Char dham Yatra
Chardham yatra as we can get it from the name that a yatra in which four holy temples are covered is Chardham temple yatra. About the very known pilgrimage yatra of India is yatra to Chardham of India. These chardham temple are located in four different directions of India.
In the north, there is Badrinath temple dedicated to Lord Vishnu, in the south there is Rameshwaram temple dedicated to Lord Shiva, in the east Jagannath temple is there dedicated to Lord Vishnu and the last one in the west that is Shree Dwarkadhish Temple which is dedicated to Lord Krishna. In recent years one more pilgrimage tour which became famous is yatra to Chota Char Dham of Uttarakhand. Chota Char Dham is again a yatra to four holy shrines but in the Garhwal region of Uttarakhand.
The first shrine from where yatra starts is Gangotri temple dedicated to goddess Yamuna, second is Gangotri temple dedicated to goddess Ganga, the third one is Kedarnath temple dedicated to Lord Shiva and the last and fourth Dham is dedicated to Lord Vishnu which is Badrinath temple.Among all the four Dham of India and Uttarakhand, both are having one Common temple which is the Badrinath Dham dedicated to Lord Vishnu.
The formation of these Chardham temple of Uttarakhand was done by the reformer of the 8th century which is Adi Shankaracharya.
All the holy shrines of Chota Char Dham are located in high elevation in the Garhwal region, so due to heavy rainfall in the month of winter, the temple is closed up after Diwali and re-opens during Akshaya Tritiya in summers. Devotees go on this pilgrimage to tour to get Moksha and to minimize their sins.
About the four Holy Dhams
● Yamunotri Dham:
Yamunotri Dham is the first Dham of Chota Char Dham located in the Uttarkashi district of Uttarakhand. This temple is dedicated to goddess Yamuna, who is the daughter of Lord Sun and Sister of Yamraj and Shani dev. River Yamuna is a sacred river of India which is worshipped by devotees. Surya Kund is the main element of this temple. You need to do a 6 km trek from Janki Chatti till the main Yamunotri temple.
● Gangotri Dham:
Gangotri Dham is the second Dham which is visited during the Chota Chardham yatra. Gangotri Dham is dedicated to Goddess Ganga. It is located in the Uttarkashi district of Uttarakhand. Gangotri Dham is the place where the Heavenly Ganga was brought on the earth.
Ganga is worshipped as the holy river of India and Gangotri Dham is the source of river Ganga from Gomukh in form of Bhagirathi river which later mixes with River Alaknanda and forms the Holy River Ganga at Devprayag.
● Kedarnath Dham:
Kedarnath Dham is the third Dham among the four holy Dhams of Uttarakhand. Kedarnath Dham is dedicated to Lord Shiva and is located in the Rudraprayag District of Uttarakhand.
The trek of Kedarnath Dham is the hardest among all four dhams of Uttarakhand. Its 17km trek starts from Gaurikund to Kedarnath temple. It becomes hard for old age people or for children to trek this much so other options like Helicopter, dolis, and horse are also available.
● Badrinath Dham:
Badrinath is part of both Char Dham of India as well as Char Dham of Uttarakhand. It is the last Dham that is visited. Badrinath Dham is dedicated to Lord Vishnu. It is located in the Chamoli district of Uttarakhand. About 3 km from this temple is the last village on Indo-Tibet border that is Mana Village.
Detail explanation of Yatra
This is the sacred journey to four holy temples located in the Garhwal region of Uttarakhand. These four temples are known as Chota Chardham of Uttarakhand. People of India have a strong believe in God and Goddess and they do pilgrimage tours so that they can get Moksha. This holy tour starts from “land of God” which is the Haridwar city. From Delhi, it is about 216 km so the first-day halt is given at Haridwar itself.
Haridwar city is majorly all about blessed virgins and Holy River Ganga. The most famous Ganga aarti in the evening can be enjoyed by tourists. The environment of Ganga aarti becomes really spiritual and positive. The next day journey to the first Dham which is Yamunotri Dham. Driving via Dehradun will reach Mussoorie, their tourist can visit Kempty fall by taking the halt and enjoy the water sports activity there. After crossing Kempty fall you will come across Yamuna bridge from where you can get the mesmerizing view of River Yamuna.
Now some beautiful villages of Uttarakhand will fall in Your ways like Nainbagh, Purola, and Damta after crossing these villages from Damta the route divides into two, among which one goes towards Lakhamnadal having an ancient cave of epic Mahabharata times. After visiting the Caves you can proceed to Barkot the next point of halt from an adventure but the tiring journey.
The very next morning devotees will be driven to Hanuman Chatti and from there 5 km further to Janki chatti. It is the point from where the 6 km trek to Yamunotri Dham will start.
You will come across Shani temple, after a visit to the temple will proceed toward the temple and take a dip in Kund, then on reaching divya shila devotees will enter the main temple and offer prayers to goddess Yamuna. After darshan will be driven back to Barkot for a night stay. The next morning drive for Gangotri dham will start. Devotees will be driven to Uttarkashi where the half for next night will be taken.
After reaching uttarkashi, devotees can Visit Kashi vishwanath temple. This temple is dedicated to lord Shiva. After enjoying the evening aarti at the temple will take rest and get ready for the next days adventure. Now from Uttarkashi devotees will depart for Gangotri dham which is about 95 km away from Uttarkashi.
Before entering the main temple devotees need to take a dip in hot water spring of Gangnani Kund. on the way to Gangotri temple you will come across the beautiful heavenly village Harsil village which is situated on the bank of River Bhagirathi. After visiting the apple garden of this heavenly village, you will be driven straight to Gangotri dham.
After offering prayers to Goddess Ganga on the returning way towards Uttarkashi devotees will visit Bhairon Ghati, which is a must to visit. You can also visit the Gaumukh glacier from where the bhagirathi river is originating and there the water of River Bhagirathi is really chilling. After visiting it you can come directly to Uttarkashi for a night halt.
The next day drive to Guptkashi will start for visiting the Kedarnath Dham. on the other side of Guptkashi you can see Ukhimath where the doli of Lord Shiva is brought down during the winter season.
For boarding helicopter to Kedrnath dham you can board it from Phata or sitapur and return back after darshan on same day. You can also use the other options like trekking and if you don’t want to do 17 km trek then you can also opt for doli system, horse etc. on the way you can take a dip in Gauri kund and on further way you will reach Bheem Bali and after crossing the bridge you will reach Kedarghati.
After crossing Kedarghati you will reach Rambada. From Rambada the actual trek to Kedarnath Dham will start. When you will reach the temple you will see its spectacular view of Mandakini river flowing by its side and you can see Bhim shila which is a huge stone to protect the temple from any calamity. You can take a days halt in Kedarnath itself and enjoy the evening aarti of the Kedarnath Dham.
The next morning after offering prayers on the returning way from temple you can visit Triyugi narayan temple, Vishwanath temple and ardh Nareshwar temple and then will directly to Badrinath dham via Joshimath, from Joshimath will reach Vishnuprayag which is the confluence point of Dhauliganga and Alaknanda river.
After crossing this Sangam point devotees will reach Govindghat. There is a trekking path from govindghat to Valley of flowers and towards Hemkund sahib.
As you move forward you will com across Pandukeshwar where King Pandu established yogdhyan Badri temple. Moving forward the Hanuman chatti will be the last point before reaching the Badrinath temple. By covering the distance of 9 km as we will reach Badrinath will take a halt from that day.
The next day early in the morning will move forward to Tap kund and take a dip in holy water of Kund then move forward and offer prayers to Lord Vishnu in Badrinath temple. You can also perform the funeral ritual for your loved ones who are no more to provide their soul Nirvana.
After visiting the temple devotees can visit Charan paduka located on trekking path of 2 km above the temple and further they can visit Mana village at a distance of 3 km. in Mana village, Vyas gufa and Ganesh gufa are worth seeing. As we will move forward and cover a distance of 9 km will reach Vasudhara falls which is a Glacier waterfall. Further Saraswati river and Bhim pul can also be visited by devotees.
After visiting the place you will be driven back to srinagar for a night halt. The next morning will be dropped at Haridwar via Rishikesh by doing the sightseeing of Ram jhula, Lakshman jhula, Parmarth Niketan and Triveni Ghat. after reaching will be transferred to the respective destination. Like this chardham temple the sacred yatra to Moksha will come to an end with some sweet memories of travel.
Places to be visited
● Kempty Fall:
Kempty fall is a natural waterfall located about 13 km from Mussoorie. You can visit this waterfall while going to Yamunotri Dham. Tourists can enjoy the many water sports activities to refresh their bodies and souls.
Barkot is located in the Uttarkashi district of Uttarakhand. While going to Yamunotri dham this village will fall on your way and mainly night stay for this Dham is done at Barkot only because it is having good facilities for hotels, food, A.T.M machines, hospitals, etc.
● Surya Kund:
Surya Kund is a hot water spring in Yamunotri Dham. It is an important part of this dham where devotees cook rice in potli and serve it to crows as Prashad.
● Kharsali Village:
Kharsali village is located in the Uttarkashi district of Uttarakhand. In Kharshali village there is a Shani temple where the doli of Goddess Yamuna is kept during winters when the main temple is closed.
● Bhairav Ghati:
Bhairav Ghati is a small town with a spectacular view located in the northern mountains of Uttarakhand. This Ghati is located between the bank of the river Bhagirathi and Jadh Ganga.
● Harshil Valley:
Harshil valley is located on the bank of River Bhagirathi. This valley is just like heaven on earth’s most beautiful valley devotee can explore during Gangotri Dham yatra.
● Gangotri Glacier:
Gangotri glacier is located in Uttarkashi district on Indo – Tibet border. Its length and width are 30 km and 4 km respectively. Gangotri glacier is the main source of river Ganga.
Gaumukha is located in Uttarkashi district on a higher point then Gangotri temple in Uttarakhand. Gaumukh is the place where River Ganga in the form of Bhagirathi rivers flows towards Devprayag.
Gaurikund is located in the Rudraprayag district of Uttarakhand. This place has spiritual importance, it is believed that Goddess Sati did Severe austerity for Lord Shiva.
● Triyugi Narayan:
Triyugi Narayan is located in Uttarakhand near Kedarnath Dham. This is the place where Lord Shiva and Goddess Sati got remarried. This is a new emerging place attracting a lot of couples.
Rudraprayag is a district of Uttarakhand where Kedarnath Dham is located. During the winter season when the main temple remains to close the doli of Lord Shiva is shifted to a temple in Rudraprayag only.
Phata is a village in Rudraprayag district. In Phata a helipad is constructed from where devotees board the Helicopter for Yatra to Kedarnath Dham.
● Vasudhara Fall:
Vasudhara fall is a glacier waterfall located in the Chamoli district above the Mana Village. The total distance from Mana Village is around 9 km.
● Bheem Pul:
Bheem Pul is located over the Saraswati River, when Pandavas were going to heaven Bhim kept huge stone over the Saraswati river to cross it. Since then it is known as Bheem pul.
● Brahma Kapal:
Brahma Kapal places in Badrinath temple where devotees do the funeral ritual of their loved so their soul gets Nirvana.
Pandukeshwar is a small village before Badrinath temple where King Pandu, father of Pandavas established the Yog Dhyan Badri temple.
Joshimath is the place where the Doli of Lord Vishnu is brought down during the Winter season when the main temple remains closed.
Things to carry
You need to take your woolens with you because it generally remains cold throughout the year and especially in the night. A proper medical kit is also compulsory to have while going on the Chardham temple tour in the case on any miss happen takes place while the tour. A raincoat is also very important because rainfall and snowfall can happen at any time.
Best time to visit
The door of all chardham temple closes on the day of “Bhaiya dooj”. The dolly of Goddess Yamuna, Goddess Ganga, Lord Shiva, and Lord Badri is shifted in the temple in Kharsali village, Harsil village, Ukhimath and Pandukeshwar respectively for few months then it is shifted to Narsingh temple in Joshimath for the whole winter season. From May to June and from September till November start is the best time to visit. Akshay Tritiya of summer is the time when the door of the temple opens again for six months.
Where can you stay
If you are coming from Delhi or any other state then you need to have one day stay at Haridwar and further stay at Barkot, Uttarkashi, Guptkashi, and in Badrinath itself. While returning you can stay at Srinagar and again in Haridwar on the last day.
—- Sandhya Singh