This pilgrimage was initiated by sage Adi Shankaracharya, a great Hindu intellectual, and reformer. The sage started this holy journey in the 8th century with the motive of reviving the Hindu religion, and certainly, the four destinations were perfect to serve his purpose. Yamunotri (the abode of Shakti Yamuna), Gangotri (the abode of Shakti Ganga), Kedarnath (the abode of Lord Shiva) and Badrinath (the abode of Lord Vishnu) are the four holy places embracing the foothills of the Garhwal Himalayas, Uttarakhand.
It is believed that by visiting this pious circuit, all the sins of the devotees are forgiven; are washed off. Since ages, this belief is so prominent that the Char Dham Yatra in Uttrakhand is considered a must for every human. Further, it is not just that people come here for getting salvation; they visit these holy sites so as to attain enlightenment, to experience serenity and spirituality.
A perfect example of devotion for humanity and mankind, the Badrinath Temple is elevated at an altitude of 3415 meters in the Garhwal Hills on the bank of Alaknanda River. One of the famous shrines of the Char Dham Yatra of Uttarakhand, it is the sacred place devoted to Lord Vishnu. Legend says Lord Vishnu meditated at this place for thousand incessant years under the Badri tree and so the name is given as Badrinath.
The idol is made of the Shaligram statue in the meditative pose and is the ideal site for the Vaishnavites. It is being believed that the temple was established by Adi Shankaracharaya in the 9th century. From Haridwar, Rishikesh and Kotdwar, the devotees can easily reach to Shri Badrinath Dham Temple.
Shri Kedanath Temple
Kedarnath Temple in Rudraprayag district of Uttarakhand state is elevated at an altitude of 3584 m above the sea level flanking around the river Mandakini. It is considered as the most pious abode of Lord Shiva and is believed that one of the 12 forms of Lord Shiva in the shape of “Jyotirlingas” was dropped at the hills of Mandar where the main temple is located. The famous Jyotirlinga shrines are must visit places where Lord Shiva appeared as a fiery column of light. This is the reason tremendous pilgrims visit this original place to seek blessings of Lord Shiva.
The temple was being constructed by Adi Shankaracharya and was privileged by the name of King Kedar, the ruler of Satya Yuga. Due to heavy snowfall during winters, the temple is open only between the ends of April to Kartik Purnima. During winters, the idols from the Shri Kedarnath Dham are brought to Ukhimath and worshipped there for six month.
The holy river Ganga is known to be originated from Gangotri itself, through the prayer made by king Bhagirath. Gangotri lies at an altitude of 3,200 mts about the sea level in Uttarkashi district where thousands of devotees pay their visit to wash away their sins in the urge of salvation. The Ganges is believed to be the sacred source of purity and sanctity and so before visiting the temple, devotees take a holy dip in this mighty river.
The shrine of Gangotri temple is 18th century old with an exquisite 20 ft structure made of white granite and people can enjoy the tour fully during the months of May to June and September to October.
Located at Uttarkashi at an elevation of 3164 meters from the sea level, Yamunotri Dham temple sanctifies thousands of moods and spirits bringing the origin of River Yamuna. It is the only place where the devotees can find both the amalgamation of hot and cold environment. The Himalayan environment is purified and freezes with the cold tides of the glaciers of River Yamuna and the sides are remained warmed up with thermal springs which are known as ‘Kunds’ of Goddess Shakti.
A visit to Yamunotri temple is a full day tour from Uttarakhand’s main towns including Rishikesh, Haridwar or Dehradun. The temple is accessible by 13 Kilometers trek from the town of Hanuman Chatti and six Kilometer wals from Janki Chatt during the months of May to June and September to November for the best spiritual expedition.