A visit to the Gangotri would consist of the beautiful snow-capped mountains, pure springs of water and rocky terrains. A look from top, at the point where the river originates, rarely comprises of any greenery. While, one can visit the temple and get a darshan of the Ganga at the Gangotri itself, it is an altogether divine experience to trek until the Gaumukh and see the glacier. Here, the Ganga is called Bhagirathi for mythological and legendary reasons. The climb to the adventurous mountains leaves a mark on every pilgrim's memory as one of the most beautiful journey of their lives. The views are so scenic that it has the ability to restore one's faith in God, irrespective of the religion they belong to. Being amongst one of the most beautiful places in the world, the Himalayas have bestowed to our country a great treasure of nature. Read this article further for an insight on the pilgrimage to Gangotri.
Gangotri is a town where the river Ganga is worshiped as one of the most holy rivers. However, most pilgrims do not end their journey here and they like to go further up to the glacier where the river begins, its glacier. According popular legend and the Hindu mythology, Ganga was the daughter of Heaven, after whom the river is named. This goddess came down to Earth in the form of a river as a result of a deep and long meditation of Bhagirath.
The 'tapasya' was performed for the salvation of King Sagar's (Bhagirath's great grandfather) 60,000 sons who were searching for their stolen horse. At that time, they disturbed the meditation of a sage who turned them into ashes. These men could attain Heavenly residence only if the holy Ganga touched their ashes. Due to Bagirath's continuous meditation, this was successful. This is also the reason why before the river Ganga reaches Devprayag, it is called Bhagirathi or a river that cleanses sins of humans.
Other than the temple at Gangotri and the famous dip in the glacier, there are many other places that are worth visiting. Nandanvan and Tapovan can be reached via a trek 6km north from the Gaumukh. From here, one can get an amazing view of the Shivling peak.
Kedartal is a beautiful lake that is situated 18km from Gangotri and one can get there by means of trekking. There are no facilities available here one must be completely equipped before proceeding.
Bhairon Mandir is another famous temple that can be reached after crossing the Jahanvi River. Uttarkashi is located on the banks of Bhagirathi where the Ekadash Rudra Temple and Kuteti Devi Temple are situated.
The best time for a visit here would be in May, June, September, October and November. At all other times there is either heavy rainfall or it is too cold. During the winters, all routes to Gaumukh are closed due to heavy snowfall and blizzards.
How To Get There
The nearest airport to Gangotri is Dehradun, which is 226 km away. The closest railhead is at Rishikesh, 250 km away from Gangotri. From these places, one could either take a bus or a taxi to reach the shrine.
After reaching Gangotri, there is a 14km trek to Bhojbasa that provides accommodation. From here, one can further trek up to the glacier of Ganga or travel by pony. It is suggested to take a reliable guide for safety purposes.
Even if you are unable to visit certain areas due to its difficult terrain, you can still have the pleasure of visiting the Ganges and the temple at Gangotri. So, plan your pilgrimage to this beautiful shrine soon!