"Char Dham Yatra” is a sacred pilgrimage circuit that includes four revered sites in Uttarakhand, namely: Badrinath, Kedarnath, Gangotri, and Yamunotri. This spiritual journey traverses the stunning Himalayas, allowing pilgrims to seek blessings, cleanse their souls in the holy rivers, and witness ancient temples, all while embracing the divine beauty and serenity of the region.
1. Badrinath: Badrinath is situated on the banks of the Alaknanda River; it is dedicated to Lord Vishnu. The temple here is one of the holiest shrines in Hinduism, with a black stone statue of Lord Badrinarayan. The site is believed to have been established by Adi Shankaracharya in the 8th century.
2. Kedarnath: This temple is dedicated to Lord Shiva and is among the twelve Jyotirlingas. It's located near the Mandakini River at the foothills of the Himalayas. The temple, nestled amidst breathtaking mountain scenery, holds immense spiritual significance.
3. Gangotri: The source of the holy Ganges River, Gangotri is a revered site for Hindus. The temple here is dedicated to Goddess Ganga. It's said that King Bhagirath meditated here to bring the river Ganga down to earth.
4. Yamunotri: The birthplace of the Yamuna River, Yamunotri is another significant pilgrimage site. The temple here is dedicated to Goddess Yamuna, and devotees embark on a trek to reach the temple, surrounded by serene Himalayan landscapes.
5. Haridwar: It is the entry point for pilgrims on Chardham Yatra. The meaning of Haridwar is the "Gateway to God." Pilgrims often start their journey by seeking blessings at Har ki Pauri, a revered ghat on the banks of the Ganges River. Haridwar is known for its religious significance, where the Ganges River exits the Himalayas and enters the plains.
6. Rishikesh: Rishikesh is considered as the spiritual capital of the world; Rishikesh is located a bit further up from Haridwar and serves as another significant stop for Chardham Yatra pilgrims. It's renowned for its ashrams, yoga centers, and temples. The famous Laxman Jhula and Ram Jhula, suspension bridges over the Ganges, is iconic landmarks.