complete information on Chardham, Altitude of Char Dham,
Geographic Details, Attractions at Chardham, Gangotri, Yamunotri, Badrinath,
Kedarnath, Hemkund Sahib, Char Dham Parikrama, Himalayas, Uttaranchal.
Char Dham Info
Char Dham - History
Very little is known about the origins of Char
Dham. Originally, the name Char Dham used to be
reserved for the India's most famous pilgrimage circuit, four important
temples of Puri, Rameshwaram, Dwarka, and Badrinath.
These sites were grouped together by the great reformer and philosopher of
8th century - Shankaracharya (Adi Sankara), into the four cardinal
pilgrimage sites of the subcontinent.
At some point of time, Badrinath, the last visited and
the most prominent of the four sites in the original Char Dham,
also became the most visited site of the Himalayan pilgrimage circuit and
was named Chota (little) Char Dham.
Unlike the original Char Dham, the holy sites of the
Chota Char Dham do not share a single
affiliation to sects. Rather, the three major sectarian movements in modern
worshipping Hinduism all have representation, with the
Vaisnava site - Badrinath, joined by a Saiva site - (Kedarnath),
and two Devi sites (Yamunotri and Gangotri).
During the mid-twentieth century, the "Chota"
denomination was still used invariably to characterize the Himalayan
version of the Char Dham. This usage believably reflects
the relative significance of the circuit for most of its history. Reachable,
until recent times only after a two-month trek, which lengthily exceeds an
altitude of 4000 meters, the Chota Char Dham was long
captivated by tour enthusiasts and religious professionals, along with a
small number of devoted retirees and wealthy patrons. Although the various
sites and the circuit as a whole were important to Hindus on the plains
below, they were not a specifically visible aspect of yearly religious
After the 1962 India-China war, however, the accessibility to the Chota
Char Dham improved significantly, as India's short-lived measures
at Himalayan expansionism required huge infrastructural
investments. As the buses of pilgrims start to arrive, the Chota
appendix apparently have dropped away, however the prefix "Himalayan"
(Hindi: Himalaya ki Char Dham) is still sometimes used to
With ease of accessibility and infrastructural improvements, the
significance of the Char Dham, as both an actual
destination and an object of the Hindu faith and devotion
has improved considerably. Backed by the growth of new forms of bourgeois "religious
tourism" and by the rise of a conservative Hindu
population, which speaks to the existence of an all-India Hindu culture, the
Char Dhamhas become an important pilgrimage site for
people from all across the world.
Today, the Char Dham sees more than 250,000
unique visitors in an average pilgrimage season that lasts from the month of
April/May to October/November.
The Char Dham is the name given to the four most sacred
and holy pilgrimages of India. Situated amidst the beautiful natural
surroundings of the majestic Himalayas in Uttranchal,
Char Dham comprises, Gangotri, Yamunotri, Badrinath
and Kedarnath - the most sacred pilgrimage
sites of Hinduism.
The Four Dham have been described in scriptures as the
sacred places where the visitors could earn the virtues of all the
pilgrimages put together. These four shrines receive holy water from the
four most scared rivers of India - Yamuna (in Yamunotri ),
Bhagirathi (in Gangotri ), Mandakini (in
Kedarnath ) and Alaknanda (in Badrinath ).
According to the Mythology, a journey to the four shrines of Char
Dham not just washes one's sins but also ensures the salvation
from the cycle of life and death. For centuries, saints and devotees have
been visiting these sacred shrines in their search for a spiritual union
with the divine.
All the four holy shrines of Char Dham are located at an
altitude of more than 3,000 m above sea the level and remain covered with
snow during winters.
With the mystifying Himalayas as the backdrop, these four holy pilgrimages
of India amaze the travel enthusiasts and the devotees alike.
More than 3000 m above the sea level.
Pilgrimage & Adventure Sports
Badrinath, Kedarnath, Yamunotri, Gangotri,
and nearby places like Nanital & Mussoorie.
Char Dham Parikrama
According to the Hindu tradition of parikrama or
clockwise circumambulation, pilgrims visit the Char Dham
from left to right. A pilgrimage to Char Dham begins with
Yamunotri, the westernmost shrine in the Garhwal.
Dedicated to the Goddess Yamuna, Yamunotri is situated
atop the Bandar Poonch Peak at a height of 3,165 m above the sea level,
opposite to Gangotri.
The next halt of Char Dham Tour is the Gangotri
shrine, which is dedicated to Goddess Ganga. This holy shrine is situated at
a height of 3,043 m above the sea level, on the right bank of Bhagirathi
River. According to Hindu mythology, it is believed that Goddess Ganga - the
daughter of heaven, came down to earth in the form of a river as a reward
for the many centuries penance of King Bhagirath.
The third stopover of Chardham Yatra is sacred shrine of
Kedarnath, which is situated at a height of 3581 m above
the sea level, amidst the unforgettably beautiful Kedarnath
range. Located on the head of river Mandakini, Kedarnath
is among the most sacred pilgrimage centers for the Hindus, wherein stands
one of the 12 'Jyotirlingas' of Kedar or Lord Shiva.
The Char Dham Yatra completes on arrival at the holy
shrine of Badrinath, located on the right bank of Alaknanda
river at a height of 3,133 m. Dedicated to Lord Vishnu,
the 15 m high temple shrine is built in a cone structure with a small cupola
of a bull and spire. Badrinath temple is divided into
three parts, namely -
The 'Garbha Griha' or sanctum sanctorum
The' Darshan Mandap' where the rituals are conducted, and
The 'Sabha Mandap' where devotees assemble