Char Dhams of Uttarakhand – Travel Guide

Char Dhams of Uttarakhand

“Char Dham” (four holy places) of Uttarakhand, are Gangotri, Yamunotri, Badrinath and Kedarnath. These four places are situated in the Garhwal Himalayas of Uttarakhand state. Lakhs of tourists visit these places every year.

Gangotri – Gangotri is an important pilgrimage centre for Hindus, it’s the source of the river Ganga. The legend about it is that King Bhagirathi spent lots of years in the penance of the Ganga to land on the earth.

Thus the river is also called Bhagirathi. Gangotri is located at an altitude of 3140 meters above sea level. The distance is around 240 Kms from Rishikesh, which means around 480 kms from Delhi.

Yamunotri – It’s one of the pilgrimage centres between “Char Dham”, the origin of the Yamuna River. Yamunotri is situated at an altitude of 3235 meters above sea level. It is situated on the opposite side of Gangotri. Yamunotri finds a special mention in Hindu mythology. According to a legend, this secluded hilly spot was the home of an ancient sage, Asit Muni. It’s a 213 km journey from Rishikesh and around 450 km from Delhi.

Badrinath – Badrinath is the most visited holy place of Uttarakhand. The place is guarded by two mountains Nar and Narayan and the Neelkanth Peak provides a splendid backdrop to Badrinath Temple. Legend has it that Lord Vishnu came to the area, called ‘Badri Van’, or the berry garden, to meditate after Narad rebuked the Lord for being immersed in worldly pleasures.

The Badrinath Temple is situated on the bank of the Alaknanda river. The distance of this place is 300 km from Rishikesh and around 550 km from Delhi. See the most frequently asked questions about the Badrinath dham to clear your queries about the travel to the destination.

Kedarnath – Kedarnath is also the most visited place in Uttarakhand, one of the twelve Jyotirlingas of Lord Shiva. Kedarnath is a majestic sight, standing in the middle of a wide plateau surrounded by lofty snow-covered peaks. One of the Panch Kedar Shrines, the temple was built by Adi Shankaracharya in the 8th century A.D., standing at the site of an earlier temple built by the Pandavas. Kedarnath temple is situated at the altitude of 3581 meters from sea level, around 220 km from Rishikesh and around 470 km from Delhi.

Gangotri Temple Travel Guide and How to Reach

Gangotri Dham – The Origin of Ganga

Gangotri is one of the important Char Dham destinations in the Hindu religion and is one of the original sources of the holy river Ganga. The main origin source of river Ganga is “Gaumukh” which is a glacier situated 19 Km away from Gangotri Dham. River Ganga is one of the longest and most sacred rivers in the world.

Gangotri temple is located at an altitude of 3100 meters above sea level, on the banks of the river Bhagirathi. Gangotri is the starting point of the Ganga river, where the goddess Ganga is worshipped by the pilgrims. In ancient times the river was known as Bhagirathi and attained the name Ganga from Devprayag onwards where Bhagirathi meets with Alaknanda river from Ganga river. Gangotri is the home place of many ashrams, temples and small shrines.

The Gangotri temple opens in the month of May on the auspicious day of Akshay Tritiya and closes on Bhai Duj or Yama Dwitiya which falls in the month of November. The Gangotri temple remains closed for the rest of the six months.

History, Mythology and Importance of Gangotri

According to Hindi mythology, it is said that the river Ganga is a result of the reward given by Lord Shiva to the king Bhagirath for his hard penance. However, due to her pride and the fact that the earth would be devastated if Ganga came down in her full force, Lord Shiva caught Ganga in his locks to reduce the force. The sacred stone near the Gangotri temple denotes the place where Ganga came first to the earth. That’s why Ganga is also called by the name of Bhagirathi.

The present temple of Gangotri was constructed by Gorkha Commander Amar Singh Thapa in the 18th century. It is said that at the time of construction of the temple Gaumukh glacier was there but due to global warming it disappeared. Gangotri is well-connected with National highways and state highways. The nearest airport is in Dehradun.

Gangotri Travel Guide

There are many shops near Gangotri which sell prasad and small bottles to carry water from Gangotri after darshan. Ganga water is pure and is used in worship in the temple. There are some hotels and Ashrams for the accommodation of tourists on the other side of the temple. Gangotri is home of a variety of flora and fauna. There are many temples around Gangotri where tourists can learn more about the origin of the Ganga.

Gangotri Overview

  • Temperature: 16(Max) and 5(Min)
  • Location: Uttarkashi, Garhwal
  • Stay (Recommended): 2 days
  • Nearest Railway Station: Dehradun (240 Km)
  • Nearest Airport: Jolly Grant Airport, Dehradun (250 Km)
  • Famous locations: Gangotri temple and Popular treks
  • Best times to visit: April, May, June, September, October and November
badrinath uttarakhand

Badrinath Temple Complete Travel Guide

History of Badrinath Dham

In the 9th century, the holy town of Badrinath was re-established by Adi Guru Shankaracharya. In the olden days, pilgrims used to walk hundreds of miles to pray in the Badrinath Temple. During the 1st world war, there were only a few huts, where temple staff lived.

Architecture of Badrinath

The facing side of the temple is made up of stone and has arched windows. To enter inside the Badrinath temple you have to climb up the front stairs of the temple which starts from Tapt Kund(Hot water spring). Tapt Kund is a holy water source, it is believed that the water comes from the feet of Bhagwan Badri Vishal. These stairs are the main entrance of the Temple.

The temple is approx 50 feet tall, and the roof of the Badrinath temple is covered with a gold gilded roof. Inside the temple, one can see the meditative posture of Lord Vishnu.

Mythology about Badrinath

There are two stories about Badrinath, the first one states that as per the Vamana Purana the two sages Nar & Narayana performed their penance here & Bhakt Narada was able to attain salvation.

Whereas the other story tells that Lord Vishnu in his childhood avatar came near the Neelkanth Parvat. At that time, they were searching for a peaceful place for meditation. While searching for the place, they fell in love with the site near the Alaknanda River. After that, they lived there for meditation and after that, the place was named Badri Vishal.

Badrinath is one of the most popular religious places in Uttarakhand and all over India. Badrinath is located in the Chamoli district of Uttarakhand state in India. The Badrinath town is situated in between Nar & Narayana mountains and in the shadow of the Neelkantha Peak. Bheem Pul and Vasudhara are also located near Badrinath they are also awesome places for travel and peace.

The origin of river Alaknanda

There is another great legendary tale, which is associated with Badrinath. Legends say that the holiest and curse reliever, the river the Ganga had granted the request of Bhgiratha for relieving humanity from curse sufferings. While ascending to earth, the intensity of the Ganga could immerse the earth under its water flow. To release the earth from the such force, Lord Shiva bore her onto his tresses and ultimately, the river Ganga got divided into twelve holy rivers and river Alaknanda was one of them.

Travel Guide Badrinath – How to reach Badrinath

If you are an individual and wanna travel alone to Badrinath Dham, then it’s not a big task to travel there. Badrinath is located at the roadside and the only thing you need to know is how to reach Badrinath. So here is the travel guide to Badrinath so that you can reach it easily.

Start Day 0: Reach Rishikesh, Haridwar, or Dehradun

As you know that Badrinath is located in Uttarakhand, so you need to reach the state first. If you are traveling by train you can only reach Rishikesh, Haridwar and Dehradun. Because after these stations there is no facility for trains. The nearest railway station to Badrinath is Rishikesh. After that, you have to travel by road by bus services and other vehicles.

If you want to travel by flight, firstly you need to travel to the Jolly Grant Airport Dehradun, and then you have to book a Helicopter service which will drop you at the Gaucher Airport. The ticket price from Dehradun to Gauchar is approx 5000 rupees. If you want to travel via road, you will have to take a Bus from Rishikesh, Haridwar and Dehradun. If you live in Delhi, you can pick up the Bus from Kashmiri Gate Bus Stand, Delhi to Karanprayag or Joshimath Chamoli.

Day 1: There are lots of Bus services and van services you can find at Rishikesh Bus Stand which operates to Badrinath. If you are a bike rider, you can also take bikes for rent from Rishikesh, which can make your journey more enjoyable. The route via road is about 295 Km from Rishikesh to Badrinath, and it takes approx 10 hours traveling time.

Route to Badrinath

Rishikesh – Devprayag – Srinagar – Rudraprayag – Karanprayag – Chamoli – Joshimath – Badrinath

Note: Due to 4 lane highway project work you can face travel delays of some hours but don’t worry you can stay in the above-discussed destinations like Srinagar which is also a big town of Uttarakhand, Rudraprayag, Gauchar, Karanprayag, Chamoli and then in Joshimath.

Day 2: When you reach Badrinath the next morning, wake up early and attend the morning aarti at the temple. It can take up to 2- 3 hours for Darshan because of the long queue of people. After that visit the nearest locations like Bhim Pul, Vasudhara Falls and then Mana village which is just 3 Km away from Badrinath. Mana is the last Indian village at the Indo – China border. You can also visit destinations such as Auli in Joshimath and the Valley of Flowers.

Day 3: After spending time at different places, you can return to your home via taxi service or bus service. Hope your journey will be great.

Activities you can do in Badrinath

As you visited all the nearby places, the extra activities you can do in Badrinath are:

Trekking: There are many treks that start from Badrinath such as Satopanth Trek, Mana Pass Trek and Charanpaduka Treks.

Village Tourism: Mana village, which is just only 3 Km away from Badrinath, is also known as the last Indian village. There is a very famous tea shop named “Antim Chai ki Dukaan”. Mana village is basically a village of Bhotias there are many shops there from where you can buy the famous spice “Faran” and handmade woolen sweaters, mufflers, and socks.

The basic clothing culture of the people who live there is “Pakhlu”. The peoples from Mana village sells their sweaters, spices(Faran mostly), woolen caps, woolen socks and other items in the different fairs like Gauchar Mela which is held in the month of November.

“Tapt Kund” is a natural hot spring that attracts people. The hot spring always remains as hot on Summer days as well as on Winter days. In winter, all the Badrinath and the nearby villages get covered with snow. There are some more locations such as Charanpaduka, Bheem Pul, Ganesha Cave, Panch Dharasand, Panch Shillas, Vyas Cave and Narad Kund.

Travel Tips for Badrinath

At an altitude of 3000 meters from sea level, the weather in Badrinath remains the same. It doesn’t matter in which month you are visiting, they always carry warm clothes together.

Please respect the holy place, and don’t carry alcohol and non-vegetarian food items.

Photography is prohibited inside the temple but is allowed outside and in other nearby places.

Traveling during the monsoon season is a little risky and the risk of landslides and road blockage is common at that time.

Highlights about Badrinath

Badrinath is one of the Panch Badris.

It is a part of the Char Dhams of Uttarakhand and India.

It is also known as Badrinarayan temple, which is one of the 108 Divya Dreams.

Badrinath Overview

  • Temperature: 11(Max) and 3(Min)
  • Location: Chamoli Garhwal
  • Stay(Recommended): 2 Days
  • Nearest Railway Station: Rishikesh, 295 Km
  • Nearest Airport: Jolly Grant Airport, 314 Km
  • Famous Locations: Badrinath Temple, Bheem Pul, Vasudhara Falls, Char Dham Yatra
  • Best times to Visit: May, June, September and October

Frequently asked questions

What is the significance of Badrinath Temple?

Badrinath Temple is one of the four sacred shrines of Hinduism, known as Char Dham. It is believed that visiting Badrinath Temple and taking a dip in the Tapt Kund can wash away one’s sins and grant them salvation.

What is the best time to visit Badrinath Temple?

The Badrinath Temple is open for visitors from April to November. However, the best time to visit is between May and June and then from September to October when the weather is pleasant, and the temple is less crowded.

Can non-Hindus visit Badrinath Temple?

Yes, non-Hindus can visit Badrinath Temple, but they are not allowed to enter the sanctum sanctorum. They can visit other parts of the temple complex and witness the aarti and other rituals.

How do I reach Badrinath Temple?

Badrinath Temple is located in Uttarakhand, India. The nearest airport is in Dehradun, and the nearest railway station is in Rishikesh. From there, you can hire a taxi or take a bus to reach Badrinath. The last 3 km stretch needs to be covered on foot or by a pony.

Kedarnath Trek Travel Guide and How to Reach

Kedarnath – Shiv Temple at Kailasha

Kedarnath is one of the holy Hindu towns located in the northern Indian state of Uttarakhand. The original temple was constructed by the Pandavas, and then it was later renovated by the Adi Guru Shankracharya in the 8th century. It is one of the char dham of Uttarakhand which is at an altitude of 3584 meters above sea level in the Himalaya(Kailash) near the head of the Mandakini river. The Kedarnath lies in between the snow-covered Himalayan ranges and thousands of tourists visit here.

Due to heavy snowfall in winter, the temple remains open for a few months from last April to November. It is one of the 12 Jyotirlingas of Baba Kedar or Lord Shiva. In Kedarnath, there are more than 200 shrines dedicated to Lord Shiva.

Mythology and History about Kedarnath Temple

There is a very famous mythology by Hindus related to the origin of the Kedarnath, which states that after the war of the Kurukchetra(final war of Mahabharata), Pandavas went for an anonymous journey to beg for mercy from Lord Shiva advised by Lord Krishna. So before seeking salvation, Pandavas went to Kashi to meet Lord Shiva.

But Lord Shiva wasn’t willing to meet the Pandavas. Shiva avoided meeting Pandavs at Kashi and took the form of Bull(Nandi) and went away to the Himalayas.

Pandavas went behind Lord Shiva to chase Shiva and they reached Kedarnath where Bhima tried to catch it and hit its hind part with his mace. The bull(Nandi) is immersed in the earth. The parts of the bull appeared in different places. It is believed that the Hind part of the bull was caught by the Bhim from which a Jyotirlinga and Lord Shiva appeared in front of Pandavas. After taking the blessings of Lord Shiva, they told Pandavas from now onwards I will be present here as a triangular-shaped Jyotirlinga, which is now the Kedarnath temple.

The other four parts of the bull(Nandi), Lord Shiva fell at Rudranath, Madhmaheshwar, Tungnath and Kalpeshwar and these places were named Panch Kedar.

Travel Guide for Your Journey to Kedarnath

If you are a known traveler who doesn’t know about the routes of Kedarnath here is the complete travel guide for your journey to Kedarnath. Haridwar is the starting point to begin your Char Dham Yatra.

Read our travel guide on how to reach Kedarnath from Haridwar to get a complete idea to complete your Kedarnath journey.

How to reach Kedarnath – Rishikesh or Delhi

As you know that the Kedarnath temple is located in the Rudraprayag district, so firstly you have to reach Rudraprayag and then start your journey from there. There are also many other places in Rudraprayag you can also visit after completing your Kedarnath yatra.

Firstly, Reach Rishikesh

Rishikesh is the starting point of the Himalayas and it is one of the famous cities of Uttarakhand. The city is well-connected with all the inner-state and national bus routes and also with the Train routes. If you are coming via flight then Jolly grant airport Dehradun is just 20 Km away from Rishikesh and it takes 35 to 40 minutes only. Always try to travel at night so that you can reach Rishikesh in the early morning and start your road journey to Kedarnath.

Rishikesh to Sonprayag or Gaurikund

From Rishikesh Bus Stand, you can catch public transport like Tata Sumo and Buses to Sonprayag. It is harder to find direct buses to Sonprayag so try to catch them for Guptkashi. From there you will find public transport to Sonprayag and Gaurikund easily. However, you can also get a bus to Rudraprayag and then Rudraprayag to Guptkashi. After that, you can complete your journey to Sonprayag with a shareable Maxx or Tata sumo. Below is the road route from Rishikesh to Sonprayag. You can hire a taxi for your destination.

Route from Rishikesh to Sonprayag – Kedarnath

Rishikesh – Devprayag – Srinagar – Rudraprayag – Augustmuni – Guptkashi – Sonprayag

Bio – Metric Registration at Sonprayag

As instructed by the Uttarakhand Government, it is compulsory for every traveller to do biometric registration at Sonprayag. The biometric registration facility is also available online on the Uttarakhand tourism website. For registration, you have to carry your Aadhaar Card together.

Facilities for tourists at Sonprayag

Biometric registration for travellers and pilgrimages for Kedarnath Dham Yatra and Char Dham Yatra. Accommodation facilities are there from budget to deluxe restaurants and hotels in Sonprayag. Parking facilities are also available at Sonprayag for all types of vehicles near the bank of river Mandakini. Shuttle service to Gaurikund which are shareable jeeps and Tata sumos.

Keep in mind that Sonprayag is the last point for all commercial and non-commercial vehicles. You can’t travel further by personal vehicle or public transport.

A huge parking facility is there for all kinds of vehicles in Sonprayag. You have to complete the further 5 Km journey from the shuttle service between Sonprayag and Gaurikund which costs 50 rupees per person.

After reaching Gaurikund, ask for the rooms from the hotel owners. The least amount of rooms in the month of May and June is basically 500 and varies on the season.

Journey from Gaurikund to Kedarnath(18 Km, 6 – 7 Hours Journey)

The trek journey to Kedarnath starts from Gaurikund which is approximately 18 Km and takes up to 7 hours to complete. You can also take ponies, horses or dandi at rent to complete your journey.

Trekking tips for the journey to Kedarnath trek

  • Try to start your trek journey in the early morning to avoid the hard sunlight at noon. So it’s better to leave the rooms early to complete most of the trek before the sun’s rays become harsher.
  • Don’t try to travel empty stomach, it can make your journey harder and you will feel sick in between the journey.
  • Carry raincoats and umbrellas because the weather in Kedar Valley is so changing. So carry an umbrella or raincoats together on the journey.
  • Walk with good grip shoes as the route is slippery, and don’t carry unwanted things. It will make your bag heavier and your speed will slow down and it will be harder to complete.
  • Carry water bottles together, but don’t throw the waste anywhere around, put them into your bag or there are dustbins at some places that use them. Make sure you don’t spoil nature, save it for the next generations.
  • Keep your focus on the trekking route so that ponies and horses coming down from Kedarnath don’t hit you.

For what Kedarnath is Famous for?

Kedarnath is famous for Kedarnath Temple, Trekking, Char Dham Yatra, Himalaya(Kailash) and Pilgrimage.

Kedarnath is the best destination for travellers, photographers, family and kids, Groups and for all.

Kedarnath is famous for the following activities: Char Dham Yatra, Kedarnath Temple, Panch Kedar and Trekking.

Overview Kedarnath

  • Temperature: Cold area(changing temp. can’t be defined, fixed)
  • Location: Rudraprayag, Garhwal
  • Stay(Recommended): 2 days
  • Nearest Railway Station: Rishikesh, 228 Km
  • Nearest Airport: Jolly Grant Airport, Dehradun(248 Km)
  • Famous for: Kedarnath Temple, Char Dham Yatra, Trekking, Himalayas, Pilgrimage, Photography
  • Best times to visit Kedarnath: May, June, September, October and November

FAQs

Time is taken to reach Kedarnath?

It will take up to 7 hours to complete the route, so it is advised to start your journey in the early morning so that you can reach the destination early. There are a number of hotels and restaurants for accommodation, search for the rooms. For photographers, Kedar Valley is a paradise for them, you can click photos around the temple and around the valley.

Best time to Visit Kedarnath

The best time to visit Kedarnath is from September to November when the season becomes a little down, so you wouldn’t have to face more crowds. In the months of July and August, heavy rainfall happens in the Kedar Valley and the risk of road blockage and landslides becomes more. It is advised to travel in the month of September and October so that you can get instant Darshan and you don’t need to stay in long queues, and you will be able to find budget hotels at that time.

How long does it take to climb Kedarnath?

The approximate time it takes to climb the Kedarnath trek is almost 6 to 7 hours. But the time took also depends upon you. If you are an experienced person, you can cover the Kedarnath trek within 5 to 6 hours. For pahadi people, the trek will be easy to climb.

How difficult is the Kedarnath Trek or Yatra?

The trek to Kedarnath is difficult, but not so. If you are a newbie to the mountains, it will be very hard for you to complete the trek. But if you are a person who does exercise on a regular basis, then you will not face any big difficulty to climb up.

Can we go to Kedarnath by car?

No, you can go to Kedarnath by car only up to Gauri Kund which is the last road station. After Gaurikund you have to complete the journey by foot.

How can I go to Kedarnath by train?

The train route is available only up to Rishikesh, after that you have to travel by car, bus or shared vehicle.