According to Hindu mythology, vsiting four abodes in Himalayas- Badrinath, Kedarnath, Yamunotri and Gangotri, at least once in lifetime helps you in attaining salvation and getting rid of your sins. This is the reason, every year more than 2 lakh 50 thousand devotees in India head for these sacred sites. Interestingly, more and more foreign tourists are also seeking blessings of Lord Shiva every year by visiting these temples.
Each of these holy shrines has an importance and a history giving pilgrims a concrete reason to worship.
It is a belief that due to pride and the fact that the earth would be devastated if Ganga came down in her full force, Lord Shiva caught her in his locks. The sacred stone near the temple denotes the place where Ganga first came down to earth.
Badrinath became prominent when Nar-Narayan, an avathar of Vishnu did Tapasya there. Post Thapasya, Narayan said, people will always take Her Name before His Name, hence Hindus always refer “Lakshmi-Narayan“. It was therefore called Badri-Nath.
It is believed that Kedarnath Dham is the place where Lord Shiva freed Pandavas from the sin of killing their own cousins Kauravas in the battle of Kurukshetra war. According to the Puranas, the Pandava brothers punished themselves in Kedarnath in order to please Lord Shiva.
According to Hindu mythology, Yamuna is the daughter of Surya the Sungod & the sister of Yama, the god of death. The site also includes hot springs where raw rice is cooked and made into prasad.
If there’s shortage of time, you can cover the Char Dhams of Uttarakhand in just 2 days with their helicopter services. However, if you want to see the majestic locations and heavenly surroundings properly, then you can cover the Yatra in one stretch in 10-11 days breathing in fresh air, and achieving mental peace.
Kedarnath is dedicated to Lord Shiva, whereas Badrinath is devoted to Lord Vishnu. As the name suggests, Yamunotri is for Goddess Yamuna and primary deity at Gangotri is Goddess Ganga.
The day of Akha-Trij or Akha-Teej (in the month of May) marks the beginning of the Char Dham Yatra. The ‘Yatra’ typically closes 2 days after Diwali, on the day of Bhai-Bij (or Bhai Dooj).
Access to the pilgrimage is either from Haridwar, or Rishikesh, or from Dehradun. The tradition is to visit the sites in the following order:
During winters, these sacred sites are closed due to heavy snowfall. In the months of late July and August, there are chances of roadblocks due to heavy rainfall. In May and June, tourists come to pay homage in large numbers. So, it is best to take the Char Dham Yatra in early July and September – October.
The CharDham Yatra Opening Dates for this year are:
|S.N||Chardham Yatra||Opening Date|
|1.||Yamunotri||28 April 2017|
|2.||Gangotri||28 April 2017|
|3.||Kedarnath||29 April 2017|
|4.||Badrinath||1 May 2017|