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Char Dham Temples Tour

The Char Dhams: The Magical Four Abode of Seats

Yamunotri Dham

The Char Dhams or “the Four Abodes/ Seats” of the main pilgrimage centres of Hinduism are considered very auspicious and sacred. It is believed that undertaking the Char Dham Yatra purifies the soul and helps in attaining salvation and moksha. Especially Hindus must travel to these four holy sites once in their life time and experience the power of utter redemption. These four abodes are located in the State of Uttarakhand and are namely Yamunotri, Gangotri, Kedarnath and Badrinath. The term 'Char Dham' was coined by the Hindu  philosopher called as Shri Adi Shankaracharya.

Visiting these four dhams is also regarded as a teerth yatra for the Hindus. Millions of pilgrims all over the world are drawn to the healing power and sacred charm of the Char Dham Yatra. Since these dhams are located in the Himalayan Valleys, they are also well sought off by trek lovers, adventure enthusiasts and spiritual seekers.

Yamunotri Dham: This sacred dham is considered to be the seat of Goddess Yamuna and the River Yamunotri. Located in the Garhwal Himalayas, this dham starts the inter-connected journey to Char Dham Yatra. It is located in the Uttarkashi district of Uttarakhand. The main attractions of the Yamunotri Tour include hot water springs at Janki Chatti and the Yamunotri Temple. Palanquins and ponies are also available at Janki Chatti which is located 7 km away from the Yamunotri Temple.  Normally, the pilgrimage is taken from the month of May (Akshaya Tritiya) to October (Yama Dwitiya). Maharaja Pratap Shah of Tehri Garhwal had constructed the Yamunotri Temple. There are two hot springs also present in the Yamunotri Dham, the Surya Kund and the Gauri Kund. The raw rice is cooked to be made into the prasad through the hot and boiling water of the Surya Kund. The Uniyal family of priests conduct the religious ceremonies within the Yamunotri Temple.

Gangotri Dham

Gangotri Dham: It is very important due to the scared importance bestowed to River Ganga which absolves sins in the Hindu mythology. The Gangotri Dham is located at the origin of River Ganga. Thousands of pilgrims come and visit the auspicious shrine of Goddess Ganga at the dham. It is located on the banks of the River Bhagirathi. The Gangotri temple was constructed in the 18th century and is completely made of white marble. It is believed that Gorkha general Amar Singh Thapa has established the first Gangotri Temple. The partial Shiv Linga which is present at the Gangotri Temple is considered to be the sacred spot where Lord Shiva had entangled the relentless waves of River Ganga into his hair locks. The Gangotri Yatra begins at on Akshaya Tritiya, which falls in the month of May.  Gomukh is the main attraction of the Gangotri Dham. The Hindu mythology reveals that King Bhagirath used to meditate at this River Ganga to be bestowed to an earthly existence. The other attractions near Gangotri Dham include Kashi Vishwanath Temple, Shakti Temple, Tapovan, Bhairon Ghati, Gangnani and Pandava Gufa.

Kedarnath Dham: Located near the Mandakini River, the Kedarnath Dham is one of the holiest temples in Hinduism, dedicated to worshipping Lord Shiva. It is located in the Rudraprayag district of Uttrakhand. It is also peacefully nestled in the Kedar Hills of the Himalayas. It is also considered to be one of the oldest Hindu Temples and it is presumed that Shri Adi Shankaracharya has created it. The figure of the 'Nandi Bull' is constructed outside the temple, re-defining its vocation as the holy guard of the temple. The temple is open for worshipping from the month of Kedarnath DhamAkshaya Tritriya  to the Kartik Purnima  which normally falls in November. Normally, the opening of the temple is decided on the Shiv Ratri. The Hindu mythology reveals that the Pandavas came to the Kedarnath Dham after the end of the Kurukshetra War to seek forgiveness of their sins in the war. Unfortunately, the floods of 2013 in Uttarakhand had the worst impact on the Kedarnath Temple, though the temple was miraculously saved from destruction. The other attraction of the Kedarnath Dham is the Bhairavnath Temple which is dedicated to Lord Bhairav who supposedly shields the dham during the winter season. The other attractions include Shankaracharya Samadhi , the Kedar Massif, Gaurikund, Triyuginarayan Temple, Agastyamuni and Deoria Tal.

Badrinath Dham: Located in the Chamoli district in Uttarakhand, the Badrinath Dham is located in Garhwal Himalayas. Situated on the banks of the Alaknanda River, it lies in between the two mountains of Nar and Narayan. It is believed that Lord Vishnu completed meditation for 1000 years by sitting under a Badri tree at this dham.Badrinath Dham The captivating idols and images of Lord Vishnu are present in this dham to engage the pilgrims. Interestingly, the blowing of conch in the regular ritual is not allowed in the Badrinath temple, as it is covered in ice through out the year and the blowing of conch would create echoes which might have disastrous repercussions. The Sabha Mandap, Darshan Mandap and the Garba Griha are the main attractions inside the Badrinath Temple. The natural thermal spring called Tapt Kund further makes the value of the temple more appealing for the pilgrims. The water of Tapt Kund has religious, medicinal and healing benefits. Along with being one of the most pious temples of Hinduism, the Badrinath Dham is also one of the holy shrines of the Vaishnavites.

When to Reach: Normally, the sacred Char Dham Yatra begins in the month of April and ends up in the month of November. Though, the best time to undertake his Yatra is in between April to June. The temples are closed during winter season because of the heavy snowfall.

How to Reach:
Gangotri and Badrinath: One can reach these two dhams easily from Dehradun, Rishikesh, Haridwar and Kotdwar.
Yamunotri: The trek to Yamunotri starts from Janki Chatti which is almost 225 km away from Rishikesh.
Kedarnath: The trek to Kedarnath starts from Gaurikund which is almost 207km away from Rishikesh.

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