The Himalayas have been sanctified with some of the divine Hindu pilgrimage sites and Yamunotri is one of them. Yamunotri is the Garhwal Mountains of Uttarkashi region is perched on the edge of the Bandhar Poonch Peak at an altitude of 10,805 ft. Situated in beautiful surroundings, Yamunotri is a marvelous pilgrimage religious site that is visited by a large number of tourists every year. It constitutes one of the four most important pilgrimages, the first stopover of the 'Char Dham Yatra' of the Garhwal Himalayas.
Yamunotri is the source of the revered river Yamuna, which originates from the Champasar Glacier on the Kalinda Parvat at 14,502 ft. The chief attraction of Yamunotri pilgrimage is the temple devoted to goddess Yamuna and the holy thermal springs at Jankichatti. A bath in the hot springs close to the temple is very refreshing after an exhausting 13 kms trek from Hanuman Chatti or 5 kms from Janki Chatti. The Surya Kund, whose waters are used for cooking prasad, and Divya Shila, a rock pillar, are also major attractions of Yamunotri pilgrimage.
History has it that, Yamuna is the consort of Lord Shri Krishna. Gokula, the divine abode of the Lord is the home of Yamuna.It is believed that, the river first went round Shri Krishna before descending down to earth as per the order of her Lord. River Yamuna came to be called "Kalindi" as she touched the peak of Kalind. Then she descended down the hills and reached the plains at Khandav Vana, which has been developed as Delhi city now.
According to tradition, Yamuna and Yama are believed to be the offspring of Sun God 'Surya'. Hence it is considered that whoever takes a dip in the holy waters of the source stream of Yamuna is spared a painful death.
The Shrine of Yamunotri, source of river Yamuna is situated in the direction opposite to Gangotri and the road bifurcates and goes to Yamunotri from Dharasu, a place between Rishikesh-Uttarkashi. Yamunotri can also be visited via Mussoorie and Barkot. Situated at an elevation of 3235 metres above sea level, the Yamunotri pilgrimage is one of the four pilgrimages popularity know as ‘char dhams’. The source of Yamuna lies about 1 km ahead at the altitude of about 4421 metres. The approach is extremely difficult and pilgrims therefore offer puja (prayers) at the Yamunotri temple itself. There are hot springs close to the
temple; a bath in them is very invigorating especially after a tedious 13 kms trek from Hanumanchatti or 5 kms from Janki Chatti.
Places To Visit
Upon reaching Yamunotri, stop at Divya Shila, a rock pillar worshipped before entering the Yamunotri Temple. On the left bank of the River Yamuna lies the Yamunotri Temple built by Maharani Gularia of Jaipur in the last decade of the 19th Century and dedicated to the River. In 1923, the Temple was destroyed in an earthquake but the idols were spared. The Yamunotri temple was rebuilt and damaged again by heavy snow and rain in 1982. This temple houses a silver idol bedecked with garlands, believed to be of Yamuna, and an image of her brother Yama.
Close to the Yamunotri temple, there are a number of thermal springs, which flow into numerous pools. The most important and sacred of these is the Surya Kund, used to prepare the prasad or holy offerings to the deity. The prasad, an offering of rice and potatoes is tied in the cloth bags and dipped in the water of the pool. The water is so hot that the prasad gets cooked within no time. The Surya Kund, a thermal spring, is famous for its remedial properties. The temperature here is as high as 190°F. The pool is named after Surya or the sun god, the father of Yamuna.
When To Go
The Yamunotri temple remains closed from November to April. The best time for going on the Yamunotri pilgrimage is from May to June and September to October.
, Dehradun, 196 kms away is the closest airport of Yamunotri.
, 231 kms away, and Dehradun 172 kms are the closest railheads.
, 107 kms; Tehri, 149 kms; Rishikesh, 213 kms and Dehradun, 172 kms are accessible from Yamunotri.