The Uttarakhand Char Dham Yatra is definitely one of India’s most popular pilgrimage circuits. Every year around the same time, pilgrims can journey to the Chardham or the four most sacred spots in the Indian Himalayas.
Yamunotri, Gangotri, Kedarnath, and Badrinath are all in Uttarakhand. Apart from the religious aspect, this pilgrimage attracts visitors since it passes through some of Uttarakhand’s most picturesque alpine regions.
After the 1962 Indo-China war, India began investing in road and infrastructure building projects, and the notion of the Chhota Char Dham Yatra gained popularity. The area’s improved roadways make it easier to get to the holy shrines and other places in Uttarakhand, formerly Uttar Pradesh. The original Char Dham was gradually replaced by the Chhota Char Dham.
Chhoti Char Dham Yatra
|Uttarakhand Char Dham Sthal (Location)||Detail of the Location||Distance from Delhi|
|Badrinath Dham||According to the Hindu religion, it is one of the most important temples in the country, devoted to Lord Vishnu. The idol of Lord Badrinarayan in a meditation position may be found in this temple.||550 KM|
|Kedarnath Dham||Kedarnath is one of the holiest pilgrim places in Northern India, nestled among the magnificent mountain peaks and blanketed with snowstorms. The Pandavas are said to have erected the Kedarnath Temple, which was later rebuilt by Adi Shankaracharya.||450 KM|
|Gangotri Dham||Every year, millions of pilgrims visit Gangotri, the birthplace of Goddess Ganga. The Gangotri Dham is located 19 kilometres from Gaumukh, the source of the Ganga River. Gangotri, which takes its name from the holy river Ganga, is located on the banks of the Bhagirathi.||524 KM|
|Yamunotri Dham||The Yamuna River originates in Yamunotri, the seat of Goddess Yamuna. The silver idol of Goddess Yamuna resides at the shrine. It opens for pilgrims to complete a holy journey at Akshaya Tritiya, and thousands of devotees flock here to conclude their Char Dham holy pilgrimage.||430 KM|
Unlike the original Char Dham, which took over a month to complete, the Chhota Char Dham may be completed in just two weeks. There was a significant price difference between the two. This pilgrimage is now accessible to a larger number of people. Pilgrims could take buses or jeeps to the closest points of the four shrines, which were all within 10 to 15 kilometres of the nearest motorable point.
Here are the cities of the Chhoti Char Dham Yatra
In the state of Uttarakhand, India, Badrinath is a Hindu holy town and a Nagar panchayat. In India’s Char Dham pilgrimage, Badrinath is the most important of the four destinations.
At an elevation of 3133 metres, Badrinath is located in the Garhwal mountains, on the banks of the Alaknanda River. The Badrinath Temple, devoted to the Hindu god Vishnu, is the most sacred site in the area.
The temple is said to be Vedic in origin and has undergone numerous reconstructions throughout the centuries.
City of Narayan
According to the Hindu religion, it is one of the most important temples in the country, devoted to Lord Vishnu. Apart from being a part of the Chota Char Dham Circuit, this shrine is also part of the Hindu Pilgrimage’s Bada Char Dham Circuit.
The idol of Lord Badrinarayan in a meditation position may be found in this temple. During the winter, the deity is worshipped in Vasu Dev Temple in Joshimath.
You can also pay a visit to Mata Murti Temple, which is dedicated to Lord Badri’s mother and is located near Badrinath Dham, as well as Tapt Kund, warm spring with medical benefits.
As far as we know, Badrinath Dham is the only Dham that is represented in both Dham circuits. It is the most important temple among the Panch Badri, as well as one of Lord Vishnu’s 108 Divya Desams. One of the eight Swayam Vyakta kshetras, or self-manifested sculptures, is Lord Vishnu’s renowned 1 m tall black stone idol.
Nar and Narayan, two of Dharma’s sons, are supposed to have desired to seek refuge in the Himalayas. They were looking for a place to build their hermitage when they came upon four Panch Badri sites: Yog Badri, Dhyan Badri, Bridha Badri, and Bhavisya Badri.
Finally, they were given a location near the Alaknanda River, which was blessed with hot and cold springs. Badri Vishal was the name given to this location during the time, and it was also the name given to the town.
Why one should visit
Badrinath has a plethora of attractions that will astonish you at every turn, with a mix of spiritual feelings and natural beauty. Prepare to be awestruck by the gleams of snow-covered hills in Neelkanth, a lovely resort.
Neelkanth is a site that both nature lovers and worshippers would find fascinating. The big mountain, also known as the Queen of Garhwal, is situated at an altitude of 6,597 metres and attracts a large number of people.
The lovely rock known as Charan Paduka, which sits at a high altitude and is about 2 kilometres from Badrinath Temple, is another eye-catching attraction. It is stated that if someone seeks the blessings of Lord Vishnu’s footprints, he will be rescued from all of life’s difficulties.
Kedarnath, located near the Mandakini River’s head in the Himalayas, is surrounded by stunning snow-capped mountains. King Kedar, who ruled during the Satya Yuga, is the city’s name. The saintly king is said to rule over all seven continents. Vrinda, his daughter, is thought to be a partial embodiment of the Goddess Laxmi.
Abode of Shiva
Kedarnath is one of the holiest pilgrim places in Northern India, nestled among the magnificent mountain peaks and blanketed with snowstorms.
Kedarnath is one of the 12 Jyotirlingas and is dedicated to Lord Shiva. Gauri Kund serves as the starting point for a trip to the holy site. At an elevation of 11,755 feet above sea level, you can feel the region’s swaying scenery.
There are several methods for completing the trek, including hiring a Palki/Pony or walking the entire distance. In the winter, the statue is relocated to Omkareshwar Temple in Ukhimath, where pilgrims can seek Lord Shiva’s blessings.
Kedarnath would undoubtedly elicit enthralling and exciting feelings.
According to legend, following the epic battle of Kurukshetra, the Pandavas of Mahabharat began their trek to Varanasi to seek Lord Shiva’s blessing because they had killed their friends and relatives. Lord Shiva, on the other hand, refused to meet them and hid in Guptkashi. When the Pandavas arrive at the place, Lord Shiva turns himself into a buffalo, making it impossible for them to recognise him.
Lord Shiva resolved to become invisible underground when he realised they were getting closer. When this happened, Bhima, one of the five Pandavas, sought to stop him by grasping the buffalo’s legs and tail. Unfortunately, the Lord vanished, leaving behind his hump, which is now revered at the Kedarnath Temple.
Why one should visit
Kedarnath is one of the holiest locations in the Garhwal Himalayan range, as well as one of the Panch Kedar. The Pandavas are said to have erected the Kedarnath Temple, which was later rebuilt by Adi Shankaracharya. Gauri Kund, which is located at an elevation of 1982 metres and offers a more spiritual ambience, is also a sacred location to visit.
You can visit Vasuki Tal, a tourist destination that attracts all types of visitors. This is a lake located at an elevation of 4135 metres, tucked between snow-capped mountains and offering a wonderful perspective.
You can also see the Chaukhamba Peaks by visiting this location. Chopta is a must-visit for adventurers because it is one of the most beautiful natural beauties, with majestic hills and luscious meadows.
Every year, millions of pilgrims visit Gangotri, the birthplace of Goddess Ganga. The Gangotri Dham is located 19 kilometres from Gaumukh, the source of the Ganga River.
The river flows as Bhagirathi from Gaumukh in the Gangotri Glacier to Devprayag. It combines with Alakananda here to make Ganga as we know it.
Origin of Holy Ganga
This holy temple is a lovely city full of peace, amazing natural beauty, and exciting activity. Gangotri, which takes its name from the holy river Ganga, is located on the banks of the Bhagirathi in the lovely state of Uttarakhand. The temple is closed during the winter months because it is quite cold and severe here.
In the winter, the statue is moved to Mukhimath Temple in Mukba, which is Goddess Ganga’s winter home. In every way, the calming vibe, pristine ambience, and green beauty will win your heart. The holy water of the Ganges and the snow-capped mountains contribute to the beauty of this place, making it a perfect spot for all types of travellers.
The history of the sacred location Gangotri can be found in ancient Hindu mythology. According to Hind mythology, King Sagar’s grandson Anshuman and his son Dilip both failed to bring Ganga to earth. However, Bhagirath, King Anshuman’s grandson, was up to the task and began meditation in Gangotri.
Ganga descended from heaven after many years of meditation, but she chose to reside in Lord Shiva’s hair coils. After that, King Bhagirath began to meditate in order to win Lord Shiva’s favour, and Lord Shiva was so impressed by his meditation and resolve that he released three streams. Bhagirathi, for example, was one of these streams.
The rock where King Bhagirath is said to have meditated is known as ‘Bhagirath Shila,’ and it is located near the Ganga shrine.
Why one should visit
Gangotri is well-known for its religious and archaeological splendour. Apart from its religious significance, Gangotri also provides opportunities for exciting activities such as camping. Tapovan is a camping area located at a height of 4460 metres.
If you are a pilgrim who also seeks adventure, Tapovan will astonish you with a wonderful hiking route that will provide you with a memorable experience of a true adventure.
Witnessing the Shivling peaks and lush vegetation might help you create some wonderful recollections. Submerged Shivling is a natural rock Shivling believed to be where Lord Shiva reclined to retain the Ganga in his hair curls.
Take in the breathtaking scenery of Gomukh, the source of the holy Ganga. Gomukh’s serene ambience enchants visitors and makes it a must-see stop on any Gangotri journey.
The Yamuna River originates in Yamunotri, the seat of Goddess Yamuna. The true source and glacier are about 1 km further up, at an elevation of 4421 metres above sea level. It is, however, not easily accessible. The shrine has been placed at the Yamunotri Temple at the foot of the hill for the same reason. At the temple itself, pilgrims offer prayers.
The essence of Yamuna
It is one of Uttarakhand’s Chota Char Dhams, dedicated to the Yamuna, India’s second most sacred river, which originates in Yamunotri. Pilgrims come to this sacred site, which is located at a height of 3293 metres, to worship and seek blessings. Maharani Guleria of Jaipur erected it, and Maharana Pratap Shah of Tehri Garhwal renovated it.
The silver idol of Goddess Yamuna resides at the shrine. It opens for pilgrims to complete a holy journey at Akshaya Tritiya, and thousands of devotees flock here to conclude their Char Dham holy pilgrimage. Goddess Yamuna was Lord Sun’s daughter and Yama’s twin sister.
The current location of the temple dedicated to the River Yamuna may be traced back to Asit Muni, who revered the River Ganga in a ceremonial fashion and never failed to bathe in its sacred waters.
However, as the sage’s practise became more onerous with age, the Goddess Ganga sensed it and appeared in the form of the Yamuna next to the hut of the sage.
Why one should visit
Yamunotri Dham holds a particular place in Hindu mythology, with the belief that bathing in the sacred water of the Yamuna River purifies all sins and protects a person from an untimely or unpleasant death.
To go to the holy residence of Goddess Yamuna, you’ll have to journey from Janki Chatti, which is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. Lord Hanuman is reported to have landed here after destroying Ravan’s Lanka and cooling the fire in his tail in the Yamuna River at Bandarpoonch.
With its glaciers and thermal springs, this sacred site will enchant you, and it is without a doubt a gift for nature lovers. While wandering by the rushing streams, take in the breathtaking vistas.