Char Dham Yatra 2019: How to reach, where to stay and its significance for devotees

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New Delhi | Updated: Apr 28, 2019 5:45 PM

Despite the four sites of Yamunotri, Gangotri, Kedarnath and Badrinath being located pretty close to each other, the higher mountain regions makes it pretty impossible to have any direct road connection between them.

 yamunotri, yamunotri chota char dham, how to reach char dham, how to go to char dham, how to go to chota char dham, how to reach yamunotri, how to reach gangotri, how to reach badrinath, how to reach kedarnath, char dham, spiritual, mysticism, hindus, hindu pilgrimageYamunotri : Source of river Yamuna. (Source: iStock / Getty Images Plus)

One of the sacred, spiritual tours among Hindus in India is the Chota Char Dham Yatra in the north Indian state of Uttarakhand. The Chota Char Dham, meaning the small four abodes, incorporate the shrines of Yamunotri, Gangotri, Badrinath and Kedarnath.

Each of the pilgrimages has its own legends of mysticism.



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As the first stop in the pilgrimage, at a height of 3,293 metres in the Garhwal Himalayas and located approximately 30 kilometres North of Uttarkashi, Yamunotri is where the river Yamuna is considered to have taken birth. It is believed that by bathing in the river, people can cleanse their sins which protects them from an untimely and painful death. Located in the Uttarkashi district of Uttarakhand, the place is known for its hot water springs. Devotees also offer prayers and boil rice and potatoes in the Surya Kund located at the Yamunotri shrine as ‘prasad’ of Devi. The shrine was built by the king of Tehri, Naresh Sudarshan Shah in 1839.

How to get there?
The closest airport is the Jolly Grant, Dehradun airport lies at a distance of 210 km from the town of Yamunotri. From Delhi, one can catch regular flights to Dehradun and take a cab to Yamunotri which would cost anywhere between Rs 3,000 and Rs 4,000. One can also reach the sacred town of Yamunotri by state buses running to Hanuman Chatti (14 km from Yamunotri). While Dehradun is at 172 km from Yamunotri, Rishikesh is at a distance of 213 km. By rail, after reaching the Dehradun railway station, a good number of cabs go to Yamunotri at a cost of around Rs 3,000.

Where to stay?
There are limited options for lodging but dharamshalas are available at Yamunotri. Some of the staying options are Ramanand Ashram, Kali Kamli Dharamshala, Kalindi Ashram and Kamli Dharamshala. But it is advisable to book in advance. There is a travellers’ lodge in Janaki Chatti, where the road route concludes. Barkot, located on the banks of Yamuna river, also has a few places for accommodation.

READ: Amarnath Yatra 2019 helicopter booking: Online booking for tickets to begin from May 1; check price


As the origins of the river Ganges, at a height of 3,100 metres, the place assumes a holy significance in the Chota Char Dham yatra. The tale of Gangotri is said to date back to centuries ago when Goddess Ganga transformed herself into the Bhagirathi river to dissolve the sins of King Bhagirath’s forefathers after his penance. To reduce the impact of her fall, Lord Shiva gathered her into his matted locks. Originating from the Gangotri glacier as Bhagirathi, the river is said to become Ganga once it passes Devaprayag and merges into the river Alaknanda. From Yamunotri, one can reach Gangotri by coming back to Janki Chatti and then taking an early morning bus which would take six to seven hours considering the weather and road conditions. Even if a morning bus is taken at 6 or 7 AM, one can reach Gangotri before dark. The actual source of Ganga is at Goumukh which is another 18+ km trail and requires a minimum of two days. Instead, many devotees opt to pay tribute at the Gangotri Temple in the Gangotri town.



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????ॐ नमः शिवाय???? ????ॐ तत्पुरुषाय विदमहे, महादेवाय धीमहि तन्नो रुद्र: प्रचोदयात्।???? ???? श्री Kedarnath Dham Darshan ???????? || जय देव भूमि उत्तराखण्ड|| ॐ नमः शिवाय। ???????????? Daily Updates ke liye Fellow karen.???? ◆◆◆ @uttarakhanddevdarshan_official @badrikedardardarshan ◆◆◆ #shiv #badrinath ##bholenathsabkesath #bholenath #kedarnath #portraitphotography #photography #photography #photographylover #hometown #himalayas #uttrakhand_dairies #uttarakhand #uttarakhand_travel_diaries #uttarakhandculture #uttarakhandi #like4likes #likes4like #liketofollow #likeforlikes #chamoli #bambambhole #bholeynath #tungnath

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The remotest locations of the Chota Char Dhams, Kedarnath is located at a height of 3,584 meters above sea level. Dedicated to Lord Shiva, it is one of the ‘Panch Kedar’ and 12 Jyotirlingas of India. It is believed to have been built by Adi Shankaracharya in 8th century A.D. From Gangotri, a bus can drop you at Sonprayag. After obtaining the due medical certificate to walk the 14-km trail, one can take a shared taxi to Gauri Kund which is the place where the route from Gangotri to Kedarnath concludes. From Gauri Kund, one needs to either walk or take a helicopter or a pony. The route to Gangotri to Gauri Kund is the longest distance between any two Char Dham locations — 310 km and can take as long as 14 hours to complete. The buses leave around 4 am until 7 am after which there are no direct buses between the two locations. One may have to break the journey (Gangotri to Uttarkashi to Gauri Kund) and reach Gauri Kund.



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The picturesque town of Badrinath is where divinity meets with the serenity of nature. Situated between Nar and Narayan peaks at the height of 3,133 meters in the Garhwal Himalayas. Badrinath is a land of myriad legends, each one only adding to the glory of this place. Along with these legends, the snowy mountain peaks, gracefully flowing Alaknanda River and incredible landscapes create the perfect background to facilitate a spiritual connection. Ancient texts hold this abode of Lord Vishnu at a very high esteem, stating – “There are many spots of pilgrimage in the heaven, earth and the world, but there has been none equal to Badri, nor shall there be.” Regarded as the most important temple of Vishnu, the Badrinath shrine is said to be established by Adi Shankaracharya. He found the Saligram idol of Lord Badrinath immersed in the waters of Alaknanda and installed it in a cave near the Tapt Kund. It was in the 16th century that a Garhwal King got a temple erected to house the statue of the God. The present structure is the result of plenty of restorations the temple has undergone due to damages caused by avalanches and earthquakes. pc @pandurangasharmab1902 ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ #badrinath #badrinathtemple #garhwal #himalayas #uttarakhand #uttarakhanddiaries #mytraveldiaries #india #indiapictures #indiaclicks #wahhindia #indiaview #_coi #storiesofindia #travelrealindia #wanderersofindia #indiastories #indianphotos #oneplusphotography #oneplus6 #oneplusindia #oneplus #uttarakhandheaven #uttarakhandjannat #uttarakhandpictures #beinguttarakhandi

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As one of the most celebrated pilgrimage, Badrinath is dedicated to Lord Vishnu. Situated at an elevation of 3,133 metres, it is believed that Adi Shankaracharya established it when he found the Saligram idol of Lord Badri immersed in Alaknanda river and installed it in a cave near Tapt Kund or ‘hot springs’ just before the Badrinath temple. These hot springs are considered medicinal and it is customary to bathe before entering the Badrinath temple. The convenient and fastest way to reach Badrinath is to take a taxi. Despite the four sites of Yamunotri, Gangotri, Kedarnath and Badrinath being located pretty close to each other, the higher mountain regions makes it pretty impossible to have any direct road connection between them. That is why longer detours and travelling longer distances are a routine.

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