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Goddess Yami (also known as Yamuna or Yamini) resides on the earth in the form of River Yamuna, which begins its journey at Yamunotri, a holy town located in Uttarkashi district of Garhwal Himalayas. Yamunotri Temple at the foothill of Kalind Parvat (a sacred mountain dedicated to God Surya or Sun, father of Yamuna) is visited as a part of char dham destinations, each located in Uttarakhand State. The place located at a height of about 3,250 m. above sea level flaunts splendid beauty and offers wonderful trekking opportunities apart from temples, thus inviting nature lovers, pilgrims and adventurers in huge numbers.

Yamunotri Temple and History The holy Yamunotri Temple is located on the banks of River Yamuna near to two hot water springs named Surya Kund and Gauri Kund. A black marble idol of Goddess Yami (who is also the twin sister of Yama, the God of death in Hindu mythology) is worshipped inside the temple. A popular tradition is to boil rice and potatoes in the water of hot springs and offer the same as prasada (religious offering) to the Goddess. Devotees first worship Divya Shila (divine rock) near the temple before entering the temple.

The actual river source is Yamunotri Glacier (also called Champasar Glacier) which is accessible only by professional mountaineers. Yamunotri is considered as the place where Sage Asit Muni lived and bathed in the holy river. While the original temple was built by Maharaja Pratap Shah, many sources credit Jaipur's Maharani Guleria for the construction. It has also undergone several renovations after getting damaged by landslides, snow or floods.

Yamunotri Temple, like other three destinations of char dham pilgrimage tour, is open for six months from late April or early May to late October or early November. Heavy snowfall makes the region unapproachable for the remaining six months. Pilgrims have to trek about 13 km. from Hanuman Chatti or 6 km. from Janki Chatti to reach the temple which is not directly accessible by road. Each of these routes offers eye-pleasing natural beauty to the trekkers.

Places in and Around On a 4 dham yatra to Yamunotri, Gangotri, Badrinath and Kedarnath, the pilgrims can seek unlimited opportunities of excursions and sightseeing. Yamunotri has its share of must-visit places in an around the valley, the most popular ones being:
  • River Yamuna: The River has icy cold water and bestows the place with extraordinary natural charm and a relaxing ambience in the lap of beautiful nature. Many devotees prefer to take a holy dip in the river's chilly water. It is believed that the practice introduces high energy in the body and can spare one from facing the trial of hell.
  • Gauri Kund: A natural hot spring near to the temple has lukewarm water which is ideal for those who are unable to gather courage to bathe in River Yamuna's cold water.
  • Surya Kund: Named after God Sun, the natural spring has boiling water which is used by the devotees to prepare prasada of rice and potatoes. The ingredients are tied in a muslin cloth and dipped in the hot water of the spring.
  • Saptarishi Kund: A challenging trek of about 10 km. from Yamunotri takes the tourists to Saptarishi Kund which is blessed with untainted beauty of Mother Nature. The tank has blue waters and is known for rare-to-find Brahma Lotus. Only professional trekkers are advised to take up this route.
  • Janki Chatti: One of the mid-way destinations of the trek towards Yamunotri Temple, Janki Chatti is home to many hot water springs that can revitalize the body and the mind. Cool surroundings and tranquil environment of the place is simply amazing. Lord Shiva Temple and stunning meadows nearby Kharsali are also a notable attraction. Kharsali is a small village with streams and waterfalls surrounding the place.
  • Hanuman Chatti: Situated near the confluence of River Yamuna and River Hanuman Ganga, it is an exceptionally beautiful place with the feel of countryside. Rocky terrains and fascinating meadows dominate the area. Numerous accommodation options are available at this place which is 13 km. from Yamunotri and serves as the base of trekking point to Yamunotri.
  • Barkot: Offering breath-taking views of Bandarpoonch and other Himalayan peaks, Barkot is a small hamlet boasting of treasures of natural splendour. Riverside landscapes at this place succeed to enchant the visitors.
Govind Wildlife Sanctuary, Dodi Tal trek and Har ki Doon trek are among other wonderful attractions for the tourists visiting Yamunotri.

How to Reach Yamunotri?
  • By Air: You can take a flight from Delhi to Dehradun's Jolly Grant Airport and then by road to Hanuman Chatti. Chardham yatra by helicopter is also a comfortable option.
  • By Rail: You can take a train to Rishikesh rail head and then travel by road to Hanuman Chatti.
  • By Road: Road journey from Delhi to Hanuman Chatti is popular covering many destinations on the way.
Private tour operators can arrange for taxis, cabs, buses and tempo traveller for chardham. Air tickets, helicopter tickets, rail tickets and hotels at any destination on the way from Delhi to Yamunotri can also be availed with the help of these service providers.

Attain peace and boost spirituality with a trip to Yamunotri. A better idea would be to plan the complete char dham pilgrimage for a spiritual reawakening.


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