|The Sacred Origin
Of the Yamuna
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 mts. 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 which originates from
the Champassar Glacier lying 1 km ahead of the shrine, at an altitude of
4421 mts. 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 kms. journey by road takes one to Hanumanchatti. From
here, the remaining 13 kms. trek is covered on foot or on ponies. Palanquins
and Porters are also available on hire.
- Yamunotri Temple
The main temple is dedicated to Goddess Yamuna. The present temple
was built by Maharani Guleria of Jaipur 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.
- Surya Kund
One of the important thermal springs known for its very high
temperature of 190°F. Pilgrims cook rice and potatoes here to
offer to the deity in the temple.
- Divya Shila
huge rock pillar venerated before entering the Yamunotri Temple.
The confluence of Hanuman Ganga and Yamuna rivers forms the
starting point for the scenic Dodi TaL Trek.
A scenic spot along the banks of river Yamuna that makes a lovely
sight enroute the trek upto Yamunotri.
A sylvan spot on way to Tehri that offers an excellent view of the
Himalayan peaks. Situated at an altitude of 1,676 mts., Chamba is an
ideal summer retreat.
Jolly Grant, 196 kms. from Yamunotri via Dehradun
Rishikesh, 213 kms. & Dehradun, 172 kms.
Dharasu, 107 kms. Tehri, 149 kms. Rishikesh, 213 kms.&
Dehradun, 172 kms