India is a land of spirituality, a fact that can be itinerated by the sheer number of temples, mosques, churches and other places of worship. One such place that sees hordes of people visiting is the Char Dham yatra in Uttarakhand since it is considered to be one of the most important pilgrimages in India. If you are planning a pilgrimage to these pious places, here are some things you should consider before planning your Char Dham tour package.
The best place to start this spiritual sojourn is from the holy city of Haridwar. Considered to be the doorway to spirituality, Haridwar is the base for most of the Char Dham tour packages.
Haridwar is well connected to Delhi and other major cities by road or rail. State Transport and private buses ply to Haridwar from New Delhi and nearby cities. Jolly Grant Airport at Dehradun is the nearest airport, at a distance of 55kms from Haridwar. There are regular Delhi to Dehradun flights, with the latter having good connectivity to other major Indian cities as well. Lately, the journey has been further simplified with Char Dham helicopter service, where you have helicopter tours to the dhams, starting from Dehradun.
Air: Dehradun’s Jolly Grant airport is the nearest airport from all the four dhams, with great national connectivity. Dehradun lies at a distance of about 109kms from Kedarnath, 146kms from Badrinath, 114kms from Gangotri and 210kms from Yamunotri.
From Gaurikund to Kedarnath: For those who like a dose of adventure on their spiritual sojourn, there is a steep 14km trek from Gaurikund, which is well connected by road to Rishikesh, Haridwar, Dehradun and other major towns of Uttarakhand. Alternatively, there are horses and palanquin services available at Gaurikund to reach Kedarnath. Regular State Transport and private buses ply to Gaurikund from various cities in Uttarakhand. The frequency and connectivity are reasonably good. The distance from Haridwar to Kedarnath is about 123kms and from Rishikesh to Kedarnath is about 105kms.
Air: The Chardham helicopter service includes rides to Badrinath as well, so if you want to avoid a road journey, you can opt for the helicopter service instead.
Rail: The nearest railway stations to Badrinath are Ramnagar, at a distance of 154kms or Kotdwar at 146kms. For better connectivity and convenience, you can head to Badrinath from Haridwar or Rishikesh, which have better rail connectivity. The distance from Haridwar to Badrinath is about 315kms.
Road: Badrinath is easily accessible by road from Haridwar, Rishikesh, Dehradun and other major towns of Uttarakhand. State transport and private buses ply regularly on the route. If you are going to Badrinath after visiting Kedarnath, there are direct bus services from Gaurikund to Badrinath.
Air: There are special helicopter services to Harsil from Dehradun, after which you will need to undertake a road journey to Gangotri as Harsil lies at a distance of 25kms from Gangotri.
Rail: The nearest railway station is Dehradun, at a distance of 114kms. Dehradun is well connected by rail to major cities in India. Alternatively, you can also travel uptoHaridwar or Rishikesh, which have good rail connectivity, and travel by road to Gangotri.
Road: Buses ply to Gangotri from Dehradun, Haridwar, Rishikesh and other towns in Uttarakhand. If you want to head to Gangotri from Badrinath, there are direct state transport buses on the route. Kedarnath and Gangotri lie at a distance of 25kms, but there are no buses on that route. Taxis are your best bet here.
Air: You can head for Yamunotri in special helicopter services that start from Dehradun to Kharsali, which is about 6kmsaway from the temple.
Rail: Nearest railway stations are Dehradun at 172kms and Rishikesh at around 200kms. Alternatively, Haridwar is also a good option. All three cities have excellent connectivity with major Indian towns and cities.
Road: Yamunotri temple has no access to motor able roads; hence the base point is at Hanuman Chatti, at a distance of 14kms. For the adventurous kind, the trek uphill is scenic and challenging. Alternatively, there are ponies, horses and palanquins for the ride to the temple.