Gangotri, the origin of the River Ganges and seat of the goddess Ganga, is one of the four sites in the Char
Dham pilgrimage circuit. The river is called Bhagirathi at the source and acquires the name Ganga (Ganges)
from Devprayag onwards where it meets the Alaknanda. The origin of the holy river is at Gaumukh, set in the
Gangotri Glacier, and is a 19 km trek from Gangotri. Gangotri can be reached in one day's travel from
Rishikesh, Haridwar or Dehradun, or in two days from Yamunotri, the first site in the Char Dham circuit. More
popular and important than its sister site to the east, Gangotri is also accessible directly by car and bus,
meaning that it sees many more pilgrims than Yamunotri.
According to Hindu mythology, Goddess Ganga took the form of a river to absolve the sins of King Bhagiratha's predecessors, following his severe penance of several centuries.