Char Dham Yatra in Uttarakhand

Uttarakhand, a beautiful state in Northern India is known for its bountiful natural beauty, mesmerising landscape and exotic wildlife. It also has a pious and spiritual side to it, which is equally popular. The land is home to several temples and religious places and rightfully it has earned the moniker, ‘Devbhoomi,’ which means ‘land of Gods.’ 

Among the innumerable places of worship and religious sites, the most prominent one is the tour of the four holy sites called the Char Dham Yatra. In Hindi, the term ‘char’ means four, ‘dham’ means religion, and ‘yatra’ means travel. Char Dham Yatra in Uttarakhand holds an important place in the hearts of the Hindus. 

The Yatra involves visiting and offering prayers at four holy sites in India, namely, Badrinath, Kedarnath, Gangotri (the place where the holy river Ganga originates) and Yamunotri (the place where the holy river Yamuna originates). These places are part of the Chota Char Dham Yatra or Uttarakhand Char Dham Yatra. Each of these places are dedicated to different Gods, namely Goddess Yamuna, Goddess Ganga, Lord Shiva, and Lord Vishnu.

Registration Details for Char Dham 2024

Registration for Char Dham 2024 has started from 15th April, 2024.

  1. Visit Official Website: Access the official website dedicated to the Chardham Yatra registration process.
  2. Create an Account: If required, sign up for an account on the website, providing necessary personal details such as name, contact information, and identification proof.
  3. Login to Account: Log in to your newly created account using the provided credentials.
  4. Select Yatra Package: Choose the specific Chardham Yatra package that suits your preferences and requirements. Different packages may offer varying amenities and services.
  5. Provide Personal Information: Fill in all essential personal details requested, including name, age, gender, address, and identification proof details.
  6. Select Travel Dates: Specify the dates you intend to undertake the Chardham Yatra. Ensure your chosen dates align with the availability provided by the registration system.
  7. Choose Accommodation Preferences: Select your accommodation preferences, such as budget hotels, guesthouses, or government-operated accommodations, depending on the options available.
  8. Make Payment: Complete the payment process for the selected package and any additional services you wish to avail of during the Yatra. Payment methods may include online payment gateways, bank transfers, or other specified modes.
  9. Review and Confirm: Double-check all the details provided for accuracy and completeness before confirming your registration. Make any necessary edits or modifications if required.
  10. Receive Confirmation: Once your registration is successfully completed and payment is processed, you will receive a confirmation email or message containing your Yatra details, including itinerary, accommodation details, and any other relevant information.
  11. Print Confirmation: Print out the confirmation document and keep it safely with you. This document may be required for verification purposes during the Yatra.

Char Dham Yatra Route (Circuit)

In the traditional Char Dham yatra route, pilgrims embark from the western side, commencing with Yamunotri, followed by Gangotri, Kedarnath, and concluding at Badrinath. This journey typically begins with visits to Yamunotri and Gangotri, where devotees collect holy waters from the sources of the Yamuna and Ganga rivers to perform abhishekams at Kedareshwara. The Char Dhams of Uttarakhand are also recognized as India's Chota Char Dham.

The most popular route is:

Haridwar → Rishikesh → Deo Prayag → Tehri → Dharasu → Yamunotri → Uttarkashi → Gangotri → Gaurikund → Kedarnath → Joshimath → Badrinath.

Time Required for completion of Char Dham Yatra

The time required for the Char Dham pilgrimage can vary depending on several factors, including the mode of transportation, itinerary, and the time spent at each destination. Here's a general estimate:

  1. By Road: If traveling by road, completing the Char Dham circuit typically takes around 10 to 15 days. This allows for travel time between each destination, sightseeing, and accommodation arrangements.
  2. By Helicopter: Opting for helicopter services can significantly reduce the time required for the pilgrimage. A helicopter tour of Char Dham can be completed in 2- 5 days, including travel time and temple visits.
  3. Trekking: For adventurous trekkers, completing the Char Dham circuit on foot can take anywhere from 2 to 4 weeks, depending on the chosen trekking routes and pace.

Ultimately, the duration of the Char Dham pilgrimage is flexible and can be tailored according to individual preferences, time constraints, and travel arrangements.

Let us know more about these temples: 

1. Yamunotri Temple

The Yamunotri temple, nestled in a narrow gorge close to the source of River Yamuna (the second-most sacred Indian river after River Ganga) in Uttarkashi district, is dedicated to Goddess Yamuna. 

Located on a tiny mountain hamlet on the Western side of the Garhwal Himalayan mountain ranges, the temple attracts thousands of devotees every year. The temple stands proudly amongst the snow-clad mountain peaks and glaciers that surround it.  

It is believed that devotees coming to the temple and taking a dip in the holy Yamuna River are protected from the untimely death and are ridden of all their sins.  

Opening and Closing Dates of Yamunotri Temple in 2024 

The gates of Yamunotri opens on the auspicious day of Akshaya Tritiya each year. 

Opening Date- 10th May 2024

Closing Date- 03rd  November 2024. 

How to reach Yamunotri temple? 

Closest Airport- Dehradun

Closest Railway Station- Rishikesh

After reaching Rishikesh, the nearest motorable road leads to Hanuman Chatti. From Hanuman Chatti, travellers can opt for ponies, horses, or palanquins to reach Janki Chatti. From there, a 5-kilometer trek is required to reach Yamunotri. Additional ponies, horses, and palanquins are readily available for this trek as well.

Tranquil landscapes embellished with glistening streams and verdant valleys unfold, offering a serene backdrop for pilgrims amidst the majestic Himalayas.

Weather Conditions at Yamunotri-

Yamunotri experiences distinct seasons:

  • Summers: Enjoy cool temperatures around 20°C, making it ideal for pilgrimage and sightseeing.
  • Monsoons: Late July to August sees difficulties reaching the temple due to landslides; travel is advised against.
  • Winters: From November to mid-March, the temple remains closed due to heavy snowfall; primarily visited by pro-trekkers and mountaineers for trekking expeditions.

Best time to visit- April- June and September- November

Places to see in and around Yamunotri-

  • Saptrishi Kund
  • Surya Kud
  • Divya Shila

2. Gangotri Temple


The Gangotri temple or Gangotri Dham is located in the sacred Gangotri town at a height of about 3100 metres on the Garhwal Himalayan ranges in Uttarkashi. The temple, which is one of the four sacred holy and pilgrimage sites of Chota Char Dham holds an important place in the hearts of Hindu devotees.  

The temple is built in Nagara style of architecture and is made of white marble stone. Unlike other famous Hindu temples, it does not have any carvings, but the inner sanctum has idols of Goddess Ganga, Yamuna, Saraswathi, Lakshmi and Annapoorni. 

Apart from its religious and spiritual importance, the divine temple has a beautiful white structure and is known for its stunning natural surroundings. It is surrounded by the lofty mountain ranges, and Deodar and pine forests. Also, what makes Gangotri temple one of the holiest places is its connection with the holy river, Ganges.  

The Ganges River, which is considered the most sacred river in the country and is revered as a Goddess, originates from the Gangotri glacier at Gaumukh, which is located close to the temple. As per Hindu legends, River Ganga, or Ganga maa (mother), descended from heaven on earth at Gangotri, which Lord Shiva released from his locks.  

At the point of its origin at Gaumukh, the river is called Bhagirathi, and it later acquires the name, ‘Ganga,’ when Alaknanda River merges into it near Devprayag town. 

Opening and Closing Dates of Gangotri Temple in 2024

Opening Date- 10th May 2024 

Closing Date-02nd  November 2024.

How to reach Gangotri temple? 

Closest Airport- Dehradun

Closest Railway Station- Rishikesh

Travel from Rishikesh to Gangotri typically involves taking a bus or hiring a taxi to Uttarkashi, around 180 km away (6-7 hours by road), then continuing with a taxi or shared jeep to Gangotri, another 100 km further (4-5 hours). Trekking from Rishikesh to Gangotri is an option for adventure enthusiasts, but it necessitates thorough planning, physical readiness, and familiarity with trekking paths.

Enchanting views of the Bhagirathi River and surrounding peaks greet travelers on the journey, adorned with lush greenery and cascading waterfalls.

Weather Condition-

  • Summers: Enjoy cool temperatures around 20°C, making it ideal for pilgrimage and sightseeing.
  • Monsoons: Late July to August sees difficulties reaching the temple due to landslides; travel is advised against.
  • Winters: From November to mid-March, the temple remains closed due to heavy snowfall; primarily visited for trekking expeditions by pro-trekkers and mountaineers.

Best Time to visit Gangotri- April- June and September- November

Places to see in and around Gangotri- 

  • Tapovan
  • Submerged Shivling
  • Vishwa Nath Temple

3. Kedarnath Temple

The abode of Lord Shiva, Kedarnath is one of the holiest sites in India. Part of the Chota Char Dhan Yatra, along with Yamunotri, Gangotri and Badrinath, it is the third destination for the people who are on the Char Dham pilgrimage. The temple is also one of the 12 Jyotirlinga of Lord Shiva in India. 

As per Hindu temple, this ancient temple is believed to be built by the Pandavas, the heroes from the epic, Mahabharatha to seek penance for killing so many people during their battle with the Kauravas and seek the Lord’s blessings.   

It is made of extremely large but evenly shaped stones and the idol of Lord Shiva in the temple is in his ‘Sadashiva’ form. Just as magnificent as the temple is and the spiritual vibe it exudes, the mighty Kedarnath Peak that stands behind the temple only adds to its beauty. 

Opening and Closing Dates of Kedarnath Temple in 2024 

Opening Date-10th May 2024 at 6:20 am

Closing Date- 03 November 2024.

How to reach Kedarnath temple? 

Closest Airport- Dehradun

Closest Railway Station- Rishikesh

From Rishikesh, begin by taking a bus or taxi to Sonprayag, a distance of approximately 220 kilometers, requiring 7-8 hours by road. From Sonprayag, you can choose to trek the remaining 20 kilometers to Kedarnath or opt for pony or palanquin services. Adventure enthusiasts can embark on a trek from Sonprayag to Kedarnath, covering about 20 kilometers and taking approximately 6-7 hours on foot. Pony and palanquin services are also available for those who prefer not to trek.

Majestic snow-capped peaks, pristine meadows, and the melodious sound of Mandakini River accompany pilgrims on their spiritual voyage through the rugged terrain.

Weather Conditions-

  • Summers (April to June): Pleasant with temperatures ranging around 15-20°C, ideal for pilgrimage and sightseeing.  
  • Monsoons (July to September): Rainy season, with heavy rainfall increasing the risk of landslides and difficult travel conditions.  
  • Winters (October to March): Extremely cold with temperatures dropping below freezing, heavy snowfall, and the temple remains closed.

Best time to visit Kedarnath- May- June and September- October

Places to see in and around Kedarnath- 

  • Kedarnath Temple
  • Bhairavnath Temple
  • Gandhi Sarovar
  • - Vasuki Tal
  • - Shankaracharya Samadhi
  • - Chorabari Tal (Gandhi Sarovar)
  • - Triyuginarayan Temple
  • - Gaurikund
  • - Sonprayag
  • - Agastyamuni Temple

4. Badrinath Temple

  1. Badrinath Temple

Badrinath Temple is in the picturesque town of Badrinath at a height of 3133 metres. The sacred abode of Lord Vishnu is one of the holiest shrines in India and is part of the Hindu Char Dham pilgrimage. Apart from its undeniable spiritual and religious vibe, the temple looks like a picture from the outside.  

Set against the backdrop of the snow-clad mountain ranges, it is a place where divinity meets serenity. The temple is easily accessible by road, and you can also reach it on foot. The road leading up the temple is good, and you can start your trek from Mana village, which is about three kilometres from the temple.  

Badrinath temple has many legends associated with it, which only add to the charm and importance of the place. One such legend is that Lord Shiva and his consort Goddess Parvati were once performing tapasya in Badrinath, and Lord Vishnu came by disguised as a small boy and disrupted them by crying aloud. Recognising Lord Vishnu’s disguise, Shiva and Parvati left Badrinath and moved to Kedarnath.  

Opening and Closing Dates of Badrinath in 2024

Opening Date- 12th May 2024

Closing Date- 06th November 2024. 

How to reach Badrinath temple? 

Closest Airport- Dehradun

Closest Railway Station- Rishikesh

The most common way to reach Badrinath is by road as there are regular bus services available from major cities such as Delhi, Haridwar, and Rishikesh. The nearest airport is Jolly Grant Airport in Dehradun, from where you can hire a taxi or take a bus to reach Badrinath. 

Serene alpine vistas, the roaring flow of the Alaknanda River, and the towering Neelkanth Peak create an awe-inspiring panorama, inviting devotees into the heart of the Himalayas.

Weather in Badrinath-

  • Summers (April to June): Pleasant with temperatures ranging around 15-20°C, ideal for pilgrimage and sightseeing.  
  • Monsoons (July to September): Rainy season, with heavy rainfall increasing the risk of landslides and difficult travel conditions.  
  • Winters (October to March): Extremely cold with temperatures dropping below freezing, heavy snowfall, and the temple remains closed.

Best time to visit Badrinath- May- June and September- October

Places to see in and around Badrinath- 

  • Badrinath Temple
  • Mana Village
  • Tapt Kund
  • Brahma Kapal
  • Charan Paduka
  • Neelkanth Peak
  • Vyas Gufa
  • Mata Murti Temple
  • Narad Kund
  • Bhim Pul

Char Dham by Helicopter

The Char Dham By Air usually follows this route-

  1. Yatra starts from Sahastradhara Helipad, Dehradun.
  2. Helicopter journey to Kharsali. From there, Yamunotri is a 5km trek, accessible by foot or ponies.
  3. Return to Kharsali for a helicopter ride to Harshil. Gangotri is a 25km trek from Harshil helipad, taking about 45 minutes one-way.
  4. Return to Harshil helipad for a helicopter ride to Guptkashi. From Guptkashi, travel by cab to Sonprayag, located 21 kms away.
  5. Trek on foot or ponies from Sonprayag to Kedarnath.
  6. Return to Guptkashi helipad for a helicopter ride to Badrinath helipad. Visit the Badrinath temple for prayers.
  7. Return journey from Badrinath Helipad to Sahastradhara Helipad, Dehradun.

It is essential to remember that Char Dham yatra can be done in 2-5 days according to your convenience and package booked.

Char Dham Travel Tips

  1. Registration for Char Dham is compulsory.
  2. Pack a basic emergency medical kit and ensure you have necessary medications.
  3. Opt for bottled water throughout the journey to avoid any water-related illnesses.
  4. Consume boiled, cooked, or fried food to minimize the risk of foodborne illnesses.
  5. Bring along mosquito or insect repellent to ward off bugs and mosquitoes.
  6. Remember to apply sunscreen cream to protect your skin from sunburn.
  7. Ensure you're physically and mentally prepared for the journey, as it involves trekking at high altitudes of up to 14,000 ft.
  8. Start preparatory exercises at least a month before the Yatra to enhance your fitness level.
  9. Carry heavy woolens, including thermal body warmers, raincoats, sleeping bags, blankets, and waterproof shoes with good grips.
  10. Women are advised to wear salwar kameez or trousers instead of sarees for better comfort during the journey.
  11. Hire only registered ponywalas or porters for assistance and avoid taking shortcuts along the route.

There you have a complete Char Dham yatra travel guide. It is now only a matter of planning a trip to one or all these beautiful and holy temples and attain moksha. 

Club Mahindra properties in Uttarakhand

If you are visiting Uttarakhand for the Char Dham Yatra, make sure to book your rooms in advance at any of the Club Mahindra Resorts in Uttarakhand

1.      Club Mahindra Mussoorie—Rejuvenate from your trip and enjoy breathtaking views of the Queen of Hills.

2.      Club Mahindra Binsar valley Almora – absorb in peace and harmony while staying in the property nestled in lush greenery.

3.      Club Mahindra Kanatal—If you are an adventure enthusiast, do not miss the adventurous moments amidst the picturesque mountains.

4.      Club Mahindra Corbett – Enjoy wildlife and luxurious stay near this Uttarakhand resort of Club Mahindra

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