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Label : Must Visit

Tags : Temple

Timings : 6:15 AM - 2:00 PM and 3:00 PM - 9:30 PM

Time Required : 1 day

Entry Fee : No entry fee

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Also Refered As:

Gangotri Dham

Gangotri Temple, Gangotri Overview

Gangotri Temple, a religiously important temple in Hinduism, is located in the quaint town of Gangotri, Uttarkashi District in the Indian State of Uttarakhand. The temple is dedicated to Goddess Ganga and is the highest and the most important shrine dedicated to the deity. The sacred temple and the surroundings offer a scenic view of the breathtaking Himalayas and the ever so gorgeous River Ganga. The sight is breathtaking in the mornings during sunrise as the sun shines from behind the Himalayas spreading light and life to the region. 

Gangotri is one of the four sacred Dhams (Char Dham) in Uttarakhand including Yamunotri, Badrinath and Kedarnath. Thousands of devotees from all over visit the glorious temple every year to seek blessings from Goddess Ganga. Perched at an elevation of over 3000 metres above sea level, amidst lush green hills with the captivating Ganga flowing by its side, the shrine is a cynosure. According to a legend, it is here that River Ganga originated. Around 300 years ago, a Nepalese General, Amar Singh Thapa built this temple as a symbol of respect towards the Goddess. The pleasant sacred vibe in the air is enough to explain why the temple is of such importance to one and all.

Whether you sink in the divine aura of the temple or choose to admire nature at its best or contemplate as you listen to the soothing sounds of the mesmerising river while tiny little birds chirp in the trees, a trip to the Gangotri Temple is a must.

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History and Legend of Gangotri Temple

The Gangotri temple was built by the Gorkha General Amar Singh Thapa, in the 18th century and later renovated by the Royalty of Jaipur. According to the legend of Gangotri, Indra, the supreme ruler of the Gods, feared he might lose his throne when King Sagara decided to perform an Ashwamedha Yajna to announce his supremacy after killing the demons on the planet. Indra, therefore, captured King Sagara's horse and hid it in an ashram where Sage Kapil was meditating.

King Sagara and his 60,000 sons searched for the horse all around. When the sons found the horse in Sage's ashram, they attacked the sage but when the sage opened his eyes, he cursed all the sons, and they all perished in no time. King Sagara's grandchild, Bhagiratha, is said to have meditated and performed penance to seek forgiveness and moksha for his ancestors. The Gangotri temple is supposed to be situated close to the holy rock or the Bhagirath Shila where King Bhagirath had worshipped Lord Shiva.

Lord Shiva knew that the earth would be devastated if Ganga descended with her force. Hence, he captured the Ganges in his locks and let it fall in five streams instead of one. Gangotri is believed to be the place where river Ganga descended from heaven when Lord Shiva released the mighty river from his hair to wash off the sins of King Bhagiratha. The location where Lord Shiva locked Ganga is the place where now lies a Shivling that is partially submerged in the river water near the Gangotri Temple.

Architecture of Gangotri Temple

The architecture of Gangotri Temple is traditional 18th-century architecture. Its simplicity reflects in the white granite stone that composes the entire structure. The temple stands 20 feet tall and has a Sabha Mandap that leads to the shrine where the Goddess Ganga's Idol has been placed. The top of the temple has three main and some smaller domes or cupolas with golden Shikharas. The Gangotri temple is a simple and humble structure that withstands the extreme climatic conditions in the region and possesses a divine quality that draws people from all over the world.

Best Time To Visit Gangotri Temple

The best time to visit the Gangotri temple is between May and October as the temple remains open till Diwali every year and is closed in winter due to heavy snowfall.

Stay Near Gangotri Temple

If one wishes to spend a day at Gangotri, they can choose from a number of Guest Houses and small-scale Hotels to choose from. The cost ranges from INR 1500 to INR 5500. Some Ashrams provide accommodation at cheaper rates between INR 200 to INR 1200 per night.

Tips For Visiting Gangotri Temple

1. Avoid travelling to the area in monsoons as the risk factor multiplies due to frequent landslides.
2. Carry adequate warm clothes as the weather remains chilly throughout.
3. Do not litter and pollute the temple area and the river banks.
4. There is an area allocated for parking vehicles. From there, the visitors need to walk to the temple premise.
5. Drive cautiously as there could be unexpected torrential rains and landslides.
6. If you are planning to stay at Gangotri overnight, do book rooms well in advance.

How To Reach Gangotri Temple

One can walk to the temple or hire a taxi or take a bus ride within Gangotri to reach the temple.

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