India has several great rivers, with several significant sources,
but Yamuna and Ganga are rivers that are embedded deeply within
Indian religion and tradition. Not only are they mentioned in the
Indian national anthem, but even some juice stalls call a combination
of orange and sweet lime juice, Ganga-Yamuna! The source of these
two great rivers is surely worth a visit, to uncover some of the
most beautiful and accessible walking in the Himalayas; for the
romance of being there, and for being the first to touch the waters,
before they go down to millions in the plains below.
Yamunotri is the first stopover for the Char Dham yatra and the
westernmost shrine in the Garhwal Himalayas. Worshipped as the source
of the holy Yamuna River, it lies high up in a deep cleft on the
western face of the Banderpunch peak , 3293 m above sea level. Famous
for its thermal springs and glaciers, Yamunotri is very close to
the Indo-Chinese border. Technically the source of the river is
on the Champasar glacier at Saptarishi Kund (12 km further up at
a height of 4421 m), but it is at Yamunotri that pilgrims come to
worship the Goddess Yamuna and bathe in its chilled waters 223 km
from Rishikesh, this mountain shrine is one of the most difficult
The temple at Yamunotri was built by Maharani Gularia of Jaipur
in the 19th century. It was destroyed by a major earthquake in 1923,
and subsequently rebuilt, and the process had to be repeated when
it was once again damaged in 1982. Located at a height of 3030 m,
about 6 km below the glacier, the temple is dedicated to the river
Yamuna, who is represented in the form of a silver idol, bedecked
with garlands. According to legend, Yamuna is the daughter of Surya,
the Sun God, and Sangya, the Goddess of Consciousness. Yamuna is
also the sister of Yama, the God of Death, and therefore anyone
bathing in the waters of the river is spared a painful death.
The hot water pool or Surya Kund adjacent to the temple is used
to prepare the prasad or holy offerings to the Goddess, normally
rice and potatoes, cooked by dipping into the hot water tied in
cloth bags. The temperature here is as high as 87.7 degrees celsius.
Pilgrims make their offerings at the temple itself, since the approach
to the source of Yamunotri is extremely difficult. Divya Shila is
a blessed or heavenly rock pillar that is worshipped by the pilgrims
before they enter the Yamunotri temple.
The main temple is dedicated to Goddess Yamuna. The present temple
was built by Maharani Guleria of Jaipur in the late nineteenth century.
Once destroyed by an earthquake, it has been rebuilt. A holy dip
in the nearby tank filled by hot springs and cooking rice in its
water are common rituals performedby the devotees.
One of the important thermal springs known for its very high temperature
of 190 F. Pilgrims cook rice and potatoes here to offer to the deity
in the temple.
A huge rock pillar venerated before entering the Yamunotri Temple.
29 kms. from Barkot is a scenic spot on the banks of river Yamuna.
Noted for its thermal springs, where tourists can enjoy a refreshing
The confluence of Hanuman Ganga and Yamuna rivers, from where the
trek to Dodi Tal (3,307 mts) starts.
The first stopover for the Char Dham Yatra is the westernmost shrine
of Yamunotri in the Garhwal Himalayas. Dedicated to Goddess Yamuna,
it is perched atop a flank of the Bandar Poonchh peak (3165 mts.
above sea level) and is situated opposite to Gangotri. The shrine
attracts devotees in large numbers from May to October.
Yamunotri is the source of the revered river Yamuna which originates
from the Champasar Glacier lying 1 km ahead of the shrine, at an
altitude of 4421 mts. Pilgrims do not frequently visit the source
of the river as it is not easily accessible.
Jolly Grant, Dehradun, 196 km from Yamunotri.
Nearest railheads are at Rishikesh 213 km, Dehradun 172 km.
The nearest road head is at Hanuman Chatti, 14 km short of the shrine.
Regular buses ply from Rishikesh (210 km from Hanuman Chatti), taking
about 9 hours to reach. Hanuman Chatti is also connected by bus
to Dehradun and Mussoorie. From here, the path to Yamunotri can
be covered either on foot or on hired ponies.
Hanumanchatti, the road head for Yamunotri is connected by bus services
of Samyukt Rotation Yatayat Vyavastha Samiti to Rishikesh, Haridwar
and other major centres in the region.
Important road distances
Rishikesh to Yamunotri 222 km via Narendranagar 16 km, Chamba 46
km, Brahmkhal 15 km, Bar ot m, Sayanac atti 27 km, Hanumanchatti
6 km, Phoolchatti 5 km, Jankichatti 3 km and Yamunotri 6 km.
Summer - Cool during the day and
cold at night.
Winter - Snow bound. Touching sub-zero.
April to July - Light woollens.
Sept. to Nov. - Heavy woollens.
General Information & Accomdation info on Yamunotri city of Uttaranchal - India