Yamunotri is the first and western most stop of the religious pilgrimage of Char Dham yatra. It is located at the foothill of the Kalind Parvat at a height of 3185mts. The source of the Yamuna is a frozen lake of ice on top of Kalind Parvat at a height of 4421mts and is not accessible.
There are many hot water springs at Yamunotri and the most important one is Surya Kund. You can cook rice or potatoes in the hot springs if you tie them in a bag and dip it in the Kund for some time. This food is then taken home as Prasad.
The Pandas of Yamunotri are friendly and helpful. They are also the Pujaris of the temple.
Places of Interest
Located near the holy shrine of Yamunotri, Surya Kund is a natural hot water spring. The temperature of this spring is around 1900 °F. This temperature is quite sufficient to cook food within minutes. The water of this thermal spring is used to make prasad of the main temple.
As per the beliefs, it is important to pay homage at Divya Shila before entering the main shrine. Divya Shila is a strong rock pillar situated near the Surya Kund. It is deemed that this rock pillar is the idol of the deity and devotees need to bow their head down here first.
Sapt Rishi Kund
Another natural marvel counted among the best places for sightseeing in Yamunotri is the Sapt Rishi Kund. This natural lake with greyish blue water and a pebbly bank is the source of the river Yamuna. Adventure lovers are fond of visiting this lake as the trail to the Kund is not everyone’s cup of tea. This beautiful lake is also acknowledged for the presence of the exotic Braham Kamal (a rare flora species). So, basically, the Saptrishi Lake is a splendid spot that provides picturesque vistas of nature.
Popular Tourist Attractions near Yamunotri
Though the Yamunotri Shrine is the main attraction of the place, en-route, there are various other tourist charms that allure both pilgrims and random travellers. Some of the major tourist attractions that fall in the way are as follows:
Situated just 13 kilometres from Yamunotri, Hanuman Chatti is the starting point of both Yamunotri and the Dodital Trek. It is basically the confluence of Ganga and Yamuna River. Further, this region is more famous as a beautiful trekking spot. Right from the splendid hills to the aromatic meadows, everything that defines trekking as a beautiful expedition is found here.
Merely 7 kilometres away from Yamunotri, Janki Chatti is worth a visit. This place is famous for its natural thermal springs. Moreover, surrounded by mountains from all sides, Janki Chatti is also known for cosseting the virgin splendour of nature.
Located very close to Janki Chatti, Kharsali is among the best places for sightseeing around Yamunotri. The thermal springs, dazzling cascades and a lovely meadow with oak and conifer trees, are the major attractions in Kharsali. In addition to this, there is also an ancient temple addressed to Lord Shiva that fetches tourism for the place. It is a three-storied temple that presents interesting and creative wood and stonework.
Situated at an altitude of 1220 meters, Barkot is a wonderful trekking destination. It is just 49 kilometres away from Yamunotri and is known for providing a perfect sight of the Banderpoonch peak along with various other Himalayan ranges. The place is also famous for its serene landscape, which is further complemented by the spouting water of the holy Yamuna River. Moreover, amidst all these picture-perfect beauties is an ancient temple that is much visited by the tourists.
Dodital is a mysterious lake, which as per mythological beliefs is the birthplace of Lord Ganesha. The reason why it is considered a mysterious lake is, its depth is still unknown to people. Furthermore, this wonderful marvel of nature is situated at a height of around 3307 meters above sea level and is beautifully enveloped by the dense woods of deodar, oak and rhododendrons.
In the local language of Uttarkashi, Bugyal means a high altitude meadow. One adjective needs to be added to this definition – a ‘beautiful’ high altitude meadow and this is what Dayara Bugyal is. Located at a height of 3048 meters, Dayara Bugyal is a wonderful 28 kilometre stretched land of lush green carpet. The major highlight of the place is a small natural lake, Barnala Tal.
This was just a glimpse of the places in and around the Yamunotri Dham. If you desire to get the taste of real beauty and legends of all these places, you need to visit them in person.
In summer the temperature ranges from 10 to 18 degrees. But the nights are pleasantly cool. During winters the place is covered with snow.