Overview of Chardham Yatra
Uttarakhand, the beautiful part of North India, is famous for its breathtaking beauty with skyscraper mountains, dense forests, and vast valleys, all wrapped up in the embrace of a rich culture and serene nature. Adding to the uniquenesses of peace, natural beauty and rich culture of this state, Uttarakhand is showered with all the divine blessings through four Hindu holy pilgrimage sites, known as the Chota Char Dham Yatra of India, which are Badrinath, Kedarnath, Gangotri and Yamunotri.
All these places are in the Garhwal region of Uttarakhand, surrounded by the beautiful Himalayas. According to the beliefs of Hinduism, every person should visit Char Dham Yatra at least once in his lifetime. Earlier, people used to go on Char Dham Yatra only in old age, but nowadays, people of all ages go on this Yatra to seek blessings from the gods and find peace. In fact, people from different religions and cultures from across India and all over the world visit these holy places to seek divine blessings and explore the beauty of Uttarakhand. It is a unique and transforming journey that many people find genuinely amazing.
In this comprehensive travel guide, we will provide insights into the history, significance, itinerary, and practical aspects of undertaking the sacred Chardham Yatra.
History and Importance of Char Dham Yatra
The Main Chardham is a set of four religious Hindu sites in India, which include Badrinath, Dwarka, Puri and Rameshwaram. However, there is another group of four ancient pilgrimage sites in the Indian state of Uttarakhand, including Yamunotri, Gangotri, Kedarnath and Badrinath, called Chota Chardham.
Uttarakhand, also known as Devbhoomi (Land of the Gods), lives up to the name. The Hindi word ‘Chardham’ comprises two words: ‘ char’ means four, and ‘dham’ denotes highly revered religious places. The Chardham Yatra (Teerth Yatra) in Uttarakhand traces its roots to the ancient Hindu scriptures, where the four sacred sites are believed to be the abodes of various deities.
Yamunotri is dedicated to Goddess Yamuna, Gangotri to Goddess Ganga, Kedarnath to Lord Shiva, and Badrinath to Lord Vishnu. Pilgrims undertake this journey with determination, devotion, humility and faith to seek divine blessings, free themselves from sins and attain moksha (spiritual salvation).
The best time to visit
The best time for the Chota Char Dham Yatra is from April to June, offering pleasant weather and blooming landscapes. While early summer can still offer suitable weather for the pilgrimage, it’s important to note that the monsoon season begins by mid-July. The Monsoon season (July to September) may bring heavy rainfall and landslides, affecting travel plans. Therefore, pilgrims should avoid their visit during this. However, the landscapes are vibrant, and the atmosphere remains spiritually charged.
Post-monsoon (September to October) provides clear skies, which is considered another favourable time for the Chota Char Dham Yatra. During winter months, Chhota Char Dham shrines are closed due to heavy snowfall and extremely cold temperatures. With the arrival of summer, Charodham is again opened for worship, where devotees from far and wide set out on their spiritual journey with the same zeal, devotion and enthusiasm.
Chardham Yatra Itinerary:
Traditionally, the Chardham Yatra starts from the west and moves towards the east. Pilgrims usually first go to Yamunotri and Gangotri, where they bring holy water from the sources of the Yamuna and Ganga rivers. Then, continuing their pilgrimage, they visit the Kedarnath Temple, offer holy water to Lord Shiva, and finally reach Badrinath Temple, the abode of Lord Vishnu. Here is an itinerary of routes to follow and places visited during the Chardham yatra:
Start your journey from Yamunotri, located in the Garhwal region of Uttarakhand.
Reach Hanuman Chatti and trek to Yamunotri, where the Yamuna River originates.
Visit Yamunotri Temple and Surya Kund, a natural thermal spring.
From Yamunotri, travel to Gangotri, the origin of the river Ganges.
Visit Gangotri Temple and take a dip in the holy Bhagirathi River.
Explore the picturesque surroundings and experience the divine atmosphere.
Proceed towards Kedarnath, one of the twelve Jyotirlingas dedicated to Lord Shiva.
Reach Gaurikund and trek to Kedarnath or use any means of transportation.
Worship at the Kedarnath temple and visit holy sites like the nearby Bhairavnath temple.
End the journey at Badrinath dedicated to Lord Vishnu.
Visit the Badrinath Temple, Tapt Kund and Mana, the last village before the India-Tibet border.
Take a holy dip in the Alaknanda River and witness the mesmerizing beauty of Neelkantha Peak.
Chardham Yatra Travel Tips
Here are some tips to help you plan and prepare for your Chardham Yatra:
Plan and book accommodations in advance, especially during peak pilgrimage seasons.
Carry necessary medications, warm clothing, and comfortable trekking gear.
Be prepared for varying weather conditions, and stay updated on local news for any travel advisories.
Assess your physical fitness before the trip, as parts of the pilgrimage involve trekking or walking. Consult a health care professional if necessary.
Carry your valid proof of ID with you at all times. It is a mandatory requirement while registering for the Yatra.
Chardham Yatra Transportation:
Dehradun and Haridwar serve as the major gateways to the Chardham Yatra.
Roads connect these cities with pilgrimage sites, and various transport options, including buses and taxis, are available. You can avail of varied options of Chardham yatra packages such as:
Delhi Kedarnath Tour Packages
Chardham Yara from Haridwar by Car, and even
Helicopter services are also available for those seeking more convenient and time-efficient travel.
Char Dham Yatra is indeed difficult and challenging, but it truly gives a soul-satisfying experience. Wish you a safe and comfortable Chardham Yatra.