Chardham Yatra is a sacred pilgrimage journey that takes place in the beautiful state of Uttarakhand in Northern India. It is considered one of the most important spiritual journeys in the Hindu religion, where devotees visit four holy shrines of Yamunotri, Gangotri, Kedarnath and Badrinath, which are collectively known as Chardham. The journey typically takes 10-12 days, and it is believed that visiting these shrines will wash away one’s sins and lead to salvation.
The Chardham Yatra usually begins from Haridwar, which is considered one of the seven holiest places in Hinduism. From Haridwar, the journey takes devotees to the first shrine, Yamunotri. It is situated at an altitude of 3,293 meters and is dedicated to Goddess Yamuna, the daughter of the Sun God. The temple is located near the source of the Yamuna river, and it is believed that taking a dip in the river can wash away one’s sins.
The next stop on the journey is Gangotri, which is situated at an altitude of 3,100 meters and is dedicated to Goddess Ganga, the river that is considered holy by the Hindus. The temple is located on the banks of the Bhagirathi river, which is believed to be the source of the Ganges. It is said that taking a dip in the river can purify one’s soul.
The third stop on the journey is Kedarnath, which is situated at an altitude of 3,583 meters and is dedicated to Lord Shiva. The temple is located near the Mandakini river, and it is believed that Lord Shiva himself appeared here in the form of a lingam. The journey to Kedarnath involves a trek of around 14 km from Gaurikund, and it is considered one of the most challenging parts of the Chardham Yatra.
The last stop on the journey is Badrinath, which is situated at an altitude of 3,133 meters and is dedicated to Lord Vishnu. The temple is located on the banks of the Alaknanda river, and it is believed that Lord Vishnu himself meditated here. The temple is also known for its hot springs, which are believed to have medicinal properties.
Apart from these four shrines, the Chardham Yatra also includes visits to other important places such as Haridwar, Uttarkashi, Guptkashi, and Joshimath. These places are considered holy in their own right and are an essential part of the Chardham Yatra experience.
The best time to undertake the Chardham Yatra is between April and November, as the weather is mild and pleasant during this time. However, it is important to keep in mind that the journey involves a considerable amount of trekking and walking, and it is advisable to be physically fit before embarking on the journey.
Here’s a detailed itinerary of Chardham Yatra which you can use to plan your Yatra:
Day 1: Arrival in Delhi Arrive in Delhi and check into your hotel. Spend the day exploring the city and visiting some popular tourist attractions.
Day 2: Delhi to Haridwar Take an early morning train from Delhi to Haridwar, which takes around 4-5 hours. After reaching Haridwar, check into your hotel and take rest. Later, visit the famous Har Ki Pauri ghat and attend the evening aarti.
Day 3: Haridwar to Barkot Start your day with a dip in the holy Ganges at Har Ki Pauri ghat. After that, leave for Barkot, which is located around 200 km from Haridwar. The journey takes around 7-8 hours, and you will pass through Mussoorie, Kempty Falls, and Yamuna Bridge. You can also visit Lakhamandal, an ancient temple of Lord Shiva, on the way. Overnight stay at Barkot.
Day 4: Barkot to Yamunotri The third day starts with a drive to Janki Chatti, which is around 45 km from Barkot. From Janki Chatti, you have to trek around 6 km to reach Yamunotri, the first shrine of Chardham Yatra. You can take a dip in the hot water spring, called Surya Kund, before visiting the Yamunotri temple. Overnight stay at Yamunotri.
Day 5: Yamunotri to Uttarkashi The fourth day starts with a trek back to Janki Chatti, followed by a drive to Uttarkashi, which is around 100 km from Yamunotri. On the way, you can visit the Prakateshwar Cave, which is dedicated to Lord Shiva. Overnight stay at Uttarkashi.
Day 6: Uttarkashi to Gangotri Start your day with a visit to the Kashi Vishwanath temple in Uttarkashi, followed by a drive to Gangotri, which is around 100 km away. Gangotri is the second shrine of Chardham Yatra and is dedicated to Goddess Ganga. You can take a dip in the holy Ganges at Gangotri and visit the Gangotri temple. Overnight stay at Gangotri.
Day 7: Gangotri to Guptkashi On the sixth day, you have to travel around 280 km to reach Guptkashi, which is the base for the Kedarnath trek. Overnight stay at Guptkashi.
Day 8: Guptkashi to Kedarnath Start your day with a drive to Gaurikund, which is around 30 km from Guptkashi. From Gaurikund, you have to trek around 14 km to reach Kedarnath, which is one of the twelve Jyotirlingas of Lord Shiva. You can visit the Kedarnath temple and enjoy the scenic beauty of the Himalayas. Overnight stay at Kedarnath.
Day 9: Kedarnath to Guptkashi Trek back to Gaurikund and then drive back to Guptkashi. Overnight stay at Guptkashi.
Day 10: Guptkashi to Badrinath Start your day with a drive to Badrinath, which is around 200 km from Guptkashi. Badrinath is the fourth and the last shrine of Chardham Yatra, dedicated to Lord Vishnu. You can visit the Badrinath temple and take a dip in the holy Tapt Kund.
The Chardham Yatra in Uttarakhand is a spiritual journey of a lifetime. It is a journey that takes devotees to some of the most sacred shrines in Hinduism, and it is believed that undertaking this journey can lead to spiritual growth and enlightenment. The journey may be challenging, but it is also incredibly rewarding, and it is an experience that will stay with devotees for the rest of their lives.