Located on the banks of the holy Bhagirathi River, the Gangotri shrine is one of the four sacred Char Dham in Uttarakhand. Gangotri lies at an elevation of about 3,048 m above sea level in the Garhwal hills. The breathtaking beauty of Gangotri entices devotees and tourists with its classic charm. It is a great location for spiritual ecstasy and adventure enthusiasts looking for thrill and excitement. Moreover, it is the source of the holy river Ganges.
Gangotri has a very interesting legend associated with it. Lord Shiva was pleased with King Bhagirath's penance, according to ancient Hindu mythology. So in keeping with his wishes, Ganga would descend on earth. However, if River Ganges came down with all her might, it would spell disaster for the people of this earth. So to prevent this, Lord Shiva caught her in his locks. It is believed that only after Goddess Parvati has taken her daily bath in the river does the river Ganges descend on earth.
The Shivling, where Lord Shiva met to receive Ganga, remains submerged for most of the months of the year and is visible only in early winter. The water level falls during this season and visitors can view the Shivling. Another legend narrates here that the Pandavas performed the "Deva Yajna". They did this to protect their people from any impending danger due to the great battle of Kurukshetra.
Gangotri along with the Yamunotri, Badrinath, and Kedarnath forms the Chota Char Dham. Like other Chota Char Dhams, the Gangotri temple also closes during the winter season. During which the idol of the goddess is shifted to Ma Ganga temple in Mukhba village, which is located about 20 km downstream. The town Gangotri remains open from May and gets closed on the occasion of the Diwali festival.
Unravel the mystical secrets of Gangotri or take a plunge in the turbulent mountainous streams and other forces of nature.
Why visit Gangotri?
If you are looking for a spiritual as well as adventurous vacation, then Gangotri is one of the best places to visit. Apart from its religious importance, Gangotri is a gift from the Himalayas, and its scenic beauty offers a peaceful respite away from the bustling city life. Wonderland of pines, deodar trees, and snow-covered mountains allows you to soak in the refreshing vibes of tranquil nature. Gangotri is a wonderful pilgrim town for a relaxing and peaceful stay. Adventure enthusiasts have a great opportunity to indulge in adventure activities like camping, trekking, and hiking, among many more.
Places to visit in Gangotri
Along with the magnificent Gangotri temple, other sightseeing places also have a great religious significance. Bhairon Ghati, Jalmagna Shivling, Tapt Kund are some of the places of interest in and around Gangotri. You can also go on excursions to several other interesting places such as Nandanvan Tapovan, Uttarkashi, Kedar Tal, Gomukh, Dayara Bugyal, Nachiketa Tal, Tehri, and Narendranagar. All of these places are unique in themselves and will definitely delight you with their scenic beauty.
Things to do in Gangotri
There are a plethora of options to experience in Gangotri. Surrounded by magnificent natural beauty, mountains, greenery, and picturesque views. You can indulge in many activities here. Practicing yoga, doing meditation, and bird watching are also popular activities done here. Nature lovers can explore the popular Gangotri National Park, adventure enthusiasts can enjoy the trek to Nelong Valley, Kedartal, Gaumukh, Tapovan, and Nandanvan.
Best time to visit Gangotri
The months between April to June and from September to October are the best time to visit Gangotri. During summer, the climate remains pleasant and perfect for darshan and sightseeing. Monsoon is the off-season for tourists due to bad weather and heavy rainfall.
How to Reach Gangotri
Gangotri is well connected to other important centers of the state like Rishikesh, Haridwar, and Dehradun. The Jolly Grant Airport in Dehradun is the nearest which is located at a distance of about 115 km, while the Rishikesh railway station is the railhead at a distance of 250 km from Gangotri. Cars and tourist buses are other good alternatives to undertaking the Gangotri trip by road.
How to get around Gangotri
Gangotri is a small town and you do not need local transport to wander around. Porters are easily available to carry out your baggage.
Accommodation Options in Gangotri
Gangotri has many types of accommodations to stay at. From luxurious hotels to the budget-friendly guest house to Dharamshala. Gangotri has some great accommodations for each type of traveler, whether it be solo, with family, or with friends. Apart from that, Gangotri also has camping services for tourists and pilgrims. The government has also set up GMVN guesthouses.
Where to eat in Gangotri
In Gangotri, you will find plenty of eateries and roadside food stalls. Here you can savor North Indian vegetarian food with some popular Chinese dishes. Being a religious site, consumption of alcohol and non-vegetarian food is strictly prohibited in and around Gangotri. The hotel in the Gangotri also serves delicious meals at their in-house restaurants.
Shopping in Gangotri
Gangotri is an important pilgrimage place for the Hindus. Several shops sell religious idols of deities and other devotional items. You can also buy local handicraft items such as Tibetan artifacts, woolens, shawls, and religious paintings.