23 March, 2016

Idols worshiped at Gangotri and Gangotri during winters

The idols worshiped at Gangotri

Winter abode for Gangotri idols

People / Swamis / yogis who stay over in Gangotri during winters

This article is about Gangotri and is the second in the series of four articles

The chardham circuit in the Himalaya is open for six months from May to November and closed during winters

Please refer below link

For commercial reasons the government of Uttarakahand is promoting the winter Chardham yatra

There is a lot of misconception regarding this, people think that the main idols of temples are shifted to their winter abode, but this is not so.

There is also a lot of misconception regarding the People / Swamis / yogis who stay over in the chardham’s during winters when the respective chardham towns are abandoned, they are considered to be special and highly elevated spiritually again this is not so

This article is based on my own personal experiences and the first-hand information that I have collected as I traveled to these places and stayed there for a long period of time



Main temple

Temple from a different view

The following idols are worshiped in the Gangotri temple

Main Ganga idol with a golden face mask (which is seated on a crocodile, but the crocodile is not visible)
2nd row from left to right Durga, Mahalakshmi, Anapurna,Saraswati, Raja (King) Bhagirath, Yamuna and Janvi Ganga

Bottom row Ganesh, Himalaya and Ganga charan paduka

All these idols face north-east

Other temples in the complex are—facing the main temple on the left hand is a Shiv temple, extreme left is the Hanamun temple, opposite the main temple is a Ananda Bhairav dhvani (eternal fire), on the river bank is the Bhagirathi shilla the stone where King Bhagirath performed penance and next to Bhagirathi shilla is the Riddhi Siddhi Vinayak temple (Lord Ganesh with his two wife’s)

Shiv temple

Inside the Shiv temple

Hanamun temple

Ananda Bhairav dhvani (eternal fire)

Bhagirathi shilla

Riddhi Siddhi Vinayak temple (Lord Ganesh with his two wife’s)

Some photos taken at Gangotri

See the terrace; I stayed at this hotel right next to the bank of the river

Forest guest house

Crossing to the other side of the river we get to visit the following places

Surya kund

Gauri kund, it is said that there is a submerged Shivling below the water and rarely visible when the water flow is reduced during peak winters

Forest area

Pandav gufa (cave)

Winter abode for Gangotri idols

During winter break only the gold face mask of the main idol, Saraswati and Anapurna are moved to a village named Mukhba

An oil lamp is kept burning when the temple is locked for six months, however it has a big container for oil to last for six months; whereas in Badrinath only a small lamp keeps burning for six months I have written an article on the science behind this akhand jyoti (eternal lamp)

Palanquin (doli) in which idols are carried to their winter abode

pic by Tilak Soni

People who stay in Gangotri during winters

A few care takers of the temple stay over during winters.

A long trek from the Gangotri temple leads to Gaumukh the snout of the Gangotri glacier the origin of the Bhagirathi River, further trek takes you to Tapovan literally a place to carry out spiritual practices. There were stories of a baba staying over here even in the peak of winter currently no Swami / Baba or sadhu stay during winters.

 A lot of Babas had set up in Tapovan during summers but they were chased out by the police, now only four to five Babas stay at Tapovan that too only during summer

Gaumukh the origin of the Bhagirathi river (photo taken from side)


Neel Tal in Tapovan

Visiting Gangotri in winters

All the chardhams in Uttarakhand are abandoned in winter, the temples sealed.

But there are a few people who visit these places in winter, some do it to experience the peace and tranquillity and absorb the spiritual vibrations when no one is around others do it as an expedition as one has to travel over snow covered roads.

Special permission is NOT required to visit Gangotri.

Motorable road is connected all the way up to Gangotri

Feel free to ask me any further questions and I recommend staying over for a few days in each dham. I always travel after monsoons when there is no rush and rates are less  

Very old photos of Gangotri temple


  1. Great information. Thanks for sharing

    1. thank you, most welcome, you know, i have put a photo of neel tal, but it was destroyed last year,just like the ghadhi sarovar was destroyed at Kedarnath in 2013, and the debris from neel tal fell on Gaumukh changing the landscape of the Gaumukh area completly, it is sad

  2. Is the Diwali day, i.e. 7 Nov 2018 a day to visit Gangotri with accomodation availability with car parking there?