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Gangotri Temple

Located at an elevation of 3200 m above the sea level, Gangotri temple is dedicated to the River Goddess Ganga, a symbol of purity. The seat of Goddess Ganga, Gangotri is one of the four destinations of the most revered Chardham Yatra of Uttarakhand. River Ganga originates from Gaumukh in Gangotri Glacier and at the originating point, it is called Bhagirathi River. This glacier is around 19 km from Gangotri.  Located on the banks of the Bhagirathi River, the temple was originally constructed by Amar Singh Thapa, the Gurkha general during the first half of the 18th century. It is built in white marble. The temple is around 258 km Rishikesh and 98 km from Uttarkashi. Hindu devotees visit this temple in huge numbers, every year. It is said that a dip in the waters of this holy waters washes away all your sins.

The Legend

The mythological legends say that after killing all the demons on earth, King Sagar decided to organize Ashwamedha Yajna, as a mark of his supremacy. Accompanied by the King’s 60,000 sons from Queen Sumati and 1 son Asamanja from Queen Kesani, a horse was sent for an uninterrupted journey all over the earth. Because of the fear of losing his celestial throne after the success of the Yagna, Lord Indra took the horse and tied it in the ashram of Sage Kapil who was in meditation. In the search of their horse, the sons of King Sagara entered the ashram, they disturbed the Sage.

When an angered Sage Kapil opened his eyes, all the sons of the King turned into ashes because of his curse. It is said that the grandson of King Sagar- Bhagirathi, mediated hard to please Goddess Ganga to come down on earth and cleanse the ashes of his ancestors, thereby cleaning them from all their sins, granting them Moksha (salvation). Ganga came down on earth but to restrict her speed, Lord Shiva held her high on his head, slowing down her speed from his hair. The spot where Bhagirathi had meditated has a stone slab called Bhagirath Shila.

Months for visiting Gangotri temple- Gangotri temple opens on a fixed day each year, on the auspicious day of Akshaya Tritiya, that falls in the last week of April or first week of May, as per Hindu calendar. On this day, the idol of the Goddess Ganga is brought here from Mukhyamath temple in Mukhba village, which is her home in winters, in a procession. This village is 20 km away from Gangotri and lies on a downward slope. The temple is closed on Diwali and the Goddess is taken back to Mukhyamath temple. The temple is closed due to heavy snowfall.

Timings:

Morning- 06:15 am to 2 pm
Evening- 03:00 pm to 9:30 pm