Gangotri is located at a height of 3048 meter and at a distance of 98 KM from Uttarkashi. This shrine of goddess Ganga is one of the four pilgrim place ( char Dham ) of Hindu religion. It is 228 KM from Yamunotri temple, another pilgrim place of Char Dham Yatra. Uttarakashi is the gateway to Gangtri and there is no other way to reach Gangotri by road. Here road ends and trekking rout to Gomukh starts. Goumukh is the glacier from which river Ganga starts. The temple of Gangotri remains open from May 1st week and closes at 3rd week of October. The exact date changes every year as they are based on the Hindu calendar. It opens on Akshaya tritya day which falls around Ist week of May or before that. The temple closes on Diwali festival day which falls during last week of October. After closing of the temple goddess Ganga is taken to a place located at a lower height than the Gongotri as these areas get heavy snow fall during winter.
A causal visit of the temple will take one hour. After Darshan you can take the holly water of river Ganga ( known as Bhagirathi here ), light weight cans are sold here to carry water from Gangotri.
At Gangotri hotels are there & there is a small market selling various puja items and other materials. You can stay at Gogotri as there are hotels available. If you are planning to trek upto Gomukh then better to stay at night at Gangotri and start early morning from Gangotri. Take your woolen dress while going to Gangotri from Uttarakashi even for one day trip to Gongotri temple.
By Road to Gangotri
This road from Uttarkashi to Gangotri passes through many hills and very dangerous road and the driver has to be in alert throughout. Usually it takes 5 hours from Uttarakshi to reach Gangotri with some break for tea and food. There are restaurants available on the way to Gangotri. Most of the time while traveling towards Gangotri, river Bhagirathi will be at your right. There are many villages and one of the small town is Bhatwari.
You need to start early from Uttarkashi if you are planning to return in same day without any night stay at Gangotri. Make every thing ready on previous day including fuel. Diesel stations opens only after 6.30 AM. By starting early you can get the advantage of spending more time on the beautiful hill & valleys and return before evening to Uttarkashi. After 8 PM driving is not allowed in hill roads.
On the way there are many apple gardens and during the closing seasons of October you can see locals selling apples by the side of the road. Fresh apples available here has some good test with lot of juice & sweetness.
There are some view points on the way to enjoy the journey. Snow peak mountains can be seen while approaching Gangotri.
There are some bridges joining two hills and rivers flowing at a very low level from the bridges. These breath taking views are not to be missed.
Idea and BSNL mobile phone signals are available on the way to Gangotri. Near the Gangotri temple there is a BSNL tower.
Gangotri to Gomukh
From here you can start your 18 KM trek to Gomukh. River Ganga comes out of Gomukh glacier which is at a height of 4225 meter and this is the starting point of the Ganga river. This part of river Ganga is also known as Bhagirathi. The rivers Bhagirathi joins river Alakananda at Rudra Prayag and became Ganga.