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HomeChardhamExploring Gangotri The Place Where Mother Ganga Showers Its Natural Blessings

Exploring Gangotri The Place Where Mother Ganga Showers Its Natural Blessings

Gangotri is the blissful and blessed place worshipped as the origin of the sacred Ganga River. This is where the temple dedicated to Maa Ganga is located, amidst serene and peaceful surroundings.

The actual origin of the river is in Gaumukh Glacier, about 18 km further up in the Himalayas. The river begins its earthly journey from a spout that is shaped like a cow’s mouth at the end of the glacier.

Gaumukh can be reached only by a challenging trek and not many devotees can do it. For that reason, Gangotri is the place where the temple is located and prayers are offered to Maa Ganga. The river is known as the Bhagirathi here.

Why did Maa Ganga Descend to Earth?

In the early days after the creation of the world, the earth was very different from what it is now. Those were the days when mighty kings ruled the world. They were saintly and protectors of Dharma.

King Sagara’s Ashwamedh Yagya

Devis and Devtas from heaven came down to Earth regularly. King Sagara was one such king. He had defeated many Asuras (demons) to make the earth safe for the godly and the pious. As was the tradition in those days, King Sagara organized a grand Ashwamedh Yagya to declare his supremacy on earth.

A white horse was set free to roam all over the world after the completion of the Yagna. Anyone challenging it would have to fight the army, which followed the horse. This army behind the horse also included the sixty thousand and one sons of King Sagara.

60,001 sons of King Sagara turn to Ashes

Lord Indra, King of the Devtas, was watching all this from heaven and was alarmed. He thought that if King Sagara became too powerful, his own throne in heaven would be in danger. Indra Dev stole the horse and tied it outside Rishi Kapila’s ashram.

The sons of King Sagara were furious when the horse went missing and started looking for it. After much searching, they found it tied outside Rishi Kapila’s ashram. They stormed the ashram and Rishi Kapila, who was meditating inside, got disturbed and opened his eyes. The moment he opened his eyes, all sixty thousand and one sons instantly turned to ashes.

King Bhagirath’s Penance

Many years passed and now King Sagara’s grandson Bhagirath was the king. He was greatly troubled and saddened by the thought that his 60,001 ancestors were not able to attain Moksha.

He prayed to Rishi Kapila, who said the only way to liberate those 60,001 souls was by asking Maa Ganga to descend to earth and wash away their sins. King Bhagirath prayed to Maa Ganga and performed penances for thousands of years.

Pleased, Maa Ganga agreed to come down to earth. The only problem was that Maa Ganga’s force was such that the entire earth would be devastated if she landed on it.

Mahadev comes to the rescue

To allow Maa Ganga to descend to the earth and keep it safe at the same time, Mahadev kindly agreed to receive Maa Ganga in His Jata (Matted Locks of Hair). He would then release the waters of Maa Ganga in a controlled manner, ensuring there would be no danger to the earth.

The place Mahadev chose was Gaumukh and thus Maa Ganga came to earth to purify anything she touched with her waters. Maa Ganga not only washed away the sins of King Sagara’s sons but has also been the very symbol of purity on earth.

This is where Maa Ganga’s journey begins and continues for more than 2500 km to Gangasagar in West Bengal, where she merges with the sea. On the way, countless tributaries and other rivers join her, but they all lose their name and form. Only the mighty Ganga Mata remains.

Gangotri Temple

The temple dedicated to Maa Ganga stands at an altitude of about 10,200 feet above sea level, not far from the river Bhagirathi in Gangotri. Gangotri temple’s simple and unassuming architecture makes it stand out. The white-coloured temple is the highest symbol of purity and truth.

Traditionally, Gangotri temple opens on Akshay Tritiya and closes just after Diwali. The puja and rituals in the temple have been conducted by the Semwal family of Mukhba for centuries now.

During the winter months, the puja and Murtis are shifted to Mukhba as much of Gangotri is snowbound.

Places to Visit in Gangotri

Gangotri TempleSurya Kund
Rope On SlopeBhagirath Shila
Bhagirathi RiverKedartal
KedarTal TrekGartang Gali
Garstang Gali

How to Reach Gangotri Temple

By Air

By Air

Jolly Grant Airport is 21 km from Rishikesh. From the airport, you can reach Gangotri by road.

By Train

By Train

The nearest railway station is Rishikesh, about 260 km from Gangotri.

By Road

By Road

Gangotri is easy to reach by road from the majority of Uttarakhand’s largest cities.

Accommodation Options in Gangotri

If you are looking for a place to stay near Gangotri, you can visit YatraDham.Org to find the best hotels in Gangotri. Here is a list of some of our best Dharamshalas and hotels in Gangotri

Distances from Gangotri

CityDistance
Gaumukh19 km
Uttarkashi99 km
Haridwar283 km
Yamunotri46 km
Kedarnath408 km
Badrinath420 km
Sanjay Dangrocha
Sanjay Dangrocha is your guide to a world of adventure through his travel blog. Stay updated for your next journey to famous temples, travel adventures and must-visit places.”
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