Yamuna originates from Yamunotri glacier which lies at the height of 6,315 metres. The glacier is situated against a steep slope, a little below the Peak of Kalind Parbat (mountain) in Uttarakhand. Meltwater of Yamunotri glacier gathers at Saptarishi Kund from where the downward travel of the river commences. Her reference as a river and as a goddess has been found in the various historical and ancient texts.
At the foot of the Kalind Parbat, there is a temple of Devi (goddess) Yamuna in Yamunotri town, where the Devi is worshipped in the form of a black marble idol. Yamuna is one of the holy rivers in Hinduism, and the Yamunotri Dham forms a part of the hallowed Chota Char Dham Yatra in Uttarakhand.
Yamuna River passes through Uttarakhand, Haryana, New Delhi and Uttar Pradesh. It is in Uttar Pradesh that it merges with Ganga at the Triveni Sangam. Triveni Sangam actually signifies confluence of three rivers – Ganga, Yamuna and Saraswati. Saraswati is now believed to be present in an invisible form. As per ancient texts, Saraswati was an actual river which used to form a trinity at Sangam.
Goddess Yamuna has many legends associated with it. Yamuna has also been referred to as Kalindi (the dark one) in later scriptures of Hindu religion. The reason for such name has been explained in diverse legends – because of her descent from Kalind Mountain; her association with Yama, the Lord of death; Kaliya Naag (serpent) entered the Yamuna river and that made it dark; and many more.
Devi Yamuna also finds her mention in the stories associated with Mahabharata and Lord Krishna. Vasudeva, carried Krishna across the Yamuna River in order to save him from Kansa.
Lord Krishna played along with Gopis as a child on her banks. She is also said to be one of the eight principal queens of Lord Krishna.
As the longest river of India which does not end up in a sea, Yamuna’s course last for 1,376 km until it joins Ganga. Tons River is the largest tributary of Yamuna; other important tributaries which join Yamuna in its course are – Ken River, Hindon River, Sasur Khaderi River and Chambal River. Yamuna River is a major source of irrigation in many parts of the country.