Char Dham is a soul-enriching and a cherished dream of all Hindu devout. The Char Dham yatra holds a great significance in Hinduism which includes four holiest shrines of Hindus Kedarnath, Badrinath, Gangotri, and Yamunotri which are settled in different directions of the state and dedicated to different gods and goddesses. Amongst these four holy shrines, Kedarnath is dedicated to Lord Shiva and is also counted among 12 Jyotirlingas of the country, Badrinath is dedicated to Lord Vishnu, Yamunotri is a holy abode of Goddess Yamuna, and Gangotri is dedicated to River Ganga. Each of the pilgrimage spots has its individual and amazing history due to which devotees from all across the globe come and offer their prayer. Yet, maybe it is the significance and supernatural quality of each site that has qualified them to frame a consecrated journey visit. This sacred yatra of Hindus generally gets completed within 10-11 days but nowadays many devotees prefer visiting Chardham yatra by helicopter and complete their pious journey within 2 days only.
Yamunotri Dham– The originating place of the second holy river in India which is situated in the Uttarkashi district of Uttarakhand and is the first stopover in the pilgrimage circuit. There is a strong belief among Hindu devotees that if they take bath in this holy river then they can prevent themselves from an untimely and painful death and even cleanses all the committed sins. Devotees take bath in the hot water springs of the present at the Dham.
Legend– As per a very popular Hindu legend, Sage Asit Muni had a deep devotion in Goddess Ganga and the Yamuna and he used to take bath daily in both Ganga and Yamuna River. At the point when he gained his seniority he could not go to River Ganga then a stream of River Ganga showed up as Yamunotri for him to take bathe.
Places to visit around Yamunotri-
A temple dedicated to Goddess Yamuna whose main sanctum holds a black marbled astonishing deity of goddess Yamuna. The temple was constructed by the queen of Jaipur Maharani Gularia in the 19th century after which the temple had been destroyed many times due to harsh climatic conditions. However, the original shrine was built on the left seashore of the River Yamuna and by Maharaja Pratap Shah of Tehri Garhwal.
Temple Timing- 6 am-8pm
Aarti Timing– 6:30pm-7:30pm
Saptrishi Kund– it is the first wellspring of Yamuna River bolstered by Champasar Glacier arranged in the upper pieces of the massif made by Banderpunch Mountain and is located at a distance of 10 km from the Yamunotri Temple. this dark blue colored lake is around half km in diameter and you can spot the naturally created slate stones on the banks of the Kund.
An alternative trekking base to Yamunotri which seems like a close sister of Hanuman Chatti is commonly known for its hot water springs. The region lies near to Indo-China border and is beautifully adorned with mountains on all sides. Pony and Palanquin rides are available for the tourists visiting the place.
it is a powerful rock pillar situated near Yamunotri temple and as per the ritual, devotees offer their prayers and homage to this slab of divine light and then enter the Yamunotri temple.
Gangotri– A holy abode of Goddess Ganga who is believed to have descended on the earth to exonerate the sins of humans. This sacred pilgrimage site is situated in the Uttarkashi district of Uttarakhand which is frequented by millions of devotees every year coming from all over the world. The site is located at an elevation of 3100 meters above the sea level and on the banks of the Bhagirathi River.
Legend– According to Hindu mythology, King Bhagirath performed his penance and pleased Lord Shiva to send River Ganga on earth. However, it is believed that due to Ganga’s pride Lord Shiva trapped her in his matted hair so that she would not devastate the earth. There is a sacred stone nearby the Gangotri Temple represents the first place where Ganga came down on the earth and this is how Ganga is also called by Bhagirathi.
Places to visit in Gangotri-
The origin of the temple was done in the 18th century by Gorkha General Amar Singh Thapa. This religious site of Char Dham yatra which is dedicated to Goddess Ganga is located in the Uttarkashi district of Uttarakhand and at an elevation of 3100 meters above the sea level. Since mythology till the present time, River Ganga holds a high place among Hindus and is known as a divine source of purity.
Temple Timing– 6:30 am-2:00 pm and 3:00pm-9:30 pm
Kedar Tal– This pristine and a crystal clear lake is situated in the Uttarkashi district of Uttarakhand and at a great elevation of 4,912 meters above the sea level. It is counted among one of the most wonderful creations of God and is considered as a blissful trekking destination of 17 km. This beautiful lake is formed by the melting of Kedar glacier which then gives birth to Kedar Ganga.
Surya Kund– According to Hindu legends, River Yamuna is believed to be the daughter of Sun God and so how the place got its name and its religious significance. The kund is located very near to the Gangotri Temple (at a distance of 500 meters).
This is one of the most legendary temples located in the Uttarkashi district of Uttarakhand and is located at a walking distance from the Uttarkashi bus stand. This beautiful and sacred temple is dedicated to Lord Shiva where thousands of devotees flock to pay their offerings and homage.
Kedarnath Dham-It is considered as one of the most remote pilgrimage destinations in the Char Dham yatra and is located in the Rudraprayag district of Uttarakhand. This revered Dham is located near the head of Mandakini River in the Himalayas and is beautifully surrounded by imposing mountain peaks, snow-clad mountains, and the lush green meadows. The Dham is dedicated to Lord Shiva and has been named after King Kedar who ruled in the Satya Yuga.
Legend– As per a very popular legend, the two incarnations of Lord Vishnu (Nar and Narayan) meditated in the front of a Shivalingam in Badrikashraya. Their deep meditation pleased Lord Shiva and he granted them a boon. Nar and Narayan requested Lord Shiva to take a permanent seat in the form of a Jyotirlinga. There are myriads of legends behind the origin of Kedarnath.
Places to visit In Kedarnath-
The temple is dedicated to Lord Shiva and is also counted among 12 Jyotirlingas in India. Dating back to the 8th century, the temple was constructed a very popular Hindu philosopher Adi Shankaracharya in the same vicinity of the temple was originally constructed by the Pandavas. There is a conical rock formation inside the temple which is called Sadashiva and is worshipped by the devotees.
Temple Timing– From 4 am-3pm and 5pm-9 pm
Bhairon Temple– This sacred pilgrimage of Lord Shiva is situated on the eastern hills of the mountains and at the southern side of the Kedarnath Temple. The idol of this temple represents the ferocious manifestation of Lord Shiva representing destruction and devastation. The temple provides a pleasant perspective on the backwoods nourished mountains. Horses are accessible for the up-down venture in case you cannot climb up the loft stairs.
Gauri kund– This religious place is located near to Kedarnath shrine and is situated at an altitude of 1382 meters above the sea level. This heavenly spot houses an old sanctuary, which is dedicated to Goddess Parvati. As indicated by a legend, it is trusted that Parvati thought about his goal for quite a while in order to win Lord Shiva as her significant other. It is a hot water spring where devotees take a dip before entering the temple.
This beautiful temple is dedicated to Lord Vishnu and is situated in the Rudraprayag district of Uttarakhand and was constructed in the DwaaparYug by the Pandavas. It is believed to be the same place where Lord Shiva and Goddess Parvati got married. Dense forests envelop the village beautifully and enhance the glory of the place.
Badrinath Dham– This sacred Dham of Char Dham pilgrimage circuit is dedicated to Lord Badri (Vishnu) and is situated in the Chamoli district in Uttarakhand. It is located at an elevation of 3133 meters above sea level. It is situated between Nar and Narayan (incarnation of Lord Vishnu) peaks. Badrinath is the last and the most celebrated stopover in the Char Dham pilgrimage circuit. This sacred place holds a myriad of legends and each adds more glory to the religious significance.
Legend– It has numerous legends associated with it and each enhancing more glory to the temple. According to Hindu mythology, Lord Vishnu had performed deep penance at this pilgrimage. He continued his intense meditation regardless of the severe weather conditions. It is believed that Goddess Lakshmi saved her husband from the scorching heat of the sun by transforming herself in the shape of a Badri tree and spread over Lord Vishnu. Lord Vishnu was deeply pleased by her devotion and named this sacred spot after her Badrikashram.
Places to visit in and around Badrinath-
This last stopover of Lord Vishnu is surrounded by many scenic splendors and various other religious spots.
This holy abode of Lord Vishnu holds a high place among Hindus and is believed that there is no other pilgrimage place equal to Badrinath Temple. The temple is situated at an elevation of 3133 meters above the sea level and on the banks of the River Alaknanda and is believed to be established by the famous saint Adi Shankaracharya. The temple gets closed during the winter season and the idol is shifted to Joshimath.
Temple Timing– From 4:30 am- 1:00pm and 4:00pm-9:00pm
Charan Paduka– This sacred and beautiful rock is situated at a distance of 3 km from Badrinath and located at an elevation of 3380 feet above the sea level and is reckoned for having the footprints of Lord Vishnu. This is another religious destination in Badrinath which is heavily crowded with the devotees coming from all across the world.
Bheem Pul– This sacred natural stone bridge is situated at a distance of 3 km from Badrinath and is located close to Indo-Tibetan border. This magnificent bridge has been built over the Saraswati River by one of the Pandava brothers named Bheem. According to the legend, while moving to heaven Pandavas were crossing the river but their wife Draupadi couldn’t hop. So, Bheem threw a big stone in the river which helped Draupadi to cross the river.
Yogadhyan Badri Temple–
This pilgrimage spot in Badrinath is considered as one of the Seven Badris which are located at Pandukeshwar. It is a holy abode of Lord Udhava or UtsavaMurti (festival image) and is the winter abode of Lord Kuber in winters. According to a Hindu legend, the bronze idol of Lord Vishnu which is installed in this shrine was installed by King Pandu. The shrine is located near Govind Ghat in Pandukeshwar.
This natural hot water spring is situated between the holy Alaknanda river and the Badrinath shrine. This revered hot spring is located in the Chamoli district in Uttarakhand. The hot water spring of this Kund always has a temperature of around 45 degree Celsius. This is a wonder among devotees that irrespective of the heavy snowfall and the freezing temperature, the Kund always holds hot water spring.