Char Dham Yatra is a pilgrimage circuit considered to have utmost significance in Hinduism. The circuit consists of four pious temples, and pilgrims visiting these are believed to attain salvation and inner-peace. There are two types of Char Dham Yatras; one has all its pious shrines located in Uttarakhand and thus we call it Cham Dham Yatra Uttarakhand . The other circuit has different shrines in different parts of India and this is a more important one.
Char Dham Yatra Uttarakhand has its shrines located in Yamunotri, Gangotri, Badrinath and Kedarnath. All these shrines are located in the legendary Himalayas. Earlier devotees had to wait for the best time to take the Char Dham Yatra. But now, the idols from the shrines are shifted to a more convenient place so that they can have darshans any time during the year. This circuit was initiated by Adi Shankaracharya in 8th century. Today, Chardham Tour is taken by thousands of pilgrims longing for the blessings of the almighty. Haridwar, The Gateway to God, acts as the starting point of the journey.
In the Uttarkashi District of Uttarakhand, at an altitude of 3200 meters above sea level, Gangotri Dham is situated. The temple is dedicated to Goddess Ganga and her idol is installed inside. This site is near the originating point of holy river, Ganga. The temple is built at the site where King Bhagirath had worshipped Goddess Ganga for penance. A visit to Gangotri like other destinations of Char Dham is believed to bestow salvation. Since, Goddess Ganga represents purity, thus devotees proceeding to Gangotri Temple first take a dip in the river as this assures that they are now pure enough to get darshans in the temple. Gangotri Temple is made entirely of granite and has a height of 20 feet. Any time is the best time to visit Gangotri Dham. In winters the idol of Goddess Ganga is shifted to Mukhba to avoid inconvenience caused by snow.
Yamunotri Dham is dedicated to River Goddess Yamuna and is situated by the starting point of River Yamuna. It has a black marble idol for worshipping. The temple is perched at an elevation of 3291 meters. It can be reached by taking a long trek from Hanuman Chatti, or from the left bank of the river, through Kharsali. The environment is usually present and cool, for which the Himalayas are specially acclaimed. But near the Kunds of Goddess Shakti (thermal springs) the environment feels hotter. Best time to visit Yamunotri is in the months of May to November. Winter seat of Yamunotri Temple is in Kharsali.
Kedarnath Temple is located in Rudraprayag District of Uttarakhand. River Mandakini flows adjacent to the shrine, which is elevated at an altitude of 3584 m above sea level. Kedarnath is one of the twelve jyotirlingas of Lord Shiva, which are considered to be pious adobes of Lord Shiva. The Lord is believed to have appeared in the form of light here, which then took the form of a pyramid-shaped Shivlinga. The temple is reached by taking a 14-km-long trek uphill from Gaurikund. You may also opt for a pony or manchan service for the same. The area gets covered with snow during winter seasons; hence the idols of the temple are shifted to Ukhimath for six months. The original temple is only open between April and Kartik Purnima.
Badrinath Dham is rests at an elevation of 3100 meters, beside the Alaknanda River. According to beliefs, the temple was built in 8th century by Adi Shankaracharaya. It takes just one day to reach Badrinath from Kedarnath and it also is easily reachable from Rishikesh, Haridwar and Kotdwar. There is a cupola at the top of the temple, which is covered with gold gilt roof. The façade is brightly painted and has a broad staircase that leads to the arched gateway. Best time to visit Badrinath Dham is in the months of May to October. In winter season, Badrinath Temple stays closed and the idol is shifted to Joshimath.