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Gangotri is situated at an altitude of 3,048mts above sea level in the Uttarkashi district of Uttarakhand state. Located on the banks of the holy Bhagirathi River, Gangotri is one of the Char Dham of Uttarakhand.
Gangotri is the highest and the most important temple of Goddess Ganga. Gangotri is a small town centered around the Gangotri Temple of Goddess Ganga. The present temple of Gangotri was built by Amar Singh Thapa, Gorkha General in the early 18th century.
The origin of Bhagirathi River, Gaumukh glacier is 18kms from Gangotri and one must cover the distance on foot. Gangotri offers scenic vistas of rugged terrains, gushing water of Bhagirathi River and snow clad peaks. The place holds great importance amongst Hindus. Gangotri remains opened from May and get closed on the day of Diwali festival. Gangotri temple remains closed during winters as the region is prone to heavy snowfall.
Gaumukh glacier is the source of Bhagirathi River which is also known as Ganga River before the confluence of Devprayag. Gaumukh Glacier is situated 18kms from Gangotri. 'Gau' means Cow and 'Mukh' means face hence the combined meaning of Gaumukh is cow's face. If you carefully observe the glacier it will resemble as a cow's face. Gaumukh is the second largest glacier of India, first one is Siachen.
Gaumukh is 30kms in length and approximately 3 to 4km in width. It is a source of the Bhagirathi River which is one of the most important tributary of the sacred Ganga River. The trek to Gaumukh glacier is easy but it goes through a rocky surface. The trek goes through Bhojbasa offering splendors of nature enroute.
Submerged Shivling: There is a natural rock Shivling in Gangotri submerged under water which can be easily seen when winters are on their way as the water level decreases during that time. According to myths and legends this was the place where Lord Shiva sitting when he received Ganga in his matted locks.
There is a Tourist Bungalow at Bhojbasa, 14kms from Gangotri where lodging and other facilities are available. Gaumukh glacier is situated at an elevation of 3,892mts above sea level. You can encounter several majestic Himalayan peaks like Shivling, Thalay Sagar, Meru, Bhagirathi III etc., while trekking owards Gaumukh.
In recent times, the retreat of the glacier has quickened significantly. Major steps have been taken by the government of Uttarakhand towards this severe problem. Now only 100 persons can trek to Gaumukh each day.