A world famous point from where the river Ganges originates, pilgrims from before had to endure a long, hard walk just to get there. Now, the devotion is still there but made comparatively easy to fulfill with the service of a motorway that reaches up to the temple.
The main point from where the Ganges rises, Gaumukh, is about 18 kilometers from here. Almost everyone who goes to visit Gangotri, visit Gaumukh as well. Adventurers, hikers, and mountaineers are almost sure to take on the challenge of going until they reach Gaumukh.
An ancient temple of the Ganges also be found at Gangotri. Situated at a height of 3,200 meters, the temple’s serene atmosphere is emphasized by the sacred river’s flowing waters, and the cool winds blowing through the tall trees in the forest.
According to mythology, the 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. Lord Shiva received her into his matted locks to cushion the immense impact of her fall. She came to be called Bhagirathi at her legendary source.
Along the right bank of Bhagirathi stands the shrine of Gangotri dedicated to the Goddess. The Gangotri Temple was built by the Gurkha Commander Amar Singh Thapa in the 18th century.
The months of May and October see throngs of pilgrims paying their respects to Ganga at her temple. The temple gates are closed on the days of Deepavali (festival of lamps) and for winter when it is believed that the Goddess Ganga retreats to Mukhba, her winter home.
On these days the, whole town then takes on a deserted feel.
The statue of Ganga is then taken for six months to a nearby village called Mukhba (Mukhimath) for worship. On the day before summer, the statue is then brought back to the temple in a very lavish procession and much celebration.
A number of Ashrams along the banks of Bhagirathi, Tourist Rest House, PWD Inspection House, Forest Rest House are available for tourists to choose from to use as their base during their stay. Dharamshalas, Guest Houses and Private Hotels also ensure convenient accommodation.