Chardham Yatra of Uttarakhand

Chardham of Uttarakhand

The Chardham Yatra in Uttarakhand, India, represents a sacred pilgrimage circuit that includes four revered destinations: Yamunotri, Gangotri, Kedarnath, and Badrinath. Nestled in the pristine Himalayan region, this spiritual journey begins at Yamunotri, tracing the origin of the Yamuna River. Pilgrims then proceed to Gangotri, the source of the Ganges, before embarking on a path leading to Kedarnath, home to one of Lord Shiva’s holiest shrines. The pilgrimage culminates at Badrinath, dedicated to Lord Vishnu. Alongside the spiritual significance, Chardham offers a mesmerizing expedition through diverse landscapes, reflecting the natural beauty of Uttarakhand’s lofty mountains, ancient forests, and sacred rivers. This sacred yatra attracts devotees seeking not only spiritual solace but also a profound connection with the Himalayan divinity.

Chardham of Uttarakhand

Yamunotri Dham

Yamunotri, nestled in the Garhwal Himalayas, is one of the holiest shrines in Hinduism. It marks the origin of the Yamuna River and is renowned for its ancient temple dedicated to the goddess Yamuna. Pilgrims embark on a challenging trek to reach this sacred site, where the pristine surroundings and the hot springs add to the spiritual experience.

Gangotri Dham

Gangotri, situated in the state of Uttarakhand, holds immense religious significance as the source of the holy Ganges River. The Gangotri Temple, dedicated to Goddess Ganga, attracts pilgrims seeking purification through the river’s sacred waters. The picturesque surroundings, including the Bhagirathi mountain range, enhance the spiritual ambiance of this revered pilgrimage site.

Kedarnath Dham

Kedarnath Temple

Kedarnath, perched at an altitude of over 11,755 feet in the Garhwal Himalayas, is home to the ancient Kedarnath Temple dedicated to Lord Shiva. Pilgrims face a challenging trek or opt for a helicopter ride to reach this sacred abode. Surrounded by snow-capped peaks, the temple exudes tranquility and spirituality, offering a profound experience for devotees.

Badrinath Dham

Badrinath, situated in the Chamoli district of Uttarakhand, is a significant pilgrimage site dedicated to Lord Vishnu. The Badrinath Temple, nestled between the Nar and Narayana mountain ranges, is one of the Char Dham destinations. The temple’s intricate architecture and the backdrop of majestic peaks create a divine atmosphere, drawing devotees from far and wide to seek blessings and spiritual solace.


The Chardham Yatra is more than a pilgrimage; it is a spiritual sojourn that traverses the realms of devotion and transcendence. The term “Chardham” signifies the four abodes of the divine, and undertaking this sacred journey is believed to purify the soul, wash away sins, and pave the way for spiritual liberation (moksha). Each shrine holds its unique religious prominence – Yamunotri dedicated to Goddess Yamuna, Gangotri to Goddess Ganga, Kedarnath to Lord Shiva, and Badrinath to Lord Vishnu. Pilgrims undertaking the Chardham Yatra embark on a transformative expedition seeking divine blessings and spiritual fulfillment.

History and Legends

The roots of the Chardham Yatra extend back to the 8th century when Adi Shankaracharya, a revered philosopher and theologian, established these sacred shrines to reinvigorate the Hindu faith. Each shrine carries its own historical and mythological narratives:


  • The legend holds that Yamunotri is the origin of the Yamuna River, and a sacred dip in its waters is believed to cleanse one of their sins.


  • Associated with the myth of King Bhagirath, who undertook severe penance to bring the Ganga River to Earth, purifying the souls of his ancestors.


  • Kedarnath is believed to be the site where Lord Shiva granted the Pandavas salvation after the Kurukshetra War.


  • Legend has it that Badrinath is where Lord Vishnu meditated, with the goddess Mahalakshmi transforming into a berry (badri) to provide him shade.

Best Time to Visit

The Chardham Yatra is accessible only for a limited period due to the challenging weather conditions in the Himalayan region. The recommended time for undertaking the pilgrimage is from April to November, with specific months for each shrine:

  • Yamunotri: April/May to October/November
  • Gangotri: April/May to October/November
  • Kedarnath: April/May to October/November
  • Badrinath: April/May to October/November

Opening and Closing Dates

The Chardham shrines, comprising Kedarnath, Badrinath, Gangotri, and Yamunotri, open annually during the arrival of summer in April-May and conclude their pilgrimage season as winter sets in during October-November. Pilgrims have the opportunity to visit these sacred sites from April to May until October to November. Subsequently, the shrines close for the winter season, and worship continues at their designated winter abodes.

Yamunotri Temple


  • Opening: 22 April 2023
  • Closing: 15 Nov 2023


  • Opening: 22 April 2023
  • Closing: 14 Nov 2023


  • Opening: 25 April 2023
  • Closing: 15 Nov 2023


  • Opening: 27 April 2023
  • Closing: 18 Nov 2023

How to Reach

Reaching the Chardham shrines involves a combination of road, air, and trekking routes, depending on the specific shrine. Here’s a general guide on how to reach the Chardham destinations:

Badrinath Temple


By Road:

  • Rishikesh to Badrinath: Approximately 298 km.
  • Haridwar to Badrinath: Approximately 320 km.

By Air:

  • Jolly Grant Airport in Dehradun to Badrinath (by road): Approximately 315 km.

By Helicopter:

  • Helicopter services available from Phata and Dehradun.


By Road:

  • Rishikesh to Gaurikund: trek or use pony services to Kedarnath (211 kms) (trek distance- 16kms)

By Helicopter:


By Road:

  • Rishikesh to Gangotri: Approximately 270 km.

By Air:

  • Jolly Grant Airport in Dehradun to Gangotri (by road): Approximately 250 km.


By Road:

  • Rishikesh to Yamunotri: Approximately 232 km.

By Air:

  • Jolly Grant Airport in Dehradun to Yamunotri (by road): Approximately 215 km.

Chardham Route Map

The pilgrimage begins with a visit to Yamunotri, reached from Barkot, leading pilgrims to the source of the Yamuna River. Subsequently, the route proceeds to Gangotri, the origin of the Ganges, via Uttarkashi. Continuing the sacred odyssey, pilgrims head towards Kedarnath, navigating through Rudraprayag and Gaurikund, with the final leg being a trek or helicopter ride to the revered Kedarnath shrine. The pilgrimage concludes at Badrinath, reached via Rudraprayag, Karnaprayag, and Joshimath, offering spiritual seekers the chance to pay homage to Lord Vishnu in this revered Himalayan abode. The Chardham route not only spans breathtaking landscapes but also encompasses profound cultural and religious significance. Here’s a general route map for the Chardham Yatra:

Gangotri Temple


  • The trek starts from Hanuman Chatti
  • Route: Hanuman Chatti → Phool Chatti → Janki Chatti
  • Distance: Approximately 6 km


  • Easily accessible by road from Rishikesh
  • Distance: About 300 km from Rishikesh


  • The trek starts from Gaurikund
  • Route: Gaurikund → Rambara → Linchauli
  • Distance: Approximately 16 km (trek)


  • Well-connected by road.
  • Distance: About 320 km from Rishikesh

Route Summary

  • Start from Rishikesh or Haridwar to Barkot.
  • Barkot to Yamunotri.
  • Return from Yamunotri to Barkot.
  • Barkot to Uttarkashi.
  • Uttarkashi to Gangotri.
  • Return from Gangotri to Uttarkashi.
  • Uttarkashi to Rudraprayag.
  • Rudraprayag to Gaurikund.
  • Gaurikund to Kedarnath (trek or helicopter).
  • Return from Kedarnath to Gaurikund.
  • Gaurikund to Rudraprayag.
  • Rudraprayag to Karnaprayag.
  • Karnaprayag to Joshimath.
  • Joshimath to Badrinath.
  • Badrinath to Srinagar
  • Srinagar to Haridwar


Accommodations at Chardham destinations vary in terms of comfort and facilities. Pilgrims have several options ranging from budget to premium accommodations. Here are some common types of accommodations available at Chardham destinations:

Hotels and Guesthouses:

  • Each of the Chardham destinations, such as Badrinath, Kedarnath, Gangotri, and Yamunotri, has hotels and guesthouses catering to different budgets. These range from basic facilities to more comfortable options.

Dharamshalas and Ashrams

  • Many pilgrims prefer staying in dharamshalas (charitable guesthouses) and ashrams that provide basic accommodation facilities at reasonable rates. These are often run by religious organizations.

GMVN (Garhwal Mandal Vikas Nigam) Guesthouses

  • GMVN operates guesthouses in various locations along the Chardham Yatra route. These guesthouses offer decent accommodation with essential amenities.

Tents and Camps

  • In some areas, especially during peak pilgrimage seasons, temporary tented accommodations and camps are set up to cater to the increasing number of visitors.

Chardham Camps

  • Some private operators set up luxury camps in the vicinity of Chardham destinations, providing a more comfortable and scenic stay for pilgrims.

Budget Accommodations

  • Budget hotels and lodges are available in towns and villages along the yatra route, providing economical options for pilgrims.

Online Booking Platforms

  • Various online platforms allow pilgrims to book accommodations in advance, providing a convenient option for planning the journey.

Travel Tips

Plan in Advance

  • Plan your itinerary well in advance, considering the dates of the yatra season and weather conditions.

Health Check-up

  • Consult a healthcare professional before embarking on the journey, especially if you have pre-existing health conditions. Carry necessary medications and a basic first aid kit.

Weather-appropriate Clothing

  • Pack clothing suitable for varying weather conditions, including warm layers for cold temperatures and rain gear.

Comfortable Footwear

  • Wear comfortable and sturdy footwear, especially if you plan to trek to the shrines.

Stay Hydrated

  • Carry a water bottle and stay hydrated, as the higher altitudes can lead to dehydration.


  • Gradually acclimatize to the higher altitudes to reduce the risk of altitude sickness. Take breaks and avoid overexertion.

Local Cuisine

  • Enjoy local cuisine, but be mindful of hygiene. Avoid consuming raw or uncooked food and drink bottled or purified water.

Cash and Essentials

  • Carry sufficient cash, as ATM facilities may be limited in remote areas. Keep essential documents, including identification and permits.


Capture the beautiful landscapes, but be respectful of local customs and restrictions on photography in certain areas.

Respect Local Customs

  • Respect local customs, traditions, and religious sentiments. Dress modestly when visiting religious sites.

Emergency Contact Information:

  • Keep a list of emergency contact numbers, including local authorities, medical services, and your embassy or consulate.

Check Road Conditions

  • Stay informed about the condition of roads, especially in hilly terrain, and be prepared for potential delays due to weather or maintenance.

Travel Insurance

  • Consider purchasing travel insurance that covers medical emergencies, trip cancellations, and other unforeseen events.

Environment Conservation

  • Practice responsible tourism by minimizing your environmental impact. Avoid littering and follow the “Leave No Trace” principles.


  • Inform a reliable person about your travel plans and keep them updated regularly, especially if you are traveling alone.


The Chardham Yatra in Uttarakhand is not just a pilgrimage; it’s a celestial odyssey through the heart of the Himalayas, weaving together spirituality, history, and breathtaking landscapes. Pilgrims, in embarking on this sacred journey, seek not only divine blessings but also an inner transformation. The Chardham Yatra stands as a testament to the unwavering faith and the spiritual resilience of those who traverse these sacred realms, experiencing a profound connection with the divine. This pilgrimage is more than a physical expedition; it is a spiritual sojourn that transcends the boundaries of the material world, leaving an indelible mark on the souls of those fortunate enough to undertake it.


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