Chota Char Dham Yatra

Char Dham of Himalayas

As the daunting winters blanketing the mountains in white give way to the pleasant summers, the sacred sanctums of the Himalayan shrines open their doors to the devotees across the globe. Nestled in the Garhwal region of Uttarakhand, the two shrines of Goddess Shakti along with the abode of Lord Shiva and Lord Vishnu bring together the three major divisions of Hinduism to form one of the most spiritual pilgrimages of the religion. Through the bewitching Himalayan valleys, this holy journey to Yamunotri, Gangotri, Kedarnath and Badrinath forms the Chota Char Dham yatra. The term 'Chota' was coined to differentiate from the original Char Dham that spreads across India. The Chota Char Dham yatra usually begins at Yamunotri and moves from left to right.

Legend

Originally, Char Dham referred to a pilgrimage route comprising of four prominent temples at the four corners of the country. The creation of the first Char Dham is credited to the great Hindu philosopher Adi Sankara. The most important among these shrines is the Badrinath Dham, where according to the mythology, Adi Shankaracharya acquired moksha from the cycle of rebirth. In the earlier days, because of the hilly terrain, arduous climb and unpredictable weather, the Chota Char Dham was only done by the wandering hermits. It was not part of any religious traditions.  In the 1960's as the roads and infrastructure to the temples improved, the main shrines of Kedarnath, Yamunotri and Gangotri got merged with the trek to Badrinath forming the famed Chota Char Dham circuit.

Deity - Temples

Deity:-

Goddess Yamuna
Goddess Ganga
Lord Shiva
Lord Vishnu

Temples Covered:-

Yamunotri Temple
Gangotri Temple
Kedarnath Temple
Badrinath Temple

Purpose

Pilgrimage, its tradition rooted deeply in Hinduism, is an experience of spiritual enlightenment. The Hindus regard that the Chota Char Dham yatra atones their sins and opens the doors of salvation or moksha. It is believed that this journey must be undertaken at least once in a lifetime and aids in attaining freedom from reincarnation. Apart from the serenity of the mind, the demanding journey instills discipline and will power.  Also the breathtaking beauty of the Himalayan vista is an exhilarating experience in itself.

Who can go?

Devotees of all age groups can undertake the Chota Char Dham yatra. However due to the exhausting nature of the journey and harsh treks, young children and those with serious ailments should avoid the journey. Helicopter services can be used for those who cannot trek.

Yatra Preparations

The most important preparation is to carry out an in-depth research to decide on the suitable pilgrim package as there are multitude of tour operators in the area. A compulsory medical check up is needed before the Chota Char Dham. Also all pilgrims must complete biometric registration(available online). Chota Char Dham yatra is very strenuous, hence it is advisable to do preparatory exercises and fitness regimes at least 3 months prior to the trip.

Travel Support

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Pooja Samagri

The accessibility to good quality pooja articles in today's adulterated world as well as availability of all the items required is a major concern for many devotees. Please check out our P-STORE page for various high quality Pooja Samagri for your Pilgrimage or mail us :- info@pilgrimaide.com or call us directly on Mobile :- +919619899406 or Land Phone :- +91 22 28470990.


Area Covered

The main temples covered are Yamunotri temple, Gangotri temple, Kedarnath temple and Badrinath temple. Apart from these the package tours also covers the major pilgrim sites of Haridwar, Rishikesh, Rudraprayag, Uttarkashi etc.

Auspicious Days

Chota Char Dham yatra usually opens on the day of Akshaya Tritiya or Akha Teej in April-May, which is considered one of the holiest days in the Hindu calendar. The Kedarnath, Yamunotri and Gangotri shrines close around Diwali while the Badrinath shrine closes on Vijayadashami (October-November)

Any contact numbers?

In case of medical emergency call 108 (emergency service from the Uttarakhand government).  Uttaranchal tourism helpline No: +91 1352559898+91 1352559898, +91 1352559987+91 1352559987



Best time to Travel

The perfect season to go for Chota Char Dham yatra is from April to October, except the monsoon season where heavy rains might cause landslides and floods. The most comfortable weather conditions would be April to June. The shrines are closed for six months during winter.

Duration

Chota Char Dham trip usually takes about 10-12 days. However, of late two to three day trips are provided by helicopter services.

Travel Method

Motorable roads are usable to Badrinath and Gangothri. Kedarnath and Yamunotri can be accessed by treks or ponies. Of late helicopter services are also available.

Crowd Expected

During the months of May and September, which are the peak seasons, the place can get quite cramped. There is an average of 3 lakh visitors during a pilgrimage season.

Festivals

Chota Char Dham yatra usually opens on the day of Akshaya Tritiya or Akha Teej in April-May, which is considered one of the holiest days in the Hindu calendar. The Kedarnath, Yamunotri and Gangotri shrines close around Diwali while the Badrinath shrine closes on Vijayadashami (October-November)

Must Haves

The terrain is harsh and the journey tough. Make sure you have all the needed medications for the entire stretch of the Chota Char Dham. Dehydration salt packets, light snacks, sunscreen, first aid kit, general medications like antibiotics, antiseptic creams etc should be carried in the daypack. Woollens should be taken as the temperature drops in the evenings. Heavy winter wear will be required during the latter part of the season. Comfortable shoes, torchlights, raincoat are essentials. A BSNL connection would help in connectivity in these areas. Pilgrims should carry valid identification cards.

Health Awarness

Journey is challenging, demanding high levels of physical and mental stamina. It is prudent that those with high blood pressure, cardiac diseases, asthma etc avoid the Chota Char Dham.

Additional Info

Non vegetarian food and alcohol are not permitted during the Chota Char Dham yatra. The locations are remote and there may only be basic necessities at hand in these areas. Electricity might not be regular or the availability of medicines. Due to the unpredictable climate in the area, pilgrims should be flexible with the dates. It is suggested that if not using a travel package, to be along with a group rather than touring alone. Oxygen masks for emergency purposes are available with tour operators. Make sure to drink only boiled or bottled water.

Climate

The weather can be very unpredictable in the higher altitudes of the Himalayan region which directly affects the road condition. The monsoons may cause landslides and road blockage. The summer days are pleasant around 15 degree Celsius but the nights can get chilly with temperatures in single digit. Sub zero temperatures can be expected during the months of Sept-Oct with occurrences of snow fall.

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