Located in the natural bliss of Uttaranchal, Char dham is a preferred pilgrimage centre for Hindu devotees. It means four sacred spots. Nestled between the Himalayan and Garhwal ranges are the four most sacred destinations of Hindu pilgrims -Yamunotri, Gangotri, Kedarnath and Badrinath, which are collectively known as the Chardham. The holy river Ganges flow through the four dhams making each dham even more sacred. Endowed with alluring scenic charms, and several magnificent temples, each dham is a delightful treat to the eyes.
The Chardham Yatra follows the clockwise circulation. It must be covered from left to right – starting with Yamunotri, then Gangotri, Kedarnath and finally ending the journey at Badrinath.
The popular attractions of Chardham are:
Yamunotri, the seat of goddess Yamuna, is the first stopover of the Chardham yatra. It is the source of the Yamuna River. Lying at an altitude of 3293 meters above sea level, Yamunotri is situated in the Uttarkashi district of Uttaranchal. The main tourist attraction at Yamunotri is the Yamunotri temple, dedicated to the goddess Yamuna. Pilgrims worship Divya Shilla, a rock pillar, before entering the Yamunotri temple. There is another temple on the left bank of Yamuna, built by Maharaja Pratap Shah of Tehri Garhwal. Surya Kund, the thermal springs with temperature as high as 190°F, is a popular tourist destination. Janki Chatti is another well known thermal springs.
Kharsali is famous for three-storied Shiva temple, carved of stones on the walls. It is dedicated to Lord Someshwar. Saptarishi Kund is a natural lake and is the beauty spot of Yamunotri. It is regarded as the origin of Yamuna River.
Gangotri is the seat of goddess Ganga. It is situated at a height of 3048 meters above sea level at Uttarkashi district in Uttaranchal. There is a temple devoted to the goddess Ganga. It was constructed by Amar Bahadur Thapa, the Gorkha Commander. The main attraction of Gangotri is Jalamagna Shivling, a natural rock Shivling which visible only in winters. It is where Lord Shiva received Ganga through his locks to lessen the impact of her fall. The Ganges is known as Bhagirathi at this point. Another main attraction is Gaumukh glacier. It is the origin of the Ganges lying at an altitude of 4200 meters above sea level. Tourists can enjoy trekking at Nandanvan. This 6 km trekking route offers a spectacular view of the Shivling. The Bhairon Valley is famous for its temple, devoted to Bhairavnath. The place is ideal for adventure lovers.
Kedarnath in Uttarkashi district of Uttaranchal is the source of the Mandakini River. Surrounded by snow-clad peaks, Kedarnath is favourite among tourists. The 1000 years old Kedarnath Temple, built by the Pandavas, is one of the architecture marvels in Kedarnath. The temple is devoted to Lord Shiva. It is carved out of heavy graystones. The temple features conical rock, 'Garbha Griha' for worship and assembly hall for pilgrims and visitors. A life-sized statue of the Nandi bull stands as guard outside the temple. Lying at the backdrop of the temple are the Kedardome peak and the Samadhi of Adi Guru Shankaracharya. There is Bhairavnath temple, dedicated to Lord Bhairav. The Chorabari Tal Lake or Gandhi Sarovar is at the edge of Mandakini river. Another attractive temple is the Gauri Kund temple, dedicated to Gauri.
With mesmerising Neelkanth peak in the background, Badrinath lies at the lap of Nar-Narayan Parvat. It is situated on the right banks of Alakananda River. The town derives its name from Badrinath temple. Due to its alluring sight, the place is coined the 'Garhwal Queen'. It is in the Chamoli district of Uttaranchal. The Badrinath temple, built by Adi Guru Shankaracharya, is a hit among pilgrims. They enter the temple after taking a holy dip in the Tapt Kund, Narad Kund and Surya Kund. Mata Murti temple is devoted to the mother of Badrinath. Alka Puri, the source of Alakananda River, is the destination for adventurous tourists. Other popular attractions of Badrinath are Satopanth, Panch Prayag and Panch Badri.
How to Reach
Jolly Grant in Dehradun is the nearest airport.
Rishikesh and Kotdwar are the nearest railway stations.
Gangotri is well connected to main cities of Uttaranchal and other important cities of the country.