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 INTRODUCTION

The holy river Ganges and her tributaries flow past the Four Dams that are located in the state of Uttaranchal in North India. It is believed that Goddess Ganga descended upon the Earth in the form of a River to help the suffering humanity. It was split into four channels that include Alaknanda (in Badrinath), Mandakini (in Kedarnath), Bhagirathi (in Gangotri) and Yamuna (in Yamunotri). Each of the Four Dhams is blessed with spellbinding scenic beauty and countless ancient temples. Every year, countless tourists from across the world, visit here in search of peace and tranquility.

The Himalayas - the world's most majestic & loftiest mountain chain, is the global heritage of all mankind. The sublime quality of this "Adobe of Snows' has, since time immemorial, inspired the sages & saints of India and has attracted tourists & pilgrims from world over to its awesome beauty & calm serenity. Uttaranchal abounds in places of sanctity where devotees converge every year to pay obeisance to their Gods braving vagaries of weather & other human travails in Himalaya. Closest to the celestial beings, devotees from all corners of the country have flocked to these Himalayan shrines of Char Dham - Yamunotri, Gangotri, Kedarnath & Badrinath every year to seek salvation. The arduous trails remain in the ancient sanctuaries of faith for a fulfilling experience. The four dhams receive holy water in the form of four streams.

Location: Garhwal, Himalayas, Uttaranchal

Best Time To Visit : May To October

 

Badrinath Temple

General Information :

Area : 4.5 Sq.kms.
Altitude : 3133 mts.
Rainfall : 1460 m
Temperature : Summer - Max 17.9° C, Min 5.9° C, Winter- Generally snowbound from December to March with minimum subzero temperature.
Best Season : From opening to closing, generally from April to November.
Clothing : Heavy woolen garments required throughout.

The Badrinath temple is the main attraction in the town. According to legend Shankara discovered a black stone image of Lord Badrinarayan made of Saligram stone in the Alaknanda River. He originally enshrined it in a cave near the Tapt Kund hot springs. In the sixteenth century, the King of Garhwal moved the murti to the present temple.

The temple has undergone several major renovations because of age and damage by avalanche.In the 17th century, the temple was expanded by the kings of Garhwal. After significant damage in the great 1803 Himalayan earthquake, it was rebuilt by the King of Jaipur.

The temple is approximately 50 ft (15 m) tall with a small cupola on top, covered with a gold gilt roof. The facade is built of stone, with arched windows. A broad stairway leads up to a tall arched gateway, which is the main entrance. The architecture resembles a Buddhist vihara (temple), with the brightly painted facade also more typical of Buddhist temples. Just inside is the mandapa, a large pillared hall that leads to the garbha grha, or main shrine area. The walls and pillars of the mandapa are covered with intricate carvings.

The principal image of Badrinath is regarded as the first tirthankar, Rishabhanath by Jains.

How to reach Badrinath:

Air

The nearest railway stations are at Rishikesh (at 297 km) and Kotdwara (at 327 km). However, Rishikesh is a small railway station not connected by fast trains. Kotdwara is connected by only a few trains. Haridwar railway junction, 24 km farther from Rishikesh, has train connections to most of the major cities in India and is, therefore, the railhead for Badrinath.

Road

Badrinath is reached by national highway NH58 that connects Delhi with Mana Pass in Uttarakhand near Indo-Tibet border. Buses carry pilgrims from New Delhi to Badrinath via Haridwar and Rishikesh in pilgrim season of summer months. Rishikesh is the major starting point for road journey to Badrinath.

Regular buses operate from Rishikesh bus station to Badrinath and start very early before dawn. The last bus from Rishikesh leaves for Badrinath before dawn. The road is narrow after Joshimath and travel is not permitted on the road after sunset. Therefore if one misses the bus for Badrinath at Rishikesh bus station, one has to go only up to Rudraprayag, Chamoli or Joshimath and spent the night there to take the early morning bus for Badrinath from that town.

The road distance from Rishikesh to Badrinath is 293 km (182 mi) via Rudraprayag, Chamoli and Joshimath.

    Delhi to Haridwar 206 kms
    Haridwar to Rishikesh 24 kms
    Rishikesh to Devprayag 74 kms
    Devprayag to Srinagar 34 kms
    Srinagar to Rudraprayag 33 kms
    Rudraprayag to Karnaprayag 31 kms
    Karnaprayag to Nandprayag 21 kms
    Nandprayag to Chamoli 10 kms
    Chamoli to Joshimath 48 kms

Joshimath to Badrinath 42 kms

 

 

Kedarnath

 

General Information :
Area: 3 Sq. Km
Altitude: 3581 M
Rainfall: 1475 MM
Climate : Winter - Sept. to Nov. cold during the day & chilly at night. Dec. to march snow bound. Summer - May - Aug. Cool during the day & cold at night. Temp. Max. 17.9C & Min. 5.9 C
Best Season: May - October, except Monsoon
Clothing : Light Woollens in summer & Heavy Woollens in winter.

KEDARNATH is a Hindu holy town located in the Indian state of Uttarakhand. It is a nagar panchayat in Rudraprayag district. The most remote of the four Char Dham sites, Kedarnath is located in the Himalayas, about 3584m(11759 Ft.) above sea level near Chorabari Glacier, the head of river Mandakini, and is flanked by breathtaking snow-capped peaks.

Kedarnath hosts one of the holiest Hindu temples, the Kedarnath Temple, and is a popular destination for Hindu pilgrims from all over the world, being one of the four major sites in India's Chota Char Dham pilgrimage.

Kedarnath is named in honor of King Kedar, who ruled in the Satya Yuga. He had a daughter named Vrinda who was a partial incarnation of Goddess Lakshmi. She performed austerities for 60000 years. In honour of her, the land is named Vrindavan. However, Kedarnath and its temple exist from the Mahabharata Era when the Pandavas are supposed to have pleased Lord Shiva by doing penance there.

How to reach Kedarnath:

Kedarnath is difficult to reach. There are 2 ways to reach the town:

1.   By foot for a steep 14 km trek through a paved path (horses or palanquins are available for rent) from Gaurikund, which is connected by road from Rishikesh, Haridwar, Dehradun and other known hill stations of Garhwal and Kumaon regions in Uttarakhand

2.    Through helicopter service.  

Yamunotri

 

General Information :

Altitude : 3,235 mts.
Climate : Summer - Cool during the day and cold at night. Min 6°C & Max 20°C. Winter - Snow-bound. Touching sub-Zero.
Clothing : Summer - Light woolens. Winter - Very heavy woolens.
Languages : Hindi, Garhwali and English.

Yamunotri is the source of the Yamuna River and the seat of the Goddess Yamuna in Hinduism. It is located approximately 30 kilometers (19 mi) North of Uttarkashi, the headquarters of the Uttarkashi district in the Garhwal Division of Uttarakhand, India. It is one of the four sites in India's Chhota Char Dham pilgrimage. The sacred shrine of Yamunotri, source of the river Yamuna, is the westernmost shrine in the Garhwal Himalayas, perched atop a flank of Bandar Poonch Parvat. The chief attraction at Yamunotri is the temple devoted to the Goddess Yamuna and the holy thermal springs at Janki Chatti (7 km. Away).

The actual source, a frozen lake of ice and glacier (Champasar Glacier) located on the Kalind Mountain at a height of 4,421 m above sea level, about 1 km further up, is not frequented generally as it is not accessible; hence the shrine has been located on the foot of the hill. The approach is extremely difficult and pilgrims therefore offer puja at the temple itself.

The temple of Yamuna, on the left bank of the Yamuna, was constructed by Maharaja Pratap Shah of Tehri Garhwal. The deity is made of black marble. The Yamuna, like the Ganges, has been elevated to the status of a divine mother for the Hindus and has been held responsible for nurturing and developing the Indian civilization.

Close to the temple are hot water springs gushing out from the mountain cavities. Surya Kund is the most important kund. Near the Surya Kund there is a shila called Divya Shila, which is worshipped before puja is offered to the deity. Devotees prepare rice and potatoes, tied in muslin cloth, to offer at the shrine by dipping them in these hot water springs. Rice so cooked is taken back home as prasadam. The pujaris of Yamunotri come from the village of Kharsali near Janki Chatti. They are the administrators of the sacred place and perform religious rites. They are well-versed in the Shastras.

How to reach Yamunotri:

By Air: Jolly Grant is located about 96 km from Yamunotri, the nearest railhead.
By Rail: Dehradun is located at a distance of 172 km and Rishikesh at a distance of 213 km from Yamunotri, the closest railhead
Road: From Dharasu, Tehri, Rishikesh and Dehradun you can easily reach Yamunotri.

Few Attractions during Yamunotri Yatra:

Yamunotri Temple, Surya Kund, Divya Shilla, Janki Chatti and Saptarishi Kund.

Distances from Major Cities:

Janaki Chatti: 7 km from Yamunotri
Kharsali: 1 km from Janaki Chatti
Saptarishi Kund: 10 km from Yamunotri
Barkot: 49 km from Yamunotri
Hanuman Chatti: 13 km from Yamunotri

 

Gangotri

 

 

General Information :

Altitude : 3048 mts.
Climate : Summer - Cool during day and cold at night Max: 20°C & Min: 6°C; Winter - Snow bound touching sub zero.
Season : April to October
Clothing : Heavy woolen throughout the season.
Languages : Hindi, Garhwali and English.

Gangotri is a town and a Nagar Panchayat (municipality) in Uttarkashi district in the state of Uttarakhand, India. It is a Hindu pilgrim town on the banks of the river Bhagirathi. It is on the Greater Himalayan Range, at a height of 3,100m.

Gangotri, the origin of the River Ganges and seat of the goddess Ganga,is one of the four sites in the Char Dham pilgrimage circuit. The original Gangotri Temple was built by the Gurkha general Amar Singh Thapa. The river is called Bhagirathi at the source and acquires the name Ganga (the Ganges) from Devprayag onwards where it meets the Alaknanda. The origin of the holy river is at Gaumukh, set in the Gangotri Glacier, and is a 19 km trek from Gangotri.

The river Ganga originates from the Gangotri glacier and is known as Bhagirathi. The name Ganga picks up later on after the river passes Devaprayag and merges into the river Alaknanda. Just the perfect destination to breath in a serene and pious atmosphere, Gangotri has the charm to attract people from all over. The striking presence of the snow-clad mountains in the vicinity and the pure crystal clear water of the Ganges flowing around add to the sanctity of the place. One feels close to God in the high altitude of Gangotri.

How to reach Gangotri :

By Air:
The nearest airport is Jolly Grant in Dehradun, situated about 226 kms. from Gangotri.

By Rail:
The nearest railway station is located in Rishikesh, about 249 kms.

By Road:
Gangotri is well connected by road to Rishikesh, Dehra Dun, Haridwar and Delhi.



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