Activities in Gangotri
Trekking: Perched at an elevation of 3,000 meters, Gangotri shrine is nestled amidst the imposing lush green hills as the river Ganges flows beside the shrine. There are many places in the vicinity where one could trek and enjoy the mesmerizing Himalayan views.
Pilgrimage: Gangotri shrine is one of the four revered Char Dham in Uttarakhand and is dedicated to Goddess Ganga. Every year, thousand of devotees visit Gangotri temple to seek blessings from the Goddess Ganga for a happy and fulfilling life.
Shopping: Since Gangotri is a revered place, there are many shops which sell religious idols of deities and other devotional items. One can buy local handicrafts such as shawls, woolens, religious paintings and Tibetan artifacts at Gangotri.
Staying in Gangotri
Being a revered pilgrimage for Hindus, Gangotri has various types of accommodations – ranging from luxury hotels to budget guesthouses to dharmashalas. In addition to that, they also have camping accommodations for tourists and pilgrims. The government has also set up GMVN guesthouses. During the peak season, Gangotri is flocked with pilgrims and finding a place to stay is difficult.
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History of Gangotri
The sacred Gangotri town is built around the holy Gangotri shrine, having it as the epicentre. The aboriginal Gangotri temple was built in the early 18th century by the mighty Gorkha General, Amar Singh Thapa and was later re-built by the Maharaja of Jaipur.
Mythology of Gangotri
There are two mythological tales associated with Gangotri, the first one state that King Sagar, the great grandfather of King Bhagirath wanted to extend his empire, for which he performed the 'Ashwamedha Yagya'. When he was busy in performing the yagya, his horse was let loose to roam freely across the empire. When the soldiers were unable to locate the horse, the 60,000 sons of King Sagar were asked to find it. While searching for the horse, the sons of King Sagar came across a place where sage Kapila was meditating and noticed that the horse was tied next to him. They interrupted sage Kapila's meditation and accused him of stealing the horse.
Sage Kapila who was pot boiled turned all the 60,000 sons of King Sagar into ashes, cursing them to attain heaven only when the ashes will come in contact with the holy water of river Ganga, (which used to flow only in the heaven). Therefore, King Bhagirath did a serious penance to please river Ganga so that his ancestors could achieve ‘moksha’ or salvation. The penance lasted for more than 1,000 years and King Bhagirath was able to appease the holy river Ganga, to come down to Earth from the heavens above.
While the other legend states that responding to the King Bhagirath’s prayers, Ganga agreed to come down to Earth, also warning that her rapid downpour will annihilate the Earth. Therefore, Lord Shiva held the soaring river Ganga in his luscious locks to save the entire mankind. It is believed that the site where Jalmagna Shivlinga lies is the place where Lord Shiva received the Goddess Ganga in his locks. When river Ganga started flowing on Earth, the Gangotri temple was erected to shelter her.