Each of the
four holy shrines of the Char Dham is located at a height above 3,000 m
above sea level. The four temples in a geographical context form two
distinct groups, that of Badrinath-Kedarnath and Gangotri-Yamunotri, with
the common starting point at Rishikesh.
Tourist Attractions :
Chardham - Badrinathji,
Kedarnathji, Gangotri, Yamunotri.
Best Activity :
Nearby Tourist Destinations :
In the layers of the snow-covered reaches of the lofty Garhwal Himalayas in
Uttarakhand are located the holy Hindu shrines of Badrinath, Kedarnath,
Gangotri and Yamunotri, together form the Char Dham or the Four Holy
Shrines. The region is referred as the land of the gods in the ancient
Puranas. Scores of pilgrims visit the shrines by trekking arduously along
the mountain paths, all for a communion with the divine.
Over the centuries, these sites have been described in sacred
as the very places where devotees could earn the merits of all the
pilgrimages put together. Subsequently, temples were built at these
sanctified sites for all and sundry.
Badrinath-Kedarnath lie towards the northeast of Rishikesh. Gangotri and
Yamunotri are up north from Rishikesh. Of these sites, Badrinath and
Gangotri are directly accessible by road while Kedarnath is reached by road
followed by a short trek of 15 km from the Gaurikund road head. Yamunotri is
a 13-km trek from Hanuman Chatti.
Major Tourist Attractions of Chardham
Badrinath, dwelling at a height of 3,133 m, is said to be unparalleled in
its sanctity when compared to other pilgrimages. Badrinath is located in the
Narnarayan range against the imposing Neelkanth peak. The Badrinath temple
is stationed in a beautiful valley on the bank of the River Alaknanda and is
dedicated to Shri Badrinathji, that is Shiva the Creative Destructor. The
temple traces its origin to Adi Shankaracharya in the 8th century, though
legend has it that the temple stands on the site of an earlier shrine.
The present temple was built about two centuries back by the Garhwal kings.
The main idol in the temple is of black stone and represents Vishnu seated
in a meditative pose. The temple is divided into three parts: the garbha
griha or sanctum sanctorum; the darshan mandap where the prayers are held;
and the sabha mandap where devotees assemble. Below the temple are the hot
springs, Tapt Kund and Surya Kund, with waters at a temperature of 55°C.
There are four other Badris or shrines dedicated to Lord Vishnu that can be
visited from Badrinath. They are Yogadhyan Badri, Bhavishya Badri, Bridha
Badri and Adi Badri. Forty-two kilometers from Badrinath is Joshimath, the
winter home of Shri Badrinathji.
East of Badrinath is the beautiful Valley of Flowers and the holy lake of
Hemkund. According to the Guru Granth Sahib, the holy book of the Sikhs,
Guru Govind Singh, the tenth Guru of the Sikhs, meditated on the banks of
Kedarnath, at a height of 3,581 m, is the site of one of the 12
jyotirlingas in the country. The temple built of solid gray stone stands
against the backdrop of Kedarnath range. According to legend, the Pandavas
came here to pray to Lord Shiva after their victory in the great battle of
Kurushetra to atone for killing their own kin in the course of the war.
However, Lord Shiva kept eluding them and sought refuge at Kedarnath in the
form of a bull. On being trailed, he plunged into the ground, leaving only
the hump exposed on the earth, which is worshipped at the shrine. His arms
are believed to have surfaced at Tungnath, his face at Rudranath, belly at
Madmaheshwar, his locks and head at Kalpeshwar. These spots where he
reappeared (together with Kedarnath) form the Panch Kedar. All these places
are located in the Garhwal Himalayas and can be visited from Kedarnath by
road and subsequent trekking.
present temple at Kedarnath traces its origins to the 8th century, having
been resurrected by Adi Shankaracharya. It stands adjacent to the site of an
ancient temple built by the Pandavas. The samadhi or final resting place of
Shankaracharya is behind the temple.
Eighteen kilometers downstream from Gaumukh is Gangotri. It is an important
pilgrim site located at 3,048 m above sea level. The Gangotri glacier is the
original source of the river. There is a temple dedicated to Goddess Ganga
and the sacred stone where Raja Bhagirath is believed to have worshipped
Lord Shiva. Submerged in the river here is the natural rock Shivling where
Lord Shiva is believed to have received the Ganges (called Bhagirathi here)
in his locks. It is visible in the winter months when the water level
The shrine of Yamunotri, at a height of 3,235 m, is dedicated to the river
Goddess Yamuna. The temple of Goddess Yamuna is the main pilgrim site and
there are many thermal springs in the vicinity. Also present is a divya
shila, a rock pillar that is worshipped before entering the Yamunotri
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