehri, Uttarkashi, and Rishikesh. Moreover, travellers can also avail bus services from the Kashmere Gate bus terminal of New Delhi to Rishikesh and thereafter, take bus up to Hanuman Chatti. From this place, tourists can reach Yamunotri by trekking 14 km distance.