One of the char dhams (the most sacred pilgrimage circuits in northern India with four holy destinations), Gangotri, in Uttarkashi, is a small town with the temple of Goddess Ganga at its heart. A 12-hour drive from Rishikesh, Gangotri is nestled among lofty Garhwal Himalayan peaks, glaciers and dense forests, and is one of highest pilgrimages in India (approx 3,415 m). Other than its divine atmosphere, Gangotri offers stunning vistas all around. According to Hindu legends, the most sacred of all rivers, Ganges (or Ganga), descended from heaven to earth at Gangotri, when Lord Shiva released the mighty river from his locks. The actual origin of the river is at Gaumukh in the Gangotri glacier, 19 km away from Gangotri and is accessible by trekking. After it originates from Gaumukh, the river is known as Bhagirathi and it acquires the name 'Ganga' after the river Alaknanda merges into it near the town of Devaprayag. Kapat is open now for darshan.

Tourist Attractions near Gangotri

There are many more attractions around Gangotri Dham and some of the major Tourist Attractions near Gangotri are:

Gangotri TempleThe holy Gangotri Temple, dedicated to Goddess Ganga, is perched along rightwards of Bhagirathi. The rock on which King Bhagirath did his meditation, is also positioned near the temple. Millions of pilgrims visit this holy shrine every year.

Gomukh: Gomukh is a spellbinding place located in Uttarkashi District, Uttarakhand. This place is known as Gomukh because it looks like the mouth of a cow. It is positioned at an elevation of 14,000 feet and is the originating point of sacred river Ganges. This mesmerizing place is nestled near the Shivling Peak that is famous for its exhilarating trails of climbing. Tapovan meadow is situated near Gomukh that elates the tourists with its picturesque panoramas. Gomukh is counted among the most sacred places for the Hindus and is only 18 kms away from holy Gangotri Temple.

Kashi Vishwanath Temple: Kashi Vishwanath Temple is one of the most renowned temples dedicated to Lord Shiva. This temple is considered as one of the prominent pilgrim charms in the Uttarkashi region. A temple of erstwhile era, Kashi Vishwanath is believed to be built by Parasuram. It was later on renovated by the wife of Maharaj Sudarshan Shah in 1857. There is a 60 cms high Shivling in the temple. This holy shrine is a must visit place during the trip of Uttarkashi.

Shakti Temple: Shakti temple is situated just opposite the Kashi Vishwanath Temple. The center of attraction in this temple is theBig Trishul positioned inside. This massive Trishul is 6 meter high and is 90 cms at the base. There are different stories about the Trishul among the people. It is extensively believed that the lower part of this Trishul is made up of copper while the upper part is of iron. According to the legends, Goddess Durga aimed this Trishul to slaughter the devils.

HarsilMost of the tourists undertaking Gangotri Yatra,prefer to stay in Harsil only. It is believed that this place got its name when river Jalandhari and river Bhagirathi once had an argument about their significance. Both were arguing to prove that one is more significant than the other. Afterwards, Lord Vishnu, also known as Lord Hari, was asked to arbitrate the argument. To absorb the anger of the two, Lord Vishnu turned himself into a massive Shila (stone). Even today, after crossing Harsil or Hari-Shila, the waters of these two rivers become less rapid. The beautiful region of Harsil is well known for its Rajma and Apple. The shooting of a famous Bollywood film ‘Ram Teri Ganga Maili’ was done in Harsil. The renowned waterfall (Jharna) scene of the heroine Mandakini was shot under the waterfall situated in Harsil. This waterfall now bears the name of this actress.

Bhairon Ghati: It is situated at a distance of 10 kilometers from Gangotri. Bhairon Nath Temple, cosseted by verdant woods, can be reached through the road going from Lanka to Bhairon Ghati. On the way, the tourist has to cross through Jahanvi River.

Divya Shila: As per the beliefs, it is important to pay homage at Divya Shila before entering the main shrine. Divya Shila is a strong rock pillar situated near the Surya Kund. It is deemed that this rock pillar is the idol of the deity and devotees need to bow their head down here first.

Sapt Rishi Kund: Another natural marvel counted among the best places for sightseeing in Yamunotri is the Sapt Rishi Kund. This natural lake with grayish blue water and pebbly bank is the source of River Yamuna. Adventure lovers are fond of visiting this lake as the trail to the Kund is not everyone’s cup of tea. This beautiful lake is also acknowledged for the presence of the exotic Braham Kamal (a rare flora species). So, basically, the Saptrishi Lake is a splendid spot that provides picturesque vistas of the nature.

Mukhba Village: It is a small village and the home of the idol of Goddess Ganga during winters. The idol of the Hindu River Goddess Ganga is brought down from Gangotri after Diwali. The idol is worshipped at Mukhba village throughout the winter when Gangotri is snowbound and inaccessible.

Kedartaal: The strenuous trek to the picturesque Kedartaal initiates from Gangotri. Kedartaal can be reached by a difficult 14km trek via Bhoj Kharak and Kedar Kharak. Do book a guide while visiting Kedar taal. The immaculate water of Kedartaal is situated at an elevation of 4,250mts above sea level.

Submerged ShivlingIt is an alluring tourist destination where there is a submersed Shivling made up of natural rock. According to the fables and legends, this is the place where Lord Shiva received the river Ganges into his tresses.

Gangnani: This mesmerizing place is well known among the tourists for its charming thermal springs and the compelling panorama of snow capped Himalayan peaks. It is a perfect spot for nature lovers, devotees and those searching for the serenity of the mind.

Pandava Gufa: Pandava Shila is an ancient tourist attraction that can be reached after a 1.5 kilometers of a trek from the Gangotri. The scenic site of Pandav Shila is said to be the region where the Pandavas, on their way to Kailash Dham, did the meditation.