Gangotri, origin of the River Ganga and seat of the goddess Ganga, is one of the four sites in the Chota Char Dham pilgrimage circuit. Situated in Uttarakhand state, it is 300 km from Dehradun and very close to the Indo-Tibetan border.
Gangotri Temple was built by a Gorkha commander in the 18th century. Apart from its religious significance, Gangotri is also a miracle of nature. River Ganga originates from Gangotri glacier and is known as Bhagirathi till it merges with Alaknanda at Devaprayag. From Devprayag, it is known as Ganga.
Gangotri along with Yamunotri, Badrinath and Kedarnath form the Chota Char Dham, among the important pilgrimages for Hindus. Chota Char Dham is often confused with the Char Dham (four abodes or centres of pilgrimage) pilgrimage necessary for Hindus to perform in their lifetime. Badrinath temple along with the temples at Puri, Dwarka and Rameshwaram form the Char Dhams. Nowadays, the Himalayan temple circuit is often referred as Char Dham.
Like the other Chota Char Dham sites, Gangotri temple also closes during winter. The idol is shifted to Mukhyamath temple in Mukhba village, 20 km downstream.
In and Around
Gangotri is the highest temple of Goddess Ganga and one of the four dhams of Uttarakhand state. Made up of white marbles the temple is situated at an altitude of 3,048mts above sea level. Gangotri offers scenic splendours of the rugged terrains, gushing water of Bhagirathi River and snow clad peaks. Gangotri remains opened from May and get closed on the day of Diwali festival as the idol of the goddess is carried to her winter residence at Mukhba.
You can proceed to Tapovan and Nandanvan after reaching Gaumukh Glacier the trek to tapovan is little difficult and hiring a guide is recommended for the trek as even seasonal trekkers find sometimes difficult to get around the route.Astounding views of Shivling and other major peaks of the Garhwal Himalayas are distinctly visible from Tapovan.
Near the confluence of Jat Ganga and Bhagirathi River lies a scenic Bhairon Ghati. It is located 10kms from Gangotri. The temple of Bhairav Nath is surrounded by dense forest which can be reached after travelling by road from Lanka to Bhaironghati and by crossing the Jahanvi River on foot.
The Shivling which is submerged in river water is a magnificent sight which reinforces the power of the divine God. Mythology has it that Lord Shiva sat at this spot to receive Ganga in his locks. The submerged shivling is visible in the early winters when the water level goes down. The submerged Shivling is perhaps the most sacred spot where Ganga, the stream of life touched mother earth for the very first time.
Vishwa Nath temple
One of the most famous temples in Uttarkashi , Lord Vishwanath temple bears a description in the Kedar Khanda or Skanda Puran. The temple is 300 mts away from the local bus stand at Uttarkashi. This holy shrine has a Shivling which is 60 cms tall and is 90 cms in circumference.
The Gangotri Glacier, situated at a height of 4238 mts, moves along the Gangotri track starting from Chaukhamba and finally merging into the Gaumukh. It is a known fact that the water of the Ganges is 100% pure in nature and contains absolutely no impurities.
Trekking near Gangotri Area
Gangotri has always lured trekker’s as there are great adventurous excursions from Gangotri which delivers you not only with divine beauty of nature but also with snow capped peaks of Himalayan range.
Following is the list of some of the trekking options in and near Gangotri
The source of river Bhagirathi is also considered the true source of river Ganga. The area is peaceful and surreal, and offers stunning views of Mt. Shivling and the Bhagirathi group of mountains, and can be reached after an 18 km trek from Gangotri.
Tapovan is an ideal location for the tourists looking for peace and adventure. Tapovan is located on an altitude of 4463m / 14640ft above sea level. Tapovan is base camp for Shivlinga peak in Uttarakhand hills. One can also have a nice view of Bhagirathi peaks from Tapovan Meadow. Every year this place has been visited by thousands of tourist including foreigners for adventure activity like mountaineering & trekking.
You can also trek to kedar Tal from Gangotri temple and kalindi khal trek to Badrinath but both treks are difficult to accomplish.
Important Tourist places near Gangotri in Uttarakhand
There are many pilgrimage and tourist places near Gangotri Dham , some of them are high altitude lakes, glaciers and trekking destinations as well. Following is the list of Gangotri excursions, which pilgrimages can visit during their Char Dham Yatra or Gangotri Tour.
Just 92 km from Gangotri. It has lately emerged as a place of tourist interest as a result of the construction of a dam across the Bhagirathi river, from where the water is fed to the turbines through an 8 km long tunnel at Tiloth in Uttarkashi. The resultant lake at Maneri has added to the charm of the place.
A crystal clear and transparent lake giving a feel of the chill waters, Kedar Tal is a spectacular creation of God. The trek to Kedar Tal needs to be directed through a local guide, and is not for the weaklings. To trek across and cover the entire patch of 18 kms from Gangotri to Kedar Tal without any modern facilities on the way is a dare devil’s task!
On the highway towards Uttarkashi, Harsil is another picturesque village of scenic importance. Elevated at 2623 mts. and stretched at a distance of 72 kms from Uttarkashi, this hamlet is a splendid attraction for nature lovers. The specialty of Harsil lies in the vast number of apple orchards spread across the village.
It is a freshwater lake at an altitude of 3024 meters in Uttarkashi district. According to one of the popular legends Lord Ganesha chose this place as his abode.
Gangnani is a small town situated on the way to Gangotri. It is an ideal destination for the spiritually and meditation. It located just 37 kms from Maneri, enroute to Gangotri. Gangnani proves as the spot to view the famous mountain peaks surrounding Gangotri and famous for its thermal water springs.
A tough trek alongside the Gangotri glacier takes one to the beautiful Nandanvan. It is also the base camp for the Bhagirathi peaks, and offers an excellent view of the surrounding Shivalik Peak. It also leads to Tapovan which is known for the beautiful meadows that surrounds the base of the Shivalik Peaks.
Uttarkashi is a very important pilgrimage centre, and is located at an altitude of 1,150 metres above sea level. It is situated on the bank of river Bhagirathi. A few of the very important temples located here are, the Vishwanath temple, Ekadash Rudra temple, Gyaneshwar temple and Kuteti Devi temple. The Nehru Institute of Mountaineering is also located close-by. Every year people visit Uttarkashi to take a holy dip in the Bhagirathi River.
Located at a height of 3,048 metres above sea level, Dayara Bugyal is a beautiful meadow. A road connects Bhatwari with Raithal village. From this village, Dayara Bugyal is about a 6 km. long trek. The Sheshnag temple, located here is also a major attraction. It falls enroute to Dayara. From Dayara, one can trek down towards Dodi Tal as well. Ski slopes are provided at an area of 28 sq.kms. during the winters at Dayara Bugyal.
A beautiful trek through some of the lush green forests leads one to the Nachiketa Tal. The main attractions of the place are the beautiful surroundings and the small temple lake.
The former capital of Tehri Garhwal Principality is also a major attraction for the tourists. Tehri is also the site of a giant hydel project -the Tehri Project.
The present capital of the Tehri state, Narendranagar offers some of the most pleasant view of the Ganga valley of Rishikesh and even the plains of Haridwar.
The best time to visit the holy city of Gangotri is from April to June and September to November.
How to Reach
Jolly Grant at Dehradun, 226 km away, is the nearest airport. Taxis, private cars, state road transport buses are available from the airport to Gangotri via Rishikesh.
The nearest railway station is Rishikesh, which is well connected to Dehradun and Delhi.
There are daily bus services from Gangotri to Rishikesh, Haridwar and Dehradun. Jeeps and tempos are available from Rishikesh to Gangotri.
Stay / Eat
Where to Stay
Harsil Char Dham Camp
Kalp Kedar Mandir, Village- Dharali
P.O Harsil, Uttarkashi – 249335,
Shiv Parivar Resorts
Uttarakhand 249134, India
Harsil , Uttarkashi
Where to Eat
Only vegetarian food is available in dhabas at Gangotri. Non-vegetarian food and alcoholic drinks are banned.
Nehru Institute of Mountaineering,
Uttarkashi District, Gangotri,