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Char Dham Travel Information

Char Dham Yatra
Char Dham is a term coined for the four most revered Hindu temples viz' Yamunotri, Gangotri, Kedarnath and Badrinath. According to the Puranas and various Hindu scriptures the Char Dham Yatra is of very high religious significance. Pilgrims from all around the world brave the severe conditions of landscape and weather to visit the shrines and have the holy darshan of the revered deity. The sources of two rivers, Gangotri and Yamunotri are devoted to the female deities – Ganga and Yamuna. They both, along with Badrinath and Kedarnath form the Char Dham of the Garhwal, the four most blessed shrines in the Himalayas.

Yamunotri - The sacred Jewel of the Himalayas
The first stopover for the Char Dham yatra is the westernmost shrine of Yomunotri in the Gharwal Himalayas. Dedicated to Goddess Yamuna, it is perched atop a flank of the Bhandhar Poonch Peak (3165 mts. above sea level) and is situated apposite to Gangotri. The shrine attracts devotes in large numbers from May to October. Yamunotri is the source of revered river Yamuna which originates from the Champasar Glacier lying 1 kms. ahead of the shrine siyuated at an elevation of 3235 mt above sea level. the approach is extremely difficult and pilgrims therefore offer pooja at the temple itself. the temple was built by manharani Gularia of jaipur in the 19th century. Yamunotri was the home of an ancient sage Asit Muni. There are hot spring close to the temple, a bath in them is very refreshing after 5 kms. trek from junki chatti to yamunotri.

Gangotri - The Eternal Gift of Bhagirath's Penance
The picturesque pilgrimage in the hinterlands of the Himalayas is the most sacred spot where Ganga, the stream of life, touched earth for the first time. According to mythology, Godess Ganga - the daughter of heaven, manifested herself in the form of a river to absolve the sims of King Bhagirath's predecessors, following his severe penance of several centuries. Lord Shiva recevied her into his matted locks to minimise the intense impact of her fall. she came to called as Bhagirathi at her legendary source. Along the right bank of Bhagirathi stands the shrine of Gangotri dedicated to the Goddess. Perched at a height of 3042 mts. , it was constructed in the early 18th Century by a Gorkha Commander, Amar Singh Thapa.. Lakhs of pilgrims throng the temple between May and October. By November, Gangotri is covered by snow. It is believed that the Goddess retreats to Mukhba, her winter abode (12 kms. downstream) The physical source of river is at Gaumukh, 18 kms. further uphill, along the Gangotri glacier. Several pilgrims trek upto the source to offer prayers either on foot or on ponies.

Kedarnath - The Celestial Jyotirlingam
Amidst the montainscape of the majestic Kedarnath Range stands one of the 12 Joytirlingam of Kedar or Lord Shiva, lying at an altitude of 3584 mts. On the head of river Mandakini, the shrine of Kedarnath is amongst the holiest pilgriages for the Hindus. The Lingam at Kedarnath is pyramidical, unlike its usual form. A statue of Nandi - the celestial bull stabds at the entrance of the temple and exquisitely catved images adorn the interiors of the temple. During the winters, the shrine is submerged in snow and hence is closed. The ideal time to visit is between May to October. Kedarnath is reached through a 14 kms trek from Gaurikund.

Badrinath - Abode of Lord Vishnu
Cradled in the twin Mountain ranges of Nar and Narayan is the holiest of the four main shrines - Badrinath along the left bank of River Alaknanda with the towering Neelkantha Peak as the splendid backdrop. Once the spot was carpeted with "badris" or wild berries and hence was famous as Badri van. The temple of Shri Badrinathji on the banks of Alaknanda River dates back to vedic times. Situated at an altitude of 3.133 mts., the present temple is believed to have been built by Adi Guru Shankaracharya - an 8th century Philosopher saint, who also established a math here. Also known as "Vishal Badri", Badrinath is one of the Panch Badris. The temple remains closed during the winter season and open from April - May to October - November.

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