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The Four Pilgrimage Sites of Chardham Yatra Located in the Lap of Garhwal Himalayas

Spirituality is a deep-rooted concept in Hinduism. Moksha is a major part of it. Every Hindu wishes to achieve it in this lifetime. One way of achieving moksha is going through challenging pilgrimages. Ever since the ancient ages, devotees make their way to Char Dham temples of Kedarnath, Badrinath, Gangotri, and Yamunotri to gain moksha. The yatra was established by Adi Shankaracharya during the 8th century. It was an attempt for him to re-ignite the feeling of oneness among Hindus from all over the world. The term Char Dham literally translates into 4 of the holiest ancient temples. People believe that going for ‘darshan’ to these temples will offer salvation. Gracing the lap of Garhwal Himalayas the pilgrimage to Char Dham Temples is an experience of a lifetime.

Every year the temples open for Darshan during the holy eve of Akshaya Tritiya. It remains open for Darshan for 6 months before shutting down on Diwali and Dussehra. Although a challenging pilgrimage, Chardham Yatra is now made more accessible thanks to the government’s efforts.

Uttarakhand Chardham Yatra

Badrinath Temple

badrinath temple - chardham Yatra

Located at a height of 3415 meters in the Garhwal hills and on the bank of the Alaknanda River, Badrinath temple is one of the most famous shrines of Chardham. Along with Lord Badri, the Adinath statue is also worshipped here. This represents the common thread of spirituality that binds us all together. It is a major pilgrimage destination for both Hindus as well as Jains. Badrinath is named after the, now extinct, a tree called Badri that was prominent in the region during the ancient era. Pilgrims worship a black glistening Shaligram stone that is placed in the Garbha Griha of the temples. Vaishnavites from all over the country and across the globe visit Badrinarayan at least once in a lifetime.

Reaching Badrinath Dham is easy, especially with the Chardham Yatra by Helicopter. There are numerous buses, shared jeeps, and car rental services available from Kotdwar, Haridwar, Rishikesh, etc. many people also take their private vehicles since the road conditions are perfect.

Kedarnath Temple

kedarnath temple

Situated in the Rudraprayag district, Kedarnath is one of the holiest Shiva temples in the world. Kedarnath Dham is situated at an elevation at an altitude of 3584 m above sea level on the banks of river Mandakini. According to mythology one of the 12 forms of Lord Shiva, shaped like a “Jyotirlinga” was dropped at the hills of Mandar where the current main temple is located. Kedarnath is the highest Dham among the other Char Dham temples. It is also one of the most challenging ones to reach owing to the high altitude and a steep ascent that stretches up to 18 km.

According to religious texts, the foundation of this temple was laid by the Pandavas brothers. Due to heavy snowfall during winters, the temple shuts down for darshan. The idol of the presiding deity is shifted to his winter home at Ukhimath where the winter Char Dham Yatra continues. Some of the most popular places to visit near the Kedarnath temples are Kedarnath Gufa, Gandhi Sarovar, Vasuki Tal, Gaurikund, Sonprayag, Triyuginarayan, Guptkashi, Chopta Tungnath, Panch Kedar and many more.

Gangotri Temple

Gangotri

Gangotri Dham is located in the district of Uttarkashi on the banks of the holy Bhagirathi River. The temple is a humble marble structure and is surrounded by splendid lush greenery and snow-capped peaks. The temple is believed to mark the original place of origin of the Ganga River.

Gangotri has to be one of the most easily reachable temples out of all the Char Dham temples. The roads leading up to Gangotri are in good condition. Situated on a comfortable elevation, Gangotri Dham temples are a treat for the soul. Although the first temple was established by Adi Shankaracharya during the 8th century the current temple structure was built during the 18th century.

Just like the other temples of the Char Dham circuit, Gangotri Dham also shuts down for the winter months. The idol of the goddess is transferred to Mukhba village at a lower and more comfortable elevation.

Yamunotri Temple

yamunotri temple

Located at an elevation of 3164 meters above sea level and in the Uttarkashi district, the Yamunotri temple marks the origin point of the holy Yamuna River. It is the only place where the devotees can experience the soothing combination of hot and cold environments. the chilled Himalayan winds are soothed by the presence of natural hot water springs that dot the region. These springs are very holy and are used by the devotees to not only take a holy dip but also to prepare the holy Prasadam for the visitors.

As per traditions, Yamunotri Dham temples are the starting point of the Chardham Yatra circuit. There are local and private bus services, jeeps, and car rental services available from Rishikesh. The actual temple is accessible by 13 kilometers trek from Hanuman Chatti and a six-kilometer walk from Janki Chatti.

Read More: Explore Kedarkantha Trek

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