char dham yatra guide

Char Dham Yatra Guide

What is Char Dham Yatra?

Char Dham Yatra refers to a spiritual journey to the most important pilgrimage places in Hinduism – Kedarnath, Badrinath, Gangotri and Yamunotri. These temples are dedicated to Lord Shiva, Lord Vishnu, Goddess Ganga and Goddess Yamuna respectively. Every Hindu wishes to go on the Char Dham yatra at least once in their lifetime. People believe that doing Char Dham Yatra will remove all their sins and opens doors of Moksha. This Char Dham Yatra Guide helps you plan your trip and undertake the divine journey safely.

The Yatra starts from Yamunotri, then Gangotri followed by Kedarnath and Badrinath. Going to this holy yatra of Char Dham will take you through the nature’s beauty of picturesque landscapes, waterfalls, flowers and river confluences. 

Places covered in Char Dham Yatra

Uttarakhand Char Dham Yatra has the shrines located in Yamunotri, Gangotri, Badrinath and Kedarnath.

Shri Badrinath Dham: Badrinath is very famous and the most visited spot in the Char Dham Yatra. This temple is devoted to Lord Vishnu and is one of the holiest Hindu temples. Pilgrims take bath in the hot water spring which is located below the temple. This temple is located at the bank of Alaknanda River. It is at an elevation of 3,133 meters and lies between the Narayan and Nar mountain ranges. 

Shri Kedarnath Dham: Kedarnath is situated in the district of Rudra Prayag in the state of Uttarakhand. The shrine is elevated at an altitude of 3584 m and the river Mandakini flows adjacent to the shrine. It is also considered as one of the 12 jyotirlingas of Lord Shiva. Lord Shiva appeared in the form of light here and then formed a pyramid-shaped Shivlinga. Among the all four dhams, Kedarnath is situated at the most remote place. It is said that Pandavas came here to seek the blessings of Lord Shiva as they were guilty of having killed their own brothers Kauravas.

Shri Gangotri Dham: Gangotri is considered as a home of Goddess Ganga and is situated at an elevation of about 3048 meters. This temple is situated on the banks of river Bhagirathi. Since Goddess Ganga represents purity, hence it is advised that devotees should take a holy dip in the river and proceed for the darshan of the Goddess. The idol of the Goddess Ganga is shifted to Mukhba during winters in order to avoid any inconvenience caused by snow.

Shri Yamunotri Dham: Yamunotri is considered as an adobe of river Goddess Yamuna who is the sister of Yamraj. Divya Shila is the rock pillar which is situated inside the temple and needs to be worshipped before entering the temple. The shrine is located at an altitude of about 3,235 meters. There are also many holy kunds near the temple that have some healing powers. 

Char Dham Yatra Schedule/Itinerary

This is the best possible schedule for Char Dham Yatra.

Day 1: Haridwar – Barkot

Start your drive from Haridwar and get your bio-metric test done for the Yatra. Have your breakfast and proceed to Barkot via Mussoorie. Barkot is a very beautiful hill station that is located on the foothills of Yamunotri.

One can also visit the Kempty falls that is located on the way near Mussoorie. Check in to your hotel upon arrival at Barkot. Relax yourself and restore your energy by planning a trek to Yamunotri from the Janaki Chatti. Enjoy your dinner and an overnight stay at a hotel in Barkot.

Day 2: Barkot – Yamunotri – Barkot

Leave early morning to Janki Chatti.

After you arrive at Janaki Chatti, start your trek to Yamunotri which is about 6 kms. You can also hire a pony or palki at additional cost.

Take a holy dip in Garam Kund. Have darshan and complete pooja of Shree Yamunotri Mata and return via the same route back to Barkot. Dinner and overnight stay in Barkot.

Day 3: Barkot – Uttarkashi

Leave for Uttarkashi after breakfast which is about 4-5 hours drive. On the arrival at Uttarkashi check in to the hotel.

Uttarkashi is located on the banks of river Bhagirathi and is famous for many temples and historical monuments. Don’t miss a chance to perform the Abhishek  pooja in the Kashi Vishwanath Temple.

Dinner and overnight stay is at Uttarkashi.

Day 4: Uttarkashi – Gangotri – Uttarkashi

Proceed to Gangotri early in the morning. 

Visit Parasar Muni Temple on the way in Ganganani and take a holy bath in the hot water springs.

Take a holy dip in the Ganges which is also known as the Bhagirathi on arrival in Gangotri and then visit the Gangotri temple. 

One can have darshan of Bhagirath Shila, perform Ganga Puja & Aarti at Gangotri Ghat, Darshan of Surya Kund, Darshan of Gauri Ganesha Temple and perform the snan at Gangotri Ghat.

While returning one can also have a darshan of Gupteshwar Mahadev temple in Dharali and interact with the local people. Overnight stay and dinner in Uttarkashi.

Day 5: Uttarkashi – Sitapur

Leave early in the morning for a day long drive to Sitapur. Stop at Rudraprayag and take blessings at the Sangam Darshan which is the merger of Alaknanda & Mandakini. Overnight stay and dinner is at Sitapur.

Day 6: Sitapur – Kedarnath

Start the trek to Kedarnath from Sonprayag early in the morning. The trek is about 18 kms. You can also take palki or pony. One can also opt for a helicopter but it must be booked in advance. Perform the pooja at the Kedarnath temple and stay overnight in Kedarnath.

Day 7: Kedarnath – Sitapur

One can reach the temple by 4:45 am for the ‘Abhishek’ to Kedarnath Shiva. Pilgrims can also go inside the Garbha Griha and touch the idol.

Trek back to Gaurikund and then to sonprayag. Drive back to Sitapur for overnight stay.

Day 8: Sitapur – Badrinath

Early morning proceed to Badrinath via Joshimath. Badrinath is considered as a very important site for the hindus as well as the Buddhists. Badrinath temple is located at a height of 3133 meter and it is dedicated to Lord Vishnu.

Check into the hotel upon arrival and visit the temple in the evening. Have darshan of Badrinath Ji.

You can also visit Mana Village if time permits. Dinner and overnight stay in Badrinath.

Day 9: Badrinath – Joshimath – Rudraprayag

Travel back to Rudraprayag. You can stop at Joshimath to visit winter home of lord badrinath and shankaracharya math. En-route visit Vishnuprayag, Nandaprayag and Karnaprayag. Check-in to the hotel after reaching Rudraprayag. Dinner and overnight stay.

Day 10: Rudraprayag – Haridwar

Early morning travel back to Haridwar. On the way, visit Devprayag thereby completing Panch Prayag. En-route visit Rishikesh which is considered as the Yoga capital of the world and a spiritual city. You can see Ram Jhula and Laxman Jhula in Rishikesh. Reach Haridwar and enjoy the Ganga Aarti in Har ki Pauri.

Char Dham Yatra Route Map

Char Dham Yatra is considered to be very auspicious according in Hindu mythology and is undertaken from west to east in clockwise direction. The journey starts from Yamunotri than Gangotri, Kedarnath and proceeds at Badrinath. The government of Uttarakhand is also promoting the Winter Char Dham which consists the route of Kharsali, Mukhba, Ukhimath and Joshimath. There are also many sacred shrines that are located at different districts of Uttarakhand which includes Rudraprayag, Uttarkashi and Chamoli.

Location of Char Dham Shrines

Yamunotri temple: It is located 243 kms from Haridwar and 223 kms from Rishikesh.

Gangotri temple: It is located 287 kms from Haridwar and 105 kms from Uttarkashi.

Kedarnath temple: It is located 240 kms from Haridwar and 223 kms from Rishikesh.

Badrinath temple: It is located 315 kms from Haridwar, 48 Kms from Joshimath and 298 kms from Rishikesh.

Yamunotri Dham Route Map

This temple is located towards the west of Garhwal region and River Yamuna is the origin of this temple. The important places to visit here are Kharsali, Surya Kund, Hanuman Chatti, Saptarishi Kund, Divya Shila and Yamunotri Shrine.

Delhi to Rishikesh 231 kms >> Rishikesh to Narendranagar 16 kms >> Narendranagar to Chama 46 kms >> Chamba to Brahmkhal 15 kms >> Brahmkhal to Barkot 40 kms >> Barkot to Sayana Chatti 27 kms >> Sayana Chatti to Hanuman Chatti 6 kms >> Hanuman Chatti to Phool Chatti 5 kms >> Phool Chatti to Janki Chatti 3 kms >> Janki Chatti to Yamunotri 6 kms.

Gangotri Dham Route Map

Gangotri Dham is located at an elevation of 3200 mt above sea level. The important places to visit here are Jalmagna Shivlinga, Gangnani, Tapovan, Gangotri Temple, Bhojbasa, Bhaironghati, Gaumukh and Kedartal.

Delhi to Rishikesh 231 kms >> Rishikesh to Tehri 75 kms >> Tehri to Uttarkashi 117 kms >> Uttarkashi to Bhatwari 31 kms >> Bhatwari to Gangnani 15 kms >> Gangnani to Harsil 27 kms >> Harsil to Gangotri 25 kms

Kedarnath Dham Route Map

The shrine is located 3584 m above the sea level and it is one of the 12 Jyotirlingas of Lord Shiva. The other important places to visit here are Vasuki Tal, Phata, Gandhi Sarovar, Gaurikund, Kalimath, Son Prayag, Shankaracharya Samadhi, Chandrapuri and Triyugi Narayan Temple.

Delhi to Rishikesh 231 kms >> Rishikesh to Devaprayag 74 kms >> Devprayag to Srinagar 35 kms >> Srinagar to Rudraprayag 33 kms >> Rudrapryag to Tilwara 9 kms >> Tilwara to Agastamuni 10 kms >> Agastamuni to Kund 15 kms >> Kund to Guptkashi 5 kms >> Guptkashi to Phata 11 kms >> Phata to Rampur 9 kms >> Rampur to SonPrayag 3 kms >> SonPrayag to Gaurikund 5 kms >> (Kedarnath NEW ROUTE after 2013 Flood) Gaurikund to Rambara Bridge 7 kms >> Rambara Bridge to Lincholi 5 kms >> Lincholi to Kedarnath 4 Kms.

Badrinath Dham Route Map

This temple is situated towards left of river Alaknanda and is situated 3133 mt above sea level. This place is devoted to Lord Vishnu and many devotees visit it every year. The important places to visit here are Brahma Kapal, Yogadhyan Badri Temple, Vyas Cave, Pandukeshwar, Narad Kund, Sheshnetra, Ganesh Cave, Neelkanth Peak, Bheem Pul, Mana Village, Charan Paduka, Satopanth Lake, Mata Murti Temple and Tapta Kund.

Delhi to Haridwar 206 kms >> Haridwar to Rishikesh 24 kms >> Rishikesh to Devprayag 74 kms >> Devprayag to Srinagar 34 kms >> Srinagar to Rudraprayag 33 kms >> Rudraprayag to Karnaprayag 31 kms >> Karnaprayag to Nandprayag 21 kms >> Nandprayag to Chamoli 10 kms >> Chamoli to Joshimath 48 kms >> Joshimath to Badrinath 42 kms.

Char Dham Yatra opening dates 2017

The Char Dham Yatra starts in the month of April-May and ends in the month of Oct-Nov. During Winters the shrines get covered with snow, hence the Char Dham is opened for the devotees for the span of six months only. The opening and closing days for the shrine is considered to be very auspicious and it follows the age old tradition. Yamunotri and Gangotri Dham are opened during the Akshaya Tritiya which is a very auspicious day for the Hindus. The Kedarnath Dham opens for the devotees during Maha Shiv Chaturdashi which is a very auspicious occasion for the devotees to celebrate. Badrinath Dham opens on the day of Basant Panchami which is again a very auspicious day for the Hindus.

Yamunotri temple closes during Bhai Dooj which is the second day after Diwali. Kedarnath temple also closes on the same day. Gangotri temple closes on the day of Diwali and the Badrinath shrine closes during the auspicious occasion of Vijaya Dashami. The opening and closure dates of the shrines are fixed by the Mandir committees which are managed by Purohits or priests. It is also believed that after the shrines are closed, gods and goddesses visit the shrines to do the puja of the deities. The best time to visit Char Dham is during May and June when the weather remains comfortable and sunny.

OPENING DATES OF CHAR DHAM YATRA IN 2017

Yamunotri Temple opening date: 28 April, 2017

Gangotri Temple opening date: 28 April, 2017

Kedarnath Temple opening date: 3 May, 2017

Badrinath Temple opening date: 6 May, 2017

Best Time to visit Char Dham Yatra

Every Hindu longs to visit Char dham in Uttarakhand at least once in their lifetime. But as it is located at a higher altitude, the weather remains unfriendly for the tourists making it difficult for them to undertake the journey. Hence it is very important to know the best time to visit Char Dham. It is during the months of May and June and the months of September and October.

A lot of pilgrims visit the Char Dhams during this period. The temperature ranges from 05 degrees to 20 degrees which is the best time to visit. 

Char Dham Yatra Preparation

Thousands of devotees visit the Char Dham shrines every year with great enthusiasm and spirit. People come here to seek the blessings of the almighty and to capture and explore the beauty of Uttarakhand. But in order to enjoy each and every moment and make it a memorable one, it is necessary that we complete the yatra without any difficulties or hurdles. In the past, the pilgrims had faced lot of hardships and problems to complete the yatra. But the present scenario is much better. There are a lot of facilities available that help the devotees complete the yatra peacefully.

Despite these facilities, it is very important that the pilgrims follow some quick and initial preparation tips which will be of great help. Pilgrims have to face some difficulties like the changing weather situations, winding roads, bumpy mountains and other things. So it is very important that before you start packing your bags, keep a check on some preparation tools. It also depends upon your budget and the numbers in your group.

Consider the right time: The first thing to consider before planning a trip to Char Dham yatra is to know the ideal time to visit. It is during the months of May and June and the months of September and October.

Reliable Tour guide: The second most important aspect is to decide whether to opt for a reliable tour operator or do the tour by yourself. Very few people do the tour by themselves. A well experienced and trustworthy tour operator will be a great help for your smooth and happy journey. They will also help you manage all the services like comfortable accommodation, safe driver and vehicle, food and arrival & departure assistance. They will also provide on-tour support in case any problems arise during the yatra.

Reviews and feedback from friends: It is very important to get the reviews and feedback from your relatives and friends before doing the Char Dham Yatra. Get the information about the guided tour operators and the services they provide such as hotel accommodations, meals, handling of luggage, transportation and other facilities. This will keep you relaxed and tension free during the tour.

Planning with family and friends: Char dham Yatra is considered to be a very memorable and long tour. It becomes very difficult to complete this tour if one is travelling alone. It is advisable to plan a trip with family or friends. 

Char Dham Yatra Travel Tips

Important Things to Carry: Umbrella, Woolen Cap, Two pair of Socks, Tennis Shoes, Stick, Moisture cream, Handy Torch and Rain Coat. People should get warm clothes along with them as these are very cold places.

Physical fitness is very important before going on Char Dham yatra. It is advised to go for a medical checkup prior to the trip. Prepare your body for walks, exercises and breathing exercises. It is good to eat healthy food like green vegetables and fruits to give your system the required energy backup. People with lung related issues, cardiac patients, pregnant ladies and vertigo issues are advised not to go for the Char Dham yatra. 

Proper clothing is also very essential to keep yourself safe from the extreme weather conditions. One will require light clothing when one is inside the vehicle. And warm clothing will be required as soon as one steps out of the vehicle. It is advised to bring the following clothing and accessories with you.

Clothing: Warm thick pullover – One, Down Jacket – one, Warm pants – Two, Warm thin pullover – One, Cotton full sleeve T-Shirts – Four, Light loose cotton pants – Two, Warm windproof jacket – One, Warm woolen socks-4, Thermal under pants/long – Two, Rain coat with hood/ Poncho (should be roomy) – One, Thermal vest / warm full T-Shirts – Two, Light tennis shoes & light rubber sandal, Warm gloves, Large cotton or silk scarf-One, Monkey cap and Sun heat – one each, Soft paper tissue and handkerchiefs – Plenty, Washing kit, Towels (one big, one small).

Accessories: Toiletry kit, Nail Clipper, Scissors, Personal First Aid Kit, Note book, Pen, Pencils, Sun Glasses, Sun Hat, Monkey Cap, Woollen Gloves, Flashlight with extra batteries (3 Set), Binoculars recommended, Water bottles- unbreakable (Min 1 liters capacity) can be purchased in  Haridwar, Rain Gear-Your raincoat should be roomy, Camera and film and extra batteries, Pocket knife , Sewing kit, Buttons, Cigarette lighter, towel, bags, dust masks, strong sun cream and chopstick, Moisturizers, Money pouch/belts, Water purification tablets.

PS: If required one can avail of Oxygen cylinder along with the mask on rental. Oxygen is to be used only in the case of emergency.

Char Dham Yatra Packages

Starting from: Haridwar/Dehradun/Rishikesh/Delhi

Tour Duration: Ex-Haridwar/Dehradun/Rishikesh – 9 Nights / 10 Days. Ex-Delhi – 11 Nights / 10 Days.

Travel Destinations: Rishikesh, Yamunotri, Barkot, Gangotri, Uttarkashi, Guptkashi, Kedarnath, Badrinath, Rudraprayag and Haridwar.

Departure Dates: May to October

Pricing: Varies according to type of package and number of people traveling. Please contact your tour operator.

Itinerary: 

Day 1: Haridwar – Barkot

Day 2: Barkot – Yamunotri – Barkot

Day 3: Barkot – Uttarkashi

Day 4: Uttarkashi – Gangotri – Uttarkashi

Day 5: Uttarkashi – Sitapur

Day 6: Sitapur – Kedarnath

Day 7: Kedarnath – Sitapur

Day 8: Sitapur – Badrinath

Day 9: Badrinath – Rudraprayag

Day 10: Rudraprayag – Haridwar

NOTE: Please refer to Char Dham Yatra Schedule/Itinerary section for more details.

Char Dham Yatra Experience

With immense faith in God, large number of devotees visit the holy shrines of Chardham every year. The determination and devotion of the devotees are determined by the hardships that devotees have to face to walk on the paved and unpaved roads and cover distances of hundreds of kilometers. This place is not only about  religion, but is considered as a place where you put your stamina, strength and hardships to test. Yamunotri and Kedarnath are the two Dhams that require trekking to be reached and also become the most memorable part of the yatra. Devotees believe that by visiting these holy places one can wash away all their sins and attain moksha. If one visits these places with firm belief then definitely one can enjoy the experience and the beauty that these places have to offer. There are many people who have shared their best experiences after the Char Dham Yatra.

D Shiv Prasad has shared his experience in Quora stating that, “One can not explain his/her travel experience of Uttarakhand in a single post. Beauty is so immense and so diverse and so mesmerizing is that one full life is not enough to explore full of Uttarakhand. Hundreds of thousands of people all across the world visit Uttarakhand for fulfilling their varied interest. I am trying to add some of them.There are hundreds of trek one can do in Uttarakhand but one of the best which encompasses the most of Uttarakhand is Gomukh Trek . Trek will take to the greater himalayas and the starting point of river Ganga, this point is called Gomukh.

Foram Parikh has also shared her amazing experience in Tripoto, “Reaching the Gangotri temple, all you feel is the sounds of gushing River Bhagirathi and you will surely be awestruck by the immense force and power of the River. After offering prayers to the Goddess Ganga, one can sit back and enjoy, rather feel the pure air and enjoy the gushing water sounds in the background. Leaving the Badrinath town, you will feel saddened realizing that yatra has come to an end but at the same time feel rejuvenated and pure visiting these holy and divine places.

Kunwar Pratap shared his best experience in a blog Travel Tour Guru, “Traveling to the Char dham is considered a one of a kind of experience and of course it is so because generally people living in the plains cannot imagine the ambiance of the high snow clad Himalayas. Only when you get to undertake the journey, you get to know about the Himalayas; its beauty, its challenges, its sublimity and its divinity. Here are some of the experiences you could gather during your Chardham Yatra.The nature at the Chardham region is un-spoilt and untainted. Its ethereal beauty makes you feel, as it were, it is a paradise that you have arrived at. Getting to experience such beautiful nature is a privilege in itself and remains with you all through your life.

Shalu Sharma has also shared her best experience in her personal blog shalusharma.com as “The pilgrimage to these four important sites not only washes away all the sins but frees one from the recycle of birth.The chardham yatra will be a great spiritual journey. The trips will allow you not only to view breathtaking scenery but also understand Indian spirituality and discover yourself.

Other useful resources related to Char Dham Yatra

For developing this guide, we have gone through informative websites on Char Dham Yatra such as Wikipedia and official temple websites. You can also visit these websites to get more details and latest updates.

Wikipedia Chota Char Dham: Information on Char Dham of Uttarakhand.

Wikipedia CharDham of india: Information on the main Char Dhams of India.

Gangotri: Gangotri Travel Guide on Wikipedia.

Yamunotri: Yamunotri Travel Guide on Wikipedia.

Kedarnath: Kedarnath Travel Guide on Wikipedia.

Badrinath: Badrinath Travel Guide on Wikipedia.

Badari Kedar: Very informative and official website of Shri Badrinath and Shri Kedarnath Temple Committiee.