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Uttarakhand: Gangotri - A Traveller's Guide
Gangotri is reached from Rishikesh or UttarKashi. Details on how to reach is given at the end of the page.
As soon as you reach Gangotri, choose and check in to your hotel. All the hotels are basic here, and are more of Dharamshalas. Have your food at Manisha, near Bus stand. Dandi Baba's Ashram is the best place to stay here. Another good place is GMVN's Tourist Rest House, you can contact them at 01377 – 238021 or at 09568006654
Gangotri is a beautiful place, encircled by the beautiful Himalayas, and shaded by coniferous trees. You will feel energized as soon as you reach the place, owing to its wonderful ambiance. The Kedar Ganga and the Bhagirathi meets here and then forms a roaring waterfall, on a Shiva Lingam like rock. There is a beautiful Ganga Mata temple here, situated at a height of 3042 meters, made of white, priestline marble. It was made by Amar Singh Thapa of Nepal.
Do not miss the Aarti in the evening, it is a scene to watch. The deity is of Ganga Mata. There are deities of Laxmi, Yamuna, Swaraswati, Bhagiratha and Shakaracharya as well. Also check out the Bhagiratha temple beside this temple. There are two Kunds here too, Gourikund in the north and Surya kund in the south.
The market of Gangotri is just beside the temple. The water of the river Ganga here is believed to be especially holy. Drinking it or bathing in it will get rid of all your sins you may have accumulated over your different births. Gangotri water is sourced for puja at Rameshwaram, extreme south of India.
The temple here, like Kedar and Badri, stays open from Akshay tritiya to Diwali. In the winters, She is brought down to warmer Mukhaoa.
The enthusiasts can trek for 18 kilometers to reach Kedar Tal at a height of 4000 meters. The Kedar Ganga originates from this lake. Scenery is picturesque. You can also go to Harsil and trek to Sat tal, a journey of 7 kilometers, and return the same day.
Note that Gangotri is quite cold, and you will need to take your precautions in terms of heavy warm clothing, no matter which time you visit the place.
How to reach: Take the first bus to Gangotri from Rishikesh. The distance os about 249 kilometers. The first bus leaves at 5.30 am, and you need to get your tickets well in advance. If you start late, or get tired of the journey, then you can halt at UttarKashi. Uttarkashi has quite a few places to see, so you can halt for a day too.
Where to stay: As mentioned earlier, you can book GMVN's Tourist Rest House from their site. You can also check the Forest rest house and PWD IB. There are many good ashrams too, providing basic accomodation, the Dandi baba's ashram is noteworthy.