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An overview about Char Dham Yatra, Uttarakhand

Char Dham Yatra

The Char Dham Yatra literally translated as 'the four abodes/seats', means 'the circuit of four abodes/seats'. It is very popular as well as important Hindu pilgrimage tour circuits which included visit to Kedarnath, Badrinath, Yamunotri and Gangotri. All these eminent holy destinations are being situated in the amazing Himalayan foothills of Uttarakhand at different districts. In India it is the most devoted as well as featured part of spiritual trip. Generally, chardham yatra tour starts each year in April to May and closes for winters mainly in the third week of November.

This dignified tour was being started thousands years ago in 8th Century by the great philosopher and reformer Adi Shankaracharya and ever since then the Chardham tour is welcoming abundant pilgrims at wonderful locations. This journey starts from Haridwar (Uttarakhand), an ideal gateway to God and can be reached to different places for Char Dham.

It is believed that undertaking a voyage to these places will wash away one's sins as well as make sure liberate from the cycle of birth and death. These all “Dhams” are located in the icy Garhwal ranges and considered as the most blessed of all Himalayan ranges. The Chardham yatra must be done from left to right. You should begin with Yamunotri, to Gangotri, Kedarnath and finished the journey at Badrinath. This route pursues the Hindu ritual of “parikrama” or “clockwise circumambulation.”

CharDham Yatra Opening Dates 2018

YAMUNOTRI
18 APRIL 2018 {Tentatively}
GANGOTRI
18 APRIL 2018 {Akshay Tritya}
KEDARNATH
29 APRIL 2018 AT 6:15AM
BADRINATHJI  
30 APRIL 2018 AT 4:30AM

# Yamunotri


Yamunotri

Yamunotri is situated at Uttarkashi at height of 3164 meters from the sea level. This place is the initial source of Yamuna River and is surrounded by the snow covered mountains and forests. The real source of Yamuna River mainly lies in the Yamunotri Glacier at an elevation of 6,387 metres close to Bandarpunch Peaks in Lower Himalayas.

Yamuna River is counted amongst the 2nd largest River in India after Ganga and this place is a part of the four sacred abodes in Chardham yatra. Yamunotri is the place where the followers can find both the merger of hot as well as cold environment. The environment of Himalayas is purified and chills with the icy tides of the glaciers of River Yamuna. The sides remain warm up with the thermal springs and are known as “Kunds” of Goddess Shakti. In the hot or thermal springs raw rice is cooked and served into prasad.

- History of Yamunotri Dham

The Yamunotri temple is devoted to goddess Yamuna and the main divinity of the temple is made up of Black marble. As per the Hindu mythology, it is supposed that Yamuna is the daughter of Surya the Sungod and the sister of Yama (the god of death). This beautiful temple was constructed in the 19th century by Maharani Gularia who was from Jaipur after the temple has been shattered by Climate. The Yamunotri Shrine was at first constructed by Maharaj Pratap Shah of Tehri Garhwal on left shoreline of Yamuna River.


yamunotri glacier

Apart from this, a visit to Yamunotri temple is basically a full day trip from main towns of Uttarakhand including Haridwar, Rishikesh or Dehradun. The temple is reachable by 13 Kilometers trek from the place known as Hanuman Chatti and 6 Kilometer from Janki Chatt for the best spiritual expedition. Moreover, there are numerous holy shrines, temples and ashrams which are situated in and around the Yamunotri Dham.

- Places to see in Yamunotri Dham

Saptarishi Kund Lake
Surya Kund
Janki Chatti
Divya Shila and many more.


Yamunotri dham uttarakhand

- How to Reach Yamunotri?

By Air: The nearest airport to Yamunotri is Jolly Grant Airport in Dehradun which is located at a distance of approx 210 kms. This airport is well connected to New Delhi with daily flights and taxis are available from airport to Hanuman Chatti.

By Road: Trek in Yamunotri starts from Hanuman Chatti. So, by road you can easily reach to Rishikesh from Delhi ISBT Kashmiri Gate and from Rishikesh you can travel to Hanuman Chatti by bus which are easily available.

By Rail: Dehradun, Rishikesh and Haridwar are nearest railway stations and are about 150-200 kms far from Yamunotri. Moreover, Dehradun, Rishikesh and Haridwar all these three places are very well connected by railways networks with all over India. From railways stations taxis are available till Hanuman Chatti. 



# Gangotri


Gangotri temple

On the banks of Bhagirathi River, Gangotri is situated at an altitude of 3100 meters above sea level. River Ganga is originated from the Gangotri and is located in Uttarkashi district of Uttarakhand where thousands of disciples visit there for washing away their sins in the urge of salvation. Ganga River is the longest as well as most holy river in world. Gangotri is one of the important Char Dham pilgrimage for people how follow Hindu religion and the chief origin of the river is “Gaumukh”. Gaumukh is a glacier which is situated 19 km far from Gangotri temple. In prehistoric time, the Ganga River is called as Bhagirathi and gets the name Ganga from Devprayag onwards where the River Bhagirathi meets with Alaknanda to form Ganga River.

- History of Gangotri Dham

It is said that the Ganga is a consequence of reward given by lord “Shiva” to the king “Bhagirath” for his reparation, as per the Hindu Mythology. There was a fact that the earth will be devastated if Ganga came down with all its full force and Lord Shive caught her in his locks and slow down its force. There is a holy stone near the Gangotri temple which mainly denotes the place where Ganga at first come down to earth. Due to this reason only, River Ganga is also known as the Bhagirathi. Furthermore, the current temple which is there was built by a Gorkha Commander Amar Singh Thapa in the 18th Century. During the time of construction of temple Gaumukh Glacier was there but receded to it's current location due to the effects of global warming. The holy place of Gangotri temple seems to very beautiful with delicate 20 ft structure finished of white granite.  


Gangotri Dham

Apart from this, Gangotri is the home place of many small shrines, ashrams as well as temples. There you will also find many shops from where you can buy Prasad as well as small cans for carrying the holy water from Gangotri after Darshan. The holy water of Ganga is pure and in hindu religion is used in pooja and prayers. Additionally, Gangotri is the habitat place of many varieties of flora and fauna.

The Gangotri temple opens on the fortunate day of Akshay Tritiya which generally falls in the month of May and closes on Bhai Duj which falls in the month of November after Diwali. The temple closed for the rest of the 6 months when the goddess is worshipped at Mukhwa, near Harsil.

- Places to see in Gangotri Dham

Gangnani (52.3 kms)
Bhojbasa (14 kms)
Bhaironghati (10 kms)
Harsil (25.1 kms)
Surya Kund (0.1 km)
Dharali (19 kms)


Gangotri gaumukh glacier
Gaumukh Glacier

- How to Reach Gangotri?

By Air: is Jolly Grant Airport in Dehradun is the nearest airport which is located at a distance of approx 250 kms. You can hire taxi from here to reach Gangotri.      

By Road: Gangotri is very well connected by motorable roads with Dehradun and Rishikesh.

By Rail: Rishikesh railways station is nearest railways station to Gangotri and from here the distance of Gangotri is 234 kms. 




# Kedarnath


Kedarnath temple

Located on the bank of Mandakini river, Kedarnath Temple in Rudraprayag district of Uttarakhand is situated at an altitude of 3584 meters above sea level is one of the holy pilgrimage centre in Northern India.  Kedarnath temple is a part of Char Dhams as well as Panch Kedar in Uttarakhand state and is regarded as one of the 12 Jyotirlingas of Lord Shiva in India. The well-known Jyotirlinga shrines are must visit places where Lord Shiva emerged as a blistering column of light.

- History of Kedarnath Dham

Very famous temple Kedarnath is mainly devoted to manifestations of Lord Shiva. Kedarnath is named after King Kedar who was believed to rule in the Satya Yuga. It is a belief according to Hindu mythology that Kedarnath Dham is the place where Lord Shiva forgives Pandavas from the offense of killing their own cousins Kauravas in the clash of Kurukshetra war. As per the Puranas, the Pandava brothers did a major reparation in Kedarnath to gratify Lord Shiva. Previously the temple was built by Pandavas, and present temple was constructed by Adi Shankaracharya. Just behind the temple there is also a samadhi of Adi Shankaracharya.


Kedarnath dham

Moreover, Kedarnath is flanked by magnificent lofty peaks, making it the most distant site among all four Char Dham holy places. The picturesque beauty of this shrine attracts tremendous pilgrims from all over the world for seeking blessings of Lord Shiva. During the season of winters, Kedarnath is closed for 6 months because of heavy snowfall and intense cold weather. The idols from the Shri Kedarnath Dham are brought to Ukhimath and worshipped here for 6 months in winters.

- Places to see in Kedarnath Dham

Phata (31 kms)
Gandhi Sarova (4 kms)
Gaurikund Temple
Sonprayag (20.4 kms)
Vasuki Tal
Gaurikund (16 kms)
Kedarnath Helipad (0.7 km)


Kedarnath uttarakhand

- How to Reach Kedarnath?

By Air: You can fly to Jolly Grant Airport, Dehradun from Delhi and then travel by bus or taxi to reach Kedarnath from there.

By Road: To reach Kedarnath by road you can travel in bus from Delhi to Rishikesh and then further from here. You can also hire a private taxi and the bus facilities are also available from Haridwar and Rishikesh.

By Rail: If you want to reach Kedarnath by Rail network then you will reach upto only Rishikesh. From there you have to travel further by road. Distance of Kedarnath from Rishikesh is 216 kms. 



# Badrinath


Badrinath temple

Badrinath is an ideal illustration of dedication for humanity and mankind and is one of the sacred shrines for Vaishnavites among the 108 divya desams personification of Lord Vishnu. The Badrinath Temple is located at height of 3415 meters on the bank of Alaknanada River in the Garhwal Hills.

Badrinath town is also well known for its scenic beauty, dense forest, with pleasant weather, Holy River, snow clad Mountains, with surrounding green valley which draws the attention of tourists from india and abroad also. Hence, it is one the most popular shrines of the Char Dham Yatra of Uttarakhand state.

- History of Badrinath Dham

Initially Badrinath temple was constructed by Adi Shankaracharya and he discovered the idol of Badrinarayan in the Alaknanda River. But the present temple was constructed in the 16th century by King of Garhwal. The idol is finished of the Shaligram statue in the thoughtful pose and is the perfect site for the Vaishnavites. Tourists are attracted by the impressive traditional carving in the walls and ornament stones. The architecture look of Badrinath Temple is same as the manifestation of Buddhist Vihara temple. It is believed that the during the time of SatyaYug Lorad Shiva for thousands of years meditated here when Goddess Lakshmi give shadow over her husband in the form of  a tree named as “Badri”. Kedarnath and Badrinath are believed to be the home of Lord Shiva. When you will enter at this temple, there is a main idol of Lord Shiva on Bird known as Garud (considered as the vehicle of Lord Badrinarayan). At the main sanctum there is a statue of mediated Adi Shankaracharya as well as many god idols such as Bhakta Narada, Narayan and many more. In addition to this, Badrinath town is also the element of Panch Badri temples including Bhavishya Badri, Yog Dhyan Badri, Vriddha Badri and Adi Badri together with Badrinath temple.


Badrinath dham

You can also visit to Badrinath during the festivals such as Janam-ashtami, Kedar-Badri Utsav and Mata Murti Ka Mela which are celebrated with lot of joy here. during the winters the Badrinath temple remains closed as this places receives a heavy rainfall.

- Places to see in Badrinath Dham

Pandukeshwar (22.6 kms)
Mana Village (4.4 kms)
Yogadhyan Badri Temple (23 kms)
Neelkantha Peak
Tapta Kund (0.5 km)
Mata Murti Temple (3 kms)
Bheem Pul (3 kms)
Charan Paduka (2.5 kms)
Narad Kund (0.5 km)
Sheshnetra (0.23 km)
Ganesha Cave (4.5 kms)
Brahma Kapal (0.5 km)
Panch Dhara and Panch Shila (1 kms)
Vyas Cave (5 kms)
Vasudhara Falls (9 kms)
Alkapuri Glacier (15 kms)
Satopanth Lake (22 kms)
Surya Kund Badrinath (0.5 km)
Saraswati River (5 kms)


Badrinath in winters

- How to Reach Badrinath?

By Air: to reach Badrinath by air you can fly upto Jolly Grant Airport, Dehradun and from there you can get taxi to Rishikesh and then travel by road in bus or taxi.

By Road: Badrinath is very well connected by roads from all main destination of Uttarakhand. You can hire a taxi from Haridwar or Rishikesh and buses are also available from these two places and Dehradun also which is the capital of Uttarakhand state.

By Rail: You can travel to Haridwar, Rishikesh or Dehradun by train and from there you can travel by taxi or buses to reach Badrinath. Distance from  Rishikesh to Badrinath is 295 kms. 


- Blog Post By: Neeta Sharma

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