Gangotri Dham is the place of the origin of the river Ganga. According to an old legend, a very famous king Bhagiratha did Tapasya for over 5500 years constantly to bring the river Ganga, then residing in the Heavens, down on the Earth to find salvation for his ancestors, who were cursed by a seer Kapila Rishi. However, due to her pride, and the fact that the earth would be devastated if Ganga came down into her full force, Lord Shiva caught her in his locks. Ganga descended to the Earth to make whole earth pious, fertile and wash out the sins of humans. For Hindus in India, the Ganga is not just a river but a mother, a goddess, a tradition, a culture and much more.

It was then proclaimed that Goddess Uma or Parvati, Shiva's consort, would bathe in the Ganges daily and only then would she descend on the earth. The sacred stone, known as "Bhagirathi Shila" near the temple denotes the place where Ganga first came down to earth. This is why Ganga is also called by the name of Bhagirathi.

Gangotri, the name brings an image of solitude, tranquility, mystery, adventure, and reverence all at one time in any Indian's heart. Gangotri, more than anything else, is known as the origin of the sacred river Ganges. The legend of Ganges says that the Ganges came down on earth after long penance of King Bhagirathi to Lord Shiva. The confrontation with the daunting rivers and attempts to unravel the mysteries of the supernatural world are ubiquitous sights here. Along with the thrill of conquering nature, what one experiences here is the mystical aura that India is so famous for.

Ganges has remained in the Indian psycho as the ultimate source of getting "NIRVANA" be it by bathing in it or just by taking a drop of Ganges water in mouth. Every important place along the Ganges has become the major pilgrimages centers of millions of people. Gangotri being the legendary origin of Ganges is by default one of the most important pilgrimages for everyone. Two major attractions in Gangotri are the Gangotri Temple and Submerged Shivling (Jalmagna Shivling).

Along the right bank of Bhagirathi stands Gangotri Temple dedicated to the Goddess. It was constructed in the early 18th century by a Gorkha Commander, Amar Singh Thapa. Every year, lakhs of pilgrims throng the sacred temple between May and October. By November, Gangotri is covered by snow. It is believed that the Goddess retreats to Mukhba (Harsil) near Jhala her winter abode.

For the Hindu devout, Gangotri, the birthplace of Ganga, is one of the four dhams that, collectively, guarantee a ticket to heaven (the other three being Yamunotri, Badrinath and Kedarnath). The Ganges is not only the river but also a place of pilgrimage that takes care of all human beings throughout their life. It is said that the pilgrimage to Rameshwar Dham in the South of India is considered successful and complete only after offering Gangajal on Shivalinga brought from Gangotri Dham.

The Gangotri temple dedicated to Goddess Ganga is located near a sacred stone where King Bhagirath worshipped Lord Shiva. Ganga is believed to have touched the earth at this spot. According to another legend, Pandavas performed the great "Deva Yagna" here to atone the deaths of their kinsmen in the epic battle of Mahabharata. For the devotees and tourists, the gates of the temple are open only in the months of May to November. From November onwards, the winters are freezing cold, therefore, gates of the temple are closed after celebrating Ganga Dussehra, the world famous festival.