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16 AUG

YAMUNOTRI DHAM

INTRODUCTION

Uttarakhand is also known as “Dev Bhoomi” or the “Land of Gods” with numerous pilgrim sites for Hindus and also one for the Sikhs – the Hemkund Sahib, located in the Valley of Flowers.  It is believed that the Pandavas spent considerable time here during their agyatvas and one can trace many temples depicting various incidents. The Garhwal Himalaya region of the state also houses the four most pious pilgrim destinations popularly called as CHARDHAM which any Hindu yearns to undertake during his life time. They are dedicated to four different gods making it very unique in every way and are generally done in a clockwise route starting with Yamunotri (Goddess Yamuna), Gangotri (Goddress Ganga), Kedarnath  (Lord Shiva) and Badrinah (Lord Vishnu).

THE LEGEND

As per the legend, Sage Asti Muni had his hermitage here and throughout his life he bathed daily in the waters of both Ganga and Yamuna. Gradually, unable to go to Gangotri during his old age, a stream of Ganga appeared opposite Yamunotri for him. It is also said that Yamuna being the daughter of Lord Surya and sister of Lord Yama helps one to attain moksha or salvation if one takes a dip in the river and consumes the holy prasad of rice, lentils and vegetables cooked in the thermal springs of the Surya Kund .

HOW TO REACH

Situated at an elevation of over 10000 feet and perched on the Bander Poonch Peak, Yamunotri Temple can be reached after a tiring trek of 14 kms from Hanumanchatti. But the popular means is start from Barkot town located at 160 kms from Dehradun and then drive directly to Janki Chatti via Syana Chatti, Hanuman Chatti and Phool Chatti before embarking on an arduous 5 kms trek to reach the temple. Those who seek comfort can avail the services of Pony and Palakis which are reasonably priced.

EXCURSIONS

Saptarishi Kund - The actual source of the Yamuna river is a frozen glacier called as Champasar glacier, at an altitude of 4421 m. From this region, a Kund or Lake appears which is known as the Sapta Rishi Kund. The 10 km trek to this place is considered as one of the most difficult ones in the Himalayas due to the terrain and the wind and generally it takes about 2 – 3 days. Here, one can see the sacred flower, ‘Brahma Kamal’ which blooms once a year during July – Aug. t is believed that the white stamen of the flower represents Lord Krishna and the reddish stalks are believed to the 100 Kauravas. It is also believed that Lord Shiva replaced the head of Lord Ganesha with an elephant head using Brahma Kamal.

 

Surya Kund - This hot water spring is dedicated to the Sun God, believed to be the father of Yamuna. It also consists of a hot water spring at a temperature of 1900 F. Devotees often fasten rice and potatoes in a cotton cloth, and dip it in the water to be cooked. This cooked food is then offered to the temple.

 

Divya Shila – This rock pillar is worshipped first before entering the Yamontri temple.

 

HanumanChatti – located about 14 kms short of Yamunotri, this temple is dedicated to Lord Hanuman and this is the very place where Lord Hanuman helped Bhim to crush his ego when he failed to identify him and tried to lift his tail to make his way ahead. This is a small temple with very picturesque location.

 

 

FESTIVALS RELATED TO YAMUNOTRI

Basant Panchami – literally meaning the festival of Yellow, this occasion generally falls in January / February is celebrated to welcome spring season. The day is marked by various cultural programs and special Poojas organized for the deity and people wear traditional yellow colored dresses on this day.

 

Phool Dei – This festival is celebrated on the first day of March and is celebrated mainly by young girls and children. They offer bag or plate filled with rice, flowers, jaggery and coconut to neighbours. In turn, they are also blessed with money, rice, sweets and jaggery. A special savory named Sei is offered to Goddess Yamuna on this day.

 

Olgia – Also known as Ghee Sankaranti, this festival is celebrated in the month of August to commemorate the harvesting season and agricultural yield. The day is marked by special adornment of ghee in people’s foreheads and eating of Dal Chappatis with ghee.

 

Kharsali located very close to Jankichatti, Kharsali becomes the home to goddess Yamuna  in the winters when Yamunotri becomes inaccessible. This also houses a one of the oldest Shani temple which is highly revered by the locals


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