CHAR DHAM YATRA
Nestled in Uttarakhand, a state of northern part of India, Chardham refers to four divine abodes of lordship. The four most sacred and revered Hindu temples of Badrinath, Kedarnath, Gangotri and Yamunotri are surrounded by mighty Himalayan mountains with abundance of rare biodiversity and and some of the most sanctified rivers of India like Ganga and Yamuna.
The Chardham Yatra revives the god consciousness and is believed that every Hindu should visit the dhams during one’s lifetime. Located in DEVBHOOMI- land of gods, the chardhams are completely devoid of materialistic enjoyment. It is also believed that the Yatra helps the devotees in attaining the ultimate state of liberation- Moksha.
Chota chardhaams are one of the most famous pilgrimage sites for Hindus. With Darshana at Badrinath Dham, one can also cover one of the dhams of bada chardham -Badrinath, Dwarka, Puri, Rameswaram. The mesmerising beauty of Uttarakhand and the sanctifying vibes adds on to the glories of the chardhams.
Let’s get started with how to plan your tour to the chardham!
HOW TO REACH:
By air– the nearest airport is Jolly Grant Airport at Dehradun. Since Haridwar is just 55kms far, one can take the flight and then travel ahead from either Dehradun or Haridwar according to the plan of the tour. Even helicopter can be opted as it is easily available from Dehradun, which could be a fascinating experience.
By train– nearest railhead to Chardham is Dehradun railway station. Other feasible options to reach the Chardham are Rishikesh and Haridwar railway stations.
By bus/roadways- buses can be hired easily from nearby cities like Dehradun, Haridwar, Rishikesh, etc. One can also get packages that will make the journey easier and more enthralling.
BEST TIME TO VISIT:
May and June are comparatively the best months to visit the chardhams. The Chardham Yatra commences in the month of may and continues till the month of November. There’s a heavy rush of pilgrims from all over especially during the months of may and June. The potential reason is because of the perfect weather conditions witnessed in these two months which makes the journey pleasant and enhances the sightseeing experience. Due to heavy rainfall and adverse weather conditions it is better to avoid to plan a trip in the month of July. The months of October and November are comparatively colder months with less rushso one must prepare accordingly.
MORE ABOUT CHARDHAM YATRA:
1. YAMUNOTRI DHAM
Being the first stop-over for the Chardham Yatra, this temple is devoted to Goddess Yamuna, located in region of Garhwal, Himalayas. The black-marble deity is worshipped by thousands of devotees every year. The temple is situated at an altitude of 3,293 metres above the sea- level, in the north of Uttarkashi district. The holy thermal springs is the chief attraction at Yamunotri offering peace and tranquility to all the pilgrims visiting the temple. According to Hindu mythology, Yamunotri was home to an ancient sage, Asit Muni. Besides being the second most sacred river of India, it is also believed that taking a bath in the sanctified waters of river Yamuna is said to cleanse all the sins of the pilgrims.
2. GANGOTRI DHAM
Situated on the banks of the river Bhagirathi Uttarkashi, the Gangotri Dham is devoted to goddess Ganga. To exempt the sins of king Bhagiratha, goddess Ganga took form of a river. To control the flow of the mighty river, as a result lord Shiva tied the river in the locks of his hair. Ganga river has been a source of attaining purity to thousands of devotees and is also believed to cleanse the sins of those taking a dip in the holy waters. In the pilgrimage journey, Gangotri is often visited after Yamunotri, the origin being at Gaumukh. With spiritual atmosphere all around and splendid beauty of the holy river leaves all the pilgrims absolutely spellbound. Since it is believed that river Ganga frees spirits from the cycle of rebirth, devotees also carry the holy water as a blessing.
3. KEDARNATH DHAM
Dedicated to lord Shiva, Kedarnath is one of the 12 Jyotirlingas nestled in the Garhwal Himalayan range in Uttarakhand. The Mandakini river flows serenely alongside Kedarnath which is absolutely enchanting to look at. Built magnificently at an altitude of 3,583 metres, it leaves no stone unturned in mesmerising thousands of devotees. There are four temples around the abode of lord shiva namely- Tungnath, Rudranath, Madhyamaheshwar and Kalpeshwar which together form the Panch Kedar pilgrimage sites. According to the mythology, the epic Mahabharata, the Pandavas felt guilty of killing their brothers and wished to make up for the sins of killing their cousins. Henceforth they started searching lord shiva to seek his blessings. When lord Shiva appeared, the Pandavas were pleased with his reappearance in five different forms. Thereupon built temples at five places for worshipping Shiva.
4. BADRINATH DHAM
Located in Garhwal hills, Badrinath Dham is also one of the pilgrimage site of bada chardhams , nestled in the lap of Himalayas. The temple is dedicated to lord Vishnu and is one of the major holy shrines for Vaishnavas. The temple has a black granite deity of lost Vishnu and is perched at an elevation of 3,133 metres. It is also believed that the deity is one of the eight self manifested deities of Vishnu. Thousands of devotees visit the temple are completely enamoured by the charm and purity of this holy shrine. Religious texts like the Vishnu Purana, has also mentioned the glories of this temple. The towering peaks, turquoise lakes and sacred rivers makes it a must visit pilgrimage site.
- The chardhams have ample accommodations to stay. From hotels to dharamshalas to affordable guest houses it is very easy to find places around. Although the visiting season plays a crucial role in availability of any sort of accommodations. It is comparatively more feasible to find good options in off-season.
- For staying at Yamunotri , the options can include staying at or around Hanuman Chatti or Janki Chatti. The trek to Yamunotri begins from these places.
- Being flocked with pilgrims in the peak season it becomes difficult to find places to stay in Gangotri, though the government has set up GMVN guesthouse. Camping accommodations for tourists and pilgrims is also easily accessible.
- In Kedarnath, there are big government tents, cottages and rooms. Since Kedarnath is a small place, there are many hotels and lodges around the temple. For those who take helicopters to Kedarnath usually stay in locations like Gaurikund, Phata, Sonprayag, Sitapur, etc.
- Similarly Badrinath also has ample options to stay at.
ACTIVITES TO ENJOY IN CHARDHAM
- TREKKING- being surrounded by thousands of devotees and mighty Himalayan mountains, is an extraordinary trekking experience. There are numerous trek plans for different pilgrim sites in the chardhams.
- CAMPING- for people who love adventure and nature, camping in the Chardham is one of the best way to make most of your trip.
- VILLAGE TOURISM- an excellent way to enjoy the local cuisines and culture while hiking toward the destination.
CHARDHAM YATRA TRAVEL TIPS:
Here are some very important key points that will help the visitors to prepare perfectly for their tour to the chardhams;
- It is important to ensure the bookings be it accommodations or transportations are done beforehand.
- Make sure to keep all the necessary identity documents.
- Go through the package properly before booking them.
- Before starting the journey in Monsoon, check with tour guides and local authorities about the road conditions and necessary precautions.
- One must abide by the temple rules, since photography is prohibited inside the temple.
- Make sure to pack according to the season you’re visiting in and keep necessary medicines and first-aid and other essentials accordingly.
SIGNIFICANCE OF THE TOUR:
- Chardham nestled in the lap of Himalayas is not just a pilgrimage site but is also attached with several spiritual beliefs of thousands of devotees worshipping every year.
- The pilgrimage to Chardham is not an easy one due to varying weather and road conditions, oxygen concentration issues but it’s all worth it in the end.
- Despite of all the challenges, thousands of devotees with utmost dedication take up the Yatra to the Chardham pilgrimage to offer their prayers and seek blessings.
- One can also experience the connection with nature living in proximity with the Himalayan mountains, holy waters and stunning scenic beauty.
- This is the compilation of all the necessary details related to the Chardham Yatra that can help you plan your tour accordingly. Hope this helps.