Yamunotri Temple is situated in the western Garhwal Himalaya region at an altitude of 3,291 meters (10,797 ft) in Uttarkashi district, Uttarakhand. It is only 129 km from Uttarkashi, the main seat of the district. The temple is dedicated to Goddess Yamuna and has a black marble idol of the goddess. Yamunotri Temple is a full day’s drive from the major cities of Uttarakhand: Uttarkashi, Rishikesh, Haridwar or Dehradun. The royal temple can only be accessed by a 13-kilometre (8.1 mi) hike from the town of Hanuman Chatti and a 6-kilometre (3.7 mi) hike from Janki Chatti; Horses or palanquins are available for hire. The Hanuman Chatti to Yamunotri trek includes views of several waterfalls. There are two trekking routes from Hanuman Chatti to Yamunotri, the one on the right bank passes through Markandeya Tirth, where sage Markandeya wrote the Markandeya Purana, the other route which is on the left bank of the river passes through Kharsali, from where Yamunotri is a five or six hour climb.
The Yamunotri temple has a shrine dedicated to the goddess. There is also an 18th century temple at Gangotri, it was built by garhwal naresh Pratap Shah, it was damaged and renovated in the 19th century. The temple has been destroyed twice by snow and floods before being rebuilt. It is located in the backdrop of Bandarpunch. The temple is part of the revered Char Dham pilgrimage circuit.
Temple and Vicinity
The temple opens on Akshaya Tritiya (May) and closes on Yama Dwitiya (the second day after Diwali, November) for the winter. A little further on is the actual source of the Yamuna River, which is located at an altitude of approximately 4,421 meters (14,505 ft). Two hot springs are also present at Yamunotri that offer relief to weary trekkers at an elevation of 3,292 meters (10,801 ft), Surya Kund has boiling hot water while Gauri Kund has lukewarm water suitable for bathing. The spring water is said to be hot enough to cook rice and potatoes. Accommodation at the temple itself is limited to a few small ashrams and guest houses. Ritual duties such as making and distributing prasad (sanctified offerings) and supervising pujas (ritual veneration) are performed by the Uniyal family of pujaris (priests). Unique aspects of ritual practice at the site include hot springs where raw rice is cooked and turned into prasad.