The Char Dham Yatra, also known as the “four abodes” or “four shrines” pilgrimage, is one of India’s most important and sacred Hindu pilgrimages. The Char Dham Yatra includes a visit to the four holy shrines of Badrinath, Kedarnath, Gangotri, and Yamunotri in the Indian state of Uttarakhand.
The four ‘Dhams’ form a loop through central and northern Uttarakhand known as the Chota Char Dham Yatra (Little or Easy Char Dham Pilgrimage).
History of the Char Dham Yatra in Uttarakhand
The Char Dham Yatra is believed to have been initiated by the 8th-century saint and philosopher Adi Shankaracharya. He believed that by visiting these four shrines, one could attain salvation and be liberated from the cycle of birth and death.
He also believed that visiting these shrines would wash away all sins and bring peace and prosperity to the devotee’s life. All of these beliefs are corroborated by millions of devotees who throng to these sacred sites each year.
The Char Dhams of Uttarakhand are close to major cities like Delhi and Lucknow. This means you can get there from anywhere in the country by bus or train with only a one- or two-night stay required at the hotels along the way. And once you’re there, it won’t take more than a day to explore all four sacred sites independently.
So, whether you have time for one stopover or plan on exploring them over a few days, this guide has everything you need to know about Char Dham yatras in Uttarakhand
The Char Dham Yatra typically begins with a visit to the temple town of Yamunotri, situated at an altitude of 3,293 meters. The temple, dedicated to the goddess Yamuna, is located on the banks of the river Yamuna and is the river’s source. Devotees dip in the thermal springs near the temple, which are believed to have healing properties.
The next stop on the Char Dham Yatra is Gangotri, located at an altitude of 3,200 meters. The temple, dedicated to the goddess Ganga, is the source of the river Ganges and is located on the banks of the river Bhagirathi. Devotees take a dip in the river and perform puja (worship) at the temple.
The third stop on the Char Dham Yatra is Kedarnath, located at an altitude of 3,583 meters. The temple, dedicated to Lord Shiva, is located in the Himalayan range and is considered one of Hinduism’s most sacred shrines. It is believed that a visit to Kedarnath will help in attaining salvation and liberation from the cycle of birth and death.
The final stop on the Char Dham Yatra is Badrinath, located at an altitude of about 3,100 meters. The temple, dedicated to Lord Vishnu, is located in the Garhwal region of Uttarakhand and is considered one of the most important shrines in Hinduism. It is believed that a visit to Badrinath will bring blessings and prosperity to the devotee’s life.
How to get to the Char Dhams in Uttarakhand?
The Char Dham Yatra is a physically and mentally challenging journey, and it is said that only those who are truly devoted and have a pure heart can complete it successfully.
The journey typically occurs between May and October, when the weather is most favorable. The Char Dham Yatra is an unforgettable experience and is considered a lifetime achievement for many Hindus.
The most straightforward way to get to the Char Dhams is to fly straight to Delhi or Dehradun (the Capital of Uttrakhand). There are also bus services from all major cities nearby. Once in Uttarakhand, the only way to reach the Char Dham is by road and then by trekking (in the case of Kedarnath and Yamunotri)