The simple shrine of Gangotri temple has special significance for Hindu pilgrims. It's considered to be one of the holiest places in India as it's regarded as the spiritual source of the ever powerful Ganges River. Set amidst rugged mountains and forest, Gangotri attracts almost 300,000 pilgrims a year. Every evening towards 8 p.m., an aarti
(worship with fire) is held at the temple.
When Exactly is Gangotri Temple Open?
Gangotri temple opens on a set day every year. This falls on Akshaya Tritiya
(an auspicious day in the Hindu calendar), in the last week of April or first week of May. The occasion features a traditional procession of the Goddess Ganga back from her winter home at Mukhyamath temple in Mukhba village, 20 kilometers downstream. The temple closes on Diwali
every year, and the Goddess returned to Mukhyamath temple.
How Can Gangotri Temple be Reached?
Gangotri is most popularly reached from Rishikesh
(12 hours away) via Uttarkashi (six hours away). It's possible to take a bus or jeep to get there. Guesthouses and a GMVN Tourist Bungalow
provide accommodations for those who want to stay.
Trekking to the Actual Source of the Ganges River
If you don't mind a strenuous trek, you can actually go to where the Ganges River emerges from a glacier above Gangotri. The actual source is an ice cave called Gaumukh (meaning Cow's Mouth), 18 kilometers up. Three days are required to complete the return trek, with around six hours of trekking a day. You can stay in a dormitory at a GMVN Tourist Bungalow
along the way at Bhojbasa. It's situated around six hours from Gangotri and three hours from Gaumukh.