Travel preparations Yatra Chardham

Yatra Chardham is a one of the wish of a Sanatan Hindu to undertake at least once in life time, one is to prepare well in advance to undertake this journey which is in high Himalayas covered with snow and thin air, less in oxygen.  Travelling at this height certain precautions and preparations are required  to make the body capable to face the harsh weather, biting cold, thin air less in oxygen and  able to climb the steep trek .

Journey starts from Hardwar / Rishikesh after Bio-metric Registration and getting the Photo I-Card issued from the Uttrakhand Govt. which is to be carried in person throughout the journey .

Yamunotri Temple

Yamunotri Temple

The trek to  Yamunotri Dahm is the small but tough trek of 6 km from Janki Chatti .

 

Shri Badri Vishal Dham , Sri Badrinath Dham

All four Dhams are situated at a height , Yamunotri 3235 meters , Gangotri 3042 meters, Sri Kedarnath 3581 meters and Sri Badrinath 3133 meters . all these places are covered under the snow in the winters ,temperature in the months of May – June is around 15 degree Celsius during the day and at night drops down to 2-3 degree Celsius, rain and strong  winds are  very cold, there are few shelters which  become over crowded or unable to accommodate the pilgrims . Treks are well maintained but when it rains the mud from the slops make it slippery .

People planing to have their pilgrimage for Yatra Chardham this year must prepare them self to under take a 12 days journey on bumpy mountain roads , drastic change in temperature and height ,  acclimatization to this weather and atmosphere is required before leaving for this journey .

Start daily walk with comfortable rubber sole shoes , physical exercises  for legs calf and thigh muscles and Breathing yoga exercises such as Pranayam to be done 20-30 days before leaving for the  journey. Sandles, Chapples are strictly no for walking,  ladies must trim their toe nails .

Must wear Warm woolen clothes , woolen socks , woolen cap, goggles , water proof  jacket and trouser, keep yourself as light as possible while walking up in the Himalayas .

Hot water bottle is required at Sri Kedarnath to keep the body warm where fire or heaters are not allowed in the rooms.

In the months of May and June there is a heavy rush due to school holidays, unpredictable rains,  loose rocks falling on roads  at many places results in road blocks for hours, pilgrims are advised to carry some biscuits, dry fruits etc. those carrying  battery  operated instruments i.e. camera, mobile phone etc. must carry additional batteries, have a BSNL / Idea SIM card in your phone as it works at all these places.

When walking try to make slow walk taking short breaks and keep drinking liquids and have deep breaths .

One is to take care of Mules and Palki carried by porters at Yamunotri and Sri Kedarnath .

Try to save yourself from getting wet in rain water .

Carry your personal medicines in a small bag, if advised by your doctor you may purchase small Oxygen cylinder at Hardwar or Rishikesh.

Must carry your photo ID proof  from the year 2014 the Yatra Registration is made compulsory .

Select your accommodations in good hotels with attached private facilities with availability of hot water for bath, in the month of May and June  try to get AC buses up to Haridwar / Rishikesh , up in the hills AC  is not operated  in the buses. The Puja and Priority Darshan charges are displayed at all places and Administration issues official  receipt for the money paid.

If one take above mentioned precautions, will enjoy more and not only have darshan of  Lords but also the beautiful landscapes of Himalayas  will keep you refreshed through out your journey.

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Yatra Chardham for Senior Citizens

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The Yatra Chardham which is the devout wish of an any Sanatan Hindu , Shivaite or Vishnuite is done in the Gharwal region of Uttrakhand state of North India, since 1980 we are making the travel arrangements for pilgrims in this area, I have seen the Senior Citizens accompanying their families and trying to keep a pace with the youngsters to make their pilgrimage to these holy places, not knowing about the difficulties, unpredictable weather and the high altitude sickness because of thin air and less oxygen,  in travel and quite often it is the high emotional feeling of doing it by foot as a devotional duty towards the God.

Puja at Hardwar

The entire journey which is performed by the people from all over India gathers at Haridwar or Rishikesh starts the 12 -14 days journey within the Himalayas with almost every day travelling around 200-250 kms. on single road which are prone to land slidesfalling rocksheavy rains or may be simply the heavy traffic in both directions on road and once we reach the destination may be one is to wait in a queue to have a pooja or just a darshan of few minutes,  choice of food is the major problem, fresh vegetables and milk are rare, one is to compromise on whatever is available and most important the good comfortable place where one can have full rest at night and facilities of daily use.

Sri Badrinath Ji Temple at night

Quite often, Senior Citizens are unable to travel because someone from their family is not accompanying them, the entire  journey is comfortable and our experienced representative is with the Seniors, hiring of a vehicle with good ground clearance and comfortable seats, there are breaks in the journey at places where there are good facilities and good refreshments available, a prior information about the medical needs of person travelling, contacts of medical facilities available on the route which may be helpful in case of any emergencies. Food served on this route is vegetarian, the accommodations are arranged on ground floor with hot water in the bathrooms, beds are soft and warm, places are at high altitude, heaters and fire in the rooms are not allowed, providing guests with hot water bottles to keep the body warm in the bed. Accommodations are selected close to the  roads .

Palki being carried by the porters at Yamunotri

At Yamunotri, arrangements of Palki it is carried by four porters, Phata to Kedarnath is by helicopter and if desired the distance from helipad to the main shrine is arranged by a porter carrying a person in a basket chair, Gangotri and Badrinath are at comfortable walking distance, at all shrines arrangement of  priority darshan.

Good warm clotheswoolen sockswoolen cap and gloves are must, before starting for the pilgrimage. Good water-proof shoes should be worn and one must start using  them at least 15 days before starting the journey, sandals and slippers should not be used for walking ( Treking) , wind cheater or rain coat is always recommended, one must drink a lot of water because most of pilgrims fall ill due to dehydration and Cold .

Sri Gangotri Temple

 

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Ladakh the Moonland, Last Shangrila, Little Tibet

Ladakh is located in the North-Eastern part of Jammu & Kashmir state in India , it is a remote Tibetan plateau, primarily Buddhist and Tibetan in its culture and in a very clear contrast to rest of Kashmir, indeed to the rest of India as well.

Small Ladakhi girl

Ladakh is located in the North-Eastern part of Jammu & Kashmir state in India , it is a remote Tibetan plateau, primarily Buddhist and Tibetan in its culture and in a very clear contrast to rest of Kashmir, indeed to the rest of India as well.Little Tibet , The Moonland and The Last Shangrila are the alternate names for Ladakh, Himalayas are the most effective barrier to rain. A very few clouds creep across their massive height and as a result this land is barren beyond belief, The Plants and green belt are near the river’s bed that carry water from glaciers in the peaks of the Himalayas. A land of freezing winds and burning hot sunlight, this land is completely different from the green landscape of many parts of the Himalayas. Bounded by two of the world’s mightiest mountain ranges, the Great Himalaya and the Karokaram, it is a land which has no match. In this region there is a long narrow valley known as Zanskar even more isolated than Ladakh Valley.

The Moon Land Ladakh

This land is connected to rest of India by a 434 km road from Srinagar, passing through Zozi-la Pass with an overnight stop at  Kargil , the first village after the Zozila is Drass the second highest, coldest habited place in the world , Kargil was once an important trading post. It was from here that one could turn south to Zanskar or go to Ladakh, en route to Leh one passes through village Shergol which is the dividing line between Muslim and Buddhist areas. Around Leh are the Age old Budhist Monastries and two highest motorable roads in the world the Chang – la Pass ( 17586 ft) the Khardung – la pass    ( 18400 ft) the crystal clear water lakes , Pangong, Tsmori, Tsokar etc. with breath-taking views.

 

Dry barren land and Popular tree of Ladakh

Another famous route to reach Leh is from Manali connected by road 479 km, road opens from mid June till September end every year , one is to stop at Keylong after crossing the Rotang-la ( Pass) 13051 ft  or at Sarchu or the last village of Himachal Pradesh before entring the Ladakh and Jispa in Ladakh  region, one is to cross the Baralacha- la ( Pass) 16050 ft, Lachulung -la (Pass) 16598 ft and Tanglang – La ( Pass) 17470 ft  . Due to low oxygen and high altitude many travelers face mountain sickness , this road was the main trading route  to Yarkand till 1962,

Leh is located in the Indus valley at an altitude of 11562 ft from sea, once very important trading route as it is on the junction of trading roads to Tibet, Kashmir and Kashgar. There is no recorded history before 7th centenary but the history of surrounding Arabs, Mangols and Chinese  indicate that  of a Greater Ladakh was once a kingdom spreaded from Kailash Mansarover till Dardistan and Baltistan . The original inhabitants were Dards the Indo-Aryan Race but migration from Tibet since 10th centenary is now of Tibetan features , it was a strong hold of Buddhism and it reached Tibet from here . There were small scattered group of villages and their rulers  it was brought under one control by  King Bhagan of Namgyal dynasty and expelled most of the Central Asian raiders and united  it to form Ladakh , the Moguls in India who were ruling Kashmir in 17th centenary helped the Ladakhi ruler on a condition to build a Mosque in Leh and converted the ruler to Islam. In 1834 General of Maharaja Ranjit Singh of Punjab , Zoravar Singh annexed it to the Dogra State of Jammu & Kashmir and the Namgyal family was given the Jagir of Stok, which it nominally retains to this day, in 1947 the Dogra Ruler Maharaja Hari Singh signed the Instrument of Accession with Govt of India and since then it is part of India. Before partition, Baltistan, was a district in Ladakh now under Pakistani control. Skardu was the winter capital of Ladakh while Leh was the summer capital.  China closed the border of Nubra and Xinjian in 1949 and closed the trade route, India constructed 434 km the Srinagar-Leh highway 16 days journey is now reduced to Two days .

Snow covered high mountains and passes all over Ladakh

Indus River is the back bone of Ladakh major historical towns are Leh , Shey , Basgo and Tingmosgang where as Kargil is on the banks of river Suru , the other two rivers are Zanskar and Shayok , Ladakh is a high altitude desert , the monsoon clouds are unable to cross the high Himalayan ridges, the main source of water is the winter snow fall in the region, Drass, Suru and Zanskar region in the north flank of Himalayas remains cut of most of the time  from the other part of India by road due to heavy snow fall temperature ranges from -20 to -30 degree centigrade , summers are short with temperature rages between 3-35 degrees Centigrade

Indus River , Green patches and Cold Desert

One can reach Leh by air from Delhi and Srinagar operating daily flights.

There are regular Jeep taxi service from Srinagar and Manali when high passes are open during the summer months , from Srinagar the pass opens in early May till October, while Manali side road opens little late end May  and closes early.

Places of interest in and around Leh

Shanti Stupa – It is the most impressive structure visible from  almost every where in Leh. it is on a hill top north of Leh.

Spituk Gompa – It is the temple about 1000 years old on a hilltop above the Indus river near the airport

Leh Palace – It is a mini version of the Potala Palace in Lhasa , Tibet , built in 16th century.

Leh Gompa – Little above the ruins of palce is Red Gompa built in 1430 AD

Sankar Gompa – This is a little gompa is an impressive representation of Avalokkiteavara with 1000 arms and heads.

Choglamsar – It is an important Tibetan refugee center for the study of Tibetan literature and history.

Shey – This was the old summer palace of the kings of Ladakh built  around 1450 AD

Tikse Gompa – It is about 17 kms from Leh , visible from Shey. It is very picturesque and superbly sited on a hiltop overloking village and Indus river . This gompa has an important collection of Tibetian style books and some excellent artwork , one can watch religious ceremonies.

Hemis Gompa – It is one of the largest and most important in Ladakh, about 45 kms from Leh on the other side of Indus , It is famous for Hemis festival which usually falls in second half of June or early July. It has excellent library and well-preserved paintings.

Stok Palace – Close to the Choglamnsar bridge , on the left bank is the 200 years old Stok Palace where the royal family still lives.

Beacon Highway – If one gets the chance to visit the Nubra valley , it is the highest road in the world , the Khardung – la highest point 18500 ft. from sea level road only opens in July end, August to October , rest of the time it is under snow and thick fog .

Mulbek – Just beyond Mulbek village is the huge 9 meters Chamba statue,  an image of future Buddha , cut into rock face beside the road , there are two gompas on the hillside above the village Mulbek. these gompas are made into the rock .

Lamayuru – After crossing the Namik- La pass and Futu-La pass 13600 ft higest pass on Srinagar – Leh highway is the first of the typical Ladakhi gompa .

Alchi – Just before Saspul this Gompa is built on a low land , it has massive Budha statue and lavish wood carvings and art work.

Likir Gompa – It is shortly after Saspul it has a monastry school and a fort which is damaged , Basgo gompa has intresting figures of Buddha ,wall paintings are damaged due to water .

Gurudwara Pather Sahib –  Guru Nanak Dev Ji traveled to Tebet passing through Ladakh and stayed here for some time , the image in the rock is said to be of the Guru when he was hit by a rock which turned soft as wax upon touching his meditating body .

Sindhu Ghat – The river Indus ( Sindhu) flows through the Ladakh before entering Pakistan , every year a Sindhu festival is celebrated upon the banks of the Sindhu river.

Ma Kali Temple – It is an old temple dedicated to Ma Kali .

Chang-la – It is the second highest road in the world passing through the pass while traveling to Pangong Lake.

Pangong Tso lake –  This salt water lake  154 km from Leh , after crossing the Chang la , 4 km wide  about 136 km long , only 25% of it is in India rest is in Tibet / China at a height of 4250 meters .

Tsomoriri lake – This lake is 215 km from Leh, 19 km long and 3 km wide one of the largest high altitude lake situated at a height of 4595 meters in India .

 Khardong-la – It is the highest road crossing the pass ( 5359 mtrs.) in the world about 1 hr. drive from Leh city towards Nubra valley .

Nubra Valley – It 150 km from Leh , after climbing the Khardong-la pass the beautiful valley, Cold desert and home for Double hump camel, it extends as far as Seachin Glacier, it is also the fruit and food bowl of Ladakh

Fotu-la –  It is the highest point 4108 meters on Srinagar Leh highway .

Kargil – It is the second big town in Ladakh which got more popularity after the 1999 war , it is on the highway from Leh to Srinagar, from here one can travel to Zanskar Valley.

Drass Valley– It is the second coldest inhabited place on earth after Siberia in Russia one can have the beautiful views of Tololing and Tiger Hill famous after the Kargil war and pay a visit at War Hero’s Memorial.

Zanskar Valley – The most isolated , accessible in summers for four months only , kept the original Tibetian Budhisim alive.

Zoji-la – It is the dividing pass, on the one side is the Ladakh and the other side is the Kashmir valley.

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Karnaprayag on way to Sri Kedarnath

Karnaprayag is one of the five holy Prayags  with Alaknanda in Himalayas which all together forms the holy river Ganga , situated at 172 km from Rishikesh at a height of 1451 meters from sea level , it is a Prayag  (confluence ) river Alakhnanda with river Pindar which originates from Pindari glacier in Kumaon region of Uttrakhand . This place is surrounded by the Peaks Nanda Devi ( 7816 meters) , Trishul , Dron Giri , Narad Ghunti , Migathuni and Maikotli ,

Kran Prayag

The temple here is dedicated to Uma and Karna , this temple holds high importance and respect among the local people . The legend is, the name of this place is after the name of Karna from the epic Mahabharata, friend of Duryodhana , son of Kunti who is also mother of five Pandva brothers, Karna who is son of Sun God The Surya  performed his prayers for three years after this he was rewarded a impregnable shield to protect himself, he became unmatched  warrior in the battle field, he was cremated here by Lord Krishna after he was killed in the battle fields of Mahabharat at Kurukshetra .

It is also a place where King Dushyant met Shakuntla, had courtship and she gave birth to Bharat on his name our country is named Bharat,  Abhijanana Shakuntalm play written in Sanskrit  by poet Kalidas in 1st centuary in the period of King Vikramaditya of Ujjain  is based on this legend

Nauti village  is the maternal place of Nanda Devi , It is said that for the past Five Thousand years every twelve years a Nanda Raj Jat Yatra is performed it is the longest and most strenuous pilgrimages done on foot , the male members of Garhwal royal families and Chand Garhi village visits the Nauti village to worship the SRI YANTRA  in a tantrik rites and rituals to invite the sprits of Godess Nanda into the Gold Idol from her husband’s abode  the Himalaya , very strange but true a four horned male sheep is born every time in this period  is given in the custody of royal family to be fed and taken well care of along with the other preparations to perform a 22 days long journey and to leave this Sheep in the Himalayas in Nanda Devi area passing through the age-old legendary Himalayan trek that has so much of traditional religious significance. The beauty of the trek is a picture perfect fusion of high mountain valleys, lakes, streams, glaciers and luminous dense green forests and it is a veritable paradise for trekkers. The Nanda Raj Jat Yatra is a spectacular festival.

Karn Prayag is also a base for Roop Kund and Pindari Glaciers trek.

Swami Vivekanand along with  Guru Turianand ji and Akharanand Ji  meditated here for eighteen days in 1890 when he was wandering and meditating at different places from 1888 till 1893 .

 

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Uttarkashi on way to Gangotri, Uttrakhand

Uttarkashi on way to Gangotri is a district’s head quarters situated on the banks of river Bhagirathi at a height of 1352 meters above the sea level, it is on a main route to Gangotri which is about 100 kms.  from here, Uttarkashi means the Kashi of North, it has got the religious significance as it lies on the confluence of rivers Varuna and Asi next to the Varun Parvat , Ghat near the confluence is called Manikarnika Ghat .

Kashi Vishwanath Temple  is an ancient temple situated in the center of town said to be established by Rishi (sage) Parshuram , it is said that the idol here has emerged on its own at this place and in Kalyug lord Shiva will move here ,  just above the shivling is drawn a Shri Yantra. The temple structure was built out of stone by King Pradyuman Shah over 350 years ago and reconstructed in the year 1857 by the Maharani Khaneti , wife of Raja Surdarshan Shah .

Kashi Vishwanath Temple at Uttarkashi

Ma Shakti Temple is just opposite to the Kashi Vishwanath Temple  where a huge 6 meters tall  and 90 cm  base Trishul (trident)  which said to be  thrown by Ma Durga at Demons. It is made of Iron on top and Asht Dhatu at bottom , it is worshiped as form of Shakti.

Ma Shakti Temple at Uttarkashi

Parshuram Temple

It is dedicated to the sage Parshuram also known as Lord of weapons , one of the incarnation of Lord Vishnu and also with the blessings of being immortal , he was sent to this place to repent the guilt of killing his mother Renuka , it is also his place of meditation ,  this temple dates back to 8th century .

Nehru Mountaineering Institute was established in the year 1965 to introduce the young Indians to the adventure and Mountaineering. It conducts regular courses and expeditions in the Himalayas.

Dodi Tal a fresh water lake is about 21 km trek from Uttarkashi. Nachiketa Tal is 32 km from Uttarkashi and then  a 3 km trek from Chaurangi .

At Ujeli many ashrams are located . Kuteti Devi Temple is located across the river Bhagirathi , Joshiara village  is famous for its Lord Shiva temples.

Uttarkashi is an important place on Chardham route as it on the way to Gangotri , most of the pilgrims stay a night here either before or after visiting Gangotri.

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Yatra Chardham – Yamunotri

Yamunotri is the place where the river Yamuna originates from the Himalayas and flows down to the plains of North India and meets river Ganga at Allahabad ( Prayagraj ), it is situated at the height of 3293 meters from the sea level, the actual source is the Champasar glacier in the Bandar Punch range in the Kalind mountain at 4421 meters above the sea level one km further up, it is difficult to reach their, the temple is at the foot hill. The main Idol of Ma Yamunotri is of a black stone in the shrine which is on the left bank of the river, before paying visit in the temple, there is a hot water spring the Surya Kund where pilgrims first take bath and offer their puja at the Divya Shila then pays respect to the Ma Yamunotri in the shrine, the Yamuna is given a status of Ma ( mother) equivalent to river Ganga.

Ma Yamunotri Temple

Legend

The Asit Rishi who use to take daily bath in the river Ganga and Yamuna had his hermitage here, he in his old age and weakness was finding it difficult to reach Gangotri a stream of Ganga appeared here for him. Another legend associated is that Yamuna is daughter of  Sun God Surya and his consort  Sangya gave her the birth here, the Kalind Parvat is next to the source of the river, Kalind is also  one of the name of Surya .

The temple opens on Akshya Tritya of Vikram Samvat ( the Hindu Calendar) every year which falls somewhere end of April and first half  of May every year.

Best Time to Visit

One can visit upon the opening of the temple till the closing date which is Yam Dwitiya of Vikram Samvat, the two days after Depawali  but the best time is April till June or till the start of monsoon, then best time is September mid till October, during the monsoon there is a danger of land slides, broken roads and flooding of water streams on the way and one may have to be stranded for days to wait for roads to open.

Where to Stay

There are guest houses and dharamshalas at Jankichatti from here the Yamunotri is 6 km trek, the good hotels and Swiss tent accommodations are available at Barkot  which is about 50 km before Jankichatti.

Places Around

Kharsali is the winter seat of Ma Yamunotri , it is also the oldest temple of lord Shani Dev, lord Shanidev is also brother of Ma Yamuna

How to reach here

There are Buses and trains available up to Hardwar or Rishikesh connections from all over India, one can also reach Dehradun by air onward journey could be performed by buses, cars and jeeps , opening of Helicopter service is a big relief for old age people, it is available till Kharsali which is about a kilometer from Jankichatti, from here onward one can walk the 6 km trek , hire a mule or a palki carried by a porter or a pitthu who carries the person in a basket on his back.

Distance Delhi to Rishikesh               230 km

Rishikesh to Barkot                           170 km

Barkot to Jankichatti                           50 km

Jankichatti to Yamunotri                    6 km

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Gangotri The Sacred Mother River

Gangotri is situated at a height of 3100 meters in the great Himalayas , the origin of river Ma Ganga known as Bhagirathi here , it is the most important part of the Chardham circuit in Gharwal Himalayas, the actual source is Gaumukh in Gangotri glacier  18 km up-stream at a height of 4120 meters about 30 km long and 2-4 km wide, it is fed by Raktvarn , Chaturangi , Kirti and Bhirghupanth tributary glaciers besides many other small ones .

Gaumukh the origin of Bhagirathi

The temple is on the right bank of the river, a White stone structure where the main idol of Ma Ganga is installed, before praying the pilgrims take bath at the holy river and then visit the main temple, this river is given a status of mother and Goddess in the Hindu way of life,  temple opens on Akshya Tritya of Vikram Samvat of Hindu calender which falls somewhere around end April to first half of May every year the temple closes on the day of Depawali and the idol of Ma Ganga is brought down and kept at Mukhba village near Harsil in the winters, the evening Aarti is very impressive and it is performed as a stately affair .

Ma Ganga is known by many names in the Sanatan Scripts , Bhagavat Padi means coming out of Lotus feet of Bhagwan ( God), Tripathaga , it is the only river which flows from all the three worlds Swarag ( Heavens), Prithvi (Earth) and Pataal ( The Hell) . While following King Bhagirath, Ganga was making lots of noise which angered the sage Jahnu who was in his meditation, he drank all the water of Ganga, the Devas requested the sage to release her , Sage Jahnu released Ganga from his ear and named Jahnavi ( Daughter of Jahnu)

 

Gangotri Temple

Legend

The King Sagar who had 60,000 son, once organised the Ashwamegah yagna to proclaim that he is the ruler of earth, a horse was sent around the earth along with the army of all his sons to complete the journey uninterrupted , the king of heaven King Indra felt if the horse takes the full round of earth and yagna is performed the King Sagar will be the threat to his kingdom , he catch hold of horse and tied it in the ashram of  Rishi (Sage) Kapil, upon seeing the horse tied there the sons of King Sagar stormed the ashram of Rishi Kapil and disturbed him in his deep meditation, The Rishi Kaipil cursed them all and as a result all burnt down to ashes. The garndson of King Sagar the Bhagirath worshiped Lord Brahma and pleased him to bring the Ganga from heavens to cleanse the ashes of his ancestors and get them liberated to Moksha  at this place. It was Lord Shiva who could calmly trapped her in his hairs and let her fell on earth in small streams .

Best Time to Visit

One can visit upon the opening of the temple till the closing date which is Yam Dwitiya of Vikram Samvat , the two days after Depawali  but the best time is April till June or till the start of monsoon , then best time is September mid till October, during the monsoon there is a danger of land slides , broken roads and flooding of water streams on the way and one may have to be stranded for days to wait for roads to open.

Places to stay

There are many guest houses and dharamshalas here but good accommodations are available at Harsil 28 km  and Uttarkashi  100 km before Gangotri .

Places to visit

Harsil is a Maha Prayag of nine rivers , Lord Vishnu temple at the confluence of river Jalandhari , Vishnu Ganga and Bhagirathi , Mukhba village where the idol of Ma Ganga is kept and worshiped during the winters, Ma Durga temple where Maharishi Markandaey wrote the Durga Saptshati. Dharali is the place where Bhim Ganga and river Hatya Harini meets and having bath here one is relived of Barhm Hatya ( Killing of Human) Dosh

Bhairo Ghati

This  places is named and there is a temple dedicated to Bhairo Ji , in the winters when the Ma Ganga   idol is kept at Mukhba, no one stays back and it becomes the responsibility of Bhairo Ji to protect the place .

When to travel

One can pay visit from Akshya Tritiya of Vikram Samvat till Depawali (i.e. end April to October) in between during the monsoon ( i.e. last of June till end of August) there are rains and chances of road blocks and land slides are more .

How to reach here

There are Buses and trains available up to Hardwar or Rishikesh connections from all over India , one can also reach Dehradun by air onward journey could be performed by buses, cars and jeeps , opening of Helicopter service is a big relief for old age people , the helicopter service is available till Harsil which is 26 km before Gangotri , from here onward Jeeps are available till the temple gate

Distance Delhi to Rishikesh            230 km

Rishikesh to Uttarkashi                   152 km

Uttarkashi to Harsil                           75 km

Harsil to Gangotri                             26 km

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Office Contact 011 – 45725562, 45725563, 45725564 

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Char Dham Yatra, Holiest Pilgrimage in Himalayas

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Char Dham Yatra is the holiest of journey for Hindus  in Uttarakhand  Himalayas, this pilgrimage starts with the opening of the doors (Kapat) of four temples,  are closed during the winters due to heavy snow , normally opening of doors is announced on Shivaratri.  This year 2016  journey starts from 8th May with opening of Kapats (Doors) 09 May Sri Yamunotri, Sri Gangotri 09 May, Sri Kedarnath and Sri Badrinath on 11May.

The Starting point Yamunotri
The journey starts from Rishikesh full day road journey passing through Dharsu, Sayanachatti and Barkot, entire route is full of beautiful view of snow capped Banderpunch Range, Pine forests and water falls, pilgrims stay at  Hanuman Chatti or Barkot, where most of the hotels, guest houses and dharamshalas are situated, it is also confluence of river Hanuman Ganga and river Yamuna . Next day one is to cover 6 Kms by Jeeps/SUVs up to Janki Chatti , there are guest houses with basic facilities at Janki Chatti the trek 6 Kms . to the Yamunotri Temple starts from here it is on the left bank of the river, a  hot water spring is near the temple the Surya Kund” ,  pilgrims tie potatoes and rice in cloth  dip in boiling hot water of Surya Kund , so cooked rice is taken as prasad back home, pilgrims take bath at  “Gauri Kund  which has hot water suitable for bathing. Prayers are offered first at the Divya Shila a Black stone slab   then in the Temple. The actual source of river  is further ahead 1 Km at  Champasar Glacier on Kalind Mountain, it is very difficult to reach there, people offer the prayers at the temple situated at the foot hill . Pilgrims return  same day and take rest for the next day onward journey to the Gangotri.

The next stop Gangotri

To reach Gangotri we have to returned to Dharsu and then drive to Uttarkashi to reach Harsil a 250 Kms drive, it is a small town famous for its natural beauty, apple orchards, trekking routes to lakes and undiscovered stretches of grassy meadows. One can reach Gangotri by road from here distance 23 Kms passing through pine forests ,  transport is available till the Temple dedicated to Goddess Ganga, on the banks of River Bhagirathi, the glacier mouth is further ahead 18 kms trek, towards Gaumukh, The Ganges is known as Bhagirathi here, it unites with Alaknanda at Devprayag to form Ganges. Temple is at a very picturesque location amidst high mountains , towards east is the Gaumukh Glacier. It is here  the  Bhagirath shila where King Bhagirath performed the tapasya to bring Ganga from the heavens to earth, water is ice cold here , it is difficult to stay in water for even half a minute. This place is at a height of 3142 meters . Those who want to trek to Gaumukh can spend two more days, which needs clearance from the local authorities, the trek passes through Chirwasa and Bhojwasa, Gaumukh is one of the Largest Glacier in the World, on the way one can find the Ibexes(Snow Goat) grazing on high mountains, the opening of glacier to from where it releases water to form Bhagirathi is a shape of Cows mouth that is why it is called Gaumukh. From here one can have a panoramic view of mountains, Shivaling (6540 meters), Meru (6660 meters) and Bhagirathi (6500 meters).

Ma Gangotri Temple

Sri Kedarnath – Lord Shiva’s Abode

Next place in Chardham Yatra is Sri Kedarnath,  Harsil to Uttarkashi is 69 Kms, then to Guptkashi is 230 kms, Total journey time is about 10 hrs. Passing through Srinagar, Uttarakhand, This route is followed by River Mandakini. Hotels, camps and guest houses at Guptkashi are available at a very reasonable price. Morning starts by a travel upto Gauri Kund , a motor able road or to Phata from where Helicopter Service is available to Kedarnath. Gauri Kund the starting point of Kedarnath trek is a hot water spring, here the Goddess Parvathi lived and performed sadhna to please Lord Shiva to finally got married to him. It is also the place where Lord Ganesha acquired the elephant head. 15 kms trek from here is very tough and takes about 4-5 hours.  Rambara . From Rambara the Yatris cross the River Mandakini to reach Limchuli and then to Kedarnath temple . It is at the height of 3585 meters situated near the head of river Mandakini, surrounded by snow capped mountains, it’s name is derived from the King Kedar in the Satya Yuga, his daughter Vrinda who is also an incarnation of Goddess Lakshmi, this temple existed in the Mahabharata period, when Pandavas performed tapasya (prayers) to please Lord Shiva. It was here the Adi Shankaracharya took samadhi at the age of 32 years,  soon after establishing the four sacred dhams, it is considered a must visit place, there is a small hot water spring which gives relief to the pilgrims from the tiredness of hard journey, there are dharamsalas, camps and small guest houses, the temple opens at 6 o’clock in the morning and closes in the evening, Kedarnath is the highest among the 12 Jyotirlings, it is built of massive stone slabs over a rectangular platform, here Lord Shiva who was evading the Pandavas hide himself as a bull, on being followed, he dived in the ground leaving behind the hump, the conical rock inside the temple is worshiped as Lord Shiva in his Sadashiva form, outside the temple there is a large statue of Nandi Bull as a guard. After the floods of year 2013 a big boulder named as Divya Shila is also worshiped as it saved the temple by obstructing the flow of flood water to cause any damage to the temple.

One has to be careful while staying at night here because of low oxygen concentration at this altitude. Pilgrims are advised not to exert themselves too much and breathe normal. 
Staying overnight and performing poojas in the morning one returns to Gauri Kund and drive to Joshimath, there are two routes, one is which normally pilgrims take is driving through Rudrapryag, second is through Chopta which is the most beautiful, passing through dense forests of Mandal and Gopeshwar, from Chopta one can take a trek to Tungnath, it is Lord Shiva’s temple situated at about 4 kms trek from Chopta. Drive to Joshimath is about 7 hrs. It is better to stay night in Joshimath and take a morning drive to Sri Badrinath  a 44 kms distance is very rough  and takes about 4 hrs drive , on the way is Gobind Ghat from where trek for The Hemkund Sahib, Laxman Temple and Valley of Flowers starts.

Sri Kedarnath Temple Aug 2015

Sri Badrinath The Lord Vishnu Dham

Shri Badrinath Dham is the temple dedicated to lord Vishnu’s dual form Nara-Naryana, the temple is 15 meters tall with top covered with gold gilt roof, it is built of stone with arched windows, the main entrance is a arched gate, inside is mandapa a large pillared hall leading to the Garbha Griha. It is surrounded by Nara-Narayan peaks and in the backdrop is the Neelkanth peak. Legends says that to reduce the impact of Ganga on earth it was split into twelve rivers and one of them is river Alaknanda, the other legend is that the Pandavas passed through Badridham and to Mana village to ended their life by climbing the heights of peak Swargarohini, there is a cave near the village Mana where the Vyas Rishi complied  the Mahabharata. Before entering the temple, pilgrims must take bath in hot water spring at the Tapta Kund and Surya Kund fed by thermal sulphar springs, the boiling hot water falls into ice cold water of Alaknanda creates the steam over the water surface. North of the temple is a Bharama Kapal where Lord Bharama is said to reside, here the last rites of departed souls are performed. There are lots of other places around like foot prints of Lord Narayana on rock is about 3 kms called Charan Paduka, over a kilometer  on the other side of river is Shesh Netra, the eye of Shesh Nag on which the Lord Vishnu rests is seen on a rock, about 8 km. is the source of Alaknanda the Bhagirath Kharak and Satopantha Glaciers this place is called Alka Puri. One can return same day to Joshimath or stay one night to visit all these places. Sri Badri Dham is also referred as Badri Vishal thus giving the supreme status among the all Dhams.

Sri Badrinath Ji Temple

Returning Home

One may stay a full day at Joshimath , take an excursion to Auli which is at the height of 3050 meters, there are Taxis available to reach a famous winter sports destination for Skiing, there is a rare medicinal plants nursery and little above one can trek to Gorson, Tali, Kauri Pass, Khulara and Tapovan. One can have a panoramic view of Himalayan mountain range of Nanda Devi (7818 meters), Mana (7272 meters), Kamet (7728 meters), Mount Neelkanth, Mount Chaukhamba (6874 meters), Mount Hathi Ghora Palki. One can also visit Vishnu Pryag, the confluence of River Alaknanda and Dhauli Ganga from Joshimath .

Return journey starts from Joshimath passing through Rudraprayag and Srinagar, Dev Prayag  and reaching Rishikesh/Hardwar  a 250/275 km. journey for a night stay, participating at Aarti at Ganga Ghats and to leave for home next day.

For More information and packages Contact +91 9810506646

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Helicopter Service Yamunotri, Gangotri Do Dham

Traditionally the Yatra Chardham as per Hindu system starts the parikama clockwise i.e. starts from Yamunotri to Gangotri and then to Sri Kedarnath last is the Sri Badrinath the Yatra for the year 2016 starts from 10th May the Akshya Tritya of Vikram Samvat . 

The road journey which covers Yamunotri and Gangotri from Rishikesh takes Five days of not only difficult driving in the Himalayas but also danger of falling rocks and road blocks due to heavy traffic on the roads during the Yatra period from May till mid June . Helicopters carry 4-5 person at a time depending upon the maximum carry load of 300 kg.

Yamunotri Temple and Yamuna coming down from Kalind Glacier

Yamunotri Temple and Yamuna coming down from Kalind Glacier

 

Opening of helicopter service  has reduced the journey time to  few hours and Do Dham Yatra is completed in two days . Helicopters carry 4-5 person at a time depending upon the maximum carry load of 300 kg. with a night stop at beautiful place , Kharsali a village which is having the oldest Lord Shani temple next to the helipad  or Harsil  which happens to be the Maha Prayag of Eight  rivers in to Bhagirathi ( Jalandhari, Vishnu GangaLakshmi Ganga, Pawan Ganga, Telangna, Bhim Ganga, Kheer Ganga , Kakora and Hatya Harini) ,  an age old  temple dedicated to Lord Vishnu and a temple dedicated to Ma Durga at a place where Maharishi Markandey wrote the Durga Saptshati are worth a visit.

The flight operations are from Dehradun a 45 minute flight for  Kharsali ( the starting point for 6 km trek for Yamunotri ) , the Yatris can do the trek , perform pooja at Yamunotri and return in 4-5 hrs at the helipad one can visit the oldest temple of lord Shani Dev at Kharsali village, one can stay a night at Kharsali or fly same day for Harsil a 40 minutes flight . Jeep/ Car will take you to a 26 km drive to the Gangotri temple , on way are Bhairo temple and the deepest gorge in Asia , after performing the pooja return to Harsil for a night stay and Dinner

Mayank peak Harsil

Mayank peak Harsil

 

Next morning after breakfast transfer to the helipad for return flight for Dehradun  a 45 minutes flight . All above arrangements are also available ex Delhi .

For more information please contact : 09810506646 

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Nageshvara Jyotirling Temple, Dwarka, Gujarat

Nageshvara  Mahadev or Nagnath temple is  about 12 km from  Dwarka on road to  Bet Dwarka , it  is one of the 12 Jyotirlingams while other 11 are situated in the other parts of  India . It is the first Joyotirlinam on the earth . There are two more Jyotirlings with same name as the place described in the Vamana Puran  and Shiva Puran (old texts ) the Daruka Vana means the forest of Deodar Trees which grows at a height of 2000 mtrs. and above in Himalayas and  suppose to be a place called Jageshwar in Uttrakhand . The second place is Anudha in Satpura Hills of Maharashtra state  

Legend about the discovery of this place is, during their Vanavasa period Pandavas reached this place and they saw  a cow flows its milk every day from its fodder into a lake on its own volition. The Pandavas doubted a divine presence , all five brothers  emptied the water from the lake and started  digging  it. To their surprise a Shiva Lingam emerged out of it and they constructed a temple here , the present temple is a new structure over the old one .

Legend according to Shiv Purana, a devotee of Lord ShivaSupriya  a merchant while travelling  in a boat was attacked by a demon Daaruka. The demon imprisoned him along with others at  Daarukaavana . Supriya advised all prisoners to recite the mantra ‘Aum Namaha Shivaya’. When Daruk came to know about it  he wanted to kill Supriya , at same time  Lord Shiva appeared in the form of a Jyotirlingam and killed  the demon Daruk  with the Paasupata Astram.

                                                              
Nageshvara Mahadev Temple, Dwarka Gujarat

There is one more legend associated with the  position of Shivalingam and Gomugam ,  a devotee named  Naamdev was in front of the Lord singing the devotional songs , other devotees wanted him to move away from in front of  Shivalingam as his body is hiding the view of Lord , Naamdev asked them to suggest one place  in which the Lord does not exist , the angry devotees carried him out of the temple and and left him on the South side , when they returned to their surprise , they found that the Lingam was now facing South with the Gomugam facing east.

 

Lord Shiva at Nagesvara temple Dwarka , Gujarat

Shankaracharya had established his Western Math (Kalika Peeth) hereit  is considered as one among the seven  moksh-daayi cities.

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