The Yamunotri Temple, situated amidst the Garhwal mountains in Uttarkashi district, stands tall at 4,421 meters above sea level. It holds immense spiritual significance as it is the birthplace of the holy river Yamuna, with the Goddess being the twin sister of Yama, the God of Death. Revered as the Lady of Life, pilgrims visit the Yamunotri dham every year to pursue her blessings for a long and prosperous life. As a crucial destination in the Chardham Yatra, Yamunotri Temple is a must-visit for those seeking spiritual solace.
Opening and Closing Dates of Yamunotri Temple
The Yamunotri Temple opens for devotees towards the end of April or in the first week of May, on the auspicious occasion of Akshaya Tritiya. The temple remains operational until Diwali, after which it closes for the winter months due to heavy snowfall in the region. However, during this time, the idol of the Goddess is moved to Kharsali, the nearest village, enabling pilgrims to visit and seek blessings during their Yamunotri Yatra. It is important to note that the temple remains closed throughout the winter months for safety reasons.
Structure and Inside of the Yamunotri Temple
The Yamunotri Temple boasts a magnificent 19th-century granite structure, designed in the Nagar architectural style. Its yellow conical-shaped minaret at the top bordered by vibrant vermillion, adds to its grandeur. The idol of the revered Goddess Yamuna, crafted in polished black granite with a gleaming effect, is enshrined inside the Garbha Griha. Alongside, an idol of Goddess Ganga, sculpted in white stone, also finds a place here. The temple also houses a mandap where devotees gather for prayer and darshan. Prior to entering the temple premises, pilgrims must first offer worship at the Surya Kund or Divya Shila, located outside the temple.
Best Time to Visit Yamunotri Temple
Yamunotri Temple is a revered pilgrimage site, and the best time to visit depends on your preferences and the climatic conditions in the region. The temple is located at a high altitude, and the temperature can be surprising.
The ideal time to visit Yamunotri Temple is during the summer months from May to June and from September to November. During this period, the climate is lovely, and the temperature ranges between 10 to 20 degrees Celsius. The atmospheres are clear, and the stunning vistas of the Garhwal Mountains add to the charm of the pilgrimage.
If you’re an adventure enthusiast, you can also visit Yamunotri during the monsoon season, from July to August. The surrounding landscapes turn lush green, and the gushing Yamuna River adds to the beauty of the region. However, be cautious as landslides and flash floods can occur in this season.
The temple remains closed during the winter months from November to April due to heavy snowfall in the region. The temperature can drop to sub-zero levels, making it difficult to access the temple. However, if you wish to witness the snow-clad peaks and enjoy snow activities, you can plan a trip in late April or early May, just after the temple reopens.
Visiting Places in Yamunotri Dham
Yamunotri Dham is a revered pilgrimage site nestled amidst the breathtaking Garhwal Himalayas. The temple is dedicated to Goddess Yamuna, and it is believed that a visit to the shrine can wash away one’s sins and grant blessings of longevity. While the Yamunotri Temple is the main attraction, there are several other visiting places in and around the region that offer a glimpse into the spiritual and natural richness of the area. These locations are some of the must-see ones in Yamunotri Dham –
The Yamunotri Temple is the centerpiece of the Yamunotri Dham and is considered one of the most sacred shrines in India. It is believed that the temple was originally built by Maharaja Pratap Shah of Tehri Garhwal in the 19th century, and it underwent renovations in the 20th century. The temple boasts a stunning granite design that observes the Nagar architectural class with a Conical-shaped minaret with yellow color at the top, bordered in bright vermillion.
The idol of Goddess Yamuna is placed inside the Garbha Griha and is made of polished granite in an uncommon black stone, which gives it a gleaming effect. Besides the idol of Yamuna, an idol of Goddess Ganga is also kept, made of white stone. A mandap is another feature of the temple where visitors congregate for darshan and prayer. It is customary to offer prayers to the goddess before taking a dip in the holy Yamuna River.
Located just outside the Yamunotri Temple, Surya Kund is a natural hot water bond that is supposed to have healing possessions. The water of the kund is so hot that rice and potatoes are cooked in it before being offered to the deity. It is said that taking a dip in the kund can cure various ailments and is considered an essential part of the pilgrimage.
The Divya Shila is a sacred rock pillar located near the Surya Kund. It is believed that before entering the temple, devotees must offer prayers to this pillar to seek blessings. The pillar is believed to be as old as the temple and is considered a significant religious site. It is also said that touching the pillar can get good luck and fortune.
Kharsali Village is a quaint hamlet located near Yamunotri Dham. It is here that the idol of Goddess Yamuna is shifted during the winter months. The village also offers a glimpse into the regional form of life and culture. The villagers are known for their hospitality and welcome visitors with open arms. The village also boasts a charming 11th-century temple dedicated to Lord Shiva.
Hanuman Chatti is a picturesque location situated at the intersection of the Hanuman Ganga and Yamuna Rivers. The place is surrounded by stunning mountains and is a famous place for trekking. It is also the starting point of the Yamunotri trek and is considered an essential part of the Chota Char Dham Yatra. Hanuman Chatti is also famous for its colorful market that sells a variety of souvenirs and local delicacies.
Janki Chatti is a small town situated on the route to Yamunotri Dham. It is situated at an elevation of 2700 meters above sea level and is a famous spot for trekking and hiking. The town is also famous for its hot water springs, which are thought to provide therapeutic qualities. The hot water springs are located just a few kilometers from the town and are surrounded by lush greenery.
Barkot is a scenic town located about 49 km from Yamunotri. It is situated at an altitude of 1,220 meters above sea level and presents spectacular vistas of the surrounding peaks. The town is known for its natural beauty and serene atmosphere and is a popular stopover for those visiting Yamunotri. Another popular attraction in Barkot is the Yamuna Bridge, which is located about 5 km from the town. The bridge is built over the Yamuna River and offers spectacular vistas of the surrounding peaks and valleys.
A visit to Yamunotri Dham is a truly spiritual and breathtaking experience. From the holy Yamuna River to the serene and tranquil surroundings, this place offers a unique and enriching experience to visitors. Whether you are seeking adventure, serenity, or spiritual enlightenment, Yamunotri Dham has something for everyone. The scenic town of Barkot and the nearby attractions add to the charm of this place, making it a must-visit destination for those looking to explore the beauty and spirituality of the Himalayas. A journey to Yamunotri Dham is truly an amazing experience that will remain with you forever.
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