Located in the lush green hills of Garhwal Himalayas, is the roaring Bhagirathi River. Gracing the bank of this iconic, ancient and very holy river is Gangotri Dham. A beautiful and very humble-looking temple, Gangotri is a part of the holy Char Dham Yatra of Uttarakhand. When the month of pilgrimage begins, the entire Gangotri valley springs to life and gets submerged in spiritual and devotional vibes.
About Gangotri Temple
Gangotri Dham temple stands out amidst its lush surroundings of the Garhwal Himalayas. Its sparkling white exteriors and humble Hindu architectural style are enough for it to command respect. The temple is dedicated to the goddess Ganga and is a rare one. The temple marks the spot where the holy Ganga River had descended from the heavenly to the earthly realm.
Legend Related to Gangotri Temple
The temple holds a very special place in the life of Hindus. The term Gangotri is the combination of 2 words ‘Ganga’ and ‘Uttari’ meaning Ganga descending. Its legend goes back to the time when the Ganga River didn’t flow on earth. Before the Hindus customarily put the cremated ashes of their loved ones in Ganga, there was no Ganga. So why did Ganga make her way to the earth?
King Sagar’s 60,000 ancestors were turned into ash as a result of disturbing the meditating sage Kapil. As a result of this, the succeeding king Bhagirath’s kingdom was experiencing losses. So the king’s priest advised the king to meditate and impress goddess Ganga to come down to earth and wash over the ashes of his ancestors. This would offer a peaceful rest to these departed souls.
The king did as he was told and impressed the river to make her way down to the earthly realm with the help of Lord Shiva. Ever since then people have been taking holy dips and washing away the ashes of their cremated loved ones in the Ganga River.
Gangotri Opening Date 2023
Gangotri Dham will open on 22 April 2023. The temple opens its doors for devotees to visit and offer Darshan on the holy eve of Akshaya Tritiya. The temple continues to remain open for 6 months. The doors are opened for devotees early in the morning after the idol of the goddess is brought back to her home from her winter abode. This is done amidst great enthusiasm, traditional folk, devotional music, and traditional dances hailing goddess Ganga. Being one of the holiest rivers in India, Ganga is also a life-giving source for everyone residing around her. People from all over India make their way to the treacherous terrains of the Himalayas in order to offer their prayers and respect to the goddess.
Gangotri Closing Date 2023
Gangotri Dham will close on 14 November 2023. The temple will shut down its doors to the general public and devotees for the season during the holy festival of Diwali. As the weather changes from pleasantly welcoming to harsh winters, the temple shuts down its doors for the devotees to remain submerged in snow which makes a visit to the temple impossible. The idol of the presiding deity is then moved to her winter home in Dharali, Mukhba. Just like the people who make their way to the lower reaches of the valley to survive the winter season, the idol of the goddess is also brought down so that the people are able to visit and offer their prayers to the goddess without stopping.
How Far Is Gangotri From Yamunotri?
The distance between Gangotri and Yamunotri is 227 kms. The travel time between these places is 7 hours or more, depending on the traffic.
Can I Go To Gangotri Temple In December?
No. The temple remains closed for the entirety of the winter season. It remains shut down for 6 months.
How Can I Go To Gangotri By Flight?
The temple is reachable by a helicopter that starts from the Sahastradhara helipad in Dehradun. The helicopter then transfers the passengers to the nearest helipad of Gangotri in Harsil. From here a car will transfer the passenger from the helipad to the temple which is just about 27 kms away from the temple and takes almost an hour.
Knowing about the opening and closing dates for Gangotri is very important for planning a successful trip to Gangotri Dham.