Located on an elevation of 3,100 metres above sea level and amongst some of the most pristine environment of the Himalayas, as the name suggests this dham is dedicated to Goddess Ganga which is also one of the most rarely occurring temples in India. People from far and wide visit this glistening white temple which remains nestled away amongst the lush greenery of the thick green cover, clear blue skies and a pollution free environment after visiting which you will not only feel extremely spiritual from within but you will also be left with an unmatched sense of rejuvenation.
Located on the banks of the holy river of Bhagirathi the temple marks the point of descending of the holy river of Ganga from its heavenly realm to the earthly realm on request of king Bhagirath. The river’s source can be easily traced back to Gaumukh glacier which is situated in close proximity to the temple and attracts regular trekkers and outdoor adventure sports enthusiasts. Located in the scenic district of Uttarkashi Gangotri is seated peacefully on the lap of the snow clad peaks of the surrounding Himalayas. It can be reached easily via a shared jeep service which will make its way from Chamba – Dharasu and Uttarkashi. Although Chamba and Dharasu are not the regular routes which is included in the regular Char Dham Yatra Journey this route is still taken up. The drive from Dharali to Gangotri Dham is considered to be extremely scenic and one of the most picturesque drives you may ever experience.
Temple Architecture and Inside the Shrine
Marking the spot of descending of the holy river of Ganga, the main temple of the dham was constructed by Amar Singh Thapa. He had is constructed by utilizing the stunning and glistening white granite in the traditional north Indian architectural style which can be dated back to as early as 18th century. Unlike other dham temples this particular temple is filled with numerous elaborate, fine and detailed carvings on the walls of the temple. The idol of the presiding deity is placed just in traditional style, inside the garbhagriha which can be reached after crossing a sabha mandap. The entire temple structure rises to as high as 20 feet to the top and the three primary cupolas are topped off with golden spires.
Opening and Closing Dates
Opening Date – The opening date for Gangotri Dham is decided to be on 22nd April 2023, during the auspicious eve of Akshay Tritiya.
Closing Date – The temple kapat will shut down for darshan during the holy eve of Diwali which will be taking place on 27th November 2023.
After the closing of the holy portal of Gangotri the idol of the presiding deity of Goddess Ganga will then be transferred to her winter home in the village of Mukhba which is situated at a distance of just 30 minutes from the main temple dham. You can visit this place and offer your rituals as a part of the winter char dham yatra circuit.
The best and the most appropriate time for you to pay a visit to this dham is between the summer months of April to end of June or on September end to the closing down of the temple kapat for the season.
The temple kapat opens up for darshan and for morning aarti on 6:15 am to 2:00 pm in the afternoon.
The temple darshan shuts down for pilgrims from 2:00 pm to 3:00 pm, for an hour which is supposed to be the lunch break.
The kapat opens up again for darshan at 3:00 pm and remains open to as late as 9:30 pm at night since reaching Gangotri dham is an extremely easy and convenient task because the roads will let you reach directly on the entrance of the dham.
Puja Rituals Performed
Gangotri Mangal Aarti – The early morning aarti takes Place at 6 am in the morning and it is not done in public eye, but behind the closed doors of the temple. Public viewing of the aarti is not allowed.
Sandhya Aarti – During the summer time the evening aarti takes place at 7:45 pm and during the winter time it takes place at 7:00 pm.
Ganga Devi Pooja – This puja takes place either inside the main shrine of Gangotri temple or at a ghat near the temple. This special puja takes place on the Ganga Saptami Day and the priests perform the puja by reciting numerous Ganga Stotram and mantras.
Other Temples near Gangotri
- Uttarkashi Vishwanath Temple – Dedicated to Lord Shiva and considered to be at par with the Kashi Vishwanath temple of Varanasi, this is one of the holiest temples in Uttarakhand. Seated on the banks of the holy river of Bhagirathi this temple has a shiv ling which reaches up to a height of 56 cm and is tilted towards the southern end.
- Shakti Temple – Located right opposite to the temple of Vishwanath, the prime attraction of the temple is a massive Trishul which goes to as high as 6 metres tall and is 90 Cms at its base. As per legend goddess Durga is said to have aimed this particular Trishul with an aim of slaughtering all the devils.