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Dehradun, Uttarakhand, India

Devbhoomi is just not known for the origin of one holy river i.e Ganga but has an origin of one more sacred river i.e The “Yamuna”.Yamunotri is a revered site known as the originating point of river Yamuna. Being situated in the westernmost region of this state, it is considered as a commencing point for the Char Dham Yatra Pilgrimage. Amidst the narrow gorge, a temple dedicated to Goddess Yamuna is situated in The Uttarkashi district of Uttarakhand.

Yamuna river is considered a divine holy goddess in Hindu Mythology. She is believed to be responsible for the nurturing of the entire civilization.

Yamunotri Temple
Yamunotri Temple

MYTHOLOGICAL LEGEND BEHIND  YAMUNA

The Yamuna is depicted in Puranic literature as the twin sister of Yama, the deity of death, and the daughter of the sun god Surya. Vaivasvata Manu, the first man, and the celestial physician Ashvin twins are among her other brothers. Suryatanaya, Suryaja, and Ravinandini are names given to her since she is Surya’s daughter.

Yamuna’s name comes from a story that goes by Sanjna closed her eyes in Surya’s presence because she couldn’t stand her spouse, the sun’s heat, and brightness.  Surya felt insulted and said that their son will be known as Yama, due to the restraint she showed. Thereafter, Sanjna tried her best to keep her eyes open, however, she flickered them angering Surya again who proclaimed that her daughter would be the Yamuna. Since Sanjna had tried to keep her eyes open, Yamuna was blessed that she would be worshipped as a goddess and remembered throughout time.

MYTHOLOGICAL LEGEND BEHIND YAMUNOTRI TEMPLE

There was formerly Asit Rishi’s Hermit. He used to go down to the Yamuna’s source on a regular basis. It was difficult for him to reach the Yamuna’s source when he reached his old age.

The Yamuna shifted its course and began flowing near Asit Rishi’s ashram, impressed by Asit Rishi’s trust. The sage was so pleased by Yamuna’s elegance that he erected a temple and began worshipping her. Yamunotri, the principal pilgrimage of Goddess Yamuna, was named after that sacred location.

STATES BY WHICH RIVER YAMUNA PASSES

Before merging with the Ganges at Triveni Sangam in Prayagraj, it passes through Uttarakhand, Haryana, Uttar Pradesh, Himachal Pradesh, and later Delhi.

INSIDE THE YAMUNOTRI TEMPLE

 The main temple comprises the idols of Goddess Ganga and Yamuna made in white and black marble respectively.

 The temple premises consist of several spots of religious significance. One is the spring, from where the Yamuna emerges. This major spot is flocked with devotees who worship at this point. Adjacent to the temple, you can find a hot water spring, known as Surya kund, which is often used by the devotees to cook rice tied in muslin cloth, for prasad. Nearby you can find a Divya Shila, which is worshipped before the prayer offering of the deity. There are separate areas to take a dip in the holy Yamuna. It is believed that taking a dip in this river can protect you from untimely death.

Yamunotri Trek Scenic View
Yamunotri Trek Scenic View

WHO BUILT THE PRESENT YAMUNOTRI TEMPLE

According to historical evidence, Maharaja Sudarsan Shah (1815-1859) erected the first temple of Yamunotri in 1850, which was made of wood at the time. He was the one who erected the Goddess Yamuna’s idol at this temple. Previously, just a few idols were erected on the altar at this pilgrimage site. Maharaja Pratapshah (1871-1896) then erected a new temple using stones in the following years.

But, this temple was demolished twice in the 19th century, and Maharani Guleria of Jaipur reconstructed it in the current day.

OPENING AND CLOSING DATE OF YAMUNOTRI

This temple resonates with a strong aura that captivates devotees to visit here again and again. Being covered with a thick layer of snowfall in winter, the temple closes during Diwali. Just like the idol of Goddess Ganga, the idol of Goddess Yamuna is taken over to Kharsali Village during winter. On the day of Akshay Tritya, the idol is bought back to its original place I.e. Yamunotri.

YAMUNOTRI TREK

Yamunotri is perched at an elevation of  3235m. The magnificent view of snow-capped peaks, the glaciers, and the streams passing by, adds to the serene beauty of this region. But to witness all this, a need to do a short trek of about 5 km. The trail starts from Janki Chatti and ends at Yamunotri. This trek can be an exhaustive one due to the steep path and the rising elevation. But be assured, all this will be worth it. There are proper arrangements for sitting at regular intervals during this trek. Also, there are sheds along this path. You can also munch in during this trek. You can also buy a stick or opt for pony or palkis to make this journey more feasible. The cost of these is estimated based on the distance traveled. Dandi will cost Rs 1900, Kandi Rs 840, and Poni Rs 640 to go from Jankichatti to Yamunotri.

Janki Chatti Near Yamunotri
Janki Chatti

IMPORTANT INFORMATION BEFORE YOU START YOUR TREK TO YAMUNOTRI

  1. Before embarking on the Yamunotri Yatra, be sure to register at one of the booking desks located across Uttarkhand, including Haridwar, Rishikesh, and Dehradun. You can also register online by visiting https://badrinath-kedarnath.gov.in/online-services/yatra-e-pass/
  2. Darshan is available from 6:30 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. at the Yamunotri temple, so plan your visit appropriately. And start early in the morning to avoid the heat during the daytime.
  3. Visiting Yamunotri during the rainy season is not recommended. The ideal months to visit Yamunotri are May, June, September, and October. So, do not travel during the monsoon season.
  4. Because the Yamunotri Dham is located at a high altitude in the Himalayas, strong winter clothing is recommended throughout the winter months. Summers are nice.
  5. Although the trip to Yamunotri is not tough, the path does have some steep sections, so keep an eye on your step, especially if the Yamunotri Trekking Trail is coated in snow.

AARTI TIMING 

Morning Aarti- 6:30 AM

Evening Aarti- 7:30 PM

DISTANCE OF YAMNOTRI FROM OTHER CHAR DHAM

  1. GANGOTRI TO YAMNOTRI DISTANCE- 227km
  2. BADRINATH TO YAMNOTRI DISTANCE- 103 km
  3. KEDARNATH TO YAMNOTRI DISTANCE- 65.7 km

THE ACTUAL ORIGIN OF THE RIVER YAMUNA

Yamunotri Temple
Yamunotri Temple

Just like Gangotri, where the actual origin of the holy Ganga takes place at Gaumukh,  the actual origin of the Yamuna takes place at SaptrishiKund which is a small glacial lake fed by Champasar Glacier in the Bandar Poonch massif. This peak also has a mythological legend associated with its name. As per a legend, Lord Hanuman doused the fire of his tail after burning Ravan’s Lanka in the chilly waters of Yamuna at Banderpooch. That is why the peak is called Bander (monkey) Pooch (tail). The Saptarishukund is said to be somewhere between 14 to 18 km far from the Yamunotri temple at an altitude of over 16,500 ft. The treks to this place are less known to the people. But this trek is associated with the Ramayana era. It is believed that Lord Hanumana came to this very place in search of Sanjeevni to cure lord Lakshmana. As everybody couldn’t reach the actual source, the temple dedicated to the deity was built down the valley.

As the Yamuna is considered to be the daughter of Surya, a mountain adjacent to the river source is called Kalind Parvat ( Kalind- another name for sun deity-Surya).

WEATHER OF YAMNOTRI

Winter in Yamunotri lasts from October to March. As temperatures drop below 0 degrees, the area also sees snowfall throughout this season. Winters are cold, with temperatures ranging from -7 to 5 degrees Celsius. The summer season begins in April and concludes in July. The temperature fluctuates from 6 to 20 degrees Celsius during this time of year.

BEST TIME TO VISIT YAMNOTRI

Being situated in the hilly region, it is prone to Landslides. So, it’s advisable to avoid the visit during monsoon season. Summer and the beginning of the winter season are apt times to visit this holy shrine.

STAY AT YAMUNOTRI

You will never run out of options for staying at Yamunotri. You can find reasonable hotels, Dharmshalas, or even GMVN guesthouses. All of these are well equipped with basic necessities and pocket-friendly as well.

Yamunotri Cottage
Yamunotri Cottage

FOOD AT YAMUNOTRI

You can easily find restaurants or roadside stalls, serving freshly cooked veg food in this region.

PLACES TO VISIT NEAR YAMUNOTRI

1. Janki Chatti

2. Phool Chatti

3. Barkot

4. Saptarishi Kund

5. Hanuman Chatti

HOW TO REACH YAMUNOTRI

By Air: Dehradun’s Jolly Grant Airport is the closest, at a distance of 210km. Then, you can book a cab to Hanuman Chatti. Then trekking along a 6km path will lead you to Yamunotri.

By Train: There is only train service up to Rishikesh. After that, you must use either private cabs or buses that go along the route. From Haridwar or Rishikesh, shared jeeps or similar vehicles are also available. 

By Road: The best way to go to Yamunotri is to travel through Dehardun and Barkot. If you’re traveling from Haridwar to Rishikesh, the route to Yamunotri diverges at the Dharasu bifurcation point. Haridwar, Dehradun, Chamba, Tehri, Barkot, Hanuman Chatti, and Janki Chatti are all close by. Then you can begin your trek.

WHAT IS YAMUNOTRI FAMOUS FOR?

It is famous as starting point of the Char Dham Pilgrimage. It is also famous for Trekking and its scenic beauty.

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