Chardham tour in the state of Uttarakhand.
Kedarnath, Badrinath, Gangotri and Yamunotri of Uttarakhand are considered to be Chardham Yatra. Kedarnath is the abode of Lord Siva, Badrinath is the abode of Lord Visnu, Gangotri is the place where river Ganga started flowing and similarly, Yamunotri is the place of river Yamuna. These four places are considered to be the sacred places of the country and a journey to these places is considered to be a way to salvage our life. The details of these four Dhams is brought in in this write-up.
IntroductionUttarakhand is also known as Dev Bhoomi (Land of Gods). It is the land of great pilgrimages, sacred temples and places. Uttarakhand attracts lakhs of pilgrims and spiritual worshippers to get enlightenment. The pilgrimage to Char Dhams located in Garhwali region is considered to be the most sacred tour in India. Badrinath, Kedarnath, Gangotri and Yamunotri.are the four ancient temples and are collectively called Char Dhams. These four places mark the spiritual source of four sacred rivers: River Yamuna (Yamunotri), River Ganga or Ganges (Gangotri), River Mandakini (Kedarnath) and River Alaknanda (Badrinath)
The yatra starts from Yamunotri, then to Gangotri and to Kedarnath and finally to Badrinath. Pilgrims visit all these places with a hope of losing away all their sins and to attain salvation (Moksha) by the blessings of the Lord. They feel they will get released from the cycle of birth and death. These places are considered the most sacred of all Himalayan ranges. It is also said that heaven and earth converge in these holy spots, and to be born or die here is a blessing of God. The Chardham must be visited from left to right -beginning with Yamunotri.
The four important shrines The details of these four important shrines are narrated below.
- Shri Kedarnath Dham: It is one of the 12 jyotirlingas of Lord Shiva. Lord Shiva's another name is Kedar. According to the available history, the Pandavas after winning the battle with the Kauravas in the Kurukshetra had thought that they killed their own brothers, which is a big sin. Hence they prayed the blessings of Lord Shiva for an excuse. But Lord Siva avoided them and took refuge at Kedarnath in the form of a bull. He further dived into the ground, leaving his hump on the surface. The remaining portions of Lord Shiva were got distributed in four different places... The arms are at Tungnath, the face at Rudranath, the belly at Madhmaheshwar and his hair with the head at Kalpeshwar. These five places are called as Pancha Kedar. To reach this place we have to go by trekking for 15 Kms. There are horses and dolis for going up. There are helicopters to take us to the hilltop.
- Gangotri Dham: It is at an elevation of 3200 m above sea level along the right bank of Bhagirath. It is 100 km from Uttarkashi. The temple will be opened in summer as per the date announced every year with a special Puja for Ganga in the temple and the river bank. The bus will go up to all most of the river bank. After reaching the top we have to walk about 2 km to reach the river. There are wheelchairs for the old age people who can't walk.
- Yamunotri Dham: It is the seat of Goddess Yamuna, it is in the westernmost part in the Garhwal Himalayas, The temple of the Goddess Yamuna is the main place here and another place is the holy thermal springs at Janki Chatti. A black marble is used for the shrine here. The Yamuna is also treated as a divine mother for the Hindus like the river Ganges. Here comes the most difficult part of the tour. Almost 6 km distance is to be covered by trekking. The way is not a road or a uniform steps. A narrow road with dolis, horses and walkers going up and coming down. One should be very careful while getting up or coming down. Here you will find two bathing ponds with hot water coming from the ground. People will have a dip here and then go for the Yamuna Darshan. Here if rice is tied in a cloth and dipped in the hot water within no time they will get cooked and that will be offered to Goddess as Prasad.
- Shri Badrinath Dham: It is considered the holiest of all the four. It is at an altitude of 3,133 m. above sea level, It is situated on the left bank of river Alaknanda. The two mountains Nara and Narayan are on either side of the place. The shrine is of Lord Vishnu the preserver and protector of Hindu Divine Trinity. Badrinath is reachable by bus. Around a kilometer walk is required to reach the temple. Many people will do rituals to their deceased forefathers so their souls will get salvaged. The place is so peaceful and once you enter inside the temple you feel as if you are in a divine place and we will forget all other problems for a moment and our mind will get completely immersed with the thoughts of The God. A darshan of its deity will give us Moksha. Here also there is hot water pond where people will take bath.
Other places of importanceIn addition to the above four main places there are many places which are worth a visit. Some such places are briefed here.
- Haridwar: The Haridwar is the doorway for the Uttarakhand trip. The Bhagirathi conducted his meditation here to salvage the souls of his ancestors who perished due to the curse of sage Kapila. The penance was answered and the river Ganga travelled from Lord Shiva's locks and its bountiful water revived the sixty thousand sons of king Sagara. Here a holy dip in the Ganges is the most enjoyable event and one will feel fresh when they had a bath in this water. The Mansa Devi Mandir and many other temples are there in this place which is worth seeing.
- Barkot: This is a place with more mountain ranges and very green fields. Kempy waterfalls are the very good place to watch.
- Uttarkashi: The place is famous for the Visvanatha temple which is situated in this place and it is a place to stay overnight during the journey.
- Guptkashi It is a major village located in Kedar Khanda. The ancient Vishwanath temple which is similar to the Shiva temple at Varanasi is famous here.
- Rudraprayag: Rudraprayag is situated at the holy confluence of Alaknanda and Mandakini rivers, at a distance of 34 km from Srinagar. There are two separate routes for Badrinath and Kedarnath Dham from this place. This place is full of natural beauty, places of religious importance, lakes and glaciers.
- Srinagar: Narsingh Temple & Shankracharaya Math are the two places worth seeing.
- Rishikesh.: This place is known as 'place of sages' - Laxman Jhulla, Ram Jhulla, Triveni Ghat, Bharat Mandir, Shivananda Ashram, and Parmarth Ashram are some places worth seeing here.
How to plan the tripTour starts from Haridwar. There are many travels which will provide the vehicles with well-trained drivers as per your requirement and itinerary will also be given by them. They will guide you throughout the tour with places to stay overnight and places to see. They will start the journey with Kemp falls, Yamunotri, uttarakasi, Gangotri, Gupta Kasi, Kedarnath, Badrinath, Rudraprayag and Rishikesh. Once the tour is completed they will drop the tourists at Haridwar. Alternatively, there are travels from Delhi also who will start the tour from Haridwar. You can get good information about various travels available through the internet and you can book online also. From Haridwar, it is a journey of about 9 to 10 days basing on our plan and places we visit.
My Impressions I am blessed by the God and he gave me a chance to visit these places in the first week of this month and my impressions are narrated below.
- A very good tour to be undertaken by every individual who likes to have a visit to good environmental friendly places in India.
- The entire travel from Haridwar to all the places is by Ghat road. A small road with one side deep valley and the other side big mountains. When you see down you will find the road which you have travelled all the time with a big valley. The road is very risky and the entire travel depends on the driver and he always kept the bus on the ground properly. It reminds me that our life is also similar to this bus journey. As long as we stick to our principles and morals and on the ground, we travel through a Nobel path, we will reach the greater heights and the top of the life. But a little negligence and unnecessary proud which will make us slip the noble path and will make us lose our life.
- All the places are very eco-friendly and there are no environmental pollution issues. You will enjoy the nature with many beautiful places, green fields, many waterfalls, freshwater flows, rivers and pleasant atmosphere. The place is a real Deva Bonomi as it is called and it is very difficult to find a non-vegetarian shop or liquor shop the moment you leave Haridwar and till again you reach Haridwar
- All the people are very simple living and very helpful. They are of no business mind and very helpful to the pilgrims.
- Beautiful green fields, waterfalls, rivers, lakes and no pollution makes all these places memorable and people staying in these places are really blessed without having any ill effects of modernization. The trees, the birds, the animals and the hills make everyplace beautiful and worth seeing. I brought the clay and water from all the four places and I want to keep them in my Pooja room.
Conclusions:The tour will bring a lot of peace to the people. We will find many places which explain us the beauty of nature. I feel everyone should spend some time to visit these places at least once in their lifetime.