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Char Dham Yatra in the Himalayas


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Char Dham (Chardham) Pilgrimage

Religious Yatra in the Himalayas - Gangotri, Yamunotri

The Char Dham Yatra of the Himalayan region is made up of Badrinath, Kedarnath, Gangotri & Yamunotri. Holding special significance for Hindus, these 4 pilgrimage sites are frequently visited by people of all ages and castes. Here's a look at two of them -

Gangotri: At a height of 3042 metres, lies Gangotri, the source of River Ganges (Ganga). It is situated in the Garhwal mountains in the state of Uttaranchal, India and is located on the right bank of the river Bhagirathi.

The Gangotri Temple here dates back to the 18th century and is dedicated to Goddess Ganga. It is believed that Hindu pilgrims all over the world try to visit this ancient temple, atleast once in their lifetime. Legend has it that this is the same spot where King Bhagirath worshipped Lord Shiva and where Ganga came down and touched earth. The temple stands tall at 20 ft and the structure of the temple is made of beautiful white granite. It is believed that the Gangotri Temple was first built by Mr. Amar Thapa, the Gorkha General and later rebuilt by the Maharaja of Jaipur.

Getting Here: By Air - Jolly Grant Airport (225 kms), By Rail - Railhead Rishikesh (260 kms), By Road - Rishikesh, Delhi(470 kms), Yamunotri.

Places to See in and around Gangotri

Nandanvan: At the base of the Bhagirathi peak is the picturesque and scenic Nandanvan which offers a terrific view of the Shivling peak that sorrounds this region. To reach Nandanvan and enjoy its beauty, travellers are willing to go through a difficult trek along the Gangotri glacier.

The Submerged Shivling: If you visit Gangotri in the winter months, you will be able to catch a glimpse of the very beautiful and much talked about shiva ling, submerged in the river, which is visible when the water goes down. It is believed that it is here that Lord Shiva sat to receive the Ganga in his jata.

Kedar Tal: If you hire a local guide, it will be easy for you to reach Kedar Tal, which is a serene and beautiful lake, located 4425 metres above sea level, about 18 kms from Gangotri. The Thalayasagar peak is visible from here in all its glory.


The Bhairon Ghati: Located at a distance of 9 kms from Gangotri is the Bhairon Ghati, famous for the Bhairav Devta temple situated here. What is enchanting about this region is that it is surrounded by thick forests, a great attraction for adventure lovers.

Sat Tal: As is evident from its name, Sat Tal refers to the 7 lakes located close to Harsil. Nature and water lovers will absolutely enjoy the experience here.

Uttarkashi: This is a must-visit for all devout pilgrims. At a height of 1158 metres, Uttarkashi is home to many pilgrim sites including the Gyaneshwar Temple, Ekadash Rudra Temple, Vishwanath Temple and the Goddess Kuleti Devi Temple.

Besides these, other attractions include Harsil, Gaumukh Trek etc.

Yamunotri: Yamunotri is well known as the source of the river Yamuna, one of the most important tributaries of the river Ganga. Located among the Himalayas at 3235 metres above sea level, Yamunotri is also believed to be the home of Asit Muni. Pilgrims visit Yamunotri to perform several rituals as well as to visit the famous Yamunotri Temple which is home to an idol of Goddess Yamuna, made of black marble. Due to adverse climatic conditions, the temple has been destroyed a couple of times and rebuilt.

Getting Here: By Air - Jolly Grant Airport (195 kms), By Rail - Railhead Rishikesh (212 kms), By Road - Rishikesh & Dehradun.

Places to See in and around Yamunotri

Surya Kund: Surya Kund is a high temperature thermal spring which is located close to the Yamunotri Temple.


Lakhamandal: This is believed to be the spot where Kauravas from the Mahabharata made their cottages and lived while they conspired against the Pandavas.

Hanumanchatti: This refers to the point where the Hanuman Ganga river and the Yamuna river coincide. It is about 14 kms from Yamunotri. You can hire ponies to reach this spot. Porters are also available for the convenience of visitors and pilgrims.

Other places to visit include Jankichatti, Sayanachatti and Chamba, etc.

If you are planning your char dham yatra, make sure to prepare well in advance and check out the weather conditions. If it is your first trip, it may be suitable to hire a Govt. approved guide for convenience.

Contributed By: Team of Travel Writers, [email protected]

Other Holy sites in India - Bodh Gaya, Bihar | Siddheshwar Temple, Solapur Maharashtra | Discover Indian Pilgrimage - Lake Mansarovar & Kailash Parbat

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