Chardham · Travel

Destination Profiles of the Sacred Chhota Char Dhams in Uttarakhand


Including four sites, namely Gangotri, Yamunotri, Badri Nath and Kedar Nath, Char Dham Yatra of Uttarakhand is one of the most significant pilgrimage circuits for the followers of Hindu religion. As per the belief, the followers of Hinduism consider these locations very holy. Each of all the destinations has its own significance – Gangotri belongs to the Goddess of the sacred Ganga River, Yamunotri does to the Goddess of the sacred Yamuna River, Badri Nath is the dwelling place of Lord Vishnu and Kedarnath is to Lord Shiva.

For the revival of Hindu religion, the initiation of this Yatra was made during the 8th century by Adi Shankaracharya, a great Hindu philosopher. From the ancient times, Char Dham  Yatra starts from the West to the East and in this way, the trek commences from Yamunotri, proceeding to Gangotri, then Kedar Nath and ultimately Badri Nath. Approx thousands of devotees perform this Yatra every year.


This  content offers the readers the detailed knowledge on all the four destinations of the Chhota Char Dham Yatra:


  1. Yamunotri


Situated at an elevation of 3,293m (10,804ft) and being the source of the sacred Yamuna River, Yamunotri, which is the starting point of the Char Dham Yatra, is one of the most famous spiritual sites, enriched with plentiful natural charm. This Dham is home to the temple devoted to Goddess Yamuna, situated on the western bank of the Yamuna River. As per the belief of the legends, this place has been the home to sage Asit Muni. In spite of the location of the Yamunotri glacier – the source glacier of the Yamuna River at an altitude of 20,955ft near the Bandarpunch summits in the lower part of the Himalayas, the major shrine is situated within the Garhwal Himalayas.

Besides the major temple of Yamunotri, the site is also home to a hot water spring in Suraj Kund for the devotees to boil rice and potatoes and also take them back home in the form of Prasad of this Dham. Adjoining close to Janki Chatti, you can visit an idol of a deity known as Divya Shila. As per Hindu mythology, as Yamuna was the daughter of the Sun god and the sister of the Yama, the Lord of Death, diving in this river will provide one from a painful death. Besides being home to a lot of natural charm, Yamunotri is also the ideal destination for adventure enthusiasts and wildlife.


  1. Gangotri

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Regarded as the 2nd destination of the Char Dham Yatra, Gangotri, which is the source glacier of the Ganga River, is nestled at an elevation of 3,100m in the Greater Himalayan Ranges. You can visit this famous spiritual site along side the banks of the sacred Ganga River, flowing with the name of Bhagirathi at this spot.

In the beginning, while flowing through Dev Prayag, it joins with Alaknanda and then it is named Ganga. All your sins can be washed away by diving in this sacred river. The Gaumukh, which is the original source of the river, is situated amidst the Gangotri Glacier.

By trekking a distance of 19kms from the location of the shrine, you can reach Gaumukh. Amar Singh Thapa, a Gorkha commander, built the main temple.

As per the legends, Goddess Ganga had assumed the form of a river to abolish the sins of generations of King Bhagirathi, after he had performed meditation for hundreds of years for penance. To stop the overflowing of the uncontrolled Ganga, Lord Shiva had opened his lock of hair. Gangotri is also home to Bhavishya Badri Temple along with the major temple. This temple is home to a statue of Narsingha, an incarnation of Lord Vishnu with the head of a lion. As per the legends, Badrinath will  be worshipped in this spot only when the way to the major Badrinath will become unapproachable for humans.


  1. Kedarnath


Situated at an elevation of 3,584m amidst the Garhwal Himalayas, Kedar Nath is the 3rd location of the Chhota Char Dham Tour. Erected at the head of the Mandakini River, this is one of the most worshipped sacred sites of the followers of Hindu religion.

Besides being a part of the Chhota  Char Dham Tour Packages 2016 this sacred town boasts of being a treat to the eyes, where one can praise the scenic surroundings of snow-capped mountain summits and alpine forests. Kedar Nath, which is also regarded as one of the 12 Jyotirlingas, is home to the well-famous Kedar Nath Temple, dedicated to Lord Shiva.

Opening on Akshaya Tritiya (April-May) and shutting on Bhai Duj (October-November) every year, this temple has come into its existence from the periods of Mahabharata in spite of having been named after King Kedar, one of the kings of Satya Yuga.

In case of the belief on the legends, after the battle of the Mahabharata, the Pandavas were willing to seek Lord Shiva to get His blessings for relieving as they had slain their own brethren. He (Lord Shiva) concealed Himself in the disguise of a bull. Once the Pandavas began chasing Him, He concealed Himself in the earth with his hump being visible. This is the spot where the formation of Kedarnath was made. Kedar Nath along with Tung Nath, Rudra Nath, Kapleshwar and Madmaheshwar creates Panch Kedar. Here, you can also visit Gauri Kund, Gandhi Sarovar, Triyugi Narayan, etc.


  1. Badrinath


Located between the Nar and Narayan ranges towards the east of mountain summits of Nil Kantha in Chamoli District, Uttarakhand state, Badrinath, which is also the most popular pilgrim destination, is the 4th and the last destination of Char Dham Yatra  .

Revived by Adi Shankaracharya, the ancient pilgrim spot of Badri Nath also has a description in the scriptures as a main spiritual place. The word ‘Badrinath’ is formed by two words – ‘Badri’ and ‘Nath’. The word Badri means berry and Nath does lord. Badrinath has a plenty of Jujube trees.

As per mythology, Lord Vishnu, in the incarnation of Nar and Narayan sages, used Badrinath as a place for meditation for thousands of years. Then, Lakshmi  Ji, by assuming the form of Berry, had protected him from the harsh weather. In this way, this place was named Badri Nath.

Devoted to Lord Vishnu and named after Vishal Badri, the prime Badri Nath Temple is divided into 3 parts – Sabha Mandap, Darshan Mandap and Garbha Mandap. Vishal Badri creates Panch Badri by comprising Adi Badri, Vridha (also spelled as Bridha) Badri, Bavishya Badri and Yogdhyan Badri. The prime idol in the shrine is constructed of black stone of Saligram. Here, you can also get the chance of visiting Neelkantha Temple, Tapt Kund, Mata Murthi Temple, Hem Kund Sahib and soon.

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