Built in the 18t century , by Gorkha General Amar Singh Thapa, on the same parvat where Bhagirathi sat and prayed for 5, 500 years and where came the pandavas to atone for the death of their kinsmen, standing on pillars on the right bank of the river at a height of 3, 048 metres, the slopes surrounding the temple indicate the leval of the bed of the past giant glacier, while the tiny village is full of Devadars and conifers, here the river flow north, giving the village its name Gangotri.
The temple to the Goddess Ganga stand on the right bank simple but dignified in the valley of the Gods surrounded by the majesty of the mountains.
Beyond the gorge where the Jadh gangameets the Bhagirathi heralding the approach of the Gangotri temple, the narrow Bhagirathi ravine, dramatic and buitifully wooded, opens out into a valley flanked by by jagged snowy peaks, on the slopes clothed with birch trees (Bhoj patra) their trunk wrapped in a paper like tissue used in ancient days for writing scriptures.
General Information About Gangotri
- Altitude: 3140 meters
- Summer Temperature: Max. 20o, Min. 6o || Winter Temperature: Max. Sub-Zero, Min. Snowbound
- Summer Clothing: Light woollens || Winter Clothing: Very Heavy woollens
- Langauage/Dialects: Hindi, English & Garhwali
- Best Season: May to June and September to October
- Nearest Airport is Jolly Grant, 17 kms from Rishikesh and
22 kms from Dehradun, 275 kms from Gangotri
- Nearest Railhead are Rishikesh (248 kms.), Dehradun and Haridwar
Distances from Important Cities
- Haridwar – 270 kms
- Rishikesh - 248 kms
- Yamunotri - 230 kms
- Mussoorie - 247 kms
- Uttarkashi – 99 kms
(2650m) When the pilgrims cross the Jhanvi river and see two stout ropes dangling from the edges of two precipices, one begins to wonder and admire the faith and courage of the earlier pilgrims who has also crossed in not so fortitudinous circumstances for those two ropes are the remnents of an old rope bridge, the highest suspension bridge in the world spanning the dizzy depts. Below, because of the height and awesome span, the swaying rope bridge looked like a death trap eternity awaited one fatal slip from the precarious perch, Later a new small bridge constructed down in the valley . A new motarble bridge now open from where the old rope bridge used to be, it is the highest, to bridge a river bed in the world, here the Bhagirathi receives the waters of the jhanvi a strange contrast in waters; the Bhagirathi carrying silt and melted materiels from the glaciers; colourless and turbulent the Jhanvi, blue bright and beautiful.
Appropriately in the Bhairoghati is the temple to Bhairon which pilgrims always visit as a matter of coarse before entering the temple of Goddess.
As the valley starts ascending to ice cave of Gaumukh 19 Km north east of Gangotri at the height of 3.892 metres, it is choked with glaciated boulders, At Chirbasa is a patch of pines, a rarity at this height, and a huge platform of boulders from where can be seen Gaumukh at the foot of shivling, a striking unscaled pinnacle of rock and ice, forbiddingly beautiful, the awesome Shivling peak looms, 6,540meters above the source of Ganga at the Gangotri glacier evokes a mystical atmoshphere descending from beyond the chaukhamba cluster of snow peaks, while the three peaks of Bhagirathi mountains were the embodiments of Shiva. At the end of the valley is the snout of Gangotri glacier called Gaumukh, A 100 metre high wall of grey snow top of which moraines comes regularly crashing down, from the ice wall of blue ice caves, the water of Bhagirathi gushes out with force and cut a fantastic gorge among the granites of the Himalayas, the colossal glacier varies in colour from shades of blue to green with glistening white floating ice berges fed by a system of glaciers lying in a basin 5,000 metres high. In this prismatic shimmering icescape of snow and ice, while the Sadhu,s sit in deep meditation, sunlight paint the whole scene in silver which changes to grey at the approach of a mist obliterating myth from reality, above stand the majestic spire of snow and rock at the base of which on a glacial terrace called Tapovan, The Rishi King Bhagirathi sat and worshipped Lord Shiva.Finally as he advanced and blew his conch shell the mountains rifted apart. The climb to the Gaumukh is difficult and treacherous but once achieved is an unbeleavable and unforgettable sight to behold.