Gangotri Temple Guide - Pooja Timing, History & More

“Gasp in the holy and serene air of Gangotri and rejuvenate your soul”

Gangotri is a significant spiritual site in Uttarkashi district of Uttarakhand. It is one of the sacred Dham of Chota Char Dham circuit in Uttarakhand. Gangotri Dham offers the splendid views of the Himalayas and River Ganges flowing around. Gangotri is the birthplace of Devi Ganga. River Ganga emerges from Gangotri glacier also called Gaumukh.

Not just famous for religious importance, Gangotri is the perfect destination for tourists to admire the untainted natural beauty and views.

About Gangotri Temple

The pious shrine of Gangotri looms at a height of 3,100 meters. Enclosed by deodar and pine trees, the temple is dedicated to Goddess Ganga. Thousands of devotees flock to the temple every year to seek blessings of Goddess Ganga. Gangotri temple was built in the 18th century by the ‘living lion of Nepal’, Gorkha General Amar Singh Thapa.

Structure of the Gangotri Temple

Gangotri temple has a simple formation made of white granite. No carvings or engravings can be found on the temple walls. It is about 20 feet high. The whole shrine is constructed in traditional North Indian architectural style. The entrance to the temple is via Sabha Mandap leading to the Garbhagriha which shelter the Goddess Ganga deity.

Inside Gangotri Temple

Garbhagriha or Sanctum sanatorium – It is one of the main section of the temple. Garbhagriha houses Goddess Ganga idol.

Mandap or Assembly Hall – Mandap is located in front of Garbhagriha. It is the area where devotees gather for puja and aarti.

Poojas done at Gangotri Temple

  • Mangal Aarti – Mangal aarti takes place early in the morning around 6AM. The doors are closed when the aarti takes place and visitors don’t get to see the aarti.
  • Sandhya Aarti – It is a beautiful aarti that takes place in the evening. Sandhya Aarti is performed around 7:45 PM in summers and at 7:00 PM in winters.
  • Ganga Devi Pooja – It is one of the main pooja of the temple that takes place on Ganga Saptami Day. In Ganga Devi puja several Ganga mantras and stotram are recited. The pooja take place both at the Ganga Ghat and inside the temple.

Gangotri Temple Opening and Closing Timings

Morning – 6:15 AM to 2:00 PM
Evening – 3:00 PM to 9:30 PM
Afternoon Break – 2:00 PM to 3:00 PM

Festivals Celebrated at Gangotri Temple

Ganga Dussehra – Ganga Dussehra is celebrated very vibrantly in the months of May –June in Gangotri. Pilgrims in huge number participate in the festival. It is celebrated over a span of 10 days. Devotees take a holy dip in the river, chants Ganga stotrams and offer diyas placed on leaf boats that float in the River Ganga. The Ganga Aarti that takes place in the evening light up the divine atmosphere.

Diwali – On the auspicious event of Diwali the idol of Goddess Ganga is taken to Mukhyamanth Temple in the Mukhwa village. The temple works as the abode of Goddess Ganga during winters. Mukhyamanth temple is beautifully decorated with flowers and diyas. Gangotri temple gets closed on Diwali for the winter period.

Akshaya Tritya – On Akshaya Tritya the idol of goddess Ganga is brought back to its home from Mukhyamanth Temple. It is celebrated in the month of April or May when the Gangotri temple gets open. People devotionally decorate the temple and celebrate the welcome back of Goddess Ganga.

History and legends about Gangotri

Many mythological stories revolve around the Gongotri Dham which makes it more epic and a significant pilgrimage. Some, of them are:

King Sagara, the great grandfather of King Bhagirath in order to attain supremacy performed Ashwamedha Yagna. During the course of yagna, a horse was allowed to let go on an uninterrupted journey across empires. The head ruler Indra on being scared that he might lose his throne if yagna got completed took the horse. He tied the horse in the Sage Kapila ashram where the sage was seated in deep meditation. The 60,000 sons of King Sagara were given duty of finding the lost horse. They came across the spot where sage was meditating and beside him found the horse tied. The 60,000 sons of the King stormed the ashram and interrupted the deep meditation of the sage. Sage Kapila opened his eyes and the 60,000 sons were turned into ashes by his curse. He also cursed that their souls would find moksha only when their ashes will come in contact with holy waters of River Ganga. In order to free his ancestors from the curse and please Ganga to come down to earth, King Sagara performed atonement for a period of 1000 years. Pleased by his devotion, Goddess Ganga descended to earth.

It is said that Ganga, a holy spirited woman was born out of Lord Brahma’s Kamandalu (water vessel). There were two myth attached to her this birth. Brahma washed the feet of Lord Vishnu when he released the universe from the demon Bali in his rebirth as Vaman and collected this water in his Kamandalu.

Legends say that, Ganga came down to earth and married King Shantanu an ancestor of the Pandavas. She yielded seven children and all of them were thrown into the river by her. The eight child Bheeshma was saved by King Shantanu’s intervention. Then Ganga left him. Later, all through the holy epic Mahabharat, Bheeshma played a very significant role.

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Char Dham Yatra 2019

Char Dham are the names of four pilgrimage places in Uttarakhand, India that are widely revered by most of the “Hindus”. The Char Dham of Uttarkhand are: Badrinath, Kedarnath, Gangotri, and Yamunotri.