Char Dham Yatra involves a pious pilgrimage tour through the four most important pilgrimage centres of India, namely, Badrinath, Dwarka, Rameshwaram and Puri. These four holy abode are considered very pious by Hindus and the revered sites consist of three Vaishnavite and one Shaivite pilgrimage centres. These divine sites are a must visit in one's lifetime.
Chota Char Dham is a pilgrimage tour that is concentrated only in Uttarakhand. One of the best spiritual tour that pilgrims can make, this involves the celebrated shrines of Badrinath, Yamunotri, Gangotri and Kedarnath. Nestled by the Garhwal region of Indian Himalayas, the term "chota" was coined in 20th Century to differentiate this pilgrimage tour from the original Char Dhams spread across India. It includes three major divisions of Hindus. While Gangotri and Yamunotri are two goddess or Shakti sites, Kedarnath is Shaiva site and Badrinath is Vaishnava site.
Kedarnath Temple located at Kedarnath by the Garhwal region of Himalayas is one of the holiest Hindu shrine. It is dedicated to Lord Shiva. River Mandakini flowing by the temple gives it a uniqueness. Tourists can trek Kedarnath only from April to November. Rest of the year extreme weather conditions prevail and it becomes difficult to venture out this pilgrimage tour. It is not easily accessible through roadways. A trek of 14 km from Gaurikund will take one to this holy temple. Pilgrims can also seek the help of pony and machans.
Badrinath Temple is situated at Badrinath in Uttarakhand. River Alaknanda flowing by the temple looks splendid. This holy temple is a Vaishanava site devoted to Lord Vishnu. Apart from being one of the sites of the Chota Char Dham, it is also a revered site for the Char Dham Yatra and 108 Divya Desams.
Every year the temple remains open from April to November. Harsh climatic conditions from November do not allow travellers to reach Badrinath. Tapt Kund is the hot sulphur spring which is renowned for its medicinal values. It is one of the special attractions of Badrinath. Throughout the year the temperature of the spring remains around 45°C.
Gangotri Temple is situated in Uttarkashi district and is the seat of Goddess Ganga. It has mythological importance as it is believed that Goddess Ganga in the form of river originated from here in order to wash away the sins of King Bhagiratha's predecessors. The temple is constructed out of 18th century old white granite and this 20 ft tall structure looks marvellous. The months of May-June and September-October are ideal for a pilgrimage tour to Gangotri. A part of Greater Himalayas, Gangotri Temple is blessed to have River Bhagirathi flowing by its side, other than being the origin of river Ganga.
Yamunotri Temple nestles at the Garhwal Himalayas in Uttarkashi. Devoted to Goddess Yamuna the main deity is made of black marble. Yamunotri from various towns of Uttarakhand like Dehradun, Haridwar and Rishikesh requires a day's journey. In order to reach the main temple, one needs to trek 13 km from Hanuman Chatti and 6 km from Janki Chatti. Pilgrims can also take the help of palanquins and horses in order to cover this distance.
The breathtaking views of waterfalls and scenic Himalayas is a lifetime experience. Pilgrims can visit this temple in Uttarakhand from May to November. Hot springs, Surya Kund and Gauri Kund, on the way are a source of relief for the trekkers. Guest houses and ashrams by the temple can be booked in advance for a comfortable stay by the Yamunotri Temple.
The backdrop of these dhams comprises of the hilly landscape of the mighty Himalayas which are bewitching and spellbinding. The valleys of the Himalayas has mystical secrets to unfold and century old legends and histories beyond them. Along with your pilgrimage tour to char dhams in Uttarakhand, you can also trek the alluring vales and mighty mountains.