Army Band of Garhwal Rifles along the mountains of Garhwal, accompanying idol of Mother Ganga

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Garhwal Rifles band accompanies Gangotri idol as it enters Mukhba village

Much pomp and pageantry accompanies the winter movement of the Gangotri temple idol on its winter journey. Armymen, police, villagers, priests and devotees are march along!

High altitude bagpiping in the Himalaya! It's not a joke playing the bagpipes at the dry winter air of the Uttarakhand Himalaya at an altitude of more than 10, 000 feet! The shrine idols are moved when the shrine shuts for the winter, like at the other Chota Char Dham sites. The idol is shifted to Mukhyamath temple in Mukhba village, 20 km downstream. Here the Garhwal Rifles' band plays out a ditty to entertain and solemnise the occasion on the winter migration of the Gangotri temple shrine's to Mukhba village.

Bagpipes in the Himalaya! Gangotri temple year-closing.

People crowd on the front steps of the Gangotri temple, in an attempt to bid adieu to the idol which is moving down to relatively warmer climes at Mukhba village.

Murtis of Gangotri temple leave for their winter home! They'll be back with much fanfare when the kapath opens next spring...

The temple idols of Gangotri mandir make their way down for the winter months, in this important ceremony that is held at the temple, but one that is sparsely attended due to the cold season when few people live up in the high mountains! Watch this rare ceremony unfold before you. Never before seen on television or on the internet, this is rare footage!

At the beginning of winter, the idol at Gangotri temple is moved down, in a procession, to a lower village temple, near Mukhba. The mountains are barely frequented at this time of year, as everyone has moved down to lower heights due to the impending winter. A rare sight on an important occasion when the idol is being packed and prepared for the big move!

Gangotri temple in early winter, as the statue is moved down to a lower station. See rare customs and traditions of the Garhwali people, including women going into trances and the idol on a chariot being lowered onto the faithful, to bless them.

The Gangotri temple was built by the Gorkha General Amar Singh Thapa, in the 18th century, is situated on the left bank of Bhagirathi. The temple is nested amidst the beautiful surroundings of deodars and pines.

It lies close to the holy rock or the "Bhagirath Shila" where King Bhagirath had worshiped Lord Shiva. The Gangotri temple is dedicated to Goddess Ganga and located on the banks of River Bhagirathi.

The Pujaris and brahmins belongs to the village of Mukhwa. The water from Gangotri is carried to offer to Lord Shiva. It is believed that this water has nectar in it and will soothe the throat of Shiva who gulp the poison.

The picturesque pilgrimage in the hinterlands of the Himalayas is the most sacred spot where Ganga, the stream of life, touched earth for the first time. 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. Lord Shiva received into his matted locks to minimize the immense impact of her fall. She came to be called Bhagirathi at her legendary source.

King Sagar, after slaying the demons on earth decided to stage an Ashwamedha Yajna as a proclamation of his supremacy. The horse which was to be taken on an uninterrupted journey around the earth was to be accompanied by the King's 60,000 sons born to Queen Sumati and one son Asamanja born of the second queen Kesani. Indra, supreme ruler of the gods feared that he might be deprived of his celestial throne if the 'Yagya' succeeded and then took away the horse and tied it to the ashram of Kapil Muni, who was then in deep meditation.

The sons of the King Sagar searched for the horse and finally found it tied near the meditating Kapil. Sixty thousand angry sons of King Sagara stormed the ashram of sage Kapil. When he opened his eyes, the 60,000 sons had all perished, by the curse of sage Kapil. Bhagiratha, the grandson of King Sagar, is believed to have meditated to please the Goddess Ganga enough to cleanse the ashes of his ancestors, and liberate their souls, granting them salvation or Moksha.

This footage is part of the professionally-shot broadcast stock footage archive of Wilderness Films India Ltd., the largest collection of HD imagery from South Asia. The Wilderness Films India collection comprises of tens of thousands of hours of high quality broadcast imagery, mostly shot on HDCAM / SR 1080i High Definition, Alexa, SR, HDV and XDCAM. Write to us for licensing this footage on a broadcast format, for use in your production! We are happy to be commissioned to film for you or else provide you with broadcast crewing and production solutions across South Asia. We pride ourselves in bringing the best of India and South Asia to the world... Reach us at rupindang @ gmail . com and admin@wildfilmsindia.com.

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