The Gangotri temple is one of the Chardhams of our country. This holy shrine is the popular pilgrimage of Hindus. Gangotri is considered as the original source of holiest river Ganges and it has immense importance in Hindu religion. The Gangotri temple is dedicated to the River Goddess Ganga who is considered as the symbol of purity. It is located at 99 kilometers from Uttarkashi, district of Uttrakhand. People who go there cannot be untouched by the mystic charm of Gangotri. Being a picturesque pilgrimage, it brings a lifetime unforgettable experience to the pilgrims. Sacred water of Ganges first time touched the earth here only. Holy aura of Gangotri temple is remarkable and brings peace and calmness to the mind. This holy shrine is open for pilgrims from May to early November. Thousands of pilgrims visit this holy temple every year. The Gangotri temple which is a three-century-old temple was constructed by Gorkha General Amar Singh Thapa. IN the early twentieth century, the complex of the main temple was renovated. This sacred temple was built near a stone which is called, ‘Bhagiratha Shila’ (shale-rock). Every day in this holy temple, aarti is performed to the deities and after that, an aarti is performed to the holy Ganges river.
The great mythological story behind this sacred temple is really very interesting. It is believed that King Bhagirath did severe penance for many centuries to please the River Goddess Ganga. He wanted his predecessors to be free from sins by the grace of Goddess Ganga. One day, Goddess Ganga who is considered as the daughter of heaven finally agreed to the wish of King Bhagirath. Goddess Ganga decided to flow on earth in the form of a river. The flow of the Ganges was too much and the earth was disabled to sustain the heavy flow of this holy river. So, the earth filled with water very soon. Then, Lord Shiva decided to take the flow of the Ganges in his hair locks to reduce the immense flow. After that, the flow of River Ganges divided in 12 streams of water. The mainstream source is known as Bhagirathi. The Ganges is well-known to release the mankind from their sins. A submerged Shivling is also there in the water. It is believed that at the place of Shivling, Lord Shiva stood to take the Ganges in his hair locks.
The Gangotri temple is located at the banks of river Bhagirathi. People take water (Ganga-Jal) from this holy river to get the blessings of the river Goddess Ganga. This holy shrine is surrounded by picturesque sceneries which are enough to attract the pilgrims. The devotional aura is spread all over in the temple which brings spiritual feeling to the devotees. One must visit this holy shrine to get the heartiest blessings of Goddess Ganga.