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Goddess Ganga

Temple History

The Gangotri temple is dedicated to Goddess Ganga and located on the banks of River Bhagirathi, near the holy rock or the “Bhagirath Shila” where King Bhagirath had worshiped Lord Shiva.

The original Gangotri Temple was built by the Gurkha general Amar Singh Thapa in the 18'th century. The river is called Bhagirathi at the source and acquires the name Ganga (the Ganges) from Devprayag onwards where it meets the Alaknanda. The origin of the holy river is at Gaumukh, set in the Gangotri Glacier, and is a 19 km trek from Gangotri.

Goddess Ganga took the form of a river to absolve the sins of King Bhagiratha's predecessors, following his severe penance of several centuries. According to this legend, King Sagara, after slaying the demons on earth decided to stage an Ashwamedha Yajna as a proclamation of his supremacy. The horse which was to be taken on an uninterrupted journey around the earth was to be accompanied by the King's 60,000 sons born to Queen Sumati and one son Asamanja born of the second queen Kesani. Indra, supreme ruler of the gods feared that he might be deprived of his celestial throne if the "Yajna" (worship with fire) succeeded and then took away the horse and tied it to the ashram of Sage Kapil, who was then in deep meditation. The sons of the King Sagara searched for the horse and finally found it tied near the meditating sage. Sixty thousand angry sons of King Sagara stormed the ashram of sage Kapil. When he opened his eyes, the 60,000 sons had all perished, by the curse of sage Kapil. Bhagiratha, the grandson of King Sagar, is believed to have meditated to please the Goddess Ganga enough to cleanse the ashes of his ancestors, and liberate their souls, granting them salvation or Moksha.

There is a Submerged Shivlingam in Gangotri which is apparent when water level lowers with passing of winter. It is said that Lord Shiva sat here when Goddess Ganga was freed from his hair

 

Additional Information

The Gangotri shrine is closed to the public for winter on Vijaydashmi with vedic chanting. This signal the start of the closure of the Char Dham shrines in Uttarakhand for the winters season.
The idol of Goddess Ganga is taken to nearby village of Mukhba where she is worshipped during winters till the reopening of the main shrine. With this, the shrine located at an altitude of more than 10,000 feet above sea level in Uttarkashi district will reopen to public in April-May next year as the area remains snow-bound during winters.

The gates of Gangotri temple open during the start of summers ( around Akshaya tritiya in April end/May). The weather is pleasant with observed maximum temprature around 25°C and can get very cold at night. This is the best season for pilgrimage and sightseeing trips. The best time to visit the holy city of Gangotri is from April to June and September to November. The temple is open from last week of April to second week of November.

By Air: The nearest airport from Gangotri is Jolly Grant, which is located just 26 km from Rishikesh. From the airport, the travelers need to take either a taxi or the luxury buses to reach Gangotri.

By Rail: The nearest railway station is located at Rishikesh, about 249 kms away, from where one has to hire a cab or take a luxury bus to reach Gangotri. Rishikesh is not connected by fast trains and Kotdwar has very less number of trains. Thus Haridwar serves as the best railway station if you are visiting Gangotri by train. Haridwar is connected by many trains from all part of India.

By Road: Gangotri is easily accessible by road with most of the major cities of Uttarakhand, Uttar Pradesh, Delhi and NCR region. It is located at a distance of 452 Km from Delhi & 229 Km from Rishikesh.

Gangotri Road Connectivity: Gangotri is well connected to Haridwar, Rishikesh, Dehradun, Kotdwar, Roorkee, Chamba, Tehri, Barkot, HanumanChatti and JankiChatti. There are bus services of Samyukt Rotaion
  • 6:15 am to 2:00 pm, 3:00 pm to 9:30 pm
  • Contact Person: Shri Badarinath - Shri Kedarnath Temples Committee
  • Contact Number: + 91 -135-2627122
http://www.badarikedar.org/