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The revered shrine of Gangotri is situated at an altitude of 3,200 mts.
above sea-level amidst a narrow glacial valley covered by a Pine and Cider forest! The visit to the shrine of Gangotri is one of the most important things to do, for the devout Hindu. So important is this sacred river that it is a religious duty to touch the lips of a dying Hindu with the water from this river (called Ganga Jal – or water from the Ganga)
Visited by hundreds of thousands pilgrims every year, the 18th century Gangotri temple constructed by Gorkha General Amar Singh Thapa , is located near the spot where the goddess Ganga is said to have first descended on earth from heaven, as an answer to the prayers of King Bhagriath! Lord Shiva received Ganga into his matted locks to break the great force of her fall, and gently uncurled a tassel of his hair thereby freeing her! From there the Ganga emerged into many streams and the one which started from Gangotri was called Bhagirathi.
The Pandavas, it is said, came here to perform the great 'Deva Yajna' to atone for the death of their kinsmen in the epic battle of Mahabharat. The temple is situated on the bank of the Bhagirathi and there are a number of Ashrams on the far side of the river, many of which provide accommodation facilities to the traveller.Months for visiting Gangotri temple- Gangotri temple opens on a fixed day each year, on the auspicious day of Akshaya Tritiya, that falls in the last week of April or first week of May, as per Hindu calendar.
On this day, the idol of the Goddess Ganga is brought here from Mukhyamath temple in Mukhba village, which is her home in winters, in a procession. This village is 20 km away from Gangotri and lies on a downward slope. The temple is closed on Diwali and the Goddess is taken back to Mukhyamath temple. The temple is closed due to heavy snowfall.