Yamunotri Temple is located near the foot of Kalind Parbat, perched atop a flank of Bandarpoonch Parbat in the Uttarkashi district of Uttarakhand in the western Garhwal Himalayas. Being the commencing point for the holy Chota Char Dham Yatra, it is frequented by numerous devotees in the summertime, looking to offer prayers at the revered shrine dedicated to the Goddess Yamuna, the divine representation of the holy river. Here is a list of tourist attractions to visit around Yamunotri, apart from the actual temple itself.
Janki Chatti is the main town center near the Yamunotri temple, from where the 3-4 hour trek to the temple starts. It is the primary place for pilgrims to stay while visiting the temple since it is the last motorable place and therefore it is a hub for hotels and restaurants and other facilities that tourists and pilgrims need for the journey. Janki Chatti also has a number of hot springs where it is considered auspicious for pilgrims to take a dip
Hanuman Chatti was earlier the starting point of the trek to Yamunotri Dham since there was no road up to Janki Chatti. Some tourists and pilgrims still start their trek from Hanuman Chatti since it is a picturesque trek even though longer in terms of distance. The Hanuman Temple in Hanuman Chatti is also a major tourist attraction. It is also a popular spot for trekking to Darwa Top and Dodi Tal.
Located near the Yamunotri temple itself, Surya Kund is named after the Sun God; father of Goddess Yamuna is a thermal hot water spring that is considered holy in Hindu mythology. The hot water of the spring is used to cook rice and potatoes which are served as Parsad to devotees visiting the Temple.
The Divya Shilla or the Divine Stone near the Surya Kund also holds enormous importance as it is considered that a mere touch of the sacred rock can lead a soul to liberation and it is customary to worship the Divya Shila before offering prayers at the Yamunotri Dham.
Saptrishi Kund said to be the original source of the Yamuna River is a high-altitude lake located at a height of around 4400 meters. The Lake or Kund is fed by the Champasar glacier and is considered very holy due to the belief that the Saptarishis or the seven sages performed penance there. Owing to the adverse weather and steep elevation, the 16 km trek is not an easy one. Moreover, there are no paved paths or camping sites, thus it is only recommended for experienced and skilled mountaineers. However, despite the immense natural beauty of the surrounding mountainside and the religious significance attached to the Kund, a lot of people still make the journey to the real source of the Holy Yamuna River.
Kharsali or Khushimath, located near Janki Chatti is the winter home of the idol of Goddess Yamuna. The oldest Shani Dev Temple in India is located here, and the idol is kept in this very temple for six months in winter. Apart from the religious significance of the village, it is also relished for its quaint views of the snow-capped mountains surrounding the village. The adjoining landscape also provides for a host of camping opportunities, both for avid campers as well as those looking for luxury camping opportunities.
Barkot is the last major town en route to Yamunotri Dham, well known for its numerous trekking trails amidst the serene mountain landscapes. Barkot is also a hotspot for white water rafting, as both Ganga and Yamuna rivers pass through the town.
Dayara Bugyal is a beautiful meadow perched at an elevation of 3048 meters offering unparalleled views of the snow-clad Himalayan mountain range. A one-of-a-kind spot for camping, the Bugyal is reached via Barsu Village which is considered a sort of a base camp for the trek. Barnala Tal a beautiful Himalayan lake around 4 km from Barsu village and Bakaria Top, the highest point in the nearby region are some of the most famous attractions of the trek. In winters the Bugyal is completely clad in snow and is also a major destination for avid skiers.
Dodital Trek is one of the most stunning treks near the Yamunotri Dham. Dodital, the source of River ‘Asi Ganga’, is an emerald lake nuzzled amidst high mountains at an altitude of 3310 meters. With its tranquil setting and placid surroundings, Dodi Tal is perhaps one of the most gorgeous high-altitude lakes in North India. The lake is one of the few to contain Himalayan trout, known as Dodi in the local language and it derives its name from the same. According to legend, this is the birthplace of Lord Ganesha, and a beautiful temple dedicated to him is located on one corner of the lake. Darwa Top or Darwa Pass, a one-day hike from Dodital is another well-known spot frequented by visitors to experience the breathtaking views of numerous Himalayan peaks.
Situated around 20 kms beyond the Dayara Bugyal at an altitude of around 300 meters, Gidara Bugyal is relatively unexplored. Slightly more complicated than the Dayara Bugyal trek, this trek is suitable for trekkers with some amount of experience and skill. The trek encompasses a vast expanse of lush green meadow blooming with mottled and extravagant wildflowers and offers magnificent views of the Bandarpoonch Peak and the Gangotri range.