The Garhwal Himalayas have been blessed with some of the holiest
Hindu pilgrimage sites and Yamunotri is one such. One of the
Char Dhams according to Hindu mythology, Yamunotri is the origin
of the sacred river Yamuna. Famous for its thermal springs and
glaciers, it is one of the most important stopovers on the itinerary
of the Hindu pilgrim. According to an old legend, Asit Muni,
the revered sage, used to reside here.
Location and Climate
Perched at an altitude of 3293 meters above sea level, Yamunotri
is located in the Uttarkashi district of the northern state
of Uttar Pradesh. It is very close to the Indo-Chinese border
and is surrounded by the Himalayan offshoots on all sides. Yamunotri,
lies near the Bandarpunch Mountain, which is 6315 m high and
lies to the north. The glacial lake of Saptarishi Kund, on the
Kalind Parbat, at an altitude of 4421 m, is the real source
of the Yamuna River. Yamunotri is at a distance of 278 km from
Dehradun, 236 km from Rishikesh, 176 km from Chamba, and 21
km from Sanya Chatti. It remains cool even during summers. The
winters are snow-bound and temperatures fall below 0?C. One
is advised to carry light or heavy woolens depending on the
time of visit.
The first stopover for the Char Dham Yatra is the westernmost
shrine of Yamunotri in the Garhwal Himalayas. Dedicated to Goddess
Yamuna, it is perched atop a flank of the Bandar Poonchh peak
(3165 mt above sea level) and is situated opposite to Gangotri.
The shrine attracts devotees in large numbers from May to October.
Yamunotri is the source of the revered river Yamuna that originates
from the Champassar Glacier lying 1 km ahead of the shrine;
at an altitude of 4421 mt Pilgrims do not frequently visit the
source of the river, as it is not easily accessible.
Yamunotri finds a special mention in the Hindu mythology. According
to a legend, this secluded hilly spot was the home of an ancient
sage, Asit Muni. Among the major attractions of Yamunotri are
hot water springs nearby. Devotees prepare rice and potatoes
to offer at the shrine, by dipping them in these hot water springs,
tied in muslin cloth.
The trek to Yamunotri is spectacular, dominated by a panorama
of rugged peaks and dense forests.
From Rishikesh, a 213 km journey by road takes one to Hanumanchatti.
From here, the remaining 13 km trek is covered on foot or on
ponies. Palanquins and Porters are also available on hire.
Air :Jolly Grant, 196 km from Yamunotri via
Rail: Rishikesh, 213 km & Dehradun, 172
Road Dharasu, 107 km Tehri, 149 km Rishikesh, 213 km & Dehradun,
Prime Pilgrimage Attractions
The main temple is dedicated to Goddess Yamuna. Maharani Guleria
of Jaipur built the present temple in the late nineteenth century.
Once destroyed by an earthquake, it has been rebuilt. A holy
dip in the nearby tank filled by hot springs and cooking rice
in its water are common rituals performed by the devotees.
One of the important thermal springs known for its very high
temperature of 190F. Pilgrims cook rice and potatoes here to
offer to the deity in the temple.
A huge rock pillar venerated before entering the Yamunotri
The confluence of Hanuman Ganga and Yamuna rivers forms the
starting point for the scenic Dodi TaL Trek.
This is the most sacred river in Indian. The main reason it
is so sacred is because it flows through Vrindavana and Mathura,
and was thus intimately connected to Lord Krishna's pastimes.
One who bathes in the Yamuna can be purified of all sinful reactions
and attain love of Godhead.
A sylvan spot on way to Tehri that offers an excellent view
of the Himalayan peaks. Situated at an altitude of 1,676 mt,
Chamba is an ideal summer retreat.