No Hindu pilgrim feels fulfilled and satisfied until he has journeyed across the hills and visited the Char dham. It literally translates into ‘four temples or holy sites’. The chief purpose of visiting these dhams is to wash away the mundane sins committed during one’s mortal life and also to find salvation. It is believed that this spiritual journey exempts man of all his sins and he returns home pure and chaste. The yatra is also supposed to give him liberty from the life-n-death cycle, so that his soul can be free from earthly bondages. Thus, it is clear to see that the yatra holds a very significant place in Hindu religion.
People from all corners of the country head to the north Indian state of Uttarakhand where these devout temples are located! Uttarakhand is a very significant town from the aspect of pilgrimage. It is flanked by holy rivers like Ganga, Yamuna, Mandakini and Alakananda. These four rivers are the sites for the four respective temples. In Hindu mythology, the Indian rivers are considered very pious and are always associated with spiritualism. So, it is no surprise that these mighty rivers are visited by pilgrims and sages since time immemorial.
When to go for Char dham yatra: The Char dham yatra cannot be had round the year, since the destinations are not accessible all the time. The months between May and November are ideal for making a trip since it is the prime season of the yatra. The summer season between May and June receives the highest number of footfalls. Even though the temples are open during the rainy months (July-September), the number of visitors drops drastically during this season because the hilly tracks are tough to negotiate in the wet weather. Due to the slippery nature of the tracks, there is an inherent danger. So, tourists must be very careful while traveling. The temples are located at sites which have to be accessed through foot. So, there is a lot of foot-walk in store for you.
How to reach Char Dham: You can travel to Uttarakhand via rail, road or air. But in order to reach the dhams or temples, you will have to trek. Badrinath Temple and Gangotri Temple are still fairly reachable through jeeps. But the isolated location of Yamunotri and Kedarnath temples necessitate trekking.
Traveling tips for Chardham yatra:
Here are some tips for pilgrims going for a Chardham yatra:
i. In these holy towns, you are expected to refrain from consumption of non-vegetarian food and alcohol. Hindu religion strongly advocates the practice of green vegetation and abstinence from alcohol.
ii. Foreigners must keep in mind that, in keeping with the Indian rituals, they must take off their shoes or slippers before entering the temples. They are also advised not to wear skimpy or skin-showing attires while visiting the temples.
iii. Uttarakhand can get pretty frigid during the post-October months. So, make sure to carry warm clothes.
iv. The Chardham yatra can be tiring and challenging because of the steep climbs. It would be advisable to check your fitness quotient before joining the yatra.
v. During the peak seasons, it can be tough to find hotels. It will be in your best interest to take help of a tour operator for buying a convenient Char dham yatra package.
For planning a Chardham Yatra Package trip or for buying a package, please take help of Hungry Bags.
Char dham yatra 2013: Significance and traveling tips