Char Dham Yatra  Uttarakhand

Char Dham Yatra Uttarakhand

English / हिन्दी

The Char Dham or Chhota Char Dham of Bharat is located in the Garhwal Valley of Uttarakhand. This is one of the sacred pilgrimages for Hindus. Every year, this Yatra is open only for six months, from April/May till November, for Pooja and Darshan. It is believed that the Pandavas were the first to undertake this Yatra. The Yatra begins with Yamunotri, then Gangotri, from where we carry holy water from these rivers and offer it in the Temple of Shiva, Kedarnath, and next is Badrinath, known for Moksh Dwar (Way to Heaven). Here, your soul is freed from all sins and attains moksha.

The pilgrimage to the sacred Char Dham – Yamunotri (Temple of Yamuna River), Gangotri (Temple of Ganga River), Kedarnath (Temple of Lord Shiva), and Badrinath (Temple of Lord Vishnu) is one of the most revered journeys for devout Hindus. Char Dham, comprising the four most sacred Hindu pilgrimage centers in India, nestles amidst the lofty peaks of the Garhwal Himalayas. These ancient temples mark the spiritual sources of the four sacred rivers: the Yamuna (Yamunotri), the Bhagirathi (Gangotri), the Mandakini (Kedarnath), and the Alaknanda (Badrinath). Every year, millions of devotees undertake the arduous pilgrimage yatra.

The divine yatra fulfils every pilgrim’s wishes and pleases them with the blessings of deities. It is believed that once your soul is washed away with the water of the sacred journey in the abode of God. These are dedicated to the Sacred Char Dham Yatra of Hindus and are traveled by many pilgrims over the centuries in the hope of clearing all their sins and attaining Moksha (freedom from the cycle of life) so that their souls can reach heaven.

Char Dham Yatra in Uttarakhand with Monk Travel, the Best Travel Company in Haridwar

Uttarakhand, a land of mysticism and spirituality, beckons devotees and adventure seekers alike. Nestled in the lap of the Himalayas, this divine state is home to the Char Dham Yatra – a pilgrimage that takes you through four sacred shrines, each with its unique significance. If you’re planning to undertake this spiritual journey, there’s no better companion than Monk Travel, the best travel company in Haridwar. Renowned for its impeccable services and customized packages, Monk Travel ensures a seamless and spiritually enriching Char Dham experience.

Monk Travel: Your Gateway to Spiritual Bliss

When it comes to embarking on a spiritual journey like the Char Dham Yatra, choosing the right travel company is paramount. Monk Travel, based in the holy city of Haridwar, has emerged as a beacon of reliability and excellence in the travel industry. With a team of dedicated professionals, Monk Travel is committed to providing the best services, ensuring that every traveler’s spiritual sojourn is a transformative and unforgettable experience.

Trending Packages -2024

Char Dham Yatra by Helicopter Ex Dehradun
190,000.00 + GST
We specialize in helicopter charters and other services of Char- Dham... ●Dehradun-> Yamunotri->....
Char Dham Yatra Ex DelhiBadrinath Tour Package
30,000.00 + GST
The Pilgrimage to the sacred Char Dham... ●Delhi-> Yamunotri-> Gangotri-> Kedarnath-> Badrinath..
Char Dham Yatra Ex Haridwar
25,000.00 + GST
The Pilgrimage to the sacred Char Dham... ●Haridwar-> Yamunotri-> Gangotri-> Kedarnath-> Badrinath.
Do Dham Yatra Ex Haridwar (Kedarnath & Badrinath)
18,000.00 + GST
The Pilgrimage to the sacred Do Dham... ●Haridwar-> Kedarnath-> Badrinath..

Why Choose Monk Travel?

Exceptional Service: Monk Travel takes pride in delivering exceptional service to its clients. From the moment you plan your Char Dham Yatra to the completion of the pilgrimage, the team at Monk Travel is dedicated to ensuring a hassle-free and comfortable journey.

Customized Char Dham Yatra Packages: Recognizing that every traveler is unique, Monk Travel offers customized Char Dham Yatra packages tailored to meet individual preferences and requirements. Whether you seek a more leisurely pace or an adventurous trek, Monk Travel has the perfect package for you.

Expert Guidance: The Char Dham Yatra involves visiting Yamunotri, Gangotri, Kedarnath, and Badrinath – each with its own set of challenges and spiritual significance. Monk Travel provides expert guidance, ensuring that you navigate the pilgrimage with ease and absorb the spiritual energy of these sacred destinations.

Comfortable Accommodations: After a day of spiritual exploration, a comfortable and peaceful night’s rest is crucial. Monk Travel selects accommodations that prioritize your comfort, allowing you to rejuvenate for the next day’s journey.

Safety First: Monk Travel prioritizes the safety of its travelers. With experienced guides and a focus on responsible travel practices, you can embark on your Char Dham Yatra with confidence, knowing that your well-being is in capable hands.

April to June & September to November.

If you are planning for Char Dham Yatra , So its take minimum 12 Days from Delhi to Delhi and 10 Days from Haridwar to Haridwar or Dehradun to Dehradun.

Yes, If you are coming for Char Dham Yatra so Yatra E- pass that is Yatra Registration is mandatory for hasel free Travel  and you can  get your E- Pass https://registrationandtouristcare.uk.gov.in/signin.php

In Char dham Yatra, you can find all type of Hotels by online like budgeted ,Standard , Deluxe and Luxury , But the Services of Hotels in the mountains are vary as compare to Plain ( like Delhi/ Rishikesh), at all route of char Dham , we have limited Hotels which are offer best services and assure you hygienic food and comfort stay.

Contact to book your Best Hotels in Char Dham - https://monktravel.com/char-dham-yatra-packages/

Yes, If you want to cover Char Dham Yatra by Helicopter so it’s possible, Its take 4-5 Days  from Dehradun Helipad to Dehradun Helipad.

https://monktravel.com/package/char-dham-yatra-by-helicopter-ex-dehradun/

Yes, If you want to cover Do Dham Yatra ( Badrinath and Kedarnath only  ) by Helicopter so it’s possible, Its take 2-3 Days  from Dehradun Helipad to Dehradun Helipad.
https://monktravel.com/package/do-dham-yatra-by-helicopter-ex-dehradun/

Yes , Kedarnath temple can be reached by trekking of 24 kms and its take 9- 10 Hours as per your efficiency , First you need to reach Gaurikund from  Sonparayga by  local taxi / car like tavera / Bolero etc and its 18 kms trek from Gaurikund to Kedarnath Temple.

Yes, but very basic accommodation and simple vegetarian food are available. Many ashrams and hotels are available, and the Uttarakhand government also provides GMVN accommodation facilities that can be booked online at a basic price.

Yes, There are Three places from where Helicopter or Shuttle Services are available for Kedarnath fly , Guptkashi, Phata and Sersi Helipad.

Yes, You can book Helicopter ticket online by official site of IRCT - https://www.heliyatra.irctc.co.in/

  • First you need to create of your Yatra Registration ( Yatra  E- Pass )  by https://registrationandtouristcare.uk.gov.in/ 
  • Please make sure your Darshan Date and Fly day will be same and not more than one day difference.
  • Once you get Yatra Registration Id for solo Passenger and  Group Id used for Group of Passengers.
  • Make Registration on this website via your Mobile Number - https://www.heliyatra.irctc.co.in/
  • Tickets Slots are open 10-15 Days before your Fly Date for Kedarnath.
  • Login in the portal and Select your Date and select your members and proceed to payment.
  • Only 1 to 6 tickets can be booked at one time.
  • Morning Fly Slot – 6 AM to 1 PM for Same day fly
  • Overnight Fly Slot – 2 PM to 6 PM  , Next day fly, If you want to stay at Kedarnath.
  • If Booking failed and Payment deduct so your payment will refund you 2- 7 Days by IRCTC.

Yes, there are many Fraud by unknown scammer, They are waiting for you so don’t follow any unofficial site or don’t follow any local invalid vendor but you can follow some travel Agent who are certified by Uttarakhand Tourism only., Its help you to save your Money and your Time.

Every year, the temple doors are opened on the occasion of Akshaya Tritiya and closed on Bhaiya Dooj after the Diwali Festival. The temples are open for pilgrims to worship for only six months. Due to freezing weather and heavy snowfall, all temple idols are worshipped in their winter seats for the remaining six months from November until April.

Char Dham Yatra Opening Dates 2024

Yamunotri Opening Date10 May 2024 (Tentative)
Gangotri Opening Date10 May 2024 (Tentative)
Kedarnath Opening Date11 May 2024 (Tentative)
Badrinath Opening Date11 May 2024 (Tentative)

Char Dham Yatra Temple’s winter seats

Yamunotri  TempleShani Dev Temple  ( Kharsali )
Gangotri TempleMukhba Temple ( Harshil)
Kedarnath TempleOmkareshwar Temple ( Ukhimath)
Badrinath TempleNarsingh Temple ( Joshimath)

About the Temples

Shri Yamunotri Temple

The mythological source of river Yamuna is traditionally regarded as the starting point of the ‘Char Dham Yatra’. The sacred site is perched at an altitude of 3,293 metres on the western face of the Banderpoonch mountain (6,316 m.). Sapta Rishi Kund, the actual source of the river Yamuna is a frozen lake of ice and glacier (Champaran glacier) at an altitude of 4421 metres, about 1 km. further up from Yamunotri. The trek to the actual originating point is quite difficult and very few people visit the site.

The spectacular Yamuna valley called as Rawal Ghati is endowed with awe-inspiring beauty.

Yamunotri Temple: The temple dedicated to Goddess Yamuna was originally a wooden structure built by king Sudarshan Shah of Tehri and was later rebuilt by Maharaja Pratap Singh of Tehri. The present structure enshrining a black marble idol of the presiding deity was constructed during the late 19th century by Maharani Gularia of Jaipur on the left bank of river Yamuna. The temple was destroyed during an earthquake in 1923. It was rebuilt and was again damaged in 1982. Asit Muni, the legendary sage is said to have lived here in a hermitage. He used to follow the daily ritual of bathing in the waters of Yamuna and Ganga, but during his old age it was difficult for him to reach Gangotri, thus a stream of Ganga appeared opposite Yamunotri for him.

The temple opens on the auspicious day of akshya-tritya (Apr./May) and closes on the day of Diwali (Oct./Nov.). During winters even the priests (pandas) of the temple return back to their village Kharsali near Jankichatti and literally the valley is devoid of any human presence.

Divya Shila or the slab of divine light: The sacred rock pillar near the Surya Kund is worshipped before entering the Yamunotri Temple:

Surya Kund: There are a number of hot springs formed due to volcanic heat around Yamunotri temple. The most important among them is the Surya Kund, with the temperature of water rising up to 87.77°C (190°F).

The blistering water immediately cooks potatoes and rice tied loosely in a piece of cloth, which are mainly used as prasad (offerings) for the deity. These are taken as prasad by the pilgrims.

Around Yamunotri:

Sapta Rishi Kund: It is the actual source of the river Yamuna. To trek up to here is a true test of endurance

Legends of Ganga

According to Hindu mythology goddess Yamuna and Yama, the God of Death are the twins born to Lord Surya (Sun) and Sangya, the Goddess of consciousness. It is said that Sangya could not bear the heat of Sun and created her clone named Chhaya, who took her place. One day the child Yama tried to kick Chhaya and she cursed Yama angrily that his leg would rot and fall off. It is said that when Yamuna came down on the earth, she underwent severe penance to absolve her brother Yama from the curse of Chhaya. Yama was very happy with Yamuna and offered her a boon. Thus Yamuna asked her brother to safe guard her devotees from untimely death. It is believed that anyone bathing in the waters of the river is spared of a painful death and attains moksha.

The Surya Kund near the Yamuna shrine is regarded as the blessing of Sun God for her daughter. The mountain adjacent to the source of river Yamuna is named Kalinda Parvat, after Lord Surya, who is also known as Kalinda.

  • Altitude: 3,293 metres (10,804 ft) 
  • Best Time: May-June & Sept-Nov
  • Darshan Timing: 6:00 AM to 8:00 PM
  • Places to visit: Divya Shila, Surya Kund, Saptrishi Kund.
  • How to reach: Haridwar – Barkot – Jankichatti – Yamunotri Temple.
  • Where to Stay :  Barkot or Jankichatti
  • Trek / Walking : 5- 6 kms Trek from Jankichatii to Yamunotri Temple.

Shri Gangotri Temple

Gangotri, the spiritual source of Ganga, the holiest river in the country is the second pilgrim site on the traditional ‘Char Dham’ Yatra route. It is believed that goddess Ganga first descended  on the earth over here and hence the place is known as Gangotri.

The river is called Bhagirathi at the source and acquires the name Ganga from Devprayag onwards where it meets the river Alaknanda.

Gangotri Temple : This 20 ft. high white granite temple on the left bank of Bhagirathi is set at an altitude of 3415 metres. According to legends, Pandavas, the heroes of epic Mahabharta performed the great ‘Deva Yagna’ here to atone the death of their relatives killed during the battle of Mahabharta.

The temple was built in early 18th century by Amar Singh Thapa, a Gorkha General and was renovated in 20th century by the ruler of Jaipur.

Goddess Ganga is worshipped at the shrine and a holy dip in the river is a must before performing the puja rituals. The priests of the temple belong to Brahmin community from Mukhwa village. The shrine closes for the winters due to heavy snowfall. The last puja at the shrine is performed on Diwali (Oct./Nov.) and then the goddess retreats to Mukhba (12 kms. downstream), where daily prayers and rituals are conducted. The temple re-opens on the auspicious occasion of Akshaya Tritya (Apr./May).

Submerged Shivlinga: It is believed to be the site where Ganga descended into the matted locks of Lord Shiva. The natural rock shivlinga submerged in the water here is visible during early winters when the water level goes down.

Legends of Ganga

Ganga is of great religious importance to every Hindu and is an inseparable part of Hinduism. It is not only the ‘River of Life’ but also the ‘River of Death’ as every Hindu wishes to die on the banks of Ganga or at least have his ashes immersed in the the sacred waters of the river.

Mythological legends suggest that goddess Ganga manifested herself in the form of a river over here to absolve the sins of King Bhagirathi’s predecessors. It is said that once King Sagar performed the holy Ashwamedha Yagya to establish his supremacy. His 60,000 sons born of Queen Sumati and one son Asamanjas of Queen Kesani accompanied the horse released after the ‘yagya’. Lord Indra felt jealous and threatened by king Sagara’s act. He stole the horse and tied it in the ashram of sage Kapil, who was in deep meditation. The 60,000 sons of king Sagar stormed into the ashram of the sage to recover the horse and disturbed him.

The angry sage opened his eyes and reduced the 60,000 sons of Sagar, except Asamanjas into ashes. Anshuman, the grandson of king Sagar successfully retrieved the horse and was told that Sagar’s sons will attain heaven only if Ganga descends on the earth and their ashes are washed by the water of the holy river. Then the herculean task of bringing river Ganga on the earth began.

Anshuman and later on his son failed in their attempts, but his grandson succeeded after undertaking severe penance for 5,500 years. Lord Shiva was requested to receive the Ganga into his matted locks to minimize the impact of her fall on the earth. But, the river remained suspended in the locks of Shiva.

Bhagirath then prayed to Shiva to release the river and finally Ganga came on the earth from Shiva’s hairs in seven streams and the most sacred stream on the earth came to be known as Bhagirathi.

Around Gangotri

Gaumukh (19 kms.)

The snout of Gangotri glacier at an altitude of 4,200 metres is regarded as the physical source of Bhagirathi (Ganga) and is of great importance to the pilgrims. The Gangotri glacier is nearly 24 kms. long and 6 – 8 kms. wide. The glacier is believed to receding at the rate of 5 metres a year. Pilgrims trek from Gangotri to Gaumukh and take a holy dip in the ice cold water.

The scenic trek route passes through lush valleys, dense forests and towering peaks. Chirbasa, 9 kms. from Gangotri is the popular camping site on the route. It affords awe-inspiring views of the glaciated heights of Gaumukh. Bhojwasa, 14 kms. trek from Gangotri is known for the forest of Bhopatra trees. In ancient times the bark of the Bhojpatra trees was used as a substitute for paper for writing.

Kedartal (18 kms.)

The trek to this enchanting lake surrounded by majestic peaks is quite tough. The Thalayasagar and Sphatikling peaks in the background add to the beauty of the lake.

Bhaironghati (10 kms.)

The beautiful site amidst thick forests is famous for the temple dedicated to Bhairon devta, the gateway deity of Gangotri. It is the last base camp for Gangotri and affords fine views of the snow-clad peaks, deep gorge of Jahanvi and Bhagirathi rivers.

Nandanvan-Tapovan (28 kms.)

These two attractive spots opposite to Gangotri glacier lie further up from Gaumukh and can be reached after a difficult trek. Nandanvan is the base camp or Bagirathi peak and provides a spectacular view of the majestic Shivling peak. A trek across the south of the Gangotri glacier leads to Tapovan famous for its beautiful meadows encircling the base of the Shivling peak.

 

  • Altitude: 3,415 metres (11,204 ft) 
  • Best Time: May-June & Sept-Nov
  • Darshan Timing: 6:00 AM to 8:00 PM
  • Places to visit: Bhagirath Shila, Bhairov Ghati, Gaumukh, Tapowan, Shivling Parvat, Harsil Valley , Gartang Gali 
  • How to reach:   Haridwar – Uttarkashi – Harsil – Gangotri Temple.
  • Where to Stay :  Gangotri, Harsil & Uttarkashi
  • Trek / Walking : 500 meters walking distance from parking to Gangotri Temple.

Shri Kedarnath Temple

Kedarnath, one of the holiest Hindu pilgrim sites is perched at an altitude of 3583 metres amidst towering snow-clad Himalayan peaks near the source of river Mandakini. It is the third pilgrim spot on the Char Dham Yatra circuit. Devotees cleanse their body and soul with sacred waters of

‘Yamunotri and Gangotri and proceed for the pilgrimage to Kedarnath. Pilgrims also carry the sacred waters of Ganga from Gangotri to worship Lord Shiva at Kedarnath.

Kedarnath Temple : The magnificent shrine of Lord Shiva was built by Adi Shankracharya in 8th century A.D. and is one of the most important temples of. India.

According to mythological legends, the temple was originally built by the Pandavas, who were absolved from the sin of gotra-hatya (killing their own brethren) in the battle of Mahabharta, by Lord Shiva over here. The temple is made of extremely large and evenly cut grey stones and set on a rectangular platform with the towering snow-clad Kedardome peak in the backdrop. The first hall of the shrive has statues of the five Pandava brothers, Lord Krishna, Nandi and Virabhadra. The garbh griha or the inner sanctum enshrines one of the twelve sacred Jyotirlingas of Lord Shiva. The Jyotirlinga resembles a hump of a bull and is worshipped as Lord Shiva in his Sadashiva form.

The walls of mandap or assembly hall are adorned with idols of the five Pandava brothers and their wife

Draupdi. There is also an image of Lord Ganesha. The outer pradakshina path of the shrine has a number of idols and small temples.

In front of the temple door is a large statue of Nandi bull as a guard. The morning puja (ritual prayer) at the temple is known as ‘Nirvana Puia’ and the evening prayers are called Sringar Darshan’. During the morning prayers the shivlinga is worshipped in its natural form and offering of ghee (clarified butter) and water are made. While in the evenings the deity is bedecked with flowers and ornaments and a golden umbrella is suspended from above.

The temple closes for the winters on the first day of Kartik (Oct. – Nov.) and re-opens in Vaisakh (Apr.-May). The opening date of the shrine is fixed on the auspicious occasion of Mahashivratri by the priests of Ukhimath temple, the winter home of Lord Kedarnath.

Shankaracharya Samadhi: The Samadhi temple of Shankracharya lies just behind the Kedarnath temple. Adi Shankracharya, the great Indian philosopher and seer consolidated the doctrine of Advaita Vedanta and travelled across India and parts of South Asia. He founded the four mathas (monasteries) in four corners of India to revive Hinduism and went into samadhi over here at an early age of 32 years.

Bhaironath Temple: The temple dedicated to Bhaironathji, the guardian deity of Kedarnath is located a little away from Kedarnath. Bhaironathji is ceremoniously worshipped at the opening and closing of Kedarnath temple, as it is believed that the deity protects this land from evil, when the Kedarnath temple is closed.

Kunds: Kedarnath is dotted with a number sacred Kunds (ponds) of immense religious importance. The most important are – Shivkund, Retkund, Hanskund, Udakkund, Rudhirkund etc.

Vasuki Tal (6 kms) : The charming lake is nestled at a height of 4, 135 metres amidst snow covered lofty peaks. It affords an awe inspiring view of the Chaukhamba peaks.

Gaurikund (14 kms.)

It is the last motor head on the Kedarnath route and one has to trek from here to visit the Kedarnath shrine. According to mythological legends, Goddess Parvati (Gauri) is said to have meditated here to win a consort in Lord Shiva. When the Lord agreed the celestial couple were married at Triyuginarayan. An ancient temple dedicated to Gauri (Parvati), enshrines metallic idols of Gauri and Mahadev (Shiva). Nearby is a hot water spring with curative powers.

Son Prayag (19 kms.)

The sacred site lies on the confluence of river Sone Ganga and Mandakani, on the main Kedarnath route, about 5 kms. from Gaurikund.

The lofty mountains in the backdrop adds to it beauty and grandeur. The devotees believe that by mere touch of the holy water of Son Prayag, one attains the ” Baikunth Dham”.

The road to Tiruginarayan bifurcates from here.

Triyuginarayan (25 kms.)

It is about 14 kms. (including 5 kms. trek) from Son Prayag. According to mythological legends it was the venue of Lord Shiva and Parvati’s marriage. It is believed that the eternal flame around which the marriage was solemnised, still burns in front of the temple.

Guptkashi (49 kms.)

This important pilgrim site set at an altitude of 1479 metres is known for the ancient temples of Vishwanath and Ardhnareshwar. The Manikarnik Kund here is said to be the confluence of two streams of Ganga and Yamuna. It is believed that the place is named Gupt or hidden, as Lord Shiva went into hiding over here for some time to evade the Pandavas, who were seeking forgiveness for killing their own brethren in the epic battle of Mahabharta.

  • Altitude: 3,583 metres (11,755 ft) 
  • Best Time: May-June & Sept-Nov
  • Darshan Timing: 6:00 AM to 8:00 PM / 3PM-5 PM – Closed for Darshan
  • Places to visit: Bhairav Nath Temple, Adi Shankaracharya temple, Vasuki Tal(8 km trek), Trijugi Narayan, Vishwanath Temple.
  • How to reach: Rishikesh – Rudraprayag – Guptkashi- Gaurikund – Kedarnath Temple.
  • Where to Stay : Gaurikund, Sitapur, Sersi, Phata, Guptkashi.
  • Trek / Walking : 18 kms Trek from  Gauraikund to Kedarnath Temple.
  • Helicopter Service: Yes, available only for online booking.

Shri Badrinath Temple

Badrinath, one of the most important and oldest Hindu pilgrim centres of the country is an integral part of sacred Char Dham Yatra’. The holy site perched at an altitude of over 3,133 metres at the confluence of the Rishi Ganga and Alaknanda rivers is flanked by Nar and Narayan mountains, while the Neelkanth Peak forms a splendid backdrop. The name Badrinath is said to be derived from badri (wild berry) trees, which once existed here in large numbers and the place was known as ‘Badri Van’ or ‘forest of berries’.

The religious importance of Badrinath is very well depicted in various Hindu shastras, which say that no pilgrimage is complete without a visit to the temple of Badrinath. It is believed that Vedas, the ancient and most sacred Hindu scriptures were collected together and divided into four separate parts in Vyas Gupha located nearby. The various Puranas are also said to compiled here. The great epic Mahabharta, the Skanda and Other Puranas also eulogize the greatness of this extremely sacred spot.

It is believed that sage Adi Shankracharya travelled all over the country during 8th century to revive the glory of Hinduism. He established four major pilgrimage centres or dhams in four corners of India. These are – Badrikashram in north, Rameshwaram in south, Dwarkapuri in west and Jagannath Puri in the east.

Badrinath is also known as Vishal Badri’, besides this there are four subsidiary badris, which comprise the sacred Panch Badri’. The other four are – Yog Dhyan Badri, Bhavishya Badri, Adi Badri and Vriddha Badri.

Shri Badrinathji Temple : The sacred shrine dedicated to Lord Vishnu as Badri Vishal is believed to be existing since time immemorial and finds mention in the Vedas. Legends suggest that the original temple was built by King Pururava prior to the vedic age and the idol of the presiding deity was carved by Lord Vishwakarma. The original shrine is said to have been destroyed by avalanches or by the Buddhists and the image of Badrinath was thrown into the waters of Alaknanda during the Buddhist era. The present temple is believed to have been established in 8th century by the great philosopher saint Adi Shankaracharya, who according to ‘Skanda Purana’, consecrated the idol of Lord Badri Vishal here after recovering it from the nearby Narad Kund, after following a divine call from the heaven. It was rebuilt about two centuries later by the rulers of Garhwal. The temple has been renovated several times due to damage caused natural forces and was restored in 19th century by the royalties of Scindias and Holkars.

The colourfully painted Singhdwar or Lion’s Gate is the main gateway to the shrine and is reached by a flight of steps. The temple can be divided into three parts – the ‘Garbha Griha’ or the sanctum sanctorum, the ‘Darshan Mandap’ – where the rituals are conducted and ‘Sabha Mandap’ or the assembly hall for the devotees.

The Garbha Griha enshrines a black stone idol of Lord Badrivishal, seated in a meditative “padmasana” posture. The details of the idol are not well defined, perhaps due to weathering, as it was submerged in the Naradkund for several years. The gold plated canopy above the Garbha Griha was offered by queen Ahilyabai Holkar. The temple complex has 15 idols, some of the important ones are – Uddhava and Garuda (Lord Vishnu’s celestial vehicle).

In the courtyard of the temple, to the right, stands a small shrine dedicated to Lakshmi, Vishnu’s consort, and the idols of Ghantakaran (the kshetrapal on guard), Hanuman and Ganesa stand in the wings.

The chief priest of the temple is called as Ravalii, who has to be a Namboodripad Brahmin from    Kerala. The pandas of Badrinath belong to Deoprayag (224 kms.) and play an important part in the rituals as well as act as guide to the visitors. The daily pujas and other rituals performed at the shrine are supposed to have been prescribed by Adi Shankaracharya. Unlike most of the Hindu temples all the pujas (including decoration of idols) are performed in the presence of all the devotees. Some of the special morning pujas are Abhishek, Maha Abhishek, Geeta Path and evening pujas include, Aarti and Geet Govind.

The temple closes for winters in the second or third week of November and the closing date is decided on Dussehra. The ceremonial closing of the shrine is held amidst several rituals and • chanting of mantras. The residents of Mana village offer a choli to cover the image of the deity during winters. After the closure for winters, the Lord is said to be in yogdhyan mudra and is worshipped by the gods and yakshas. During winters everyone moves down to Joshimath. The date of reopening is finalised with a brief ceremony on the auspicious occasion of Basant panchami (Apr. / May).

On the opening day a large number of devotees assemble at the shrine for the darshan of akhand jyoti, which burns through out the winters. The fibres of the choli offered to the deity by the villagers of Mana is distributed to the devotees as maha prasadam.

Tapta Kund: The holy hot water spring lies in front of the Badrinath temple on the banks of Alaknanda River. The waters of Kund are said to have curative properties. A dip in the hot waters is a must before entering the shrine. The hot water spring sprouts below the Garur Shila and falls into a tank built of stone and cement.

Around the Tapta Kund are sacred Panch Shilas or the five stone blocks. These are Narad, Narshing, Barah, Garur and Markandey Shilas. The Narad Shila is set between the Tapta Kund and Narad Kund. It is said that the legendary sage Naradji meditated on this shila for several years. The lion shaped Narshing Shila in the waters of Alaknanda, just below Narad Shila is said to be Bhagwan Narshing, an incarnation of Lord Vishnu, who after killing the demon king Hiranyakashyapa remained in the shape of a block of a stone. The boar shaped Barah (an incarnation of Lord Vishnu) Shila lies near the Narad Kund and the Garur near the Tapta Kund is said to be the place where Garur, the celestial carrier of Lord Vishnu meditated. The Markanday Shila marks the place where sage Markanday meditated on the advice of sage Narad and attained ultimate peace.

Narad Kund: The pool created by a recess in the river, near Tapt Kund is said to be the site from where Adi Shankracharya recovered the idol of Lord Badrinath in 8th century A.D.

Brahma Kapal : This flat platform on the banks of river Alaknanda lies to the north of Badrinath temple. According to mythological legends, when Shiva chopped off the fifth head of Lord Brahma, it got stuck to the trident of Shiva and with the blessing of Lord Vishnu it fell over here and the place was named Brahma Kapal (head).

Devotees believe that by offering pind (propitiating rites) here the deceased ancestors are enshrined permanently in Heaven and no more pinds have to be offered anywhere.

Sheshnetra: It lies about 1.5 kms. from the temple on the opposite bank of the river Alaknanda cradled in the lap of Nar Parvat. A natural bolder here flanked by two small seasonal lakes has an impression of an eye (netra) and resembles the legendary snake Shesnag.

Panch Dharas (five streams) :

The sacred Panch Dharas of Badripuri are Prahlad, Kurma, Bhrigu, Urvasi and Indira. The Indra Dhara flows about 1.5 kms. north of Badripuri, while Bhrigu Dhara flows past a number of caves. The Kurma Dhara water is extremely cold, while the water of Prahalad Dhara is luke warm.

Urvashi Temple: The temple is dedicated to Urvashi, the most beautiful celestial nymph (apsara) and enshrines an idol of Narain (Lord Vishnu), holding a conch, chakra, a gada, a padma in his four hands and a celestial nymph seated on his left thigh.

According to mythological legends, Indra, the king of gods sent Urvashi to distract Nar and Narain, who were meditating here. Thus, Narain created several nymphs from his left thigh and sent them back to Indra shatter his pride.  

Charanpaduka (3 kms.)

A boulder in this beautiful meadow is believed to bear the footprints of Lord Vishnu. It is said that when Lord Vishnu descended from Vaikunth, he first stepped on this boulder.

Neelkanth Peak

Neelkanth, the pyramidal shaped snowy peak (6,597 metres) is popularly referred as the “Garhwal Queen’. It towers majestically above Badrinath and is a sight to behold, especially during the sunrise.

Mata Murti Temple (3 kms.)

This small temple dedicated to the mother of Lord Badrinathji lies on the right bank of river Alaknanda, opposite Mana village. Every year on the occasion of Vamana Dwadashi, Lord Badrinath undertakes a visit to Mata Murti. During this time the Rawal of Badrinathji conducts prayers at this temple and the villagers of Mana organise a festival of prayer, havan and bhog.

Mana Village (3 kms.)

It lies beyond Badrinath and is perhaps the last Indian village before Tibet. The villagers belong to an Indo-Mongolian tribe and are closely associated with the Badrinath temple. A woollen choli, woven by the young girls of the Molapa families of Mana is offered to Badrinathji during one of the closing ceremonies of the shrine.

Around the village are a number of caves with considerable historic and religious importance. The Vyas Gufa here is said to be the place where legendary sage Ved Vyas dictated the great epic Mahabharta to Ganesh. The cave enshrine a marble idol of Ved Vyas shown writing the epic. Other important caves here are – Ganesh Gufa, etc.

Saraswati

The source of legendary river Saraswati lies about 3 kms. north of Mana village. Saraswati, the goddess of knowledge is said to have blessed sage Ved Vyas, who composed the epic Mahabharta. The river touches the Vyas Gufa and then merges with river Alaknanda at Keshav Prayag. The Saraswati river then flows incognito and believed to meet with Ganga and Yamuna at Prayag, the sacred sangam (confluence) near Allahabad.

Bhim Pul or Bhim’s Bridge

A huge stone slab forms a natural bridge over the river Saraswati, near Mana village. Legends suggest, that when the Pandava brothers and their consort Draupadi were on their way to heaven and the river was bridged Bhim, by laying this huge stone slab. The view of the roaring river below the bridge is truly breathtaking.

Vasundhara Falls (5 kms.)

The spectacular waterfalls plunge down from a height of 125 mtrs, against the backdrop of snow-clad peaks and glaciers, about 3 kms. from Mana village. The water coming down transforms into mist and it seems as if river Ganga is directly descending here from heaven. Located nearby are prominent peaks of Satopanth, Chaukhamba and Balkum. The source of Alaknanda is also visible from this beautiful site.

Alka Puri (15 kms.)

River Alaknanda emerges from the snouts of Bhagirath – Kharak and Sato Panth glaciers over here. The charming site can be reached from Badrinath via Mana village.

SatoPanth Lake (25 kms.)

The triangular lake with a perimeter of about half a kilometre, nestles at an altitude of 4,402 metres. It gets the name from the Hindu trinity – Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva, who are believed to occupy one corner each of this lake. Trekking to the lake via Lakshmi forest is quite difficult and one should take the help of an experienced guide.

  • Altitude: 3,100 metres (10,170 ft) 
  • Best Time: May-June & Sept-Nov
  • Darshan Timing: 4:30 am to 1:00 pm & 4:00 pm to 8:00 pm.
  • Places to visit: Tapta Kund, Charan paduka, Vyas gufa(cave), Ganesh gufa, Bheem pul, source of Sarasvati River, Mana village, Vasudhara Waterfall, Yogbadri Temple, Satopanth Lake Trek.
  • How to reach: Rishikesh – Rudraprayag – Joshimath– Badrinath Temple.
  • Where to Stay :  Badrinath, Govindghat and 
  • Trek / Walking: 100 meters walking distance from parking to BadrinathTemple.

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