Char Dham yatra of Devbhoomi Uttarakhand is one of the holiest and religious pilgrimages anybody could undertake. The yatra is so highly revered that Hindu devotees and spiritual seekers from all across the globe go on this enlightening journey on the Garhwal Himalayas to the holy temples of Kedarnath, Badrinath, Gangotri, and Yamunotri. People running short on time also choose the do Dham yatra package just to ensure and not miss out on this sacred experience. However, just visiting the temples may make it quite a boring experience and also you will miss out on a lot of equally beautiful and religious places. Here are some places you can visit en route Char Dham Yatra :
En Route Yamunotri:
Dedicated to goddess Yamuna and believed to be the starting point of the holy char Dham yatra this ancient temple marks the source of the holy Yamuna River. Surrounded by the cascading silver water and lush greenery on all sides this idyllic place of worship is also tucked away in one of the flanks of the Bandarpunch Parvat. Just like the temple, there are several places one could visit on your way to Yamunotri Dham:
1- Kharsali –
Also lovingly referred to as ‘Khushimath’ this pristine hill town is located at a distance of almost 5 km from Yamunotri. It can be reached by following a trekking path which takes around half n hour to cover. Here you could pay a visit to one of the oldest Shiva temples of India. This is also the place where the idol of the goddess is kept during the off season of char Dham yatra. This is probably one of the most offbeat winter destinations in Uttarakhand and also serves as a quick getaway location.
2. Surya Kund –
This hot water spring which is believed to be the abode of goddess Agni is definitely a must visit during your Yamunotri yatra. a naturally occurring hot water spring this is considered to be an extremely holy place where one can take a dip and get rid of all their sins and even joint pains and skin related problems. It is located in extremely close proximity to the main temple. Remember to take an extra pair of clothes which you can wear after taking the dip. This is also used as a place for making delicious prasadam which is served to the devotees after the Darshan.
Janki Chatti –
This is holy pilgrimage town is located close to the temple of Yamunotri and is the final road head for Yamunotri Dham. it is also the place from where pilgrims can hire pony and Palki services. There are also some accommodation places available here where you can stay according to your budget requirement. The place is not only holy but it is also a prime getaway spot for people who love spending time amidst nature and greenery. Being located at a distance of just 7 km this place is unavoidable en route the temple.
En Route Gangotri:
Seated majestically amidst the breathtakingly green surroundings is this glistening white temple dedicated to goddess Ganga. Located right next to the Bhagirathi River it is believed that it was here that Ganga Maa had descended from the heavenly realm to earth after the regular and years of penance by king Bhagirath. Keeping the legendary importance apart this place is extremely scenic, wonderful and just replete with spellbinding beauty. This place is also considered to be the starting point to the glacier of Gaumukh. Here are some places that fall en route Gangotri Dham temple:
Harsil is not just a holy pilgrimage town before Gangotri but it is a place where one can go for a quick getaway and get in touch with nature. It is the place where the idol of goddess Ganga is placed for the winter Darshan. Marked with the presence of crystal-clear blue Bhagirathi River and set against the backdrop of the impeccable and serene beauty of the Himalayas this place is one of a kind. On a bright sunny day, you will be surrounded by the singing of the birds and fresh pollution free air which will make all your stress just melt away. Go out on some nearby treks and follow an adventure with your kids, family and loved ones.
This humble quaint hamlet is situated at a mere distance of 2 km further of the town of Harsil. This place holds a special place in the hearts of devotees since this is the place where king Bhagirathi had to meditate asking goddess Durga to make her way down to earth. It is the perfect place to experience some authentic village tourism in Uttarakhand as well as indulge in some spiritual activities that may prove to be an extremely refreshing experience for you. Although this place remains swarming with pilgrims during the on season for the yatra, it quietens down while the season is off and then is probably one of the best times to explore the quietude it has to offer.
Situated at a distance of 5 km from Gaumukh glacier and 8 km from Gangotri temple, this place is truly blessed with unmatched natural beauty. with forests of tall lush green trees, surrounded by snowbound hills on all sides and complete with thriving meadows this place is aptly named so. It is believed that this place used to be a thriving hub of meditation and penance for a number of saints and rishis from all over the world. Being located on an elevation of 4,460 metres above sea level and containing well organized trekking routes it is the perfect place to explore if you happen to avail the Gangotri Yamunotri Yatra Package.
En Route Kedarnath:
Kedarnath temple is probably one of the most highly revered Shiva temples or Jyotirlingas in India and a must visit for every Shiva devotee. It is also one of the most remote of all char Dham temples and going there requires serious planning and preparation. No matter how tough the journey there is so much more to this place than one comprehends. This holy town is located on a very high altitude and offers some of the most amazing views of the hills which flanks the entire region from all ends. Surrounded by the beauty of the Kedar dome hill ranges and lined by the holy river of Mandakini there are several places one could visit on their way to Kedarnath like:
this holy town is the final road head from the main temple of Kedarnath and the place from where the trekking journey commences. This is also the place where people choose to stay due to the presence of a number of accommodation and lodges for the convenience of the pilgrims. This place where goddess Parvati is believed to have performed meditation to lord Shiva is surrounded by amazing natural Himalayan beauty. it is the place where one can spend a few days indulging in village tourism and getting to know something more regarding the legends related to this place. The place is known as Kund since there is also a small naturally occurring high altitude lake which holds a lot of religious significance in the life of every devout Hindu.
This place falls en route your way to the temple and cannot be avoided so visiting and spending some time here is advised. This holy pilgrimage place where lord Shiva is supposed to have attempted to hide from the Pandava brothers houses the sacred ancient temple of Vishwanath and Ardhanareeshwara which are considered to be extremely important holy places for worship on the Garhwal region of Himalayas. Here the central attraction is the Manikarnika Kund which is the place where the 2 streams of Ganga and Yamuna meet to form a small confluence and are worshipped by visiting pilgrims. It is an ideal place to explore some more if you have a curious bent of mind along with being interested in mythology and legends.
located just before the temple of Kedarnath at a distance of 18 km prior to the main temple this is one of the most religious towns in Kedarnath. The word Prayag in itself literally translates into confluence which also depicts the fact that it marks the meeting point of 2 holy rivers of Basuki and Mandakini. The common belief here is that taking a dip in this confluence point washes away all their sins. This is also considered to be one of the most scenic and beautiful religious town flanked by snow-clad peaks on either side while also serving as the starting point for the visit to the holy temple of Triyuginarayan. The place is mostly vibrant and teeming with people during the char Dham season but all the chaos dies down during the off-seasons. This place is perfect for spending a spiritual time with your family and loved ones.
En Route Badrinath:
The colourful temple of Badrinath dedicated to Lord Vishnu is one of the holiest Divya Desam in India. Located next to the Alaknanda river in the district of Chamoli Badrinath is one of the most visited temples in the Char Dham yatra circuit. The temple is relatively easier to reach as compared to the other 3 Dhams and because of this reason several sightseeing places have developed en route to adding a sense of adventure for the pilgrims along with incredible spirituality, some of these places are:
Mana village –
located right on the Indo Tibetan border is the last and final village of India, Mana which is surrounded by pristine natural beauty and makes for the perfect place to visit during your visit to Badrinath. The village boasts of unparalleled divinity and spirituality and what adds more to its importance is the fact that the Pandava brothers had spent some time here along with Draupadi during their journey to heaven. The panoramic sceneries here are remarkable and village walks are the perfect way of exploring the untouched land here and have an enlightening experience of your own. If you are the kind of traveller who loves learning more about the culture, traditions and the people of the hills then this is a great place to be since the people here are very warm and welcoming.
this holy town falls on your way to Badrinath and the prime spot where pilgrims choose to stay. Its ancient name was Jyotirmath and the holiest spot here is the confluence point of Alaknanda River and Dhauliganga. The impeccable beauty here is further elevated during the offseason when everything gets covered in snow. the summer months witness a huge turnout of the pilgrims from across the globe on their journey to Badrinath Dham. some places one could visit from Joshimath include places like Vishnu Prayag, Nanda Devi national park, Tapovan, Narsingh temple, Kalpavriksha etc. no matter which time of the year you choose to visit Joshimath it will welcome you with a pleasant weather and charming conditions which will make you feel closer to nature and the lord. Vasudhara Falls – this waterfall falling from over 400 feet above the mountain peaks is one of the prime places to visit if you happen to visit Badrinath. Although this place is visited 4 km beyond the main temple structure it offers some of the most stunning views of the valley below. A legend related to this waterfall says that if you do have a clear heart and pure intentions then you will have a rejuvenating bath under the falling water otherwise you won’t feel the divine energy even after taking the bath. It is an offbeat location but is quickly becoming a recognized pilgrim destination around Badri Vishal. Even if you have a single day then make sure to pay a visit to this magnificent and silver cascading waterfall which will definitely leave you spellbound.