No matter how hard you have to work to reach the Yamunotri temple at the foothills of Kalind Mountain, nothing thwarts your faith. Fear of being hit by wooden sticks sticking out of palakis, being squeezed between the rush of pilgrims on one side and the rocky hillside on the other, and a long tiring journey do not deter you. This is Faith.
The beautiful lush green valley on your right, the fragrance of the river, and the view of snow-covered peaks of the Garhwal Himalayas provide plenty of motivation to visit.
One of the Char Dham the Yatra
This shrine is in the west of the country. There is therefore a Char Dham Yatra that starts here, goes to Gangotri, then Kedarnath and concludes at Badrinath. You keep moving eastward in this pilgrimage. Char Dhams are the source of the Ganges and Yamuna, which meet in Allahabad at Sangam.
Both the Shaivite and Vaishnavite streams of Hinduism are dedicated to the two most important deities. There are almost six kilometers between Janaki Chatti and Yamunotri, the only two dhams with river sources. Only Badrinath is accessible via road, whereas Kedarnath can only be reached by hiking 18 km from Gaurikund.
The experience after all Odds
Since the massive flood of 2013, much has changed. Due to their location, all of them had to cope with nature’s fury. The result was a reduction in pilgrimage.
But the four dhams command such respect & reverence that pilgrims have returned to pre-2013 levels for the Char Dham Yatra five years later. 7000 pilgrims a day go to the Yamunotri temple from Janaki Chatti.
The Route with Sweat
Yamunotri is quite a trek. A protective railing runs the length of the paved trail. Despite the altitude, six kilometers is not an easy task. You will often sweat and get breathless if you have never walked at an altitude of over 10000 feet before. Every half mile or so there are shelters. These sheds have sitting areas.
Water is available on the way and there are a number of shops selling food, drinks, and snacks. A stick can even be purchased in order to help walkers. The market at Janaki Chatti sells almost anything a person needs on a daily & regular basis. Ponies are one of the most common ways to cover the distance.
Just like Gangotri, Yamuna’s source is not in Yamunotri. In the same way that the source of the Yamuna river is Saptrishi Kund, a glacial lake in the Bandar Poonch massif further away from Gangotri, so is the actual source of the Yamuna river. There is a lake about 14 to 18km from Yamunotri temple. Very little is known about this place since there are so few expeditions to it. Not difficult, but not easy.
In fact, this is an impressive trek with connections to even Ramayana. A temple was built down in the valley at this site to worship the Yamuna, whose source was so hard to reach. It is said by Kriteshwar Uniyal, the secretary of Yamunotri Temple Committee, that lesser mortals can’t reach the source
The holy place
The temple has three to four parts. From where the river Yamuna emerges in the rocks is the first sprout. Ritually, devotees worship the river there. A cage protects the sprout there.
A proper temple nearby has three idols- one of Yamuna, another of Ganges, and a third of Yamuna too, which is taken out during the festivals. Soorya Kund is the hot spring between these two sites. This spring’s water is so hot that devotees use it to cook rice for prasad.
The sacred shrine of the Asti muni, Yamunotri is one of the holiest places in Hinduism. Yamunotri is well-known for its glaciers and thermal springs and is the source of the majestic Yamuna River. For the young at heart, Yamunotri’s snow-capped peaks and turquoise lakes are unbelievably romantic. A walk along the gushing streams beside its imposing trails is a truly memorable experience. With a purely positive vibe, Yamunotri is a wonderful abode of Goddess Yamuna. Yamunotri becomes a must-visit if you’ve ever wondered what ideal faith looks like.
Places of high significance, such as Yamunotri, evoke a sense of joy, love, reverence, and dedication to our higher purpose. We wish you a wonderful trip!!