High in the Garhwali Himalaya, which is also known as the land of divine beings in the old Hindu folklore, sit some of the holiest sites in the Hindu religion – Yamunotri, Gangotri, Kedarnath, and Badrinath – where temples mark the spiritual wellsprings of four holy rivers: The Yamuna, the Ganges, the Mandakini and the Alaknanda. Together, they make up one of the most significant pilgrimage circuits in all of India, known as the Char Dham.
Every year, between April and November, a huge number of worshippers travel on the bold hair-raising mountain streets and high-elevation trails to reach this sacred site. These devout places lie in the rugged regions of the territory of Uttrakhand and visiting them is accepted to bring Moksha or extreme salvation for the devotees. India is a country which is loaded with the vacationer charms. In this nation, the spiritual convictions, cultural values and heritage wonders are the real reasons that impact the explorers to plan an expedition. The place that is known for temples with a lot of sacred destinations, India is without a doubt a heaven for the seekers of serenity and spirituality.
The Char Dham Yatra is well-known for aeons now. Truth be told, these places have been described in the sacrosanct sacred writings as those places where aficionados could gain the virtues of all the pilgrimages put together. This yatra can be effectively called as a standout amongst the most prominent journey circuits of India. Consistently, around a similar time, the courses to the Chardham or the four most hallowed spots of the Indian Himalayas are opened for the travellers to trek to. Aside from the religious viewpoint related to it, this journey additionally goes about as an extraordinary fascination for travellers since it takes one through the most delightful regions of Uttarakhand’s mountains.
Some facts about the Char Dham Yatra
- According to ancient texts, the Char Dham Yatra consists of travelling and offering prayers at the seven sacred locations, namely, Badrinath, Kedarnath, Gangotri, and Yamunotri in Uttarakhand, Dwarka in Gujarat, Rameshwaram in Tamil Nadu, and Puri in Odisha.
- The far off ranges of these temples makes it hard for most Indians to cover all these seven sacred sites. Thus, a greater part of Hindus decides on what is regularly alluded as the “Chota Char Dham Yatra”. This journey covers the four holy places in Uttarakhand.
- Several travel companies now term this pilgrimage in Uttarakhand as “the Char Dham Yatra”, as it covers four shrines. You can embark on this sacred yatra with Sumeru Holidays.
- The holy yatra consists of a Parikrama, a sacred pilgrimage from West to East. It starts from Yamunotri Temple, lying in the west of Garhwal, and the worshippers travel to Gangotri Temple. From here, they embark to Kedarnath Temple and the Parikrama finally ends at Badrinath Temple, which lies in the east of the region.
Let’s known the Char Dham sites in detail:
Relaxing in a heavenly setting in the shadow of snow-bested Nilkantha, Badrinath Temple shows up nearly lost in the towns that encompass it. Sacred to Lord Vishnu, this magnificently painted temple is the most effectively accessible and mainstream of the char dham temples. It was established by Guru Shankara in the 8th century, however, the present structure is significantly more recent. Badrinath is located at the height of 3,133 m. The Badrinath shrine is situated in the Narnarayan range against the wonderful Neelkanth top. The living god at the Badrinath temple is Shri Badrinathji. The Badrinath temple is also located around the wonderful valley on the bank of River Alaknanda. Underneath the Badrinath temple are the hot springs (Tapt Kund and Surya Kund) with waters at a temperature of 55°C. There are four different places of worship close to Badrinath’s holy place. They are Yogadhyan Badri, Bhavishya Badri, Bridha Badri and Adi Badri. Not a long way from the Badrinath sanctuary is the wonderful valley of blossoms and the Hemkund Lake. As indicated by legends, Guru Govind Singh, the tenth Guru of the Sikhs, contemplated the banks of this Lake.
A picturesque 3km stroll past Badrinath along the Alaknanda River, past fields isolated by dry-stone dividers, prompts small yet alluring Mana Village. The town is packed with stone laneways and conventional houses, some with slate dividers and rooftops while others are wooden with charming overhangs. Meander around and watch townspeople at work and play in summer; inhabitants head someplace hotter and less remote – typically Joshimath.
Tucked at the base of 6970m peaks, 18km from the closest street, Kedarnath is the most breathtaking of the four char dham temples. On a sunny morning, you’ll see the sky-scratching, snow-covered summits that overshadow the temple sometime before you reach there. Devoted to Shiva, Kedarnath temple is respected by Hindus, and pioneers venture from all over India to take the long trek up. To reach the temple you will have to stroll close by them on the stone-cleared pathway carved into the lofty slants of the ravine cut by the Mandakini, following the waterway upstream.
As per legends, the Pandavas came here to go to Lord Shiva after the extraordinary battle of Kurukshetra to make up for slaughtering their own precious ones in the war. It is said that Lord Shiva continued evading the Pandavas and looked for asylum at Kedarnath as a bull. On being sought after, he dove into the ground, with his protuberance uncovered on the earth. Legends have it that his arms surfaced at Tungnath, his face at Rudranath, gut at Madmaheshwar, his hair and head at Kalpeshwar. These spots where he returned structure the Panch Kedar. The present Kedarnath sanctuary is said to have been restored by Adi Guru Shankaracharya.
In a remote setting at an elevation of 3042m, Gangotri is one of the holiest places in India. In addition to the fact that it is home to one of the four char dham temples, yet it’s the passage town for the trek to the wellspring of the Ganges. The Gangotri glacier mass is the original source of river Ganga. There is a temple dedicated to Goddess Ganga and the sacrosanct stone where King Bhagirath is accepted to have venerated Lord Shiva. There is a characteristic Shivlinga submerged in the waterway (It is trusted that Lord Shiva got the Ganges here).
For a site of such allure, Gangotri Temple is shockingly underwhelming. Except if you’re a passionate Hindu, to get a genuine feeling of wonderment you’ll presumably need to trek from Gangotri to the genuine wellspring of the waterway, at Gaumukh, 18km upstream. Gangotri town itself is a touristy pedestrianized piece of guesthouses, cafés and shops selling woollen garments.
Yamunotri is a significant pilgrim as well as a vacationer place. The hallowed place of Yamunotri is situated at a tallness of around 3,235 m and is devoted to the stream Goddess, Yamuna. Yamunotri Temple is taken care of a tight chasm near the wellspring of the Yamuna, Hinduism’s second-most holy stream after the Ganges. The principle pioneer place at Yamunotri is the temple of Goddess Yamuna. There are numerous boiling water springs in the region of the sanctuary. Yamunotri is the least visited and in this way least created of the char dham locales, however, once you get to the trailhead it’s a simple trek in.
It is a typical misguided judgment among the general population that the Char Dham visit is just for the old matured Hindus. This confusion disappears when an explorer begins his or her visit. A visitor begins accepting and encountering that the lovers of all age groups similarly enjoy the tour, which isn’t just brimming with spirituality, but also an intriguing experience!