In the Great Himalaya, a holy pilgrimage named, Gangotri. This is the source of the sacred Ganges, and also the seat of the goddess Ganga. One of the four in the famous pilgrimage sites of Uttaranchal. Known as Bhagirathi where there it origins, after merging into Alaknanda in Deoprayag it attains a new identity as Ganges.
Gaumukh- It is a rock shaped like the mouth of a Cow and it is said that this river comes out from this Gaumukh. Set in the Gangotri Glacier, Gaumukh is the sourced place from where the glaciers melts and named as the river; it is a 19 km trek from Gangotri.
History- Gangotri has a great historical background and it holds the eternal feel of antiquity. Legend is, once King Bhagirath had tough penance here in order to please Lord Brahma, and to let the holy stream of water from his Ewer (Kamandal) flow on the Earth to give the salvation to his ancestors. Then, to save the earth from the fierce force of the stream, Lord Shiva held it in his strong locks. Thus, the river Ganges got its name after that great king Bhagirathi. It is also widely believed that Pandavas reached to this place to perform Deva Yajna.
Significance of Gangotri Pilgrimage- Gangotri is a significant place from religion point of view. Hundreds of devotees throng the place every year in order to unleash the secrets of spirituality. Some of the main attractions of Gangotri include Gangotri Temple, which was built by Gurkha monarch Amar Singh Thapa, around 3000 years back. Another pilgrim site here is Jalamagna Shivalinga, which is a natural rock Shivalinga submerged in the river.
The Shrine of Gangotri opens during the last week of April or the first week of May, on the auspicious day of Akshaya Tritiya. The temples opening is preceded by a special Puja of Ganga both inside the temple as well as on the river bank. The temple closes on the day of Diwali followed by a formal closing ceremony amidst a row of oil lamps. It is believed that the Goddess retreats to Mukhwa, her winter abode (12 km downstream).
Location– Gangotri is situated in Garhwal hills, at an altitude of 3048 meters above sea level. It is on the northernmost part of the state of Uttaranchal and is close to the Indo-Tibetan border. Distance of Gangotri is around 250 km from Rishikesh, 300 km from Dehradun, and 105 km from Uttarkashi.
Climate – Here in Gangotri, summer is very pleasant as you can’t imagine reaching there in winter which is freezing cold. Months of May and June are rainy season here. For the devotees and tourists, the gates of the temple are open only in the months of May to November.
Attraction of Adventure tourist- Gangotri is an ideal location for the tourists looking for peace and adventure. Skiing, Ice Hockey, trekking and mountaineering are major sports people enjoy here.
Gangotri Temple- The 18th century’s temple dedicated to Goddess Ganga is located near a sacred stone where King Bhagirath worshipped Lord Shiva. Ganga is believed to have touched earth at this spot. According to another legend, Pandavas performed the great ‘Deva Yagna’ here to atone the deaths of their kinsmen in the epic battle of Mahabharata. The temple is an exquisite 20 ft. High structure made of white granite.
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