Char Dham : Yamunotri
Yamunotri, the source of Yamuna River and the seat of the Goddess Yamuna, the Yamunotri Dham is the holy journey at the height of 3293 meters at Uttarkashi district in Uttarakhand. The temple devoted to Goddess Yamuna and the holy thermal spring at Janki Chatti at 7 kms away are the major attractions of Yamunotri tour. The actual source of River Yamuna is at a fewer distance from the temple at an altitude of about 4,421 meters (14,505 ft). Besides, two hot springs can also be seen at Yamunotri Dham out of Surya Kund, has boiling water properties where the Gauri Kund has lukewarm water suitable for bathing.
The shrine at the Yamunotri temple made of black marble is being constructed by Maharaja Pratap Shah of Tehri Garhwal. The temple opens on Akshaya Tritiya in the month of May and closes on Yama Dwitiya (the next day of Diwali in November).
The Yamunotri Tour can be experienced completely during the months of May to October and catching the glimpse of the holy shrine is really mind soothing and pacifying.
History of the Yamunotri Dham
According to the legend ancient, sage Asit Muni had his hermitage here. All his life, he bathed daily both in the Ganges and the Yamuna. Unable to go to Gangotri during his old age, a stream of the Ganges appeared opposite Yamunotri for him.
The daughter of the Sun god, Surya and consciousness, Sangya the birthplace of the Yamuna is the Champasar Glacier (4,421 m) just below the Banderpoonch Mountain. The mountain adjacent to the river source is dedicated to her father, and is called Kalind Parvat, Kalind being another name of Surya.
Tourist Attractions in Yamunotri
Out of various religious places surroundings of the Yamunotri Dham, a few to name are stated as follows:
Located near the holy shrine of Yamunotri, Surya Kund is a natural hot water spring. The temperature of this spring is around 1900°F. This temperature is quite sufficient to cook food within minutes. The water of this thermal spring is used to make prasad of the main temple.
As per the beliefs, it is important to pay homage at Divya Shila before entering the main shrine. Divya Shila is a strong rock pillar situated near the Surya Kund. It is deemed that this rock pillar is the idol of the deity and devotees need to bow their head down here first.
Sapt Rishi Kund
Another natural marvel counted among the best places for sightseeing in Yamunotri is the Sapt Rishi Kund. This natural lake with grayish blue water and pebbly bank is the source of River Yamuna. Adventure lovers are fond of visiting this lake as the trail to the Kund is not everyone’s cup of tea. This beautiful lake is also acknowledged for the presence of the exotic Braham Kamal (a rare flora species). So, basically, the Saptrishi Lake is a splendid spot that provides picturesque vistas of the nature.
Tourist Attractions near Yamunotri
Hanuman Chatti : Situated just 13 kilometers from Yamunotri, the Hanuman Chatti is the starting point of both Yamunotri and Dodital Trek. It is basically the confluence of Ganga and Yamuna River. Further, this region is more famous as a beautiful trekking spot. Right from the splendid hills to the aromatic meadows, everything that defines trekking as a beautiful expedition, is found here.
Janki Chatti :Merely 7 kilometers away from Yamunotri, Janki Chatti is worth a visit. This place is famous for its natural thermal springs. Moreover, surrounded by mountains from all sides, Janki Chatti is also known for cosseting the virgin splendor of nature.
Kharsali :Located very close to Janki Chatti, Kharsali is among the best places for sightseeing around Yamunotri. The thermal springs, dazzling cascades and a lovely meadow with oak and conifer trees, are the major attractions in Kharsali. In addition to this, there is also an ancient temple addressed to Lord Shiva that fetches tourism for the place. It is a three-storied temple that presents interesting and creative wood and stone work.
Barkot : Situated at an altitude of 1220 meters, Barkot is a wonderful trekking destination. It is just 49 kilometers away from Yamunotri and is known for providing a perfect sight of the Banderpoonch peak along with various other Himalayan ranges. The place is also famous for its serene landscape, which is further complemented by the spouting water of the holy Yamuna River. Moreover, amidst all these picture-perfect beauties is an ancient temple that is much visited by the tourists.
Dodital : The Dodital is a mysterious lake, which as per the mythological beliefs is the birthplace of Lord Ganesha. The reason why it is considered a mysterious lake is, its depth is still unknown to people. Furthermore, this wonderful marvel of the nature is situated at a height of around 3307 meters above the sea level and is beautifully enveloped by the dense woods of deodar, oak and rhododendrons.
Dayara Bugyal : In the local language of Uttarkashi, Bugyal means a high altitude meadow. One adjective needs to be added to this definition – a ‘beautiful’ high altitude meadow and this is what Dayara Bugyal is. Located at a height of 3048 meters, the Dayara Bugyal is a wonderful 28 kilometer stretched land of lush green carpet. The major highlight of the place is a small natural lake, Barnala Tal.
How to Reach Yamunotri
By Air: The nearest airport to Yamunotri is the Jolly Grant Airport. It is located just 210 kilometers from the Dham. The airport is well connected to Delhi & Mumbai and thus, the visitors can easily avail flights from the capital and metro city. After reaching the Jolly Grant Airport, one can avail a taxi to reach Hanuman Chatti.
By Rail: There are two railway stations close to Yamunotri – Rishikesh and Dehradun. The Rishikesh railway station is 200 kilometers before Yamunotri on NH58 and the Dehradun station is 175 kilometers from the Dham. Both the stations are properly connected through the railway networks of India. Hence, boarding a train to Rishikesh or Dehradun is convenient for a traveler. Once reached the Rishikesh station, visitors can take a bus or taxi to reachfurther destinations.
By Road: Yamunotri is not directly connected with the motorable roads, even the trek begins from Hanuman Chatti. However, Hanuman Chatti is well connected with the major destinations of Uttarakhand by roads. Buses from Rishikesh are easily available to reach Hanuman Chatti.