Gangotri Dham – The Origin of Holy Ganga River

gangotri-temple
Gangotri Temple

Experience the mystic nature of India with the holy pilgrimage of Chardham. Spiritualism and belief on the Almighty are the real soul of India. Since ancient time, to attain salvation, people go for the Chardham Yatra. The holy tour mainly comprises of four religious places as well as the nearby sacred regions. Gangotri is one of the most popular and sacred shrines for the devotees. This is located at an altitude of 3200 meters above the sea level in the North Indian mountainous State of Uttarakhand.

In the last week of April or first week of May, this sacred shrine is opened for the devotees. According to the lunar Hindu calendar, on the auspicious day of Akshaya Tritiya the date falls. With the opening of the main door, puja and Aarti are performed for the holy river Ganga.

The holy puja is performed at two places, one at the banks of holy river and another within the temple premise. Until the festival of lights, Diwali, the temple remains open and closure is done by a closing ceremony. Amidst the dazzling lights of oil lamps, ceremony is performed. The holy river Ganges originates from the ascent of 19 km from Gangotri. The place is referred as Gaumukh. To witness the mesmerizing beauty, pilgrims perform this tough climb.

Salvation Importance of Gangotri

The holy pilgrim Gangotri is a sacred place where Kedar Ganga River arrives with Bhagirathi River at Dev Ghat. Amar Singh Thapa, a religious Gorkha commander built the hugely popular and holy temple of Gangotri during the early 18th century. The temple underwent extensive reconstruction by the Dynasty of Jaipur in Rajasthan and eventually the current structure came into existence.

From the months of May and November, thousands of pilgrims mark their visit to this holy shrine. Interestingly, all the Pujaris, Brahmins and priests of the temple belongs from the Mukhba village.

The holy shrine holds a huge religious significance among the devotees, as the pilgrims take the sacred water of River Ganges in cans and offer it to Lord Shiva. According to the popular mythological belief, the water of River Ganges is like nectar for Lord Shiva and soothes his throat, as he consumed poison to save the world.

The temple holds huge significance as King Bhagirathi pleased the God by praying hard to bring from heaven to earth. He performed this tough task to make the soul of his predecessors at peace.

Religious Story of Gangotri

In order to pardon of the predecessors of king Bhagiratha after their 5500 years of penance the Goddess Ganga, daughter of Heavens, descended from there in the form of a river and came to the picture perfect place of Gangotri. Lord Shiva took her in his matted locks so as to minimize the impact of the river’s flow. Besides being known as River Ganga she is also referred to as Bhagirathi owing to the fact that she had come down following the penance of Bhagiratha.

According to the myths, after he had killed all demons on earth, king Sager performed the Ashwamedha Yagna for declaring his supremacy. The horse was to be accompanied by the 60,000 sons of his from his wife Sumati along with one son from Queen Kesani, who was called Asmanjas. Afraid of losing his supremacy, Lord Indra stole the horse and tied it to the ashram of the ancient Rishi Kapil who was in deep meditation. During their search of the horse the 60,000 sons went to the ashram of Kapil Rishi but were annihilated when the Rishi opened his eyes just before they could attack him. Barring Asmanjas all of them turned to ashes.

The grandson of king Sagar was successful in recovering the horse from the ashram and was informed that the annihilated 60,000 will reside in heaven if the holy Ganga comes down from heaven and washed their ashes with her water. Both Anshuman and his son Dilip failed in their attempt to bring Ganga to earth. However his grandson Bhagirathi was successful in achieving this mission.

His exceptional meditation brought Ganga from heavens to earth. Lord Shiva collected Ganga waters in his hair and released them in 7 streams after being happy with king Bhagiratha. Eventually the ashes of the 60,000 sons were touched by Ganga waters resulting in their peaceful abode in heaven.

Area, Population and Languages Spoken

The holy town of Gangotri is the central point of Char Dham Yatra tour and regarded as the abode of God. Amidst the snowcapped peaks of Himalayas, the town of Gangotri is positioned.

  • Area: 1 sq. Km
  • Altitude: 3,200 Meters
  • Languages Spoken: Hindi, Garhwali and English
  • Population: 1180

Best Time to Visit

In order to have a good time in the sacred shrine of Gangotri, it would be advisable to visit from the months of May to June or September and November. The region is prone to heavy rainfall. Thus it would be safe to visit during these months.

Markets

You can feel the essence of puja and sacred environment in the local shops, as it comprise of God statues along with all other things needed for worshipping. These local bazaars are full of sweet shops and souvenirs for the travelers.

Distance from Major Cities
  • Delhi – 452 Kms
  • Chandigarh – 427 Kms
  • Mori – 206 Kms
  • Yamunotri – 181 Kms
  • Chamba – 166 kms
  • Pauri Garhwal – 178 kms
Nearest Airport, Railway Station and Bus Stand
  • Nearest Airport: Jolly Grant positioned at 251 kms from Kedarnath.
  • Nearest Railway Station: Rishikesh positioned at a distance of 234 kms.
  • Nearest Bus Stand: From the state of Uttarakhand, fleet of buses is playing regularly along with cabs and taxis.
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