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A DETAILED GUIDE ON CHAR DHAM YATRA

Introduction

The Char Dham Yatra is a popular tourist attraction in India that consists of visiting 4 holy spots in India. This Yatra is especially famous among the Hindus and is widely revered as a holy place. They believe that this yatra opens the gate of salvation by washing away all their sins. They consider this journey as religiously important and believe one should undertake it at least once in a lifetime. These four places are located in the state of Uttarakhand which is considered as the or the land of Gods.

The four temples in this whole Yatra are as follows, it is to be visited in the following order:

1.Yamunotri:

This is the first shrine lodged in a narrow Gorge close to the source of the river Yamuna. This river is considered to be a sacred river and the shrine is situated in the Uttarakhand district.

The story of Yumunotri revolves around the God of Death in Hindu Mythology, Yamraj and Yamuna, the sister of Yamraj. Once on the occasion of Bhai Dooj he had promised Yamuna that whoever takes a bath in the Yamuna river will be excused from being taken to Yamlok. The person will attain salvation. So, pilgrims take a dip in the river and visit from all over the country. There are several thermal springs in this place too known as kunds of Hindu Goddess Shakti.

2. Gangotri:

This temple is devoted to Goddess Ganga, the most sacred river of India. It is the second Destination of the Chardham circuit. The most popular ploace of the Gangotri Dham is Gomukh. This is the originating point of the holy river Ganga. The stone on which the mythological king Bhagirath meditated is located near Ganga Temple in Gangotri. The pilgrims usually begin their pilgrimage after taking a dip in this holy river.

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3. Kedarnath:

This the most popular Temple in the entire country. Quite difficult to reach, hindus consider this to be the most liberating journeys. This is the third destination of the Chardham circuit. According to the legend the Pandavas meditated here after the war of Mahabharatha to attain salovation from their sins. This temple was built in the 8th century BC by Adi Shakaracharya, the holy Saint. This temple is believed to have been built 1200 years ago. Here Lord Shiva is worshipped as the main deity.

4. Badrinath:

This temple is dedicated to Lord Vishnu who sat here to meditate, unaware of the freezing cold here. This is the fourth shrine of the Chardham. Followed by this, he was protecyted by Goddess Lakshmi who stood above his head in the form of a Badri tree. Vishnu then named this place as the Badrika Ashram.

You need to visit these four temples in the following order.

SHORT ITINERARY

It is preferable to drive to Haridwar from Delhi. Enjoy the evening aarti on the banks of Ganga for the day and check in a hotel.

Next day, set out for Yamunotri, via Barkot. This spot will be the beginning of the pahar yatra. This trek passes through valleys with thick greenery, having a coniferous vegetation and several Shrubs.

Yamunotri, situated at a height of 3,291 meters, is the Western most shrine of the Chardham. Do pooja in the temple and make sure you take a holy dip in the river.

From here, you can drive till Gangotri in the Garhwal Himalayas. This place is situated at a height of 3048 meters.

The next stop is the very famous temple of Kedarnath. The distance between these two places is approximately 408 Kilometers by road. Take a car or book buses, you can also take flights till the airport od Jolly Grant.

In here apart from the temple you can also check out some other places like Chandrapuri, Anusuya Temple, Gandhi Sarovar, Deoria Tal, Vasuki Tal etc.

The next and the final destination is Badrinath. For this place from Kedarnath, you can avail a bus or a taxi or bus from Sonprayag. The total 112 kms. You will also find another lesser-known route via Rudraprayag that is 224 kms long.

BEST TIME TO VISIT

The safest season to embark on this journey without any struggles is between April till beginning of June. The temperature and the weather is not very harsh during these months. Avoid visiting the place for the monsoon season as deadly landslides poses a big threat.

The cost per person is a bit high but the cost depends on how you are going to plan your itinerary.  So, make the plans accordingly, avail the local transport or go hitchhiking in some places to maintain your budget. Now, that you are ready, have a happy journey.

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