Nestled amidst the scenic Himalayas, the Holy Char Dham Yatra is one of the most sacred pilgrimages for Hindus, in the quest for attainment of spiritual enlightenment. Said to be established by great Hindu saint, Adi Shankaracharya, the Uttarakhand Char Dham consists of the four highly revered shrines of Gangotri, Yamunotri, Badrinath and Kedarnath. Each year, devotees make a trip to these four shrines in a quest to experience a sense of tranquillity and peace.
Each of these Char Dham places, Kedarnath, Badrinath, Gangotri and Yamunotri, have great significance in the Hindu scriptures. Be it the temple or the surroundings, there are amazing sights to catch at these places.
Dedicated to Lord Shiva, Kedarnath is one of the twelve jyotirlingas, the holiest of Lord Shiva’s shrines. Legend has it that the Pandavas visited Kedarnath to pray for forgiveness after killing their kin in the Mahabharata war. While the place is filled with stories of the days gone by, there are some amazing places to visit and things to do in Kedarnath your Char Dham tour
You can pay your respects at the samadhi of Adi Shankaracharya, who is supposed to have breathed his last at this holy land.
Head to the beautiful Gandhi Sarovar, which is considered to be Lord Shiva and Devi Parvati’s abode, before making Mount Kailasa their home. The beautiful Bhairon Temple, in the complex, is said to protect the land from evil forces.
One of the places to visit is Gaurikund, which according to lore, is where Goddess Parvati created Lord Ganesha. Surrounded by the snow-clad mountains, a trip to this heavenly place should be on your places to visit.
If you want a taste of adventure, you can trek to Kedarnath is a challenging trek uphill from Gaurikund, as it also is a base for trekkers. You can also opt for ponies or palanquins rides to take you there. From Dehradun, there is a helicopter service to the Char Dhams.
You can also plan to take Badrinath Kedarnath tour package by helicopter for a convenient trip to the holy land.
Badrinath is considered to be a very important pilgrimage site for the followers of Lord Vishnu. Legend has it that Lord Vishnu meditated here for more than a thousand years to gain wisdom and teach mankind the message of humanity.
Badrinath is renowned as one of the Panch Badris and also one of the 108 divyadesams, holy shrines for the devotees of Lord Vishnu. Badrinath is said to be the abode of Lord Shiva and Devi Parvati before they moved to Kedarnath.
On your stop at Badrinath, some of the places to see en route and around are the hot springs of Tapti Kund, rock footprints of Lord Vishnu at Charan Paduka, Narad Kund, Mata Murti temple and Ganesh a cave in Mana village
Another significant shrine amongst the Chardham yatra places is Gangotri. This sacred shrine is one of the biggest temples of River Ganga, who is worshipped as a Goddess here. At a distance of about 18kms from the temple, lies Gaumukh, where river Ganga originates, fed by the Gangotri glacier.
The holy Gangotri shrine is set amidst snow-clad peaks and overlooks the mighty Bhagirathi river, which later becomes Ganga on hitting the plains. Around the temple, visit Gomukh, to see the origination of River Ganga, the charming Uttarkashi Vishwanath temple, Shakti temple and the quaint Harsil town, also known as the base for Gangotri.
The region also offers excellent trekking routes like the Gaumukh, Tapovan, Gangnani, Pandav Gufa and Nandanvan treks.
The birthplace of River Yamuna, picturesque Yamunotri finishes the quartet of Char Dhams. River Yamuna, along with River Ganga, is considered holy and a dip here is believed to absolve the devotees of all their past sins and grants salvation.
Around the temple are interesting places which are truly worth a visit. Surya Kund hot spring is a beautiful hot spring with temperatures soaring to 88 degrees. Devotees cook a handful of rice and potatoes at Surya Kund hot spring, as an offering from the holy Goddess. Saptarishi Kund, the place of origin of Yamuna, is known for the beautiful Brahma Lotuses, which bloom once a year. Some beautiful treks like Dodital and Yamunotri treks originate at Yamunotri.