The Gangotri Temple is dedicated to the goddess Ganga. It is erected near a sacred stone, called Bhagiratha Shila, which is about 50 feet to the left of the temple. King Bhagiratha is said to have sat here to worship Siva, so Lord Siva would take the Ganges on his head. Soon after arti to the deities in the temple, an arati is performed to the holy Ganges River. The temple is open from May to early November.
Gangotri is one of the Chardhams of the country or one amongst the four pilgrimages which every Hindu must take once in his lifetime. At a height of 3048 mts, Gangotri holds a mystic charm. Anyone who comes up till here can not remain untouched by the holy aura that hangs in the air of the place. Gangotri is of immense importance to Hindus since it is the source of the holiest of the Hindu rivers, river Ganga. 99 kilometres form Uttarkashi, blessed by mother nature, this picturesque pilgrimage is bound to be a lifetime experience for you. This is the place where the sacred water of Ganga touches earth for the first time. From here it begins its long journey of approximately 2500 kms, stretching across the Indian subcontinent, blessing people with its sacred water and fertile minerals in two countries, India and Bangladesh. It finally forms world's largest and most fertile delta, Sunderban delta in Bangladesh.
The Legend The mythological story that goes behind River Ganga is perhaps the most interesting and powerful legend. It says that King Bhagirath carried out severe penance for several centuries to please Goddess Ganga to absolve the sins of his predecessors. Finally Goddess Ganga, daughter of heaven, agreed to his wish and decided to take form of river and flow on earth. But earth could not sustain the immense flow of Ganga and soon it was water everywhere. Lord Shiva then took the flowing Ganga in his hair locks to reduce the impact, henceforth, it flowed down in 12 streams of water. The stream at the source came to be known as Bhagirathi (named after Bhagirath), flowing like this since centuries, absolving the sins of mankind.