The sacred sanctorum is placed right below the main minaret. This is where the sacred Yamuna Devi idol is positioned. The idol is made of polished black ebony marble with exquisite carvings. The temple itself is flanked with two beautiful springs Surya Kund and Gouri Kund which spout hot and cold water respectively with the Yamuna River acting as the base of both.
Yamuna Devi is believed to be the daughter of Surya Devta and Saranyu Devi who is the Goddess of perception. Yamuna is also the sister or Lord Yama who is the master of death.
The Suryakund is also the setting for an important Shila is called the Divya Shila that is worshiped before Puja is offered to the idol. The temple devotees dip rice and potatoes into the boiling water of the spring and then first offered to Yamunotri deity before being distributed as Prasadam. There are small ashrams and guest houses in the temple in which devotees can opt for night stay free of charges. The temple is open for devotees from 6.00 A.M to 8.00 p.m. and every evening a grand Aarti ceremony is organized from 6.30 pm – 7.30 pm.
Location of the Temple
The Yamunotri temple is a grand Hindu temple in Uttarkashi district Uttarakhand that is dedicated to the Goddess of the River Yamuna Devi. The Yamunotri temple is an important part of the Char Dham Circuit in Uttarakhand. The temple is perched at the height of 3150 meters above the sea level right opposite to the Yamunotri Glacier. The environment around this temple promotes peace and spirituality and attracts many spiritual seekers, theologizes and naturalists across the world.
The Yamunotri temple is accessible by a day’s journey from the three major towns of Uttarakhand; Rishikesh, Dehradun and Haridwar The temple can only be accessed after a full 13 km trek from the holy town of Hanuman Chatti. There are horses and palanquins which are available for rent for the use of devotees who have difficulty in completing the trek. There are two trekking routes to reach Yamunotri temple and one encompasses the Markandeya Tirtha while the other route bypasses Kharsali.
The Architecture and Structure of Temple
The Yamunotri temple was built in the AD 1839 by the famous Garhwal monarch Tehri Naresh Sudarshan Shah. However an earthquake destroyed large part of the temple. Subsequently the Maharani of Jaipur Gularia Devi got the temple repaired in the 19th Century AD. This temple is built in the Nagar pattern of architectural style. The temple is built by granite stones that are sourced from the surrounding mountains. The steps and the stone blocks that are used to construct the access path to the temple is made from the nearby rocks.
The top of the temple contains a medium conical shaped minaret. The minaret is pale yellow colored with bright vermillion border. A small porch sized structure is placed in front of the temple and is joined with the beautiful main entrance.
Inside Yamunotri Temple
Yamunotri Temple is an abode of Goddess Yamuna and is a seat of River Yamuna. The temple is cradled at an elevation of 3291meters above the sea level and is the first of the Chardham in the Chota Chardham Circuit.
Temple Chambers Within
The temple interiors consist of Garbha Griha or sanctum sanatorium; the core chamber which houses the silver idol of Goddess Yamuna adorned with many garlands. There’s also a Mandap or assembly hall where pilgrims gather for Darshan and prayer.
Pooja Performed in Yamunotri Temple
The various Poojas performed in Yamunotri temple include Mangal Aarti in the morning and Shayan Aarti in the evening. Devotees who wish to offer Puja to the deity can purchase a Puja kit from near the temple and offer it to the priests of the temple who then perform the puja on behalf of the devotees. Usually this kit consists of items such as red sari, sindoor, bindi, comb, mirror, nail polish, necklace, bracelet, coconut, incense and sugar. The priests at Yamunotri temple administer as well as preside over the temple rituals. They are quite knowledgeable about Shastras and hail from the Kharsali village located in vicinity to Janki Chatti.
Yamunotri Temple Opening and Closing time
The temple opens at 6.00am in the morning and closes at 8.00pm in the night.
Opening and closing ceremonies in Yamunotri Dham
Opening ceremony at Yamunotri Dham is the Mangal Aarti and closing ceremony is the Shayan Aarti.