Yamunotri Temple, Uttaranchal
About Yamunotri Tourism
Yamunotri, at a height of 3235 mts above the sea level, comes under Uttarakhand district. One of the Chardhams, four pilgrimages of India, Yamunotri is the source of river Yamuna. It is the western most amongst the Chardham and is visited first on a Chardham tour. The height of Yamunotri, perched on the western flank of mighty Banderpunch peaks is (6135 mts) which are snow covered throughout the year. The Yamunotri temple itself stands on the foothill of Kalinda Parvata (parvata means hill) close to a thermal springs. The trek to Yamunotri is very exhausting, usually taking 6 hours or more. The hot water kund in Yamunotri refresh pilgrims before they offer prayers in the shrine. However, the actual source of Yamunotri is a lake, 12 kilometres from here with the name of Saptrishi Kund. A difficult guided trek will bring you here. Most pilgrims offer prayers at the shrine itself, since the trek is very difficult to take.
History of Yamunotri
According to Hindu mythology, Surya, the sun god is the father of Yamuna, and Yama, the god of death. It is said that since Yamuna is the sister of Yama, anyone who who bathes in the river is spared a painful death. Another legend says that the lonesome place of Yamunotri was once the home to Asit Muni.
The temple situated here close to the thermal springs is dedicated to Goddess Yamuna. The temple was constructed in 1839 by Tehri Naresh Sudarshan Shah. However, since the place is highly prone to earthquakes, the temple has been damaged several times. It was built again in 19th century by Maharani Gularia of Jaipur. Even after that the temple has been renovated and reconstructed quiet a few times. Inside the temple is an idol of Goddess Yamuna carved in black stone that is mainly worshipped.
Close to the temple is this hot water spring called Surya Kund, Surya or Sun being the mythological father of Yamuna. People not just refresh here but also make prasada for offering. Some potatoes or rice with a pinch of salt are tied in a muslin cloth and dipped in the spring for few minutes, they come out boiled. And after being offered to the deity, they are taken home as prasada. The temperature of the springs is as high as 88 degrees. The presence of a hot water spring surrounded by snow capped peaks reinforces one's faith in the divinity of the place.
This is a stone that is worshipped before entering the temple.
This is the source of Yamuna but being a little difficult to access, few people go there and most offer their prayers in the temple itself. A twelve kilometre difficult Saptrishi kund trek route will take you here. A natural glacial kund, the trek upto Saptrishi kund eases out around the base of Kalinda parvat. Dark blue waters, slate stones on the banks, and a rare variety of lotus adorning the water, Saptrishi Kund is a sight to behold. Trip to Saptrishi Kund requires you to be acclimatised for at least one day at Yamunotri and a guide to take you. Perfect destination to take lots of Yamunotri pictures.
Attractions Near Yamunotri
Hanuman Chatti lies enroute to Yamunotri. The 13 kilometre distance is usually covered in 6 hours. The riverside walk is like a picturesque countryside walk. Hanuman Chatti is located at the confluence of River Hanuman Ganga and Yamuna. It is also the starting point of trek to Dodi Tal.
This is a beautiful place at an altitude of 1982 meters. The place is 29 kms from Barkot.
Three kilometres from Yamunotri is Janki Chatti, famous for its hot water springs. You can have a refreshing dip here in the water or make a night halt. There is accommodation facility available here.
46 kilometres from Yamunotri is this beautiful place, with greenery spread around like a carpet. It is your ideal summer retreat. At a height of 1676 metres, it is a perfect stopover while you return from Yamunotri. You can also plan to visit the Chinmaya Mission Yamunotri located nearby.
At an altitude of 3307 metres, Dodi tal is a beautiful spot, a natural lake surrounded by thick forests of oak, deodar and rhododendron. Dodi tal treks are pretty famous among trekkers. The lake with its clear waters and variety of fish and trouts is a paradise. Some treks also extend from Yamunotri to Gangotri with Dodi tal enroute.
The closest airport from Yamunotri is Jolly Grant airport close to Dehradun, 196 km from Gangotri.
The nearest railhead from Yamunotri is Dehradun (172 km). Rishikesh (213 kms) is also an alternative.
Buses are available for Hanuman Chatti which is 14 kilometers from Yamunotri from Rishikesh, Haridwar and other important places in Uttaranchal. Important road distances are Rishikesh to Yamunotri 222 kms via Narendranagar 16 kms, Chamba 46 kms, Tehri 21 kms, Dharasu 42 kms, Bhramkhal 15 kms, Barkot 40 kms, Phoolchatti 5 kms and Jankichatti 3 kms.