Best Places to Visit in Gangotri

Gangotri, located in the Uttarkashi district of Uttarakhand, India, is one of the four Char Dham pilgrimage sites and is renowned for its spiritual significance, natural beauty, and trekking opportunities. The town is famous as the origin of the River Ganges, making it a revered destination for Hindu pilgrims. Beyond its religious appeal, Gangotri offers several sites of natural and historical interest that attract travelers seeking both spiritual solace and adventure. Here are some of the best places to visit in and around Gangotri:

1. Gangotri Temple

  • Location: Gangotri
  • Altitude: 3,100 meters
  • Best Season to Visit: May to October

Gangotri Temple

The Gangotri Temple, dedicated to Goddess Ganga, is the primary attraction in Gangotri. It is one of the highest temples dedicated to the river goddess and forms a crucial part of the Chota Char Dham Yatra. The temple is situated on the banks of the Bhagirathi River amidst the stunning backdrop of the Greater Himalayan Range. Built by the Nepalese General Amar Singh Thapa in the early 18th century, it follows the Nagara style of architecture with five small apexes and a simple yet serene white marble structure. Nearby, a natural rock formation known as Jalmagna Shivlinga is submerged in the river and is visible during winter when the water levels recede. This site is believed to be where Lord Shiva held the Ganges in his matted locks.

2. Gaumukh Glacier

  • Location: Gangotri National Park
  • Altitude: 4,000 meters
  • Distance from Gangotri: 19 kilometers (Trek)
  • Best Season to Visit: May to October

Gaumukh Glacier

Gaumukh, the actual source of the River Ganges, is located at the terminus of the Gangotri Glacier. The glacier is approximately 30 kilometers long and 4 kilometers wide, making it one of the largest in the Himalayas. The trek to Gaumukh is challenging but rewarding, offering trekkers spectacular views of snow-capped peaks, including Shivling, Thalay Sagar, and Meru. Pilgrims and adventure enthusiasts often combine this trek with a visit to Tapovan, an area known for its meadows and clear views of the surrounding mountains.

3. Bhojbasa

  • Location: On the trek route to Gaumukh
  • Altitude: 3,775 meters
  • Distance from Gangotri: 14 kilometers (Trek)
  • Best Season to Visit: May to October


Bhojbasa is a scenic stopover point for trekkers en route to Gaumukh. It is situated on rugged terrains and offers enchanting views of the Bhagirathi peaks. The name Bhojbasa derives from the Bhoj trees that once populated the area. Today, it serves as the last point of accommodation on the way to Gaumukh, with facilities provided by the Lal Baba Ashram and the GMVN Tourist Rest House. The trek from Gangotri to Bhojbasa is moderate, passing through the Chirbasa pine forest, making it a picturesque journey.

4. Surya Kund and Gauri Kund

  • Location: Near Gangotri Temple
  • Distance from Gangotri Temple: 500 meters
  • Best Season to Visit: May to October

Surya Kund, Gangotri

Surya Kund and Gauri Kund are two adjacent waterfalls near the Gangotri Temple. Surya Kund is a revered pilgrimage spot where devotees pay obeisance to the Sun God. The falls are formed by the Bhagirathi River cascading down a steep rock face, creating a mesmerizing sight. Gauri Kund, on the other side of the iron bridge, is equally captivating. The natural beauty and spiritual significance of these sites make them popular among visitors.

5. Bhaironghati

  • Location: Confluence of Jadh Ganga and Bhagirathi Rivers
  • Distance from Gangotri: 10 kilometers
  • Best Season to Visit: May to October

Bhaironghati, Gangotri

Bhaironghati is a small settlement known for the Bhairav Nath Temple, surrounded by lush forests. It is located near the confluence of the Jadh Ganga and Bhagirathi Rivers. The temple is dedicated to Bhairav Nath, a fierce manifestation of Lord Shiva, and is an important site for devotees. The dense forest and the river confluence make Bhaironghati a place of both natural beauty and spiritual importance.

6. Gangnani

  • Location: En route to Gangotri from Uttarkashi
  • Distance from Gangotri: 52.3 kilometers
  • Best Season to Visit: Year-round

Gangnani, Gangotri

Gangnani is a serene hamlet known for its thermal water springs, called Rishikund. Pilgrims often take a holy dip in these natural hot springs before proceeding to Gangotri. The place is ideal for meditation and offers stunning views of the surrounding mountains. Gangnani also has a temple dedicated to the sage Parasara, the father of Veda Vyasa. The tranquil environment makes it a perfect retreat for nature lovers and spiritually inclined visitors.

7. Harsil

  • Location: On the banks of Bhagirathi River
  • Altitude: 2,620 meters
  • Distance from Gangotri: 25 kilometers
  • Best Season to Visit: Year-round


Harsil is a hidden gem in the Himalayas, known for its unspoiled natural beauty. This quaint village is surrounded by dense deodar forests and apple orchards, making it a picturesque spot for nature lovers. Harsil offers various trekking routes and is also a base for exploring nearby attractions like Mukhba, the winter home of Goddess Ganga. The serene environment and scenic beauty make Harsil a perfect destination for those seeking peace and tranquility.

8. Dharali

  • Location: Near Harsil
  • Altitude: 648 meters
  • Distance from Harsil: 6 kilometers
  • Best Season to Visit: May to October

Dharali Village

Dharali is a charming village known for its apple orchards and Rajma cultivation. Located near the Bhagirathi River, the village is surrounded by pine and deodar forests, offering a surreal landscape. Dharali is easily accessible and is close to Mukhba village, making it a convenient stop for pilgrims and tourists alike. The peaceful ambiance and natural beauty make it a great place to relax and unwind.

9. Tapovan

  • Location: Near Gaumukh
  • Altitude: 4,463 meters
  • Distance from Gangotri: 23 kilometers (Trek)
  • Best Season to Visit: May to October


Tapovan is a high-altitude meadow located beyond Gaumukh. It is a popular trekking destination, offering panoramic views of the Shivling Peak and other surrounding mountains. Tapovan is known for its vast meadows, which are used as a base camp for expeditions to Shivling and other peaks. The trek to Tapovan is challenging but provides trekkers with a rewarding experience of pristine natural beauty and serene landscapes.

10. Kedar Tal

  • Location: Near Gangotri
  • Altitude: 4,750 meters
  • Distance from Gangotri: 18 kilometers (Trek)
  • Best Season to Visit: May to October

Kedar Tal

Kedar Tal is a glacial lake situated at a high altitude, offering stunning views of the Thalay Sagar peak and other surrounding mountains. The trek to Kedar Tal is strenuous, passing through rugged terrains and steep ascents. However, the breathtaking scenery and the pristine lake make it a rewarding experience for trekkers. The lake is named after Lord Shiva (Kedar) and is considered sacred by devotees.

11. Jalmagna Shivling

  • Location: Near Gangotri Temple
  • Best Season to Visit: May to October

The Jalmagna Shivling is a natural rock formation submerged in the Bhagirathi River near the Gangotri Temple. It is believed to be the site where Lord Shiva held the Ganges in his matted locks. The Shivling is visible during the winter months when the water level decreases. This sacred site holds great significance for devotees and adds to the spiritual ambiance of Gangotri.

12. Mukhba Village

  • Location: Near Harsil
  • Best Season to Visit: Year-round

Mukhba Village

Mukhba is a small village near Harsil that serves as the winter home for the idol of Goddess Ganga when the Gangotri Temple is closed during the winter months. The village is situated in a picturesque valley and offers stunning views of the surrounding mountains. Mukhba provides a unique cultural experience, allowing visitors to witness the local customs and traditions of the people living in this remote Himalayan village.

13. Dayara Bugyal

  • Location: Near Gangotri
  • Altitude: 3,408 meters
  • Distance from Gangotri: 32 kilometers (Trek)
  • Best Season to Visit: May to October

Dayara Bugyal

Dayara Bugyal is an alpine meadow located near Gangotri. It is one of the most beautiful high-altitude meadows in India, offering panoramic views of the Himalayas. The trek to Dayara Bugyal is moderate, passing through dense forests and lush green meadows. The area is ideal for camping, photography, and nature walks. During winter, Dayara Bugyal transforms into a popular skiing destination.

14. Gangotri National Park

  • Location: Around Gangotri
  • Altitude: 1,800 to 7,083 meters
  • Best Season to Visit: May to October

Gangotri National Park

Gangotri National Park is a vast protected area encompassing diverse landscapes, from lush green valleys to high-altitude glaciers. The park is home to a variety of flora and fauna, including rare and endangered species like the snow leopard, Himalayan tahr, and musk deer. The park offers numerous trekking routes, allowing visitors to explore its rich biodiversity and stunning landscapes. Permits are required to enter the park, which can be obtained from the Forest Department.

15. Nelong Valley

  • Location: Near Gangotri
  • Best Season to Visit: May to October

Nelong Valley

Nelong Valley, situated near the Indo-China border, offers a unique blend of arid landscapes and lush green valleys. It is often compared to the landscapes of Ladakh due to its barren terrain and high-altitude desert-like environment. The valley was opened to tourists in recent years and requires special permits for entry. Nelong Valley offers stunning views of snow-capped peaks and is home to diverse wildlife, including blue sheep and snow leopards.

How to Reach Gangotri

  • By Road: Gangotri is well connected by road to major towns in Uttarakhand. Buses and shared jeeps operate regularly from Dehradun, Haridwar, Rishikesh, and Uttarkashi. The road journey offers scenic views of the Himalayan landscape and the Bhagirathi River.
  • By Train: The nearest railway station is in Rishikesh, about 234 kilometers from Gangotri. From Rishikesh, travelers can hire taxis or take buses to reach Gangotri.
  • By Air: The nearest airport is Jolly Grant Airport in Dehradun, approximately 250 kilometers from Gangotri. From the airport, taxis and buses are available to reach Gangotri.

Travel Tips

  • Best Time to Visit: The ideal time to visit Gangotri is from May to October when the weather is pleasant and the routes are accessible. The temple remains closed during the winter months due to heavy snowfall.
  • Permits: Trekking to certain areas like Gaumukh and Gangotri National Park requires permits, which can be obtained from the Forest Department.
  • Accommodation: Accommodation options are limited in remote areas, so it is advisable to book in advance. Gangotri has a range of guesthouses, lodges, and ashrams for pilgrims and tourists.
  • Health and Safety: Acclimatize to the altitude before undertaking strenuous treks. Carry warm clothing, as temperatures can drop significantly, especially at night. Stay hydrated and take necessary precautions against altitude sickness.
  • Respect Local Customs: Gangotri is a sacred pilgrimage site, so visitors are expected to dress modestly and respect local customs and traditions.


Gangotri, with its blend of spiritual significance and natural beauty, offers a unique and enriching travel experience. From the sacred Gangotri Temple to the challenging treks to Gaumukh and Tapovan, the region provides a perfect mix of pilgrimage and adventure. The serene environment, majestic landscapes, and rich cultural heritage make Gangotri a must-visit destination for both spiritual seekers and nature enthusiasts. Whether you are looking to embark on a spiritual journey, explore the pristine Himalayan wilderness, or simply unwind amidst nature, Gangotri has something for everyone.