Gangotri Temple | History, Festivals and Address

Gangotri Temple is an ancient Hindu temple dedicated to Goddess Ganga. This temple had located in the Uttarkashi district of Uttarakhand state. It had situated at an altitude of 3,100 meters in the Himalayan Range on the banks of the Bhagirathi River. Gangotri Temple is from 4 am to 2 pm and from 3 pm to 9 pm.

Gangotri Temple

Gangotri Temple Overview

It is the source of the river Ganges. It is the second visit of the Char Dham Yatra. The mandir opens on the day of Akshaya Tritiya, which had usually held in May. It will be closed after the Diwali festival. Later, the temple staff will reach their hometowns.

White snow will cover the valley for the next six months. During this time, an idol of the Goddess had kept in Mukhba village. Gangotri Glacier, also known as Gaumukh, is the source of the river Ganges. 

It is 19 km from Gangotri. The way to the glacier is very difficult for people to reach. That is why this temple had located at the bottom of the hill.

What is the history of the Gangotri Temple? 

Gurkha general Amar Singh Thapa originally built the temple in the 18th century. According to Hindu mythology, Ganga is the daughter of Brahma. One day Lord Brahma was washing the feet of Vamana (an incarnation of Vishnu). 

She was born from Lord Vishnu’s kamandala (a spout-shaped vessel) at that time. According to a legend, King Sagara killed many demons on earth. To show his victory, he performed the Ashvamegha Yaga. 

Many horses have travelled continuously around the earth. Along with them were 60,000 sons of the king. However, Indra was afraid of losing his throne. Indra took away the horses to make the sacrifice fail. 

Maharshi Kapila, who was in deep meditation, tied them up in the ashram. The sons of King Sagara searched and found the horses near the meditating sage. Sixty thousand angry sons of King Sagara disturbed sage Kapila while meditating.

As a result, sage Kapila condemned them, and they all died. Later, the king sent his grandson Ansuma to sage Kapila for forgiveness. Kapilu says that only the holy water of Ganga can wash away their sins. Anshuman and his son Dilip tried but could not please Brahma.

Later, King Sagara’s grandson Bhagiratha did penance for years. He invoked Ganga to wash away the sins of his ancestors and liberate their souls. Hence, Ganga Devi took the form of a river.

What is the significance of Gangotri Temple? 

Every year with the onset of winter, a rock-shaped Shiv Lingam naturally forms in Gangotri. At this place, Lord Shiva made the Ganges flow through his locks. When Ganga arrived on earth, Lord Shiva agreed to bear its might. 

He absorbed it into the waves of his hair, which slowed the flow. Locks of hair are also divided into seven strands.

They are Bhagirathi, Alakananda, Jhanvi, Saraswati, Bhilangana, Rishiganga and Mandakini. The source of this river is called Bhagirathi. After joining Devprayaga, it got the name, Ganga. Then it joins the Alaknanda river. 

The Ganges water collected at Gangotri had believed to be amrutham (amrutham). It is considered a holy drink. People take this water to their homes. They use this holy water in many pujas at home.

On the day of Dussehra, one should take a holy bath in the river Ganga. It cleanses the human soul from all sins. People also immerse the dead person’s ashes in the river Ganges. It releases the spirit from the cycles of death and rebirth. 

What is inside the Temple? 

Architecturally, the Gangotri temple is very simple and plain. It has no detailed carvings. Sculptures are also nowhere to be found.

The temple is built of white marble stones to symbolize peace. The stairs leading to the sabha mandapa meet the main sanctum sanctorum. There is also a small Shiva temple inside the main temple. 

What are Puja and Aarti in Gangotri Temple? 

Various pujas had performed for Goddess Ganga in the Gangotri temple. Mangala Harati performs in the morning, and Sayana Harati in the evening. 

The poojas had conducted by the Semwal family priest, who manages the place. These priests came from Mukhba village. Poojas and Aartis at Gangotri Temple: 

Gangotri Mangala Aarti: Morning Mangala Aarti had held behind closed doors at 6 AM. The temple does not allow public darshan of this arati.

Sandhya Aarti: Evening Aarti takes place at 7:45 PM in summer and 7 PM in winter. 

Ganga Devi Pooja: This pooja had performed in both the Ganga Ghat and the main shrine. If you perform puja on Ganga Saptami, it has special significance. Priests conducting pujas chant many Ganga mantras and hymns. 

What to wear when going to Gangotri? 

Gangotri temple had situated in the cool valley. The climate is cool throughout the year. There are frequent rains and snowfalls. Hence, you should wear proper winter clothing with mufflers and gloves. It would help if you also carried an umbrella.

What are the festivals celebrated in Gangotri Temple? 

Some of the festivals celebrated in Gangotri Temple are: 

Ganga Dussehra:

This festival marks the day when Goddess Ganga appeared on earth. Thousands of pilgrims across the nation take a holy dip in the river Ganga. A beautiful Ganga Aarti had also performed in the evening. Devotees offer various flowers and sweets to the river Ganga. Offerings are offered in leaf boats floating in the river.

Diwali :

After the Diwali festival, the temple is closed. Devotees take the icon of Ganga to the Mahayamath temple in the small village of Mukhwa. This temple is the winter abode of Mother Ganga. On this day, the people of Mukwa clean the entire village in preparation for the arrival of the Goddess. 

Akshaya Tritiya:

On this day, believers bring the idol of Ganga from their winter home, Mukhwa. The entire temple is cleaned and decorated with flowers.

After that, the idol of Ganga Mata had placed in the main sanctum sanctorum. Songs and dances performed by devotees accompany the ceremony. 

Gangotri Temple Timings:

Gangotri Temple Timings are from 4 am to 2 pm and 3 pm to 9 pm.

Where to stay near Gangotri Temple? 

Some of the places to stay near Gangotri Temple: Bhagirathi Sadan: This hotel has a total of 15 rooms. Each room has drinking water, a spacious bed and basic furniture. The hotel offers front desk assistance as well as room service facilities. 

Guests can also make use of the luggage storage space. Hotel Mandakini: It has 16 spacious rooms. Hotel amenities include cable television and bottled drinking water. It also has an attached bathroom with a hot/cold water facility.

Other facilities have luggage storage space, 24-hour power backup, and parking. Hotel Kalp Kedar: The resort has an in-house restaurant where you can enjoy delicious meals. 

There are ten rooms on one floor. Rooms are clean with 24 hours hot and cold water supply. It has room service and front desk assistance. Car parking space is available within the premises.

What are some temples near Gangotri Temple?

Some Temples near Gangotri Temple: 

Kashi Vishwanatha Temple, Uttarkashi: 

It is one of the holiest temples in Uttarakhand. This temple had dedicated to Lord Shiva. It had situated on the banks of river Bhagirathi. It also had one of the Char Dham Yatra destinations. Here the Shiva lingam is 56 cm high and inclined towards the south. 

Shakti Temple:

It had located opposite Kashi Vishwanatha Temple in Uttarkashi. In the centre of the temple is a huge trident. The Trident is 6 meters high and 90 cm wide. The lower half of the Trident is copper, and the upper half is iron. According to mythology, Goddess Durga used this Trident to kill demons. 


Gaumukh is the head of the river Ganga. It is 19 km from Gangotri. The way to the glacier is very difficult for people to reach.

Pandava Cave:

It is 1.5 km from Gangotri Temple. Pandava is the place where the Pandavas meditated. It is Rested here on the way to Kailasa.

Chidwasa & Bhojwasa:

These are ideal camping sites near Gangotri. Chidwasa is 28 km away, and Bhojwasa is 22 km from Gangotri. 


Nandavan is a 6 km trekking route along Nandanvan glacier. It gives a wonderful glimpse of Shiva Lingam.

Sylvan Tapovan:

It had located above the Gangotri glacier. Sylvan is famous for the greenery around the base of Shiva Lingam.

How to reach Gangotri Temple? 

By Air: 

The nearest airport is Jolly Grant Airport in Dehradun. 

By Rail: 

The nearest railway stations are Rishikesh and Haridwar. 

By Road: 

Gangotri had connected by road with the major cities of Uttarakhand and Delhi NCR. Buses are also available from Rishikesh, Dehradun, Roorkee, Haridwar, Tehri and Hanuman Chatti. 

Gangotri Temple Address:

Gangotri temple had located in the Uttarkashi district of Uttarakhand state.



How old is Gangotri? 

Gurkha general Amar Singh Thapa originally built the temple in the 18th century. Also, Bhagiratha did penance for some years. He invoked Ganga to wash away the sins of his ancestors. 

Is there snow in Gangotri? 

Gangotri has a winter season from November to April. It snows very often in winter. The average temperature is 5°C. 

Can I visit Gangotri in December?

Winter season in Gangotri starts from October to April. The average daytime temperature drops to 5°C. Gangotri gets heavy snowfall in December. Better not to go in December.

What is Gangotri’s Temple height?

3200 metres.

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