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Hemkund Sahib Kedarnath
|Blessed with many highly revered Hindu pilgrimage sites, the Garhwal Himalayas also proudly houses the birthplace of the river Yamuna, Yamunotri. Located amongst the beautiful surrounding, Yamunotri is a wonder-filled religious site, which is visited by a large number of tourists every year. Yamunotri, situated in the Tehri Garhwal region in the northern Indian state of Uttaranchal, is basically famous for being the source of the river Yamuna. The river descends from the Champasar glacier near the peaks of Bandar Poonch and Shrikantha. The Yamunotri temple is the main attraction here. Yamunotri is accessible on foot from Hanuman Chatti,
|which is 13 kilometres away. However, you can visit Hanuman Chatti by bus from Rishikesh or Dehradun. Yamunotri is also the storehouse of a number of curative hot water springs and glaciers.
Yamunotri, the name itself gives you an image of picturesque views of high mountains considered holy in the Hindu mythology. The main attraction of the place however is the Yamunotri temple where a large number of tourists, both religious and non-religious come to visit every year. Moreover, there is Surya Kund, whose waters are used for cooking prasad, and Divya Shila, a rock pillar. The two are the must visit attraction points of Yamunotri.
Yamunotri has a number of excursion points within a distance of few kilometres. Most of the excursion points have good eating and lodging facilities where you can also decide on spending a day or two. The famous base point on the confluence of Hanuman Ganga and Yamuna, the storehouse of hot water spring Janki Chatti and the Badkot that houses one of the ancient temples of the entire area are some of the must visit excursion points of Yamunotri.
The Yamunotri Temple is the major attraction of this place. Built in the 19th century by Maharani Gularia of Jaipur, the temple was destroyed twice. The first time it was destroyed by a major earthquake in 1923. It was subsequently rebuilt only to be damaged again in 1982. The temple is dedicated to Yamuna, a river considered sacred by the Hindus. The river has its source 1 km beyond the temple. Many interesting legends are related to this place. According to one of them, Yamuna was the daughter of Surya and Sangya. Yamuna is also considered the sister of Yama, the God of death. So, according to the legends, anyone bathing in the river Yamuna is spared of a painful death
Located at an altitude of 3,235 meters above sea level, Yamunotri temple is just 6 kilometres below the glacier. The temple houses a silver idol supposedly to be of Yamuna, bedecked with garlands, and an image of her brother Yama. The overall scenery of the entire place is breathtakingly beautiful.
This hot water pool, considered sacred, is used to prepare the prasad or holy offerings to the deity. The prasad, an offering of rice and potatoes is tied in the cloth bags and dipped in the water of the pool. The water is so hot that within no time the prasad gets cooked. The Surya Kund, a thermal spring, is famous for its curative properties. The temperature here is as high as 190°F. The pool is named after Surya or the sun god, the father of Yamuna.
Divya Shila literally means blessed or heavenly rock. It is customary to worship this rock pillar before entering into the Yamunotri temple. A must visit for all tourists
Excursions for Yamunotri
Located at a distance of 49 kilometres from Yamunotri, Badkot is another important excursion point from Yamunotri. The main attraction of Badkot is the ancient temple. The small village also provides you with excellent view of the surrounding areas and good eating and lodging options.
The Hanuman Chatti is one of the many excursion points to visit near Yamunotri. Actually, located on the confluence of the rivers Hanuman Ganga and Yamuna, the 13 kilometre trek to Yamunotri starts right from this point. Easily accessible from the major places near Yamunotri, Hanuman Chatti has good eating and lodging options.
Located at a distance of 6 kilometres from Yamunotri, Janki Chatti is another important excursion destination to be included in your itinerary. Janki Chatti is famous for its many hot water springs. These hot water springs are believed to have curative properties, which makes it a favourite destination for the tourists. You can also plan a day or weekend trip to this place as Janki Chatti also has good lodging and eating options.
Yamunotri Fact File
• Area 1 sq km.
• Population 246.
• Altitude 3,235 metres above sea level.
• Languages Garhwali, Hindi, English.
• Best Time to Visit April-June.
• STD Code 0175