Amongst the most famous and pious pilgrim spots is the Yamunotri, situated in the midst of the beautiful and majestic Himalayas. Visitors say that the beauty of this shrine is breathtaking, irrespective of the number of times they have visited it. Hindus from all over the country travel here to pay homage to the origin of the River Yamuna that is in the opposite direction of the River Ganga. It has been said that this region is so calm and peaceful that there have been cases of foreigners travelling across the world to see it. Unlike the Gangotri, the glacier of this river is very difficult to reach. Due to this reason, Yamuna is worshiped as a deity at the foothills where the devotees take a dip the holy water to cleanse their souls. Situated 3150m above sea level, a Yamunotri 'yatra' rids you of all the worries and ensures a feeling of divine tranquility. Read on to learn more about the history and attractions.
The temple at Yamunotri is dedicated to Goddess Yamuna, who is believed to be the mother of humankind, providing them with rich nourishment. Yamuna is also one of the major rivers of India; the part of the three sister rivers that include Ganga and Saraswati too. The temple at Yamunotri was built by Tehri Naresh Sudarshan Shah in 1839, but was severely damaged by an earthquake. In the late 19th century, it was rebuilt by Maharani Gularia of Jaipur.
As the story goes, Yamuna is considered the daughter of the Sun (Surya) and Sangya (Goddess of perception) and the sister of Yamraj (God of death). It is for this reason that the importance this river holds good among the Hindus. Asit Muni, a sage, is said to have made this place his abode since he bathed, everyday, in rivers Ganga and Yamuna. It is even believed that during his last days, when he could not travel to the Ganga from Yamuna, a stream of the Ganges originated nearby so that he could continue his rituals.
The main temple built by the Maharani of Jaipur is the center of attraction at Yamunotri. 'Divyasheel' is the stone placed before the temple and it is a ritual to worship it before entering the sanctum. However, there are other places to visit in and around the Yamunotri. They are: Surya Kund, a hot water spring that is situated near the temple where the temperature reaches 88 degrees. To reach Saptrishi Kund or the origin of the Yamuna, there is a 12km trek. You can spot rare varieties of lotuses here. The Hanuman Kund is about a kilometre away from here and this area has some of the most scenic views. It also marks the start of the Dodital Trek, a dream adventure for most trekkers. Keeping in mind the chilly climate of Yamunotri, the best time to visit the shrine is definitely during the summer season.
How To Get There
The nearest airport to Yamunotri is Dehradun, located 190km away. The nearest railhead is at Rishikesh, 202 km away from Yamunotri. From each of these places, there are taxies and buses available. However, you could also take your own vehicle if the driver has a mountain driving license. But this is not recommended unless the driver is seasoned. There are several types of transport that can be rented from the foothills.
Going to places like Yamunotri gives you a feeling of being in accordance with nature and receiving the divine blessings of the holy place.