Gangotri is known as the place of origin of the Ganges river, known as Ganga in India. The holiest of the Indian rivers, Ganges is the source of sustenance of life in the great Indian plains and it is at Gangotri that the fabulous journey of Ganga begins. Indian mythology tells the story of the descent of Ganges. King Bhagirath prayed to Lord Shiva and was granted his wish that Goddess Ganga comes down on earth to bring to life his dead ancestors. The river was said to have been contained by Lord Shiva’s locks, to save the earth from devastation. Gomukh near the Gangotri glacier resembles a cow’s head and strangely, the river gushes down at tremendous speed through this natural formation, without which it would’ve been difficult to contain and would have caused devastation.
Due to its obvious important to Hinduism, Gangotri is one of the most famous pilgrimage spots in India. It is a highlight of tourism in Uttarakhand.
Tourist Spots in Gangotri:
The Gangotri glacier is the origin of the Bhagirathi River. The glacier is 30 kilometers long and between 2 to 4 kilometers wide .It is located in the Uttarkashi district in the northern Indian state of Uttarakhand, near the China border. It is an important pilgrimage site for Hindu devotees as well as trekkers and thousands come here to take a dip in the waters near the glacier. Due to global warming, the glacier has been observed to be receding, raising fears about the fate of river Ganga. The journey though strenuous is rewarding in ways more than one.
This is considered to be the precise source of the Bhagirathi River, the main channel which forms Ganga along with some other rivers. The place resembles a cow’s mouth and offers spectacular natural beauty along with spiritual vibes.
This temple is said to have been built by a Gurkha commander Amar Singh Thapa in the 18th century. The temple is a beautiful white marble structure about 20 feet high. During winter, the statue is transferred to the nearby Mukhimath village and is kept there for six months. A sacred stone near the temple is believed to be the exact spot where the river had descended form the heavens.
This submerged Shivaling, (phallic form of Lord Shiva) is visible only during winter when the water levels are low. This is believed to be the exact spot where Lord Shiva had contained the river in his locks.
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