Chardham Yatraimage source:Aaj TakIndia is full of spiritual destinations, where one can find mental peace. India has countless pilgrimages spread across its vast boundaries. But among these pilgrimages, Chardham holds an important place. The pilgrimage to the four abodes, the Chardham Yatra refers to the four holiest pilgrimage sites in India, viz. Badrinath (Uttarakhand in North), Rameswaram (Tamil Nadu in South), Puri (Odisha in East), and Dwarka (Gujarat in West). These Char Dhams Badrinath, Kedarnath, Yamunotri, and Gangotri are, in fact, a part of the small circuit of four sites or the Chota Char Dham Yatra.
Best time to visit Chardham YatraThe Chardham Yatra opens on the day of Akha-Trij or Akha Teej (in May) and closes for winter on Bhai-Bij (2 days after Diwali).The best way to escape from the crowded pilgrimage area, and to avoid the harsh atmospheric conditions during the months of July and August, one can opt for the Char Dham yatra in early July and September.
Difficulties in Chardham YatraThe common difficulties which make the Char Dham Yatra strenuous and difficult includes the temperature variation, frequent landslides, and the poor road conditions. The temperatures may fall to as low as 1 C at night in Kedarnath and go as high as 40 C after a few hours. So, the pilgrimages are advised to carry woolen clothes and light fabrics to cope up with the temperature variations.
The original Char Dham
image source: mix.comAccording to Indian philosopher Adi Shankaracharya, the original Char Dham Badrinath, Dwarka, Puri, & Rameshwaram consists of 3 Vaishnavite (belonging to Lord Vishnu) and 1 Shaivite (belonging to Lord Shiva) pilgrimages.
image source:Isha SadhguruBadrinath is a Hindu holy town and a Nagar panchayat located in the Chamoli district in the state of Uttarakhand. It is dominant among the four Chardham pilgrimage sites of India and it constitutes the Chota Char Dham too. It is located at an altitude of 3,300 meters, about 10,827 feet above sea level on the banks of the Alaknanda River. The town is named after the Badrinath Temple. The town of Badrinath lies between Nar and Narayana mountain ranges and it has the shadow of Neelkanth peak. The nearest railway station is Rishikesh and the nearest airport is Jolly Grant Airport Dehradun. There are lots of buses and shared cabs available to reach Badrinath, but the best way is to opt for a break journey. Take a bus or cab for Rudraprayag, stay at night and of course early morning travel to Joshimath. Joshimath has a lot of accommodation options and market facilities too.
image source:TemplePurohitRameshwaram is said to be the place from where Lord Rama built the Rama Setu Bridge to Sri Lanka. However, the Ramanathaswamy temple in Rameshwaram is dedicated to Lord Shiva, worshipped in the form of a linga of Sri Ramanatha Swamy.Renowned for its magnificent prakaras with massive sculptured pillars on either side. The Five-faced Hanuman Temple holds the floating stone which was used to build a bridge between India and Sri Lanka. The town is connected to the rest of the country via the famous Pamban channel. Winters are the best time to visit Rameshwaram. Rameshwaram has a well-connected railway station as well as a good network of roads. The airport closest to the city is at Madurai. Read more:-Famous Shiva Temples in India for a True Shiva Bhakt!!
image source:MAYFAIR Hotels & ResortsPuri offers the charm of ancient temples and exotic beaches that leaves an indelible mark in the minds of travelers who visit this place. The best time to visit Puri is from October to march. Puri is well connected by railways. If you arrive by train, go to the Odisha State Tourist counter at the station for advice; they are usually very helpful and speak English.The main deity in this Vaishnavite pilgrim center is Lord Krishna, worshipped as Lord Jagannatha. This is the only Indian shrine where goddess Subhadra sister of Lord Krishna is worshipped along with her brothers, Lord Jagannatha & Lord Balabhadra.
image source: culturalindia.netDwarka city is the dwelling town of Lord Krishna. The city is said to have submerged 6 times and been destroyed by the sea. The present-day Dwarka is the 7th city to be built in this area. The main deity worshipped here is Lord Krishna. The best time to visit Dwarka is from March to June. The devotees travel in large numbers to Dwarkadheesh temple and Rukmini Devi temple every year. These temples flaunt a flamboyant structural design and an impressive architecture. Other prominent religious sites that one can surely look for include theSomnath Temple, Nageshwar Jyotirlinga temple and Samudra Narayan temple.Dwarka is well connected with railways and airways too.
Chota Char Dham Circuit
image source:www.jagran.comThe concept of Chota Char Dham came into focus after the Indo-China war of 1962 as India began investing in road and infrastructure development projects. The roads provided network connectivity. The Chota Chardham slowly began to replace the original Chardham. The tourists were able to travel by buses and Jeeps to the nearest shrine.
Yamunotri Dham Yatra
image source:Char Dham YatraSite of:Goddess YamunaAltitude:3291 metersDistrict:UttarkashiState:UttarakhandYamunotri is the source of the Yamuna river. The actual source and glaciers are located at an altitude of 4421 meters above the sea level, about 1 km further up.But the accessibility is very difficult. The Yamunotri temple is located at the foothills. The pilgrims offer prayer by themselves.Opening hours:6 am 8 pm; 1st week of May DiwaliAarti time:6:30 pm 7:30 pmThe other places include Saptrishi Kund, Surya Kund, Divya Shila, etc.
Gangotri Dham Yatra
image source:chardhampackages.inSite of:Goddess GangaAltitude:3048 metersDistrict:UttarkashiState:UttarakhandThis constituent of Char Dham is visited by millions of pilgrims. The Gangotri Dham is set 19 kms from Gaumukh the place where Ganga River originates. From Gaumukh in the Gangotri Glacier, the river flows as Bhagirathi up to Devprayag.The other places which can be explored there are Gangotri temple, Bhagirath Shila, submerged Shiv ling and Pandava Gufa.
Kedarnath Dham Yatra
image source:www.youtube.comSite of:Lord ShivaAltitude:3553 metersDistrict:RudraprayagState:UttarakhandLocated near the head of the River Mandakini in the Himalayas, surrounded by breathtaking snow-clad mountains. Kedarnath is named after King Kedar who ruled in the Satya Yuga.The other places which can be explored are Kedarnath temple, Gandhi Sarovar, Shankaracharya Samadhi, Bhairon temple.Read more:-Kedarnath Complete Travel Guide
Badrinath Dham Yatra
image source: hindi.nativeplanet.comSite of:Lord VishnuAltitude:3133 metersDistrict:ChamoliState:UttarakhandThe main deity here is Lord Vishnu, worshipped in his aspect of Badrinarayan. This is the only destination that is an integral part of both the Chardham and the Chota Chardham yatra. The other places to visit are Badrinath temple, Neelkanth, Tapt Kund, Vasudhara falls.ConclusionGoing to the four sacred places would take you through the most picturesque landscape including dense mountain forests, meadows, large valleys, waterfalls, rivers, river confluences, and flowers. So, when you like to enjoy spiritual healing then travel to these destinations. According to Hindu mythology, the pilgrims will attain salvation, once they complete Chardham.