Uttarakhand, popularly known as Devbhoomi is the home to four sacred destinations, Kedarnath, Badrinath, Gangotri and Yamunotri. Nestled along the foothills of Himalayas, these destinations are widely revered by Hindus and are considered to be the most popular pilgrimage sites in India. These sites also form the circuit of Char Dham Yatra. However, the main Char Dham Yatra revolves around four destinations – Badrinath in the north, Dwarka in the west, Puri in the east and Rameswaram in the south. Kedarnath, Badrinath, Gangotri and Yamunotri, in fact, form the small circuit of four seats or the Chhota Char Dham Yatra. With time, the popularity of these religious sites has grown and devotees from different parts of the world come to visit these pilgrimage sites in India. Therefore, to avoid confusion, the smaller circuit is now referred to as Char Dham.
It is believed that by going for a pilgrimage to these ‘dhams’, one can eliminate their sins and attain salvation. Amongst the four sites, Kedarnath is dedicated to Lord Shiva, Badrinath to Lord Vishnu, Gangotri to Goddess Ganga and Yamunotri to Goddess Yamuna. The temples located here also mark the source of four sacred rivers, i.e., Ganga, Yamuna, Mandakini and Alaknanda.
The spiritual tour starts from Dehradun and a Char Dham Yatra package covers all the four religious sites. The entire Char Dham Yatra route can be covered by helicopter. It generally takes more than a week to cover the entire circuit, but with the helicopter ride, it can be done in two days. The helicopter ride saves time and is a more comfortable way of undertaking the yatra. Flying time from one site to the other is nearly 35 to 40 minutes. Char Dham opens to pilgrims in the month of May and the yatra takes place only during a specific time of the year. The soaring Himalayas on top and the meandering rivers beneath, and cool breeze and unpolluted air surrounding you, the Char Dham Yatra by helicopter is going to be one of the most enthralling journeys of your life.
First stop of Char Dham Yatra: Gangotri
Gangotri is where river Ganga descended from heaven when Lord Shiva released it from the lock of his hair. Gangotri is the origin of river Ganges and the holy seat of Goddess Ganga. It is situated at an altitude of around 3100 metres in the greater Himalayan range on the banks of Bhagirathi River. The temple town is known for the Gangotri temple built by Nepalese general Amar Singh Thapa. Some other religious places to visit near the temple are Gaumukh, Pandava Gufa, Suryakund and Bhagirath Shila. Gangotri temple remains closed during winter due to heavy snowfall.
April to June and September to November are the ideal times for a visit. Gangotri receives heavy rainfall during monsoon and heavy snowfall during winter. It is good to avoid a trip to Gangotri during monsoon and winter.
Second stop of Char Dham Yatra: Yamunotri
The next place of worship is Yamunotri, the holy seat of Goddess Yamuna. Yamunotri is also the source of river Yamuna. Yamunotri is situated at an altitude of around 3,293 metres in the Garhwal Himalayas and is approximately 30km north of Uttarkashi. The actual source and glacier are located on the Kalind Mountain at a height of around 4,421m, about 1km further up. The approach is extremely difficult. Therefore, the shrine has been located on the foothill and pilgrims offers prayers at the temple itself.
The main attractions at Yamunotri are the temple of Goddess Yamuna, Surya Kund, Divya Shila and holy thermal springs at Janki Chatti. The temple opens on the auspicious day of Akshaya Tritiya and closes on Diwali every year. The journey from Kharsali to Yamunotri temple by palki is one of the most enchanting ones. However, the entire 6km route to Yamunotri cannot be covered by palki. You will have to trek for almost an hour to reach the shrine.
The ideal times to visit are from May to June and September to October. During monsoon, Yamunotri receives torrential rain along with landslides. Winters are chilly with temperature ranging between -7 and 5°C. Yamunotri also experiences snowfall during winter.
The third stop of Char Dham Yatra: Kedarnath
The remaining two sites in the Char Dham Yatra are Kedarnath and Badrinath. These can be covered in one day if you are travelling by helicopter. The trip to Kedarnath by helicopter begins from Kharsali. You will have to change helicopter at Guptkashi. Kedarnath is situated at an altitude of 3584m near the head of Mandakini River in the Himalayas. The holy town is flanked by snow clad peaks and is the most breathtaking one amongst the four sites. Kedarnath temple, dedicated to Lord Shiva, is one of the 12 jyotirlingas. Apart from Kedarnath temple, other places to visit at Kedarnath are Bhairavnath Temple, Deoria Tal, Ukimath Shankaracharya Samadhi.
May to June and September to October are the ideal times to visit. Between May and June, the weather is pleasant and is ideal for trekking. The region remains cold during most part of the year. During winter, the temperature ranges between – 4°C and – 22°C.
The fourth and last stop of Char Dham Yatra: Badrinath
The Char Dham Yatra comes to an end with a trip to Badrinath. After visiting Kedarnath, you need to return back to Guptkashi for a helicopter ride to Badrinath. It takes nearly half an hour to cover the distance. Badrinath is the abode of Lord Vishnu, who is also known as Lord Badri. Badrinath is famous for the Panch Badri temples, which are Badrinath temple, Yog Dhyan Badri, Bhavishtya Badri, Adi Badri and Vriddha Badri. Badrinath Temple is nestled between Nar and Narayan mountain ranges of the Himalayas. Tapt Kund, Neelkanth, Vasudhara Falls and Charan paduka are other places of visit at Badrinath. After a trip to Badrinath, you can return to Sahastradhara helipad and bid adieu to the Char Dham Yatra by helicopter tour.
The ideal time to visit Badrinath is between May and June and September and October. Badrinath Temple remains closed from November to April due to winter.
There are no luxury accommodations available here. However, our Char Dham Yatra package promises a comfortable stay. Dehradun is the nearest city to the temple towns of Gangotri, Yamunotri, Kedarnath and Badrinath. The Char Dham Yatra route is dotted tiny hamlets, gushing rivers, soaring Himalayan ranges and lush green valleys. The air of divinity spreads the note of peace, solace and enlightenment. We all want our pilgrimage trips to be blissful, and ezeego1’s Char Dham Yatra package promises you one such memorable experience. Some highlights of the Char Dham Yatra package are meals, VIP darshan at all temples, and assistance of expert guide throughout the spiritual trip.