Himalayan Mountain range in India is full of places of pilgrimage for Hindus. The holiest rivers like Ganga, Yamuna, and many others have their origins in the Himalayan Mountains range. Such places are now the most famous pilgrimage places. Yamunotri is one of such vital places of the pilgrimage. The holy River Yamuna has originated from Yamunotri. You can visit Yamunotri only during summer months from May to October as the roads to Yamunotri are closed due to heavy snowfall in winter.
You have to start your pilgrimage from Haridwar by bus, taxi, or hired car. You can reach Hanuman Chatti by road in your vehicle. You have to walk, hire a pony, or travel in a dolly depending upon your physical condition. The to and fro walk to Yamunotri of around 17 miles, is very long and strenuous and can only be undertaken by the strong persons. The first stop is at Janki Chatti that is around 5 miles away from Hanuman Chatti. The tour organizers would give some dry fruit packets at Janki Chatti that you will need to consume during your way to Yamunotri that is around 3 miles away from Janki Chatti. Even the travel on pony can also be difficult if you are not aware of the basic principles of horse riding. The dolly travel is the most preferred way to reach Yamunotri. The rates of this dolly are around Rs.3000 ($75) per person for to and fro journey to Yamunotri from Hanuman Chatti. You can reach Yamunotri by around 2 pm if you start by around 8 am from Hanuman Chatti and the weather is favorable. The road to Yamunotri is extremely narrow at some places, around only 3 feet wide with deep valleys on either side. You will also need to get down from your pony or dolly and walk some distance for about 4 to 5 times due to very bad condition of the road. There is no night halt generally given by the tour organizers at Yamunotri and you will have to reach Janki Chatti by the same day evening. There are reasonably good hotels available at Janki Chatti for the night halt.
The temple of Yamunotri is situated on flat land and have around 18 inches size black marble statue of Yamunaji. There are also the statues of Ganga and Sarswati in the temple. The River Yamuna can be seen falling from various points behind the temple. There are 4 hot water springs near the temple. Make sure to take bath in these hot wells but be careful as the 2 hot wells contain extremely hot water and you may get burns. The remaining two wells have mild hot water that is suitable for the bath. The temple of Yamunotri was made by Maharani of Jaipur, Gularia, in the nineteenth century. The temple got destroyed twice but was made again. However, Yamunotri is not the actual origin of River Yamuna. The exact origin of Yamuna is from the top of the mountain Kalind, around a mile away from Yamunotri. The temple is built here due to the availability of the flat ground here. It is said that Yamuna, daughter of the sun, and sister of Yama, the god of death, performed tapa here and took the form of the river Yamuna. It is really surprising that river Ganga is passing just nearby from the mountain Dand here but the sangam of these holy rivers take place at Allahabad, thousands of miles away. You can complete darshnas at Yamunotri by around 4 pm and start your return journey to Janki Chatti and reach there by around 6 pm and make night halt there.
It is advisable to visit Yamunotri in an organized tour, rather than traveling on your own. By this way, you can get all the facilities without any hassles and tensions during this tough travel. You must also carry heavy woolen clothes, medicines, torch, good quality tennis shoes, and hand gloves with you. The total estimated expenditure for the complete four dham yatra of 8 days consisting of Gangotri, Yamunotri, Badrinath, and Kedarnath comes to around Rs.20000 ($500) per person through good tour organizers.
The pilgrimage to Yamunotri is very difficult but at the same time, it is full of the fun and the natural beauty of the Himalayan Mountains. Would you like to visit Yamunotri during your next visit to India? I certainly hope that this article would help you to plan your trip to Yamunotri successfully.