Badrinath and Kedarnath are two of the most important pilgrimage sites in India that attract pilgrims, devotees as well as adventure seekers from across the globe. Owing to its impeccable natural Himalayan beauty and serene peace it has been attracting visitors and tourists from near and far for ages now. From being a major ancient trading route to the hotspot for saints to meditate in peace, this...
The holy land of India has always proclaimed that divinity is a central aspect of human life. From the Vedic ages to modern times, mysticism has merged with life and people here. With the course of time, the expressions and ways may be changed, but still, holiness is the elixir of true living. What better way of experiencing the divine than through Chardham Yatra? Originally, four pilgrimage places, namely Badrinath, Dwarka, Puri, and Rameshwaram. But currently, Chota Char Dham Yatra refers to the four pilgrimage sites, namely Yamunotri Dham, Gangotri Dham, Kedarnath Dham, and Badrinath Dham.
Chard Dhams – The Spiritual Journey to Paradise and Return
The Char Dham, located in the Garhwal region of Uttarakhand, is blessed to be known as the ‘Dev Bhoomi’ or the divine abode. The four temples mark the spiritual source of the four divine rivers, Yamuna (at Yamunotri), the Ganga (at Gangotri), the Mandakini (at Kedarnath), and the Alaknanda (at Badrinath). Badrinath temple worships Lord Vishnu, Kedarnath is the holy shrine of Lord Shiva, and at Gangotri, mother Ganga is worshipped, and Yamunotri is for the holy river goddess the Yamuna.
Hindu mythology believes that a visit to these temples removes the sins and frees one from the eternal cycle of life and death. If your soul hungers for Nirvana or the Moksha, the Sanskrit words denoting eternal freedom from life and death, a visit to the Chardham Yatra Uttarakhand, bestows the same. The mysteries of life and death may be known to enlighten a few, but the splurge of spirituality touches every soul that steps into this holy land. The air, the mountains, and the snow and the pilgrims and their chants of Om Namah Shivay and Har Har Gange touch the deepest gorges of the human heart. The divinity here knows no religious boundaries; it is pure submission to the higher self.
Char Dham Yatra – An overview
After snow recedes, the Char Dham Yatra is opened for the devotees in April or early May and continues up to November. May and June is the peak time, the Yatra during monsoon is considered as tricky as due to rain, the trekking path becomes slippery. October and November are also good times for the Yatra.
How Can The Char Dham Be Reached?
The Char Dham Yatra is not an easy one. Though every year, thousands of pilgrims visit these holy destinations to find spiritual solace, extensive planning and knowledge about the transport system, accommodation, cost, and other facilities are a must for a successful trip. It takes around 10-12 days to travel to the four shrines. Badrinath and Gangotri are accessible through vehicles. For Kedarnath and Yamunotri, pilgrims have to trek. There are facilities for porters. They can also hire horses that carry pilgrims on their backs. However, pilgrims can now cover all the temples, within two days by helicopter. Improved roads and facilities have made trekking a blissful experience.
Personal Preparations for Traveling For Pilgrimage to Char Dham
- Mandatory health checkups have been introduced for pilgrims of Kedarnath. Other than that, people must also carry out personal health checkups before indulging in the Yatras. Since all four Dhams are situated on high altitudes with oxygen deficiency, people with breathing problems, heart issues, and asthma are advised to take special care. Since the entire region is very cold and mostly covered in snow, people with cold allergies may not find them to be very suitable.
- There are regular weather updates available for the pilgrims. You must enroll for the biometric registration with the government authorities. This can be done online. You get regular weather updates, telecommunication facilities, mobile medical facilities, and control rooms. In case of any emergencies, you must contact designated authorities for help.
- For helicopter services, you must have earlier bookings.
- As there is quite a rush during peak seasons, hotel reservations must be done before reaching there. There are plenty of lodges and hotels at the base locations like Haridwar and Rishikesh and destinations like Kedarnath.
- Since all the Char Dhams have very cold weather with occasional rain, do not forget to pack good woolen clothes and raincoats.
- Do not forget to carry your identity proof.
Are There Tour Packages For Char Dham Yatra?
Barring the nomadic souls, the family or group travelers prefer to go by packages. Although planning the tour and its intricacies yourself is an exciting process, tour packages take away the blues. You get all the readymade arrangements so that you can enjoy spiritual salvation. 90 percent of the travelers go for tour packages. There are two options for Chardham Yatra Package, as mentioned below.
- The government-operated Garhwal Mandal Vikas Nigam; the government-run agency is known to carry out bus travelers tours. The packages include all the Char Dham and the Valley of flowers and also Hemkund Sahib sometimes. The tours start from Rishikesh and even from Delhi.
- Several tour operators are providing tailor-made tour packages for the Char Dham Yatra. They offer everything from transportation to accommodation and travel. There is travel by bus packages and also by car packages. Their services are of high quality and reliable. You can check the travel agent’s online portals to get an idea about the cost and benefits.
Some More Information on Travel Packages
The multitude of tour packages offered by various tour operators may sometimes be confusing for travelers. Seasoned travelers may know the tricks to choose the best one; the new bees may find help here. Here is an average price idea for Chardham Tour Package.
- Chardham Yatra EX Delhi, 12 Days Price from INR. 38,000/-
- Chardham by Helicopter, 6 Days, Price from INR. 180,000/-
- Chardham Ex Haridwar, 10 Days, Price from INR. 28,000/-
The prices are subject to changes; contact a specific travel agency for specific quotes. You can also request tailor-made tour packages. The travel agencies are adept at providing the best travel experience for various types of travelers who visit the picturesque land with divine pursuit.
The package tour is on a twin share basis in standard or deluxe hotels. Inclusive of meals, sightseen, transport, and accommodations.
So, no matter if this is a digital age, the divine call of Char Dhams still resonates with souls alike.