The Ganges River in hindu mythology is revered as the goddess that came down to earth to purify and cleanse. The river is called Bhagirathi at the source and acquires the name Ganga (Ganges) from Devprayag onwards where it meets the Alaknanda. The birth of the river is at a scared site known as Gaumukh, set in Gangotri glacier. Gaumukh is exactly 19 kilometres upstream of the seat of the Ganges, know as Gangotri. This small town, with a population of 606 according to the national census of 2001, is centered aground a temple of the goddess Ganga which was built by the Nepalese General, Amar Singh Thapa in the early 18th century. The temple is closed on Diwali day every year and is reopened in May. The winter home of the goddess is at Mukhba village, near Harsil.
Yamunotri is the source of the Yamuna river and the seat of the goddess Yamuna. It is situated at an altitude of 3,293metres (10,804ft) in the Garhwal Himalaya. The shrine of Yamunotri, source of the river Yamuna, is the western most shrine in the Garhwal Himalayas, perched atop a flank of Bandar Poonch Parvat. The chief attraction at Yamunotri is the temple devoted to the Goddess Yamuna and the holy thermal springs at Janki Chatti (7 km. Away). The actual source, a frozen lake of ice and glacier (Champasar Glacier) located on the Kalind Mountain at a height of 4,421m above sea level, about 1km further up, is not frequented generally as it is not accessible; hence the shrine has been located on the foot of the hill. The temple of Yamuna was constructed by Maharaja Pratap Shah of Tehri Garhwal. The deity is made of black marble. The temple is also surrounded by many hot water springs.
As travels becomes tourism even the religious circuit cannot avoid becoming more tourist friendly and considering that the largest segment of domestic travelers in India are the pilgrims that is a serious economic boon. Thankfully the state recognizes the bonus that it has been gifted an dis actively engaged in strengthening the infrastructure to make religious tourism even more convenient.