Char Dham Yatra Information | Yamunotri – Gangotri – Kedarnath – Badrinath

char dham yatra

The word “Char Dham” means four holy destinations or abodes of God. Chardham Yatra has great importance and significance, especially among the people of the Hindu religion. Pilgrims believe that Chardham Yatra washes away all sins and opens doors for “Moksha”. The yatra offers you a sense of belongingness, heart purity, and an act of self-actualization in life. Overall, the purpose of this sacred journey is to attain salvation or moksha, the ultimate state of liberation in Hinduism.

Chardham Yatra is associated with four Pilgrimage sites including Gangotri, Yamunotri, Kedarnath, and Badrinath. This Chardham Yatra or Chota Char Dham is famous because it is easily covered in 10-11 days. All these holy sites are situated in the “Land of Gods”, which is the name given to Uttarakhand. En route to these destinations, pilgrims also visit many other holy places which include Rishikesh, Haridwar, and many more. Millions of devotees, from all over the world pay pilgrimage to these sacred sites every year.

The Chardham Yatra starts from the Yamunotri Temple (the origin of River Yamuna, the Temple of goddess Yamuna is located here) in Haridwar in the Uttarkashi district of Uttarakhand. Afterwards, it continues from here to the other three temples which are located in higher altitudes. And finally, it reaches Badrinath Temple which is the youngest among all the Char Dhams.

The Char Dhams-

1.     Yamunotri – The Holy Land of Yamuna

yamunotri

Yamunotri is a sacred Hindu shrine in Uttarakhand which is situated at an altitude of 3,293 meters above sea level and is the source of one of the most important rivers in northern India, the Yamuna River. The temple is dedicated to the goddess Yamuna and is the main attraction of the town that is surrounded by natural hot water springs and beautiful mountain ranges. The temple was constructed in the 19th century by Maharani Gularia of Jaipur.

Yamunotri Temple is the first destination of the Char Dham Yatra circuit which defines a pious journey to Kedarnath, Badrinath, Gangotri, and Yamunotri. Some devotees also plan for Do Dham Yatra which includes the journey to Yamunotri and Gangotri, the two sources of India’s most holy rivers, Yamuna and Ganga respectively.

The temple and surrounding hot springs are considered to have healing properties and attract many devotees every year, especially during the Char Dham Yatra period from May to October.

Also check – How to Travel to Maa Vaishno Devi Dham

d2.     Gangotri – Uttarakhand’s picture-perfect devotional place

gangotri

Nestled in the high and majestic Garhwal Himalayas, Gangotri, in Uttarakhand has the highest temple dedicated to Goddess Ganga. The holy river Ganga originates from the Gangotri glacier, located here, and is called Bhagirathi. According to Hindu beliefs, bathing in the river here can cleanse one’s sins and bring blessings. The town is situated at 11,200 feet above sea level and is widely revered as one of the state’s holiest sites due to the serenity and beauty it affords its residents at that altitude.

Gangotri also has significant historical and cultural importance, making it a popular destination for devotees and tourists alike. This place is a popular destination for trekking and other adventure sports, including climbing and camping. The area surrounding Gangotri is known for its scenic beauty, including snow-capped peaks, lush forests, and serene rivers.

The main attraction in Gangotri is the Gangotri temple, where Goddess Ganga is worshipped. A 20-foot-high structure, the exquisite temple is made with white granite.  

3.   Kedarnath – The Land of Lord Shiva

kedarnath

Located at the base of white, snow-laden peaks in Uttarakhand and home to one of the most iconic of the Char Dham temples, Kedarnath and its surrounding areas are important pilgrimage sites for Hindus who come here from all over the world. Kedarnath is one of the holiest shrines and also one of the most revered temples in India. Dedicated to Lord Shiva, the ancient temple has exquisite architecture and is built of extremely large but evenly shaped grey stone slabs. A conical rock formation inside the temple is worshipped as Lord Shiva in his “Sadashiva” form and it is also one of the 12 Jyotirlingas of Lord Shiva in India.  

The town, built around the revered Kedarnath temple, is located at an altitude of 3,580m, near the Chorabari glacier, which is the source of the Mandakani River. The surrounding mountains and valleys of Kedarnath offer breathtaking views and make for an ideal destination for nature lovers and adventure enthusiasts. The region is steeped in history and cultural heritage, and nearby attractions of the Kedarnath Temple, such as Vasuki Tal, and Chopta offers an opportunity to learn about the rich cultural and religious heritage of the region.

Read – Best Places to Travel in Varanasi

4.   Badrinath – Famous Hindu Pilgrimage Destination

badrinath

Located at the base of the Himalayas, bordering Tibet, Badrinath is a famous pilgrimage town in Uttarakhand. The main attraction is the Badrinath Temple, one of the four sacred shrines in Hinduism, which is dedicated to Lord Vishnu. It is also part of the Do Dham yatra along with the Char Dham yatra undertaken by pious Hindus all over the world. The whole vibe of the temple and its encompassing town is overwhelmed with deep dedication with interesting mantras, soul-advancing chants, and the divine nature of the lord.

Located at an elevation of almost 10,170 feet above sea level, the breathtaking city lies between the Nar and Narayan Mountain Ranges in the Chamoli district of the state. Badrinath and its nearby tourist places offer a unique blend of religious and natural attractions, making it a popular destination for tourists. Situated along the Alakananda River in Uttarakhand, this holy town has a very peaceful and idyllic vibe throughout.

Nearby tourist places such as Mana village, Ganesha Cave, and the hot water springs, offer a range of scenic vistas and opportunities for adrenaline activities such as hiking and trekking.

20 Places to Visit in 4 Dham Yatra

No.Place NameFamous ForTimings
1YamunotriYamunotri Temple, Yamuna RiverMay to October (opens on Akshaya Tritiya)
2Surya KundHot water springsOpen all year
3Hanuman ChattiTrekking base, scenic viewsOpen all year
4UttarkashiVishwanath Temple, Nehru InstituteOpen all year
5GangotriGangotri Temple, Bhagirathi RiverApril to November
6GomukhGlacier trekking, source of GangesMay to October
7KedarnathKedarnath Temple, scenic beautyApril to November (closed in winters)
8Chorabari TalLake amidst the snow-capped peaksMay to October
9GuptkashiVishwanath Temple, Ardhnareshwar TempleOpen all year
10TriyuginarayanTriyuginarayan Temple, marriage of ShivaOpen all year
11JoshimathAdi Shankaracharya’s seat, skiingOpen all year
12AuliSkiing, ropeway, panoramic viewsOpen all year
13BadrinathBadrinath Temple, Alaknanda RiverApril to November
14Mana VillageLast Indian village near Tibet borderOpen all year
15Vasudhara FallsStunning waterfall, trekking destinationMay to October
16PandukeshwarYogadhyan Badri Temple, Pandava legendOpen all year
17RudraprayagConfluence of Alaknanda and MandakiniOpen all year
18DevprayagConfluence of Bhagirathi and AlaknandaOpen all year
19GaurikundStarting point of Kedarnath trekOpen all year
20RishikeshYoga, adventure sports, spiritual townOpen all year

Best time to visit the Char Dhams

All four temples of Char Dham Yatra, Yamunotri, Gangotri, Kedarnath, and, Badrinath remain open for just half a year from April or May to October or November. Being located at high peaks, the temples of Char Dham witness heavy snowfall during the winter season. This forces the committee to close the shrines during the snow season.

The exact dates are confirmed by the Mandir Samiti on the auspicious day of Maha Shivaratri.

During the winter season, when the hallowed gates of Kedarnath Temple remain closed. At that time the idol of the temple is shifted to Omkareshwar Temple in Joshimath. Whereas the Shani Dev Temple in Kharsali, Vasu Dev Temple in Joshimath, and Mukhinath Temple are holy shrines. The idols of Yamunotri, Badrinath, and Gangotri are kept and worshipped during the whole winter season respectively.

Regardless of all the difficulties and hardships of the arduous pilgrimage, thousands of pilgrims flock in and take up the Char Dham Yatra annually. The Char Dham Yatra is not only a physical journey, but also a spiritual one. Apart from winter devotees can go for the Char Dham yatra at any point in time. It is the test of a devotee’s physical and mental strength.

Every one of these four locations is sacred in the Hindu religion. As per legends if someone wants to achieve the moksha than they have to visit these places.

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