11 Interesting facts about Yamunotri temple
Yamunotri is one of the most popular religious destinations in India. Located in the Garhwal Himalayan ranges of Uttarakhand state, it is considered sacred because of the presence of the river Yamuna. Considered the main seat of Goddess Yamuna, the pilgrimage is famous as the origin place of the river Yamuna.
It is the important Dham under Char Dham Circuit from where the yatra for Chardham begins. At an elevation of 6,387 meters, Yamunotri lies on the southwestern slopes of Banderpooch peaks. Yamunotri Glacier is the source of the Yamuna river, situated in the Mussourie range of the lower Himalayas.
1.Relevance of the Yamuna in Hinduism
The Yamuna is considered the most sacred river in Hinduism after River Ganges. People following Hinduism worship the goddess Yamuna as the main tributary of the River Ganga. She is referred to as Yami in early texts and is often referred to as Kalindi in the early books of Hinduism.
According to Legends, Yamuna is the daughter of Surya - the sun god and cloud goddess - Sanjna. She is also referred to as the twin sister of the death of god - Yama. The Yamuna played a vital role in the early years of Lord Krishna (an avatar of Lord Vishnu). She is referred to as one of the consorts of the deity Krishna.
2. Birth of Yamuna's Brother - Yama
According to Hindu mythology, The Sanjna (mother of Yamuna, cloud goddess) closed her eyes as she could not bear the light and heat of her husband - Surya (the sun god). Annoyed Sun with his wife's behavior, he felt insulted and told their son to be known as Yama ('restraint'), referring to the resistance that her wife showed.
3.Incarnation Of Goddess Yamuna
After that, Sanjna opened her eyes, but the excessive light and heat from Surya made her eyes flicker, annoying Lord Surya again. But Sanjna tried open her eyes, she was blessed with the Yamuna, and the Yamuna received the title of the goddess to be worshipped by humanity throughout time.
4.Winter Residence of Goddess Yamuna
Kharsali Village is an important place to consider while your visit to Yamunotri. It also hosts helicopter services for Yamunotri. If you are availing of Yamunotri Dham yatra By Helicopter, you will board the chopper at Shahastradhara at Dehradun helipad and proceed to Kharsali in Yamunotri Helipad.
Just 2 km away from Janki Chatti, Kharsali is not only known for its incredible views but also serves as a Home to the idol of Goddess Yamuna for the six months of Winter. When the Yamunotri temple closes for 6 months starting from Bhai Dooj, the idol of Goddess Yamuna is shrined in the Sameshwar temple in the village of Kharsali. People of Kharsali worship the goddess throughout the winter.
5.The associated darkness of Yamuna
Another tale suggests that the Yamuna derived her name as Kalindi due to her association with the Lord of Death, Yama, who is associated with darkness as Kala. The Vamana Purana suggests Shiva wandered the whole universe as he was distraught by the death of her wife, Parvati. To overcome his sorrow, he jumped into the river Yamuna turning its water black due to his sorrow.
Another epic suggests how Krishna defeated the serpent Kaliya in the Yamuna, and the rivers became dark.
6.Bhai Dooj and the Yamuna
According to Skanda Purana, Yamuna pleased her brother Yama (God of death) by fasting on the Kartik Shukla Dwitiya. the day is also known as 'Yama Dwitiya' and later celebrated as festival of 'Bhai Dooj'.
The householders Brahmin of Uniyal cast is appointed as priests of Yamunotri. In 1855, when the King of Garhwal Sudharshan Shah rebuilt the Yamunotri temple, he appointed his ancestor priest Maluram Poluram to worship the Goddess. Before the formation of the temple, the idol was shrined in the cave.
8.An integral part of Chota Char Dham
Yamunotri is referred to as an integral part of Chota Char Dham. The Yatra begins from Yamunotri and then proceeds to Gangotri, followed by Kedarnath and Badrinath. Like the rest of the three Dhams, Yamunotri also closes for 6 months in winter owing to harsh climatic conditions. Due to heavy rainfall, the Yamunotri Dham becomes inaccessible.
9.Another tale about Asit Rishi
According to the Legends, Asit Rishi has visited the Yamuna regularly to pay tribute since its origin. In his old age, when he became incapacitated to visit the Yamuna anymore, Yamuna changed her course of flow and routed it near his Ashram.
He bestowed the river Gange and built a temple to worship the goddess. This temple is presently referred to as Yamunotri Temple and is incredibly popular as the main pilgrimage of Char Dham.
10. History of Yamunotri Temple
According to historical observations, the first temple was built by Maharaja Sudarshan Shah (1815- 1859). At that time, wood was the prime material used to build this temple, and the idol of goddess Yamuna was shrined. Later the Maharaja Pratopshah rebuilt the temple in 1871 using stones. According to historical evidence, the temple was demolished twice in the 19th century. Maharani Guleria of Jaipur initiated the present construction of the temple.
11.Surya Kund - A Hot spring
Surya Kund is a popular hot spring near Yamunotri temple where the water temperature is believed to be around 90 degrees Celsius. Devotees coming for the Darshan cook rice and boil potatoes in the kund water to be taken as the prasadam of Goddess Yamuna.
For ages, Yamuna river has been revered as the goddess and popular among devotees for its incredible trek. Perched at the height of 2650 above sea levelJanki Chatti is another interesting place, neat Yamunotri, known for its hot springs. From beautiful waterfalls to nature's scenic beauty, Janki Chatti forms an integral part of the Yamunotri pilgrimage.
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