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 (3.165 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 4,321 mts. Pilgrims do not frequently visit the source of the river as it is not easily accessible.
Yamunotri finds a special mention in the Hindu mythology. According to a legend, this secluded hilly spot was the home of an ancient sage, Asit Muni. Among the major attractions of Yamunotri are hot water springs nearby. Devotees prepare rice and potatoes to offer at the shrine, by dipping them in these hot water springs, tied in muslin cloth. The trek to Yamunotri is spectacular, dominated by a panorama of rugged peaks and dense forest.
The Garhwal Himalayas have been blessed with some of the holiest Hindu pilgrimage sites and Yamunotri is one such. One of the Char Dhams according to Hindu mythology, Yamunotri is the origin of the sacred river Yamuna. Famous for its thermal springs and glaciers, it is one of the most important stopovers on the itinerary of the Hindu pilgrim. According to an old legend, Asit Muni, the revered sage, used to reside here.
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 performed by the devotees.
How to Get There
Jolly Grant, 196 Kms. From Yamunotri via Dehradun
Rishikesh, 219 kms. & Dehradun, 172 kms.
Dharasu, 107 Kms. Tehri, 107 Kms. Rishikesh, 213 Kms. & Dehradun, 172 Kms.
From Rishikesh, a 205 kms. Journey by road takes one to Hanumanchatti. From here, the remaining 14 kms. Trek is covered on foot or on ponies. Palanquins, Horses and porters are also available on hire
Pass Kempty falls 75 kms. On the Mussoorie - Yammnotri road lies Lakhamandal. Legend has is that the Kaurvas made a shelter house and conspired to bum the Pandavas alive here.
One of the important thermal springs known for its very high temperature of 190 f. Pilgrims cook rice and potatoes here to offer to deity in the temple.
A huge rock pillar venerated before entering the Yamunotri Temple.
Jankichatti (6 Kms).
The theral springs here offer a spectacular sight and a refreshing bath for the pilgrims.
Hanumanchatti (14 Kms.)
The confluence of Hanuman Ganga and Yamuna river forms the starting point for the scenic Dodi Tal trek. (Rishikesh - Barkot - Hanumanchatti - Yamunotri - hanumanchatti - Darvatop - Dodital - Agora - Uttarkashi - Rishikesh). Porters. Ponies and Palanquines are available for the journey to Yamunotri. Their rates are fixed by District Magistrate before the start of every Yatra season.
Sayanachatti (18 Kms.)
A scenic spot along the bank of river yamuna that makes a lovely sight enrouted the trek up to Yamunotri.
Chamba (158 Kms)
A sylvan spot on way to Tehri that offers an excellent view of the Himalayan peaks. Situated at an altitude of 1,676 mts. Above sea level, Chamba is an ideal summer retreat.