Located at an altitude of 3,140 m in the lap of the Himalayas, Gangotri is a Hindu sacred site of the first order, and its Gangotri Temple is an obligatory stop on the Chota four Char Dham pilgrimage circuit. The Gangotri Temple is a place of immense spiritual significance for the Hindus. Located at the confluence of the rivers, Kedar Ganga and Bhagirathi Ganga, in the Uttarkashi district, Gangotri is the place where the Ganges, the most sacred river of the Hindus and also considered Goddess by Hindus, descended on earth as a reward for King Bhagirath's severe penance to persuade the Goddess Ganga to come down to earth from heaven.
The source of the Ganges is at Gaumukh (the Cow's Mouth), 18 km south east of Gangotri along the Gangotri glacier. Distance between Gangotri and Gaumukh has to be covered on foot.
Narendra Nagar, Chambam New Tehri, Uttarkashi and Gangnani, Harsil and Bhaironghati are important places of interest on the way to Gangotri from Rishikesh. Best time to visit Gangotri is from September to October. The shrine remain closed from November, i.e., after Diwali till the end of April due to hostile weather.
A popular pilgrim place in India, Gangotri Temple was built by a Gorkha commander in the 18th century. The 20 feet high temple was later renovated in the 20th century. The shrine is made of white granite.
Legend has it that this is a natural rock Shivlingam which is the place where Lord Shiva received the Ganges in his matted locks.
9 km from Gangotri , Chirbasa offers a commanding view of the landscape before Gaumukh. Dharamshalas and rest sheds are accommodations options.
16 km from Gangotri, Bhojwasa is situated at an altitude of 3,792 m. 3 km from Gaumukh. Home to some ashrams, Bhojwasa is the last camp for the pilgrims before Gaumukh.
18 km south of Gangotri, this stunning lake is situated at an altitude of 5065 m. A popular trek from Gangotri through the mesmerizing beauty of the Himalayan forests, Kedar Tal, also known as Shiva's lake, also serves as a base camp for treks.
19 km from Gangotri, Gaumukh is located at a height of 3892 m and comes lauded as the source of the Ganges. To visit the Gaumukh is considered an auspicious act by the Hindu.
A treacherous 6 km trek from Gaumukh, Nandavan is the base camp to climb the Bhagirath peaks and offers a awe-inspiring view of the Shivling Peak, Tapovan is characterised by beautiful meadows. Nandavan/ Tapovan is 25 km from Gangotri.
By Road: Gangotri is well connected by road with different cities and places. Major cities and towns near Gangotri connected with it in Uttrakhand by road are Uttarkashi (97 km), Dharasu (125 km), Tehri (167 km), Rishikesh (251 km), Mussoori (256 km), Haridwar (275 km), Dehradun (290 km)
By Rail: Rishikesh, 251 kilometres away, is the nearest railhead which is connected via Haridwar with major cities and towns in India.
By Air: Nearest airport is Jolly Grant Airport near Dehradun which is at a distance of 298 km.
Tourist Rest House, Ganga Niketan Hotel, Forest Rest House and PWD Inspection Bungalow are some of the accommodation options in Gangotri.