Gangotri Temple, Uttarkashi, Uttarakhand

Amidst the beauty of the pristine Himalayan mountains, the Gangotri Temple stands as a symbol of purity and natural grandeur. Situated in the Uttarkashi district of Uttarakhand, India, it showcases the rich cultural heritage of the Garhwal region. In this comprehensive guide, we will delve into the various facets of the Gangotri Temple, including its location, significance, architecture, shrines, important deities, temple timings, and entry fees, of this sacred premises.

Gangotri Temple at Glance

Gangotri Temple Location Uttarkashi, Garhwal
Gangotri Temple Elevation 3,100 meters
Gangotri Temple Deity River Goddess Ganga
Gangotri Temple Best Time to VisitApril, May, June, September, October and November
Gangotri Temple Entry Fees Free

Gangotri Temple

Significance of Gangotri Temple

The Gangotri temple has a prime place in Hinduism because it is linked to the River Ganges (Ganga), which has earned its reputation as one of the holiest rivers on the planet. The temple is a symbol of the source of the Ganga, which is considered a divine river because Lord Shiva had it descended from his long hair.

Hindus hold the opinion that being immersed in the icy waters of the Ganges at Gangotri can cleanse the sins and purify the soul completely. Every year, the number of pilgrims rapidly grows, as they come to ask God for blessings, while also performing rites and showing respect to the river goddess.

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Architecture of Gangotri Temple

Gangotri Temple manifests a special and delicately designed architectural form that demonstrates local culture and environment. The temple is made out of white granite and has carved doors and ceilings made out of wood. The architecture is a fine display of the local Garhwali style with an added touch of spiritualism.

The temple is crowned with the tall shikhara (the spire) contrasting the background of snow-covered peaks thus giving a mesmerizing experience to the people visiting the temple. The very simplicity and artistry of its design highlight the dedication, devotion, and skills of the artisans who created it.

Shrines and Important Deities

Ganga Maiya (Goddess Ganga)

Gangotri Temple primarily enshrines the idol of Goddess Ganga, the personification of the holy River Ganges. Devotees offer their prayers to the goddess and seek her blessings for purity and salvation.

Adjacent to the main temple, there is a small shrine dedicated to Lord Bhagirath, a revered figure in Hindu mythology who is credited with bringing the Ganges to Earth.

History and Legends of Gangotri Temple

The history of Gangotri Temple is intertwined with captivating legends and stories that have been passed down through generations. One of the most revered legends is the tale of King Bhagirath, whose unwavering devotion led to the descent of the Ganges to Earth.

According to Hindu mythology, King Bhagirath performed intense penance and austerities for several years to appease Lord Shiva. He sought the divine intervention of Lord Shiva to release the Ganges from his locks and bring it to Earth to purify the souls of his ancestors. Pleased with Bhagirath’s devotion, Lord Shiva agreed to his request, and thus, the Ganges descended from the heavens, finding its earthly origin at Gangotri. The temple was constructed to commemorate this miraculous event.

Literature and Scriptures Associated with Gangotri Temple

Gangotri Temple’s mention in revered Hindu scriptures adds to its historical and spiritual significance. It finds reference in ancient texts such as the “Skanda Purana” and the “Padma Purana,” which vividly describe the temple’s sanctity and the rituals associated with it.

These scriptures also narrate the importance of taking a holy dip in the sacred waters of the Ganges at Gangotri to cleanse one’s sins and attain spiritual purity. Pilgrims from across the country and beyond visit Gangotri with the belief that their sins will be washed away in the purifying currents of the river.

Rituals and Poojas at Gangotri Temple

Gangotri Temple follows a well-structured daily schedule of rituals and poojas, allowing devotees and visitors to engage in spiritual activities throughout the day. Some of the key rituals performed at the temple include:

Mangala Aarti: The day begins with the Mangala Aarti at the break of dawn. This ritual signifies the awakening of the goddess and seeks her blessings for a new day.

Bhagirath Shila Pooja: Devotees offer their prayers at the sacred Bhagirath Shila, a large stone slab near the temple believed to be the spot where King Bhagirath performed penance.

Rajbhog Aarti: This ritual, conducted in the afternoon, involves offering a sumptuous meal to the deity.

Sandhya Aarti: The evening Sandhya Aarti is a grand ceremony where lamps are lit, conch shells are blown, and hymns are chanted in praise of Goddess Ganga.

Devotees and pilgrims actively participate in these rituals, which create an atmosphere of spiritual fervor and devotion within the temple complex.

Temple Timings

Gangotri Temple follows a well-defined schedule, with Darshan (worship) allocated for certain periods. The temple opens in the morning and the day is concluded with the evening Sandhya Aarti. The timings may or may not be per the season; however, they tend to be longer during the peak pilgrimage seasons.

  • Morning: 6:15 am to 2:00 pm
  • Evening: 3:00 pm to 9:30 pm

Festivals Celebrated at Gangotri Temple

Gangotri Temple celebrates a myriad of festivals that attract devotees from all corners of the country. Some of the prominent festivals include:

Diwali Celebration in Gangotri Dham

Ganga Dussehra: This grand celebration marks the day when the Ganges descended to Earth. Pilgrims throng the temple to take a holy dip in the river and seek blessings.

Diwali: The festival of lights is observed with great enthusiasm. The temple is adorned with countless lamps, creating a mesmerizing spectacle.

Makar Sankranti: On this auspicious day, pilgrims gather to witness the first rays of the sun falling on the temple spire, a moment believed to be highly auspicious.

Navratri: The nine-day festival dedicated to Goddess Durga is celebrated with daily rituals and special prayers.


Gangotri temple is more than a temple of religious importance. It is a divine place pulsating with spirituality and devotion. It is a symbol of the enduring faith of millions who hold the Ganges in high esteem as the ultimate cleanser. Touring in this historical temple offers an insight into the Hindu traditions as well as the ability to connect with the divinity in the Himalayan region.

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