The picturesque pilgrimage in the hinterlands of the Himalayas is the most sacred spot where Ganga , the stream of life, touched earth for the first time.
According to Hindu mythology, Goddess Ganga - the daughter of heaven, manifested herself in the form of a river to absolve the sins of King Bhagirath’s predecessors, following his severe penance of several centuries. Owning to her might, Lord Shiva received her into his matted locks to minimise the immense impact of her fall. She came to be called Bhagirathi at her legendary source.
Gangotri is a holy pilgrimage site for followers in Hinduism.
Gangtori temple: Hindu mythology says that the temple has been built where the Ganges originally began. Gangotri is also one of the Char-Dham (4 Holy places) amongst Hindu pilgrimage sites
Pandav Gufa (Cave): The cave where five brothers of Mahabharata stayed during their exile.</see>. The cave is about an hour's walk from the Gangotri temple is a home for sadhus (saints) who meditate and live there. Remember to take off your shoes when entering the cave.
Small Hotels/ Rest Houses are available in Gangotri ranging from INR 1000(approx USD 20) to INR 1500 (approx USD 30). Some Ashrams are also available but it is advisable to pre book before arriving.
A Government run rest house is also available. However, early booking is advisable.
Gangotri is pleasantly cold during summer (May - June) and very cold during winters. Travel during monsoons (mid June - August approximately) is not advisable. While Gangotri is known to be stable, the road to Gangotri is prone to landslides (Dharasu Falls most notable).
Gaumukh ( 19 km):The snout of the Gangotri Glacier and the source of the Bhagirathi river. Pilgrims trek upto the sacred spot on foot or on ponies to take a holy dip in the ice-cold water. This trek route is through the Gangotri National Park. You need not be a seasoned trekker to walk on this route. This is an uphill climb. Travelling light is most important. Carry plenty of water, nutribars which will given instant energy. A Walking pole will help.
Bhojbasa (15 kms):This is the last habitation before Gaumukh. Trekkers usually take a halt in this place. Bangla Baba's Ashram/ your own tent will be a good option. Advisable to carry your own eatables. No mobile connectivity once you leave Gangotri.
Tapovan -Nandavan ( 24 km ):A trek across the snout of the Gangotri Glacier across the right leads to Tapovan known for its beautiful meadows that encircle the base of the Shivling peak.This is a difficult trek and it is advisable that you have a guide for this trek. To reach Tapovan, you will need to cross the Akash Ganga (this is the place where mythology says that Ganga toughed the earth). The water in Akash Ganga is entirely snow melt and hence increases with the time of the day. Tapovan is also the base for Mt. Shivling. An arduous trek along the left of the Gangotri Glacier leads to scenic Nandanvan - the base camp for the Bhagirathi peaks, that offers a panoramic view of the surrounding Shivling peak. There is also a route from Tapovan across the Gangotri glacier to Nandanvan. From Nandanvan, one can trek further along the Kalindi Khal to Badrinath, which is a extremely difficult trek and has to be done with sufficient preparation.
Kedar Tal ( 18 km):An enchanting lake, 4425 mts. above sea level against the splendid backdrop of mighty Thalaiyasagar peak. Accessible through a rough mountain trail, it is the base camp for trekking to surrounding peaks. The trek to Kedartal needs a local guide.
Bhairon Ghati ( 10 km):Situated towards Uttarkashi, it is known for the temple of Bhairav Nath, surrounded by thick forests.
Harsil ( 28 km ):Located in the mountain district of Uttarkashi is the sylvan hamlet ( 2620 m above sea level ), known for scenic landscapes and delicious apples. Sat Tal or seven lakes, nearby ( 2 km ) are a not-to-be-missed attraction.
Gangnani ( 59 km ):Noted for its thermal springs, spectacular views and tranquil surroundings. A small upcoming town - Bhatwari, lying 12 km from Gangnani is worth a visit.
Maneri ( 86 km ):The dam across the Bhagirathi and a surrounding lake are worth a visit.
Dayara Bugyal ( 93 km ):A breathtakingly beautiful meadow, situated at a height of 3,048 m above sea level. A motorable road connects Bhatwari ( 27 km from Uttarkashi ) with Raithal village, from where follows a 6 km long trek to Dayara. The famous Sheshnag Temple enroute is an attraction of the trek. From Dayara, one can also trek down to Dodi Tal ( 30 km ). During winters, Dayara provides excellent ski slopes over an area of 28 sq km.
Dodi Tal ( 123 km):A sparkling lake at an elevation of 2286 mts. surrounded by dense forests. The famous Himalayan trouts are found in abundance in the lake. Permit for fishing can be obtained from the Divisional Forest Officer, Uttarkashi. A beautiful camping site, a Forest Rest House and a log cabin are seen along the lake.
Nachiketa Tal ( 131 km):A pleasant trek through lush green forests leads to this peaceful retreat. A small temple along the lake and lovely surroundings are an attraction.
Tehri ( 173 km):Lying at the confluence of Bhagirathi and Bhilangna rivers is the former capital of Tehri Garhwal principality. It is the site of a giant hydel project.
Narendranagar ( 239 km):The new capital of erstwhile Tehri state, offers a magnificent view of the Ganga valley of Rishikesh and the plains of Haridwar.