Char Dham are the four holy pilgrimage in Himalayan region of Uttarakhand which are considered as the most sacred among Hindus. Where one should visit once in their lifetime as it is believed that this char dham yatra washes all our sin and opens the door to ”moksha”. Char dham comprises of four temple situated in different corner of the Uttarakhand which are Badrinath, Kedarnath, Gangotri, Yamunotri.
Badrinath Temple is a Hindu temple dedicated to Lord Vishnu. Which is located at an altitude of 3133 meters above the sea level in Chamoli district along the river Alaknanda in the Himalayan region of Uttarakhand.
Badrinath Temple is the most visited pilgrimage where every year lakhs of devotees not only from India but also from foreign countries come here for the holy shrine’s blessing. But due to extreme weather condition this temple open for a limited period of time(6 months) between the end of April to the beginning of the November month and rest of the six month the Lord Vishnu transferred to Pandukeshwar in Chamoli district and prayed there only. It is believed that this temple was a Buddhist temple but Adi Shankara turned it into a Hindu temple.
According to the legend, this is the place where the Lord Vishnu meditated for 1000 years under Badri tree for the shake of humanity. The Badri tree was a morph of goddess Mahalaxmi which provide shelter to the Lord Vishnu during his penance in the form of tree and named as Badrinarayan. From that day onward lord Vishnu was named as Lord Badrinath and his idol was established in the temple in meditative pose.
Badrinath Temple, being a religious spot is also a sightseeing place which is surrounded by snow capped peaks of nar and narayan and tulsi plants. This Temple is easy accessible by road where one can feel like in heaven.
Kedarnath Temple is dedicated to Lord Shiva and it is the holiest Hindu shrine of Shiva. This Temple is located in Himalayan region of Uttarakhand at an altitude of 3,583 meters above the sea level on the bank of river Mandakani in Kedarnath valley. It is about 223 km from Rishikesh in Rudraprayag district. Kedarnath Temple is the highest among 12 jyotirlings. Which is believed to be built by the Adi Shankaracharya in the 8th century AD.
Kedarnath Temple opens for six month only due to the extreme weather condition between the end of the April and November. According to the Hindu calendar opens on Akshyatritya and closes on Kartik poornima every year and rest of the six months the divinities are transferred from Kedarnath to Ukhimath of Rudraprayag district and prayed there.
According to the legend, when the pandavas felt guilty after the kurukshetra war with their own relative kauravs. They prayed to Lord Shiva in order to get pardoned by their sins but Lord Shiva was upset from them and don’t want to forgive them and was eloping from them here and there but finally in this place one of the pandavas I.e Bheem saw a bull grazing in the field which was looking different and go near to the the bull and recognized him then the Lord Shiva seeing him coming near decided to become invisible by going underground and dived but Bheem made a great effort in stopping him by pulling legs and tail of the bull but unluckily Lord Shiva divided into different parts leaving behind his humps which is now worshiped in the Kedarnath Temple and rest of the body part appeared on other four places.
Every year lakhs of devotees come here for their spiritual trip and experience a great peace of heart and mind. Snow all around the temple and river locate bloom on the beauty of the temple.
Kedarnath Temple is not easily accessible as in order to take blessings of holy shrine one has to undertake 14 km uphill trek from Gaurikund. Pony and machan services are also available to the devotees but for the trek lovers this is the best place for trekking.
Uttarakhand Trekking Places
Gangotri Temple is the highest and most important temple of river Ganga. Which is dedicated to goddess Ganga. This Temple is located at an altitude of 3,048 meters above sea level in Uttarkashi district which is about 258km from Rishikesh and 98 km from Uttarkashi on the bank of river Bhaghirathi. Gangotri Temple was built in 18th century by Gorkha general Amar Singh Thapa.
All the Char Dham’s opening and closing period is same (may- November) but during winter season because of heavy snowfall this temple remain closed and that time deity is shifted to Mukhwa near Harshil village from where the Pandits and pujari belongs.
According to the legend the king Bhaghirath prayed Lord Shiva and get rewarded in the form of river Ganga but the fact and self esteem of Ganga that the earth would get destroyed if the Ganga come down in her full force. Lord Shiva then caught her in his locks to slow down her speed. Ganga first fall down on the earth at that stone where king Bhaghirath meditated. Therefore the river Ganga is also called by the name of river Bhaghirath. River Ganga originates from Gaumukh glacier in Gangotri which is 19 km from Gangotri.
Gangotri Temple is surrounded by large deodar and pine forest. It also provide a scenic beauty of snow capped peaks with flowing water of river Bhaghirathi. Every year thousands of devotees visit here. It is believed that a dive in the holy Ganga washes away all the sins. Gangotri Temple is easily accessible by road but the trekker can start theri trekking from Gangotri to the Gaumukh glacier. Which can be the best experience to the trekking lovers.
Best places to visit in uttrakhand
Yamunotri temple is dedicated to goddess Yamuna. Yamunotri glacier is the original source of Yamuna river. This river is the second largest and holiest after river Ganga. Yamunotri temple is situated at an altitude of 3,293 meters above sea level at Himalayan region which is about 40km away from Barkot in Uttarkashi district of Uttarakhand on the bank of river Yamuna. This temple of goddess Yamuna was built by the Maharaja Pratap Singh of Tehri garhwal but after the climatic destruction this temple was rebuilt by Maharani Gularia of Jaipur in 19th century. The idol of the deity here is made of black marbles. In this temple many hot water kunds can be seen. One of them is Suryakund and another is Gaurikund. In Gaurikund, devotees take bath before praying to God and in Suryakund devotees put rice or potatoes wrapped in the cloth and dipped into this kund and after it gets cooked is taken as delicious/ prasad. This temple open between the may – October and prayed for six month in this place but rest of the six months the goddess is shifted to karsali village from where the pujaris of Yamunotri temple are.
According to the legend, sage Asit muni bathed his whole life in the river Ganga and Yamuna but during his old age, he was unable to go to Gangotri so a stream of Ganga appeared opposite Yamunotri to him.
Gangotri Temple is seen crowded every year as thousands of devotees come here from far away places even from foreign countries. This place provide scenic beauty of the natural environment besides the waterfall. Temple is not easily accessible as 13km uphill trek from the town Hanuman chatti and 6km from Janki chatti is required. This temple is also the best place for those who are fond of trekking but who can’t claim this much distance can avail the services of horse and Palanquins. Trekking through the route of Hanuman chatti, real beauty of the place can be seen with number of waterfalls. which vanishes all the tiredness of the body and refresh the mind heart and which provide peace, calm and relax the body even after the continuous trekking.