Yamunotri Temple, located in Uttarkashi is a major Hindu temple. Yamuna River is popular for its thermal springs, icy peaks, and glaciers, and is one of the most beautiful and second-most scared rivers after Ganga. As per Hindu mythology, Goddess Yamuna (Yamunotri) is the sister of Lord Yamraj (Lord of Death), daughter of Surya (Sun) and one of Ashta-bharya (eight consorts) of Lord Krishna. It is believed that taking a dip in the holy river, Yamuna leads to a painless death. Yamunotri is one of the Himalaya Chaar Dhaams namely – Badrinath, Kedarnath, Gangotri, and Yamunotri. Yamuna is one the famed trio sister rivers – Ganga, Yamuna and Sarasvati.
|Location||Uttarkashi, Uttarakhand, India.|
|Creator||Maharani Gularia of Jaipur|
|Altitude||Height 3,291 metres (10,797 feet)|
It is situated in the western region of Garhwal Himalayas on the side of ‘Bandarpoonch’ (Tail of Monkey) Parbat and near the foot of Kalind Parbat. The temple is located at an altitude of height 3,291 metres (10,797 feet) above sea level. Here Goddess Yamuna is worshipped in the form of irregular black marble. There is another white marble beside her, who is said to be Goddess Ganga.
The journey of Char Dhaams starts with the Yamunotri, then proceeding to Gangotri, Kedarnath and ending at Badrinath. The main temple is covered with the natural beauty of glaciers and springs. The temple has two types of springs: One is the thermal spring where the offering “Prasadam” is prepared for Goddess Yamuna which is known as ‘Surya Kund’ and the other is lukewarm water where people take bath is known as ‘Gouri Kund’.
History and architecture of Goddess Yamuna:
The ancient temple was constructed by the king of Tehri, Naresh Sudarshan Shah in 1839 but after a massive earthquake, the major portion of the temple was damaged twice and then it was reconstructed by Maharani of Jaipur, Gularia Devi, in the 19th century AD. It was built by using surrounding mountain slides and granite stones, in the Indian Nagar style of architecture. The Temple of Goddess Yamunotri is conical in shape with an eye-catchy yellow roof and a red boundary at the top of the temple. The small-sized porch is joined to the main entrance of the temple which makes the temple more beautiful. Goddess Yamuna is placed inside the ‘garbha-gruha’ (core chamber). There are some mandaps, which are used as assembly halls for the devotees to perform prayers, darshan of the Goddess and for other rituals in the temple.
Legends associated with the temple:
In ancient time, Sage Asit Muni used to live here in an ‘ashram’. He used to take bath daily both in Ganga and Yamuna. With time as he was growing old, and was not able to move; a stream of Ganga appeared for him opposite Yamunotri.
How to reach Yamunotri Temple?
Route to Yamunotri temple
Rishikesh – Narendra Nagar – Chamba – Tehri – Dharasu – Bhramkhal – Barkot – Hanuman Chatti – Janki Chatti – Yamunotri
By Air: The nearest airport is Jolly Grant Airport (Dehradun) at a distance of 210 km from Yamunotri. It is well connected with major cities like Delhi, Mumbai, Lucknow, Ahmedabad, Hyderabad, Kolkata, etc. Helicopter services are also available from Dehradun to Yamunotri.
By Bus: Yamunotri is not connected with roads, but Hanuman Chatti is well connected to the major destination of Uttarakhand like Rishikesh, Dehradun, Uttarkashi, Barkot, etc. A person can travel to Janki Chatti which is 5-6 km away from the Yamunotri temple. After that, you can take a horse and palanquins to reach up to the temple.
By Train: The railway stations close to Yamunotri are Dehradun (175 km) and Rishikesh (200 km). Both these stations are well connected by rail network with major cities of India. After that, you can take buses or private taxis or jeep from any major destination to Hanuman Chatti.
The main festival celebrated at Yamunotri temple:
Basant Panchami: This festival is celebrated in January, which comes with the spring season and shows the ending of the snowy winter months. On this special occasion, devotees wear a yellow dress and perform pooja of “Goddess Sarasvati”.
Phool Dei: This is the harvest festival of Uttarakhand, which is celebrated in the spring season. The major purpose of the celebration is to admire the Goddess for the good crop year. It shows a beautiful connection among the people of hill areas.
Olgia: The Olgia festival of Yamunotri is also known as Ghee Sankranti, which is celebrated in August, people decorate their head with ghee and consume Urad-dal and Chapattis with ghee. The main purpose to celebrate this festival is for good agriculture production.
Best time to visit Yamunotri:
Goddess Yamuna is situated at the height of the Himalayas so the climatic condition often changed, to witness the pure spirituality, of the Chaar Dhaam yatra is considered from April to June. Try to avoid the monsoons months of July to September this can leads to heavy landslides or earthquakes which might be a bad experience.
Pooja Vidhi performed at the temple:
The temple opens in April or May around the festival of Aakha Teej, which is an annual spring festival for Hindus and Jains, which signify “The third day of unending prosperity”. Before the start of the winters, the doors are closed on Yama Dwitiya (Bhai Dooj) in October or November every year.
Temple opens early morning at 6:00 AM and closes at 8:00 PM. The day starts with the Mangal Aarti which conducts during the morning and the day ends with Shyam Aarti.
Significance of Yamunotri Temple:
- The journey of the Chaar Dhaam starts with the Yamunotri temple.
- All Hindu devotees believe that visiting Char Dhams and praying at the feet of Yamunotri, taking the dip into the holy river and taste the “Prasadam” would dissolve all their sins and lead to a peaceful and painless death.
- Yamunotri has many eye-catchy and beautiful locations around, like Janki Chatti (7 km away), Saptarishi Kund (10 km away), Hanuman Chatti (13 km away), etc.
- It is famous for trekking, thermal springs, and glaciers and is holding more than 7 places to see.
- The Famous Dodi Tal track joins Gangotri to Yamunotri and starts with Kalyani from Uttarkashi and ends at Hanuman Chatti. It is about 60 km long and usually takes four days to complete.
- Prasad (offering) of Yamuna is considered unique which is prepared in the hot spring of Surya Kund, which is very pure and sacred. And This Prasad is first offered to Goddess first then distributed to devotees.
- The opening and closing dates of the temple are decided as per the dates of Akshaya Trityya and Yam Dwitiya respectively. Sometimes it depends on the weather conditions too.
- Two hot springs are present at Yamunotri, one which has a hot spring known as
Surya Kund and the other as Gauri Kund has lukewarm water for bathing.
- The entry is free of cost in temples but as per the government of Uttarakhand, a
biometric registration is needed; you can register yourself online or offline mode.
Q. 1: Who is the Yamuna?
Ans: As per Hindu mythology, Yamuna (the holy river) is believed to be the daughter of daughter of Surya Dev (Sun god), sister of Yamraj (the god of death), and one of Ashta-bharya (eight consorts) of Lord Krishna.
Q.2: Is the Yamunotri temple open throughout the year?
Ans: No, due to winters and heavy snowfall, the doors of the temples are closed for six month, somewhere around Diwali. The doors open Every year, the main doors of the Char Dham are open to a devotee from April and May to July and September, temples remain shut for six months due to the heavy snowfall. Reopen dates are always declared by the temple committee as per the weather condition.
Q. 3: How is the prasad (Goddess offering) prepared at Yamunotri?
Ans: There is a hot spring in Yamunotri, called Surya Kund, where the water temperature is about 880C. For prasad, potatoes or rice are mixed with salt and dipped in the hot water. In a few minutes, it gets cooked and is then offered to the Goddess Yamuna and after that served to devotees.
Q. 4: Is registration needed to visit Yamunotri?
Ans: Yes, a biometric is needed to visit major pilgrimages in Uttarakhand like Badrinath, Kedarnath, Gangotri, Yamunotri temples or Hemkund Sahib. The government is providing both online and offline options for registration.
Q. 5: What is the belief associated with the river Yamuna?
Ans: The belief is that if a person takes a dip in the holy Yamuna, then he gets a painless death.