Char Dham Yatra-Part I

 Badrinath Badrinath

This time I and my friends were thinking of planning a tour which could be different from the rest of the tours which we had already taken. I mean we were looking for a destination which can offer natural beauty, adventure, pleasure, peace, knowledge and much more-all rolled into one. I was sharing this with my mom and she suggested the Char Dham Tour. Not taking her suggestion seriously I smilingly said ‘we are too young to go for a tirth yatra’. But then later when I saw the destinations of Char Dham Yatra on internet I was speechless. They are extremely beautiful promising much more than what we wanted. I immediately shared this idea with my friends and finally finalized this tour.

According to Hindu mythologies it is believed that Char Dham Yatra is a journey to moksha. Char Dham consists of four wonderful pilgrimage sites namely Gangotri, Yamunotri, Kedarnath and Badrinath. It is one of the most holy tours of the Hindus. These four destinations are located in the staggeringly beautiful Himalayas. We booked the Char Dham tour with great excitement.

Starting from Delhi we reached Haridwar in the afternoon. After refreshing ourselves we visited the Mansa Devi temple and participated in the evening aarti at Har ki Pauri. Haridwar is another famous pilgrimage site of India. Its evening aarti was very uplifting. There we had an overnight stay at Hotel Haveli Hari Ganga. This place is a doorway to the Char Dham Yatra.

The next day in the morning we drove to Barkot via Mussoorie. We halted for some time in Mussoorie to see the wonderful Kempty Fall. We continued our drive to Barkot and reached there in the evening and spent the night in a hotel. Barkot is 215 kms from Haridwar.

In the morning we left from Barkot for Janki Chatti via Hanuman Chatti and Fool Chatti. Hanuman Chatti is the confluence of Hanuman Ganga and Yamuna River. After reaching Janki Chatti we started the trek of 6 km for Yamunotri, one of the Char Dhams. Yamnotri is located at an elevation of 3,235 m above sea level. The views of the surroundings were mesmerizing. After reaching Yamunotri we took a holi dip in Garam kund and then headed towards the shrine of Goddess Yamnotri. After darshan and Pooja we trekked back to Janki Chatti and drove back to Barkot.

Our Guide Shankar told us that Yamunotri is the the source of the Yamuna River and the seat of the Goddess Yamuna. Yamunotri Temple was built in the 19th century by Maharani Gularia of Jaipur.

We saw several thermal springs flowing into the pools near the temple. The guide told us that among all Surya Kund is the most famous. We also worshipped at Divya Shila, a rock pillar which is worshipped before entering the Yamunotri Temple.

From Barkot we left for Uttarkashi in the morning. It is 82 km from Barkot. En route we visited Prakateshwar Cave. The journey from Barkot to Uttarkashi was very pleasurable as the road was flanked by pine trees and the path was very picturesque. It is a natural cave found around 10 years back. There are limestone formations inside the cave which resemble Shiv Linga because of which it holds religious importance. Cold water flows inside the cave making their way into a small pool. The water here is considered sacred.

We reached Uttarkashi in the afternoon and after refreshing ourselves we visited Kashi Vishwanath Temple. Later in the evening we participated in the aarti of Goddess Ganga at the Ganga river ghat. Uttarkashi is a gateway to Gangotri. Uttarkashi is located on the bank of river Bhagirathi. There are several temples located here. We also strolled through the town of Uttarkashi and retired to the beds late. The next day we had to drive to Gangotri. Till now our journey had been great, very beautiful, very uplifting.

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