The temple was built by Gorkha General Amar Singh Thapa. It is said that the temple's origin stems from a historical battle between King Bhagirath and his army and the demon king of Patala. King Bhagirath undertook his grandfather Anshuman's responsibility and pleased Lord Shiva to descend Goddess Ganga on Earth. He also had the privilege of being able to take an ablution in her holy water to absolve himself of all sins. It is believed that without this blessing from Lord Shiva, Goddess Ganga would have brought destruction to Earth in the form of floods if she descended on it without first being pacified.
Gangotri is a small town with a temple that has the Ganga, or holy river. This makes it one of the most important shrines in India, and people come for the Char dham Yatra pilgrimage.
The summer season is the perfect time to visit Gangotri, which is why it's referred to as the Gangotri yatra. April to June are the best time of year to visit the place. The temperature during summer stays at a pleasant 20°C-30°C, allowing you to wander in the beautiful surroundings and do some trekking.
The Gangotri temple has aarti timings of 6:00 AM and 7:45 PM. The darshan timings depend on the time of year. During months such as May to June, people can see the temple for four hours, but from July to October they're limited to just 1 hour. There are no entry fees required when visiting the temple or seeing aarti.
Gangotri has many festivals celebrated throughout the year. The most well-known festivals, Ganga Dussehra, Diwali, and Akshaya Tritiya, are celebrated every year.
In Gangotri Temple, Ganga Dussehra is celebrated on the tenth day of the Hindu calendar or Dashami tithi. According to legend, this day was when Ganga descended back to Earth. The pilgrimage festival is also known as Gangavataran. It lasts for ten days, starting on Amavasya and ending on Shukla Dashami.
Every year on Diwali, the Gangotri Temple is closed until the winter. This means that the idol of Goddess Gangotri is worshipped with other goddesses. Then, they are taken to the nearest village and placed in the Mukhyamanth Temple. The entire city is lit with elaborate displays of lights and candles while residents clean their houses and decorate them with new clothes and sweets.
On the auspicious 3rd day of Akshaya Trita, the Gangotri temple reopens after the winter months, and its idols are brought back to their places in the Gangotri Temple from the village. On this day, a grand procession is conducted.
Special prayers were performed by priests on this day and all six trees were lit with diyas. The celebration takes place during April & May.
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