About Gangotri Dham
Gangotri Dham, situated at the height of 3200 m above sea level, is a holy place of resplendent natural beauty and aura. Located on the right banks of sacred Eternal River Bhagirathi, the shrine is a mere run of 100kms from Uttarkashi. The revered Hindu pilgrimage situated on the brink of Himalayas is also the place where the Ganges (The Eternal River) gets in contact with the mother Earth for the very first time. As the popular mythological event associated with it runs, Goddess Ganga, the daughter of Heaven, flowed from the locked hairs of Lord Shiva to pardon the sins of king Bhagirath's ancestors, after the prince performed hard penance for a period of 5500 years. It is thence, that the pious river got the name of Bhagirathi at the source of origination. Gangotri or Ganga Uttari or Ganga descending is also the place of origination of Ganga or the Ganges as well.
History and mythology of Gangotri :
Gangotri Temple was constructed by Gorkha Commander Amar Singh Thapa in the early 18th century. However, the present form of the temple has been reconstructed by the kings from Jaipur dynasty. The priests who perform the routine sacred enchanting are from Mukhwa village. There is a belief among the local gentry that Gangotri retreats to village Mukhwa (lying 12kms downstream) during the winters. The water from Gangotri is offered to Lord Shiva, believing that it has Amrit (Elixir of Immortality) that would alleviate the throat of Lord Shiva who consumed poison in order to protect the world from disaster.
There is another strong mythology associated with Gangotri Dham. It is believed that King Sagar after slaughtering the devils on earth performed the Aswamedh Yagna for announcing his supremacy. King’s 60,000 sons from Queen Sumati and one son Asamanjas born from Queen Kesani protected the horse, which formed the main centre of focus of the Yagna. Fearing the loss of supremacy, Lord Indra confiscated the Horse of the Yajna and tied it outside the ashram of Saint Kapila. When 60,000 sons of King Sagar found the horse tide at Saint Kapila’s Ashram, they tried to storm the ashram, and it was at that moment that Saint opened his eyes and reduced all of them to ashes. The grandson of King Sagar, named Anshuman recovered the house from Kapila’s Ashram, and who was told by Saint Kapila that all the 60,000 sons would receive heaven, if the goddess Ganga is brought down from the heaven and washed their ashes with holy water. It was the arduous task of bringing Ganga to earth started and was successfully completed by King’s Grandson Bhagirath.
Gangotri General Information :
Best Time to Visit:
Gangotri temple open in the last week of April or in the initial week of May, coinciding with propitious Akshaya Tritiya. Prior to the opening of the shrine, a special oblation ceremony (Puja) is organized for the revered Ganga. The Puja is performed by the senior most priests both inside the temple and on the banks of Bhagirathi. The temple is closed for the season on the occasion of Diwali by following a ceremony where oil lamps are lit in the waters of Bhagirathi.
Best suitable time to go Gangotri is May to June and September to October.
Summer: Max:- 20deg.C. Min:- 6deg.C.
Winter: Max- Around Zero
Languages/Dialects: Hindi, English & Garhwali.
How to Reach:
Air: Nearest airport is Jolly Grant at Dehradun 298kms far.
Rail: The nearest railhead, Rishikesh, is 248kms.
Road: Gangotri Temple is well connected by road.