Situated on the western of the Garhwal Himalaya ranges of Uttarkashi district and situated at an elevation of 3,293 metres above sea level, Yamunotri dham is amongst one of the most highly revered dhams in India and possibly in the world. As the name suggests, this dham gets its name from its location on the banks of the holy river Yamuna as well as the presiding deity which is of Goddess Yamuna. People on a char dham yatra pilgrimage start their journey to all the dhams from Yamunotri first and then head on to their other destinations. Surrounded by unmatchable serene natural beauty and perched atop a flank of the Bandarpoonch Parvat, this temple is considered to one of the most ancient and pious shrines of India. Surrounding the temple is a number of interesting places to visit and explore for a curious traveler. One of the prime attractions here is a natural hot water spring that is used by the pilgrims to cook rice and potatoes that is later on served as Prasadam to the devotees. The temple is known for its scenic beauty, unparalleled spiritual vibes and breathtaking avenues which you can explore.
As per the popular belief which is based on an ancient legend is that, Yamunotri had once served as a hermitage for one of the most highly revered Hindu philosopher, Sage Asit Muni. He is known for taking bath in both the holy rivers of Ganga and Yamuna on a daily basis. However as his old age approached he was unable to visit Gangotri, as a ways of showing respect to the aging sage, a stream of ganga had appeared right opposite Yamunotri just for him.
The temple marks the presence of this great saint as well as a ways of honoring another one of the most sacred rivers of India. the currently standing temple is a recent construction since the temples built in the past were destroyed due to several reasons like unpredictable weather changes including landslides and avalanches.
Origin of River Yamuna:
The holy river of Yamuna finds its origin in the magnificent glacier of Yamunotri which is situated at an elevation of 6,315 metres above sea level, and is perched right next to a steep slope underneath the iconic Kalind peak. Yamuna gushes and forms the Saptarishi kund from where it carries onwards towards the southern end while simultaneously forming a series of cascading waterfall. Kalind parbat is situated on the Bandarpoonch Parvat and is known for being the dominant peak in the central Himalayan region of Garhwal which divides the watershed of river Yamuna from that of River Ganga. Yamuna is also popularly known as Kalindi while it emerges from the Kalindi Parbat.
According to legend, it is a popular belief that Lord Hanuman, after burning down the evil king ravana’s island country of Lanka, Lord Hanuman paid a visit to the Bandarpoonch Parvat where he then doused his tail in the freezing cold waters of the holy river of Yamuna with an aim of putting out the fire. This legend explains why the peak is named so since Bandar means monkey and pooch means tail in Hindi.
The original date of the temple’s construction is still unknown however; the currently standing temple is believed to have been built during the 19th century by utilizing the Nagar style of architecture. This construction was undertaken by the queen of Jaipur as a renovation project after a major part of the temple was destroyed due to some changes in the weather. Granite stones were used in the construction of this temple which was later on topped by a minaret that is conical in shape. The temple stands out among its lush greenery with its vibrant colors of bright yellow and red. Sitting inside the temple is the idol of a presiding deity of Goddess Yamuna which is in the form of a smooth, clear black marble stone. The structure is adorned and decorated with garlands and flowers which are offered by the pilgrims and devotees of the temple. The presence of surya kund and Gauri kund outside the temple makes this place even more pious since these two natural hot water springs are considered to have medicinal properties and healing powers that cure you of all your ailments and physical difficulties. These two kunds serves as a refreshing stop over for pilgrims who reach the temple after covering the trekking journey distance. The interiors of the temple are made up of a garbha griha or the core chamber which is a vital feature of every north and south Indian temple. Another feature of the temple interiors is the presence of an assembly hall or a mandap which is allotted for the pilgrims and devotees who visit the temple.