Gangotri Temple

Gangotri Temple Opening and Closing Dates 2019, Darshan Timings, Travel Guide

Gangotri Temple is a Hindu temple dedicated to Goddess Ganga. The temple is situated in the Uttarkashi district of the state of Uttarakhand. It is located at an altitude of 3,100 meters in the Greater Himalayan Range on the banks of Bhagirathi river. Gangotri is the source of the Ganga river. It is the second stop of the Char Dham Yatra.

Here are the opening and closing dates of Gangotri Temple for 2019:

Gangotri Temple Opening Date in 2019: 07 May, 2019

Gangotri Temple Closing Date in 2019: 27 October, 2019 (Tentative)

Gangotri Temple
Temple Timings6:15 am to 2:00 pm, 3:00 pm to 9:30 pm
Aarti Timings6:00 am and 7:45 pm
Opening Date7-May-2019 (Akshaya Tritiya)
Closing Date27-October-2019 (Diwali)
Time Taken for DarshanMay and June: 4 hours. July-October: 1 hour
Entry FeeFree
Best Time to VisitMay to October
RegistrationBio-metric registration in Rishikesh
Nearest AirportDehradun

The temple opens on the day of Akshaya Tritiya which usually occurs in May. It closes after the celebration of Diwali. After that, the temple staff return to their villages. A white sheet of snow covers the valley for the next 6 months. During this time, the idol of the goddess is kept at Mukhba village.

Gangotri glacier also called Gaumukh is the actual source of the Ganga river. It is a 19 km trek from Gangotri. The road to the glacier is extremely difficult for people to reach. Hence the shrine has been located at the foot of the hill.

Gaumukh is the Actual Source of Ganga River
Gaumukh is the Actual Source of Ganga River

Frequently Asked Questions about Gangotri Temple

What is the best time to visit Gangotri?

It is best to go in the opening months of May to June and in the closing months of September to November. Avoid going during the monsoon months of July to September.  There are chances of landslides and floods in monsoon.

Is Gangotri open now?

The kapat of Gangotri temple opens on 7th May for the year 2019. One can visit after that any time.

Can I visit Gangotri in December?

At Gangotri, winter starts from October and lasts till April. The average temperature falls down to 5°C during day time. In December, Gangotri experiences heavy snowfall. It is advisable not to go during December.

How can I go to Gangotri Temple?

If you are coming from abroad, Delhi is most connected. By rail, Haridwar is best. From there you have to travel by Road to reach Uttarkashi and then Gangotri.

Can I go to Gangotri by car?

You can hire a taxi from the railway station to reach Gangotri. There are buses available too from nearest bus stations. However, it is not recommended to go by car. Find out why?

How far is Gangotri from Rishikesh and Haridwar?

The distance between Gangotri and Rishikesh is 270 km. The distance between Gangotri and Haridwar is 293 km.

Does Gangotri have snow?

From November to April, it is winter in Gangotri. Snowfall happens very often during winters. The average temperature is 5°C.

How old is Gangotri?

Gorkha General Amar Singh Thapa originally built the temple in the 18th century. Also, Bhagiratha meditated for years. He called Ganga to clean the sins of his ancestors.

Which God is in Gangotri?

Gangotri temple is dedicated to Goddess Ganga. As per Hindu mythology, Ganga is the daughter of Lord Brahma.

Is registration compulsory for going to Gangotri?

Yes, the Uttarakhand government have made the registration compulsory after the 2013 floods. One cannot skip the registration. Steps for online registration

Gangotri Temple Decorated At The Opening Ceremony
Gangotri Temple Decorated At The Opening Ceremony

What are the timings of Gangotri Temple?

Here are the timings of Gangotri Temple:

Gangotri Temple Timings
Timings6:15 am to 2:00 pm (Morning)
3:00 pm to 9:30 pm (Evening)
Opening Date7-May-2019 (Akshaya Tritiya)
Closing Date27-October-2019 (Diwali)
Time Taken for Darshan3-4 hours in May-June, 1 hour in July-October
Aartis6:00 am (Morning Aarti)
7:45 pm (Evening Aarti)

What are the pooja and aarti at Gangotri Temple?

Various pujas are performed in Gangotri temple for goddess Ganga. Mangala Aarti is performed in the morning while Shayana Aarti is performed in the evening daily. Pujas are performed by Semwal family of pujaris who are the administrator of the place. These pujaris come from Mukhba village.

Mangala Aarti & Sandhya Aarti at Gangotri
Mangala Aarti & Sandhya Aarti at Gangotri

The poojas and aartis of Gangotri temple are:

  • Gangotri Mangala Aarti – The morning Mangala Aarti takes place at 6 AM behind closed doors. The temple does not allow public viewing of this aarti.
  • Sandhya Aarti – The evening Aarti takes place at 7:45 PM in summers and at 7 PM in winters.
  • Ganga Devi Pooja – This pooja takes place at both the Ghat of Ganga as well as main shrine together. The Pooja has a special significance if it takes place on Ganga Saptami. The priests performing the pooja chant several Ganga Mantras and Stotrams.

What is the history of Gangotri Temple?

Gorkha General Amar Singh Thapa originally built the temple in the 18th century. As per Hindu mythology, Ganga is the daughter of Lord Brahma. One day, Brahma was washing the feet of Vamana (incarnation of Lord Vishnu). At that time, she was born from Vishnu’s kamandala (a spout shaped vessel).

According to a legend, King Sagara killed so many demons on the earth. To show his victory, he performed an Ashwamegh Yagya. A lot of horses hence taken on an uninterrupted journey around the earth. They were accompanied by the king’s 60,000 sons. However, Lord Indra got the fear of losing his throne.

Indra then took away the horses to fail the Yagya. He tied them in the ashram of Sage Kapila who was in deep meditation. King Sagara’s sons searched and found the horses near the meditating sage. 60,000 angry sons of King Sagara disturbed sage Kapila during his meditation. As a result, sage Kapila cursed them and they all perished.

Later, the king sent his grandson Anshuman to sage Kapila for forgiveness. Kapila said that only the water of heavenly Ganga can wash away their sins. Anshuman and his son Dileep tried but could not please Brahma.

Later, Bhagiratha, the grandson of King Sagara, meditated for years. He called Ganga to clean the sins of his ancestors and to liberate their souls. Hence, Goddess Ganga took the form of a river.

Ganga Arriving on Earth after Bhagiratha's Meditation
Ganga Arriving on Earth after Bhagiratha’s Meditation

What is the significance of Gangotri Temple?

A rock shaped Shiva-Linga form naturally in Gangotri every year with the beginning of the winters. At this place, Shiva allowed Ganga to flow through his locks. At the time of Ganga’s arrival onto Earth, Lord Shiva agreed to bear its force. He absorbed it into the locks of his hair which slowed the flow.

The locks of the hair also split it into seven streams. These are Bhagirathi, Alaknanda, Janhvi, Saraswati, Bhilangana, Rishiganga, and Mandakini. The river is called Bhagirathi at the source. After reaching Devprayag, it acquires the name Ganga. Later, it meets with Alaknanda river.

The water of river Ganga collected at Gangotri is believed to be an Amrit (nectar). It is considered as a holy drink. People carry this water to their home. They use this holy water in several poojas at home.

On the day of Ganga Dussehra, one should take a holy dip in the Ganga river. It cleanses the human soul of all the sins. People also dip the ashes of a dead person in Ganga river. It releases the soul from the cycles of death and rebirth.

What is inside the temple?

In architectural terms, Gangotri temple is very simple and naturally plain. It does not have any detailed carvings. Sculptures are also not present anywhere. The temple is constructed with white marble stones symbolizing peace. The steps leading to Sabha Mandap meets the main sanctum. A small Shiva temple is also present inside the main temple.

What to wear while going Gangotri?

Gangotri temple is situated in the cold valleys. The weather is cold throughout the year. Rainfalls and snowfalls often occur there. Hence, one should wear proper winter clothes with mufflers and gloves. An umbrella is also must to carry.

What are the festivals celebrated at Gangotri Temple?

Leafy Boats Floating On Ganga Dussehra
Leafy Boats Floating On Ganga Dussehra

Some of the festivals celebrated at Gangotri temple are:

  • Ganga Dussehra – This festival signifies the day when Goddess Ganga descended on Earth. Thousands of pilgrims across the country take a holy dip in the Ganga river. A beautiful Ganga Aarti also takes place in the evening. Devotees offer various flowers and sweets to Ganga river. The offering is made in leafy boats which floats on the river.
  • Diwali – After the celebration of Diwali, the temple closes. Devotees take the idol of Ganga to the Mukhyamath Temple in a small village of Mukhwa. This temple is the winter home of Goddess Ganga. On this day, people of Mukhwa clean the whole village as preparation for Goddess’s arrival.
  • Akshaya Tritiya – On this day, devotees bring the idol of Ganga back from her winter home of Mukhwa. They clean and decorate the whole temple with flowers. The idol of Goddess Ganga is then placed in the main sanctum. The ceremony takes place along withsongs and dances performed by the devotees.

How to reach Gangotri Temple?

  • Air: Jolly Grant Airport in Dehradun is the nearest airport.
  • Train: Nearest railway stations are Rishikesh and Haridwar.
  • Road: Gangotri is connected by road with major cities in Uttarakhand and Delhi NCR. Buses are also available from Haridwar, Rishikesh, Dehradun, Roorkee, Tehri and Hanuman Chatti. Pilgrims generally make Uttarkashi as their base camp. The time taken from Uttarkashi to Gangotri temple is about 4 hours by road.

Where to stay near Gangotri Temple?

Some of the places where one can stay near Gangotri temple are:

  • Bhagirathi Sadan:  There are a total of 15 rooms in this hotel. Each room has bottled drinking water, a spacious bed, and basic furniture. The hotel offers facilities of front desk assistance as well as room service. Guests can also make use of luggage storage space.
  • Hotel Mandakini: It has 16 spacious rooms. The hotel has facilities like cable television and bottled drinking water. It also has attached bathroom with the facility of hot/cold running water. Other facilities include luggage storage space, 24-hour power back-up, and parking space.
  • Hotel Kalp Kedar:  The hotel has an in-house restaurant where one can enjoy delicious meals. There are 10 rooms spread across 1 floor. The rooms are clean with 24 hour supply of hot and cold water. It has room service and front desk help. Parking area for cars is available within the premises.

What are some temples near Gangotri Temple?

Cheedvasa & Bhojvasa - Camping Sites Near Gangotri
Cheedvasa & Bhojvasa – Camping Sites Near Gangotri

Some of the temples near Gangotri temple are:

  • Kashi Vishwanath Temple, Uttarkashi: It is one of the most sacred temples in Uttarakhand. This temple is dedicated to Lord Shiva. It is present on the banks of river Bhagirathi. It is also one of the Char Dham Yatra destinations. The Shiva lingam here is 56cm in height and tilted towards south.
  • Shakti Temple – It is present in Uttarkashi opposite to Kashi Vishwanath Temple. A massive Trishul is present in the center of the temple. The Trishul is 6 meters high and 90 cms wide. The lower half of Trishul is of copper and the upper half is of iron. According to legends, Goddess Durga aimed this Trishul to killed the devils.
  • Gaumukh – Gaumukh is the actual source of the Ganga river. It is a 19 km trek from Gangotri. The road to the glacier is extremely difficult for people to reach.
  • Pandava Gufa – It is a 1.5 km trek from Gangotri temple. It is the place where the Pandavas are believed to have meditated. They took rest here while going to Kailash.
  • Cheedvasa & Bhojvasa – These are ideal camping sites near Gangotri. Cheedvasa is at a distance of 28 km and Bhojvasa is at a distance of 22 km from Gangotri.
  • Nandanvan – Nandanvan is a 6 km trekking route along the glacier. It gives a spectacular glimpse of the Shivalinga.
  • Sylvan Tapovan – It is across the Gangotri glacier. It is known for its greenery encircling the base of the Shivalinga.

1 thought on “Gangotri Temple Opening and Closing Dates 2019, Darshan Timings, Travel Guide”

  1. Prakash Jaikishin

    Comprehensive information

    A must read, & a must know information before starting or deciding the journey

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