One of the four sacred dhams of Uttarakhand, and revered in Hindu mythology, Yamunotri is the source of the river Yamuna. The Yamunotri shrine stands on the western flank of the Bandarpunch peak (20 731 ft.). The temple is dedicated to Goddess Yamuna. The origin of the rive Yamuna is the Champasar Glacier near Yamunotri. Though it is very difficult to reach the exact source of the holy river, pilgrims flock to the shrine which is open from May to November. Legend has it that a sage, Asit Muni, used to reside at this secluded spot. The hot springs here are also an attraction. From Rishikesh, a 220 km journey takes one to Hanuman Chatti where the motorable road ends. The remaining 13 km to Yamunotri must be covered on foot or on ponies. The trail winds through rugged mountains and dense forests. Porters and palanquins are available on hire.
Rishikesh, at an altitude of 365 metres, is on the right bank of the Ganga. It has an environment of peace and tranquillity interrupted only by the gurgling waters of the Ganga as it spreads out. It is a place of ashram (hermitages) where solace seekers from all over the world come to spend their time in serenity and calm.
Triveni Ghat which is an interesting place to visit at dawn, when people make offerings of milk to the river and feed the surprisingly large fish. The Shivanada Ashram which is an important centre where discourses in English and Hindu religious texts are to be heard. The suspension bridge, Lakshman Jhula which was built in 1929 to replace a rope bridge. This is where Rama’s brother Lakshmana is said to have crossed the river on a jute rope and the old Lakshman Temple is on the west bank.
Situated at 1829 mtrs. this sylvan retreat offers an interesting mix of hill and military cultures. It has forests of oak and pine, and is a fine place to enjoy a panoramic view of the Himalayas, from the Bhagirathi peaks in the west to Nanda Kot in the east. Visit the temple dedicated to Durga.
Pithoragarh, the easternmost district of Kumaon, is bordered by Tibet on the north and Nepal on the east. The town is situated in a small valley. Popularly known as the Soar Valley, it lies at the centre of four hills – Chandak, Dhwaj, Thal Kedar and Kundar. This lesser known part of Kumaon is very picturesque and often referred to as “mini Kashmir”. Pithoragarh was once a stronghold of the Chand Rajas, and the temples and ruined fort bear witness to their rule. The town lay on the old trade route to Tibet and is still enroute the sacred trail to Mount Kailash and Lake Mansarovar
Nainital, one of the beautiful hill stations in Uttaranchal lies on the foothills of the Himalayas. According to local belief the origin of Nainital harks back to mythological times. Sati, Lord Shiva’s consort, committed suicide at the yajna of Dakshan Prajapati. When Lord Shiva roamed the universe carrying her body, her eyes fell off near the lake, where the Naina Devi temple now stands. The waters of the lake are therefore considered sacred.
Mukteshwar is an ideal and comfortable holiday destination, located in Kumaon Hills at a height of almost 8000 ft. Mukteshwar is a spot of pristine beauty and some breathtaking views.
Mukteshwar is perched on an unusually long mountain ridge, parallel with the Himalayan snow line, flanked on both sides by sprawling valleys which offer views of magnificent sunrise over the Himalayan range and glorious sun-set in the valley on the western side.
The word Haridwar means ‘Gateway to the Gods’. It is located at the point where the Ganges emerges from the Himalaya to begin her slow progress across the plains. This makes it a particularly holy place. There are many ashrams (places of retreat) like Sapta Rishi Ashram and the Parmathma Ashram and temples like the Mansa Devi Temple and the Daksha Mahadev Temple. The main ghat, Har Ki Pairi (the feet of Vishnu) is considered sacred. Once in 12 years, the Kumbha Mela occurs in Haridwar. This is at an appointed time, calculated by astrologers and pundits. Millions of hindus from all over the world ,come to Haridwar, to have a dip in the sacred Ganges to absolve themselves of their past misdeeds.
One of the Four Dham of Uttarakhand. It is situated in the magnificent Garhwal Himalayas at an elevation of 3048 meters and is 105 kms from Uttarkashi. The Gangotri shrine is seen as the spiritual source of Hinduism’s most sacred river, the Ganga. According to Hindu mythology, Ganga, the stream of life, was granted as a reward for king Bhagirathi’s severe penance, and the river is worshipped as a deity. The physical source of the river is at Gaumukh, 18 kms southeast of Gangotri, along the Gangotri Glacier.
The shrine of Gangotri is situated at an elevation of 3048 mtrs. It is said that Bhagirath worshiped Lord Shiva at the sacred stone nearby. This temple is credited to have been built by Gorkha General Amar Singh Thapa, Madho Singh, the ruler of Jaipur renovated the temple in the early 20th century. The 20ft high temple is made of white granite.