- Uttarakhand's Encyclopedia /
Location : Uttarakhand
Altitude : 3165 mts
Climate : Summer-Cool during the dayy and cold at night.
Winter – Snow bound. Touching sub-zero.
Clothing : April to July – Light woollens
Language : Hindi, Garhwali & English
Yamunotri, the source of the Yamuna River and the seat of the Goddess Yamuna, is one of the four sites in India’s Chota Char Dham pilgrimage. The actual source of Yamuna River lies in the Yamunotri Glacier at a height 6,387 mtrs., near Banderpooch peaks in the Mussoorie range of Lower Himalayas, in the Uttarkashi district, Uttarakhand
The Yamunotri temple is located in Uttarkashi district, Uttarakhand, India, a full day’s journey from Uttarakhand’s main towns — Rishikesh, Haridwar or Dehradun. The actual temple is only accessible by a thirteen kilometre trek from the town of Hanuman Chatti and a six kilometer walk from Janki Chatti; horses or palanquins are available for rent. The hike from Hanuman Chatti to Yamunotri is very picturesque with beautiful views of a number of waterfalls. There are two trekking routes from Hanuman Chatti to Yamunotri, the one along the right bank proceeds via the Markendeya Tirtha, where the sage Markandeya wrote the Markandeya Purana , the other route which lies on the left bank of the river goes via Kharsali, from where Yamunotri is a five or six hours climb away. The original temple was built by Maharani Gularia of Jaipur in the 19th century. The current temple is of recent origin as past iterations have been destroyed by the weather and elements. Lodging at the temple itself is limited to a few small ashrams and guest-houses.
Ritual duties such as the making and distribution of prasad (sanctified offerings) and the supervision of pujas (ritual venerations) are performed by the Uniyal family of pujaris (priests). Unique aspects of ritual practice at the site include hot springs where raw rice is cooked and made into prasad. It is located at an altitude of 3,235 metres approximately. A little ahead is the actual source of the river Yamuna which is at an altitude of about 4,421 metres approximately. Two hot springs are also present at Yamunotri offering relief to tired hikers, at a height of 3292 metres, Surya Kund, has boiling hot water, while Gauri Kund, had tepid water suitable for bathing
There seems to be a confusion about who built the temple of Yamunotri, however the temple was originally constructed by Maharaj Pratap Shah of Tehri Garhwal.
The sacred shrine of Yamunotri, source of the river Yamuna, is the westernmost shrine in the Garhwal Himalayas, perched atop a flank of Bandar Poonch Parvat. The chief attraction at Yamunotri is the temple devoted to goddess Yamuna and the holy thermal springs at Jankichatti (7 km. Away).
The actual source a frozen lake of ice & glacier (Champasar glacier) located on the Kalind mountain at the height of 4421 m above sea level, about 1 km further up, is not frequented generally as it is not accessible and hence the shrine has been located on the foot of the hill. The approach is extremely difficult and pilgrims therefore offer pooja at the temple itself. The temple of Yamuna is on the left bank of Yamuna constructed by Maharaja Pratap Shah of Tehri Garhwal. The deity is made of black marble. The Yamuna like Ganga has been elavated to the status of divine mother for the Hindus and has been held responsible for nurturing and developing the Indian civilization.
Close to the temple are hot water springs gushing out from the mountain cavities. Suryakund is the most important Kund. Near the Suryakund there is a shila called Divya Shila, which is worshipped before puja is offered to the deity. Devotees prepare rice and potatoes to offer at the shrine by dipping them in these hot water springs, tied in muslin cloth. Rice so cooked is taken back home as prasadam.The pujaris of Yamunotri come from the village of Kharsali near Jankichatti. They are the administrators of the sacred place and perform religious rites well versed in Shastras.
Yamunotri Temple Guide
The temple open on Akshay Tritiya (May) and closes on Yama Dwitiya (the second day after Diwali, November). Yamunotri Temple is open for devotees from 6am to 8pm Aarti timings of Yamunotri temple is from 6:30 pm and 7:30 pm. The special pooja is organized in Yamunotri on the eves of Janmashtami and Diwali.
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.
Prime Pilgrimage Attractions
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.
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.
Chamba TempleA 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