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<< Indian Himalayas >> << Pilgrimage Travel Destinations >> << Amarnath Yatra >>

Pilgrimage Char Dham

Location  Garhwal Himalayas, Uttaranchal
Pilgrimage Centers  Kedarnath, Badrinath, Gangotri, Yamunotri
Best time to travel  May to October

Pilgrimage Travel Char Dham

Altitude :

Badrinath - 3,133 m; Kedarnath - 3,581 m; Gangotri - 3,200 m;
Yamunotri - 3,235 m

Climate :

Month - Max. Temp. Min. Temp.
April - 17.9°C 5.9°C
Dec-Mar - Sub Zero, Snow bound

Rainfall : 1,460 mm, Clothing : May : Heavy woolens June - September :  Light woolens
October - November :  Heavy woolens

About Char Dham Yatra

Char Dham, or the four pilgrimage centers, comprising of Badrinath, Kedarnath, Gangotri and Yamunotri are frequented by the religious minded as well as those intrigued by the remnants of bygone years. The holy river, Ganges, and her tributaries flow buoyantly past the four Dhams. Holy Himalayas up in the misty heights of the majestic Garhwal Himalayas that adorn the magnificent state of Uttaranchal, awaits a rejuvenating spiritual experience for the devout.

Nestling in the lofty peaks are the four most holy pilgrimages of India -Yamunotri, Gangotri, Sri Kedarnathji and Sri Badrinathji, collectively referred to as the Char Dham ( or four pilgrimage centres) of Hinduism. For centuries, saints and pilgrims, in their search for the divine, have walked these mystical vales known in ancient Hindu scriptures as 'Kedarkhand'

Sri Kedarnath Ji

The Kedarnath shrine, one of the 12 Jyotirlingas of Lord shiva, is a sēnic spot situated, against the backdrop of the majestic Kedarnath range. At an altitude of 3,581 mt it is a 14-km trek from Gaurikund. Amidst the dramatic mountainscapes of the majestic Kedarnath range stands one of the twelve 'Jyotirlingas' of Kedar or Lord Shiva. Lying at an altitude of 3584 mts. on the head of river Mandakini, the shrine of Kedarnath is amongst the holiest pilgrimages for the Hindus. The Kedarnath shrine, one of the 12 Jyotirlingas of Lord shiva, is a sēnic spot situated, against the backdrop of the majestic Kedarnath range. At an altitude of 3,581 mt it is a 14-km trek from Gaurikund. Kedar is another name of Lord Shiva, the protector and the destroyer.

Shiva is considered the embodiment of all passions love, hatred, fear, death and mysticism which are expressed through his various forms. On being followed he dived into the ground, leaving his hump on the surface. The remaining portions of Lord Shiva appeared at four other places and are worshipped there as his manifestations. The arms appeared at Tungnath, the face at Rudranath, the belly at Madmaheshwar and his locks (hair) with head at Kalpeshwar, Kedarnath and the four above mentioned shrines are treated as Panch Kedar.

At an altitude of 3,581 mt it is a 14-km trek from Gaurikund. Kedar is another name of Lord Shiva, the protector and the destroyer. Shiva is considered the embodiment of all passions love, hatred, fear, death and mysticism which are expressed through his various forms.

Sri Badrinath Ji

Situated in the lap of Nar-Narayan Parvat, with the towering Neelkanth Peak (6,597 mt) in the background, Badrinath is one of the most revered Hindu shrines of India.

The Abode of Lord Vishnu - Cradled in the twin mountain ranges of Nar and Narayan is the holiest of the four main shrines, Badrinath along the left bank river Alaknanda. With the splendid Neelkanth mountains as the backdrop, it is an important destination on the scared itinerary of every devour Hindu. Once the spot was carpeted with 'badris' or wild berries and hence was famous as 'Badri Van'.

Badrinath is considered the holiest of the four important shrines in Garhwal. The town is at an altitude of 3,133 m. above sea level, situated on the left bank of river Alaknanda and exactly between the two mountains Nara and Narayan. The shrine is dedicated to Vishnu, the preserver and falls in the religious itinerary of every devout Hindu. Situated in the lap of Nar-Narayan Parvat, with the towering Neelkanth Peak (6,597 mt) in the background, Badrinath is one of the most revered Hindu shrines of India. It has been said that “there were many sacred spots of pilgrimage in the heaven, earth and the other world but neither is there any equal to Badrinath nor shall there be one.”

Gangotri

Couched in the magnificent Garhwal hills, Gangotri is at an altitude of 3048 meters above sea level. It is surrounded by the mountain peaks of Shivlinga, Satopanth and Bhagirathi sisters.At the legendary source of the river, Goddess Ganga is worshipped in the form of deity. The Gangotri temple was built in the early 18th century by a Gorkha commander, Amar Singh Thapa and later rebuilt by the Maharaja of Jaipur.

Accessible by a motorable road, it is one of the most pious Hindu pilgrimage centre. It is on the northernmost part of the state of Uttar Pradesh and is very near the Indo-Tibetan border. It is approximately 300 km from Dehradun, 250 km from Rishikesh and 105 km from Uttarkashi. The summers are relatively cool and winters are freezing cold, with rains in the months of May and June. For the devotees and tourists, the gates of the temple are open only in the months of May to November.

Mythological Legend - According to an old legend, Lord Shiva rewarded King Bhagirath after his penance and Ganga came down to earth. However, due to her pride, and the fact that the earth would be devastated if Ganga came down in her full force, Lord Shiva caught her in his locks. It was then proclaimed that Goddess Uma or Parvati, Shiva's consort, would bathe in the Ganges daily and only then would she descend on the earth. The sacred stone near the temple denotes the place where Ganga first came down to earth. This is why Ganga is also called by the name of Bhagirathi.

Submerged Shivling - The natural rock Shivling, submerged in the river, is an amazing sight reinforcing the power of the divine. According to mythology, Lord Shiva sat at this spot to receive the Ganaga in his matted locks. The shivling is visible in the early winters when the water level goes down. The picturesque pilgrimage in the hinterlands of the Himalayas is the most sacred spot where Ganga, the stream of life, touched earth for the first time.

Mythological Mystery - According to mythology, Goddess Ganga- the daughter of heaven, manigested herself in the form of a river to absolve the sins of King Bhagirath's predecessors, following his severe penance of several centuries. Lord Shiva received into his matted locks to minimise the immense impact of her fall. She came to be called Bhagirathi at her legendary source.
Main Attraction - The 18th century's temple dedicated to Goddess Ganga is located near a sacred stone where King Bhagirath worshipped Lord Shiva. Ganga is believed to have touched earth at this spot. According to another legend, Pandavas performed the great 'Deva Yagna' here to atone the deaths of their kinsmen in the epic battle of Mahabharata. The temple is an exquisite 20 ft. High structure made of white granite.

Yamunotri

Sacred Origin of the Yamuna - The shrine of Yamunotri, situated at an elevation of about 3,235 mt is a point of paramount religious importance for Hindus and an essential pilgrimage. Situated in the direction opposite to Gangotri, the road bifurcates from a place called Dharasu, somewhere between Rishikesh - Uttarkashi and goes on to Yamunotri. It is said that the temple of Yamunotri was built by Maharani Gularia of Jaipur in the last decade of the 19th century. The Garhwal Himalayas have been blessed with some of the holiest Hindu pilgrimage sites and Yamunotri is one such.

One of the Char Dhams according to Hindu mythology, Yamunotri is the origin of the sacred river Yamuna. Famous for its thermal springs and glaciers, it is one of the most important stopovers on the itinerary of the Hindu pilgrim. According to an old legend, Asit Muni, the revered sage, used to reside here. The first stopover for the Char Dham Yatra is the westernmost shrine of Yamunotri in the Garhwal Himalayas. Dedicated to Goddess Yamuna, it is perched atop a flank of the Bandar Poonchh peak (3165 mts. above sea level) and is situated opposite to Gangotri. The shrine attracts devotees in large numbers from May to October. Yamunotri finds a special mention in the Hindu mythology. According to a legend, this secluded hilly spot was the home of an ancient sage, Asit Muni.

Pilgrimage Travel Itineraries - Char Dham Yatra/ Hotels in Uttaranchal

Pilgrimage Travel Badrinath-Kedarnath
   
Duration : 05 Nights / 06 Days
Day to Day
Itinerary
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Pilgrimage Tour Chardham
   
Duration : 13 Nights / 14 Days
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Goddess Vaishno Devi Yatra (Travel)
   
Duration : 02 Nights / 03 Days
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Valley of Flowers & Hemkund Sahib Shrine
   
Duration : 07 Nights / 08 Days
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