Four pilgrim destinations namely Yamunotri, Gangotri, Kedarnath, and Badrinath together form a Char Dham Circuit which falls under the Uttarakhand state board. Called Char Dham Yatra, the pilgrimage tour to all these holy places in India has immense religious importance in the Hindu religion. According to legends, Char Dham Yatra opens the doors towards salvation and washes the sins of the pilgrims who take this enduring journey at least once in a lifetime.
Char Dham pilgrimage commences from the west where Yamunotri meanders in full glory. Dedicated to the Goddess Yamuna, bathing in the waters of Yamunotri protects the devotees from untimely death. From there the pilgrims proceed towards Gangotri which is dedicated to the Goddess Ganga. After paying homage to the holy river Ganga, the pilgrims move further ahead on the mountain peaks of the Himalayas that lead to the sacred shrine of Lord Shiva - Kedarnath and finally end their spiritual journey at Badrinath where Lord Vishnu meditated. The enshrined deities in each of these sites are believed to bless the pilgrims all through four encampments.
There are no traces of any factual history, however, the tradition of Char Dham Yatra was started by the great reformer and philosopher Shankaracharya, aka Adi Sankara. It is believed that Char Dham Yatra dates back to some 1200 years and till the mid-century, it was known as the Chota Char Dham. The history of individual temples can be traced back to eons ago and mythical legends enveloped around these sacred shrines beckons pilgrims from all over the country.
The mysticism of all these four places in Uttarakhand beckons pilgrims to take the enduring pilgrimage of Char Dham Yatra. Take a look at some of the attractions of Char Dham Yatra and know the spiritual sanctity of all these places.
Also Read: A Mountain For Lord Vishnu - Badrinath
Yamunotri Dham is the first stop in the pilgrimage that is situated in the Uttarkashi district of Uttarakhand. The king of Tehri, Naresh Sudarshan Shah built the temple in 1839 in the name of GoddessYamuna who is the daughter of Sun and twin sister of Yama -the God of Death. Taking a dip in the sacred water of the Yamunotri river is considered life protecting and cleanses all sins.
Yamunotri temple is surrounded by many hot water springs but Surya Kund is one of the most significant hot water springs where boiling rice and potatoes is treated as the Prasad of Yamunotri Devi.
Situated in the Uttarkashi district of Uttarakhand, the 19th century Gangotri Dham is where Goddess Ganga enshrines. According to legends, she descended on earth to absolve the sins of humankind. In the early 19th century, Gurkha General, Amar Singh Thapa built the temple to honor Goddess Ganga.
Gaumukh has immense significance as the holy river Ganga originates from this point. Gaumukh is 18km away from Gangotri and pilgrims visit this point on their journey of Char Dham Yatra.
Situated in the Rudraprayag district of Uttarakhand, the temple of Kedarnath was originally built by Pandavas. Later in the 8th century, Adi Shankaracharya constructed another temple adjacent to the old temple where pilgrims pay homage during Kedar Dham Yatra.
Badrinath Temple is the final halt of Char Dham Yatra. Situated between Nar and Narayan peaks, the journey to Badrinath Temple is considered to be the most enduring. According to legends, the idol of Lord Badri was discovered by Adi Shankaracharya. He took out the floating idol from the Alaknanda River and placed it in the cave near the Tapt Kund. Later in the 16th century, the temple was built by a Garhwal King. Badrinath temple is considered the most revered Hindu pilgrimage site as it is one of the 108 Divya Desams.
As all these pilgrimage spots are perched on the mountain peaks of the Himalayas, the region stays inaccessible for tourists. Due to heavy snowfall and unbearable climatic conditions, these shrines are opened to the public only during the months of May to October. Massive arrangements are made by Uttarakhand Tourism & Shrine Boards so that pilgrims get all the facilities. The best time to take Char Dham Yatra is anytime between the aforementioned months.
Haridwar is the best place from where you can embark upon a spiritual sojourn to Char Dham pilgrimage tour. Haridwar is well connected to the capital city, Delhi as well as other major cities of India. The State Tourism board has simplified the most enduring Char Dham Yatra by Helicopter services so that pilgrims of all age groups can pay homage to the shrines.
We are taking Haridwar as the base as it is the gateway to Char Dham Yatra.
Jolly Grant Airport, Dehradun is the nearest airport which is 55kms from Haridwar. There are regular flights from Delhi and the aerodrome has good connectivity with other major cities of India as well. From there you can take a road journey via state buses or cabs.
Haridwar is the main railhead in Uttarakhand which is well connected to all parts of India. The railway station of Haridwar falls under the Moradabad Northern Railway zone and has regular trains from all cities of India.
Interstate buses ply from all towns in Uttarakhand. You can reach Gangotri and Yamunotri from Dehradun, Haridwar, or Rishikesh via state transport buses. Kedarnath is just 25km away from Gangotri but there are no buses on that route. You can cover the distance via cab. From Gaurikund-Kedarnath, you can get direct buses to Badrinath.
Haridwar - Barkot (211km) - Yamunotri (31.8km) - Barkot - Gangotri (180km)- Uttarkashi (95km) - Sitapur (212km) - Gaurikund (14km trek) - Kedarnath - Rudraprayag (75km) - Badrinath (160km) - Birhi (95km) - Rishikesh (160km) - Haridwar
After reaching Haridwar, you can take a bus or a cab to your onward destination. You can pick any of the tour packages with Adotrip and get exciting deals. Be ready for hassle-free traveling. With us, nothing is far!