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One of the Char Dhams according to Hindu mythology, Yamunotri is the origin of the sacred river Yamuna which originates from the Champasar Glacier on the Kalinda Parvat at 14,502 ft. It is 1 km further up from the Yamunotri shrine, but its is not accessible.
Yamunotri is famous for its temple devoted to goddess Yamuna and thermal springs at Jankichatti and glaciers. Legend has that, Yamunotri was the home of Asit Muni, a famous sage of ancient times. Devotees take water from Yamunotri to offer it to Krishna in their homes during Janmashtami or any other occasions related to Sri Krishna because Goddesses Yamuna is fourth among the eight principal queens of Lord Krishna. A belief that, a bath in Yamunotri will relieve a person from a painful death and lead to the attainment of moksha. Yamuna and Yama (Lord of Death) are believed to be the children of Lord Surya, the Sun God.
Yamunotri Shrine is the western most shrine of the Himalayas perched atop a flank of Bandarpunch (Monkey tail) peak at a height of 3293 mts. The temple itself stands on the foothill of Kalinda Parvata (Parvata means hill) close to a thermal springs. The Yamunotri temple was built in the year 1839 by Tehri Naresh Sudarshan Shah, later the temple was built by Pratap Shah but it has been destroyed due to natural calamities twice. The temple has been reconstructed many times and in 1994 Surajmal Jalan Trust renovated the temple. Now Yamunotri temple is under the Panch Panda Samiti.
The deity of the temple is in the form of a silver idol
adorned with garlands. Inside the temple also has a white deity of Goddesses
Ganga. The temple opens every year from 6 am to 8 pm on on the auspicious
day of the Akshya-tritya (April - May) and closes on Yama Dwitiya (the
second day after Diwali, November). The temple is closed for the winter
season and the deity is taken to Kharsali Village (2 km from Janki Chatti
across the river) during winter. Aarti timings of Yamunotri temple are
from 6:30 pm and 7:30 pm and special pooja is organized in Yamunotri on
the eves of Janmashtami and Diwali.
Next to the temple is the Divya Shila, a rock pillar, which is to be worshipped before visiting the main temple. Aside from the temples, there are various hot water springs in Yamunotri. The most famous is the Surya Kund or Suryakund dedicated to lord Sun. It is situated next to the Divya Shila. Named after Surya or the sun god, the father of Yamuna, it is believed it is the blessing of Surya for his daughter. It is also famous for its remedial properties also. The tank has full of boiling water into which the principle offering to Yamuna goddess, i.e; rice and potatoes tie in a cloth and dip it in it till it cooked and this is offered to the deity in the temple, and returned to the pilgrim as prasad.
Usually Pilgrims take a holy dip in the hot waters of
the Taptkund next to the temple which gets its water from the Suryakund
nearby. There are separate bathing tanks and area for men and women. The
other hot water spring is Saptarishi Kund, which is 10 km away. Usually
covered with ice, it is a natural lake and a beautiful picnic spot. It
is also famous for the rare Brahma lotus.