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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Kargil , Ladakh

Kargil lies on National Highway 1D which connects Srinagar to Leh , it is on the banks of Suru river , the name is from two words “Gar” means in local language “Any Where” and “Khil” means central place “where any one can stay”. Total population of Kagil 80% follows the Shia faith of  Islam and are inhabited in Kargil, Drass and lower Suru valley, Tibetan Bon Buddhist are mostly in Zanskar valley with small population in Shergol, Mulbek and Upper Suru valley.  There are about 4%  Hindus and Sikhs . Most of the people are of Burig and Balti of Tibetan origin mixed with Dard , Mon and Aryan people.

Kargil City view from Leh-Srinagar Highway

The Tibetan influence is seen in Kargil and Leh people , the Islam came here with Persian influence which has lots Persian words , phrases and even the religious songs in their language , the marriages are solemnize with common rituals of  Buddhist and Islam customs .

Mt. Nun & Mt. Kun from Suru valley trekkers hot spot

It was a transit point of caravans on their way to and from China, Tibet, Yarken and Kashmir till 1949, but since 1974 with the influx of tourists the region has been replaced as center for tourism related activities. Tourists traveling between Zanskar, Leh and Srinagar stop for  a night stay , before proceeding for onward  journey.

People visit Kargil with the memories of 1999 India and Pakistan conflict as it lies very close to the line of control .

Bomb Shell splinters holes fired from Pakistan

The Suru river flows through Kargil , Suru valley extends till the Pensi-la where there is a famous peaks of Nun and Kun , Karaste kar is a small village on Leh highway where 9 meter tall rock carved statue of Maitriya Buddha attracts the tourists from far places . There are other magnificent Stupas and rock carved statues to be seen in Suru valley . Most of the trekkers take a hike to  the Nun- Kun view saddle (3810mtr. ) in the Parkachik ridge. It is a  3 hours of walking along the slopes  overlooking the fertile valley below.

Pakistani post was captured and pushed behind this peak

The road connection from Srinagar is open from May till November , rest of the year there is a heavy snow in the Zoji-la , this area is cut off by road in winters from rest of India , the Indian Air Force  operates few flights to help the local people to come in out of the valley. summers are warm with cold nights , Drass which is 56 km from Kargil is coldest inhabited place in India. The only  road link to Zanskar  is from Kargil .

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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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Chausath Yogini Temple , Morena ,Gwalior

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Built by the Pratihara ruler Maharaj Devapal in the year 1323 AD as per the inscription found here ,  circular temple, built  over a rock hill , using red and brown-colored sandstone  found abundantly in this area . the British architect Sir Edwin Lutyens and Sir Herbert Baker who designed the Parliament House in 1927, found his inspiration in the temple. Once a well-known tantric  center and some people still perform tantric  rituals , this place is situated in dry rocky region , located in Rithora area of  Morena Distt. about 45 km from Gwalior ,

Chaushath Yogini Mandir , Morena , Gwalior

A circular structure of 170 ft radius atop a 100 ft mount, One needs to trek by about 200 steps to reach the temple, the path is very well maintained.  The temple has 64 (Chausath) rooms and a big courtyard. There is only one small entrance from East , after entering there is a corridor on left and right side , to reach the central platform there is flight of stairs again on the East direction.

Central Platform Chaushath Yogini Mandir , Gwalior

In the circular courtyard there is a corridor supported by stone pillars one side open space and other side is a row of small 64 rooms with a flat roof , in the center there is a pillared stage with a flat roof , it appears that there were shikhars over all the rooms and the central stage , there are four pedestals found with the names of the Yoginis mentioned on them which confirms it is a Yogini Temple.

Corridor Chaushath Yogini Temple , Gwalior

There was a time when each chamber  had an idol of Yogini accompanying Shiva. While some Yogini idols were stolen, some others are adorning Indian museums.

 

Fossil Rock , Chaushath Yogini Temple Gwalior

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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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Vishnu Prayag on way to Sri Badrinath

Vishnu Prayag is on Joshimath to Sri Badrinath highway NH 58 , 263 km from Rishikesh at a height of 1372 meters from sea. the Alaknanda which originates from glaciers of Chaukhamba meets the Saraswati river near Mana village and flows near the Sri Badrinath temple it meets the Dhauli Ganga about 12 km before the Joshimath , before it meets Alaknanda at Vishnu Prayag it meets the Rishi Ganga  at Raini 25 km before Joshimath , River Dhauli Ganga originates from the height of 5070 meters in the Niti Pass and flows through the Dharma Valley travels about 82 km until it meets the Alaknanda or Vishnu Ganga at Vishnu Prayag, it is the only Prayag where there is no town or village , one is to cross the river by using the hanging bridge and then there are stairs to reach the temple situated over a rock at the confluence.

Vishnu Prayag

Legend is that the Rishi Narad worshiped to lord Vishnu at this place . Here their is a small temple built by the Rani Ahilya Bai Holkar of Indore in mid 18th century . The strecth of Alaknanda river till it meets with Dhauli Ganga  is also known as Vishnu Ganga.

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Rudraprayag on way to Sri Kedarnath and Sri Badrinath

Rudraprayag is 34 km from Srinagar and 142 km from Rishikesh  situated at a height of 610 meters from sea level surrounded by the Himalayan  mountains it is not only one of the Panch Prayag  ( Five confluence ) or Sangam  with the holy river Alaknanda in Garhwal region of Uttarkhand in Himalayas , the river Mandakini meets the Alaknanda here but also got the religious importance  for the pilgrims travelling to Sri Kedarnath and Sri Badrinath on Yatra Chardham. It is from here the road bifurcate and one goes to Guptkashi then to Gaurikund from here the trek to Sri Kedarnath starts while the other road goes to Joshimath then to Sri Badrinath, in between is Gobind Ghat from here trek to Ghangharia , Valley of Flowers and Hemkund / Lokpal starts

Rudra Prayag

This place is named after the Lord Shiva who appeared here in form of “Rudra” after the Rishi Narad worshiped him and asked for his teachings to learn and master the Music on Rudra Veena ,  the rock where he learned music is called the Narad Shila. Legend is that Lord Shiva meditated here before leaving for Sri Kedarnath the Koteshwar temple on the banks of Alaknanda are the cave temples where the images of Lord are in natural formations of rock (Koti is 10 million, Koteshwar means God of 10 million). It is also said that the  Sati consort of Lord Shiva reborn as Parvati daughter of Himalaya  after she immolated her self in the Yagnakund performed by her father and she could not tolerate the disrespect to her husband the Lord Shiva , Parvati dedicated herself  to be his wife again and to achieve this she performed Tapasya ( Penance ) here. There is a temple dedicated to Ma Chamunda  wife of lord Rudra is worshiped here. It is also said that the Lord Shiva performed the Tandava Nritya  the source of the cycle of creation, preservation and dissolution.

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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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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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Kharsali on way to Yamunotri

Kharsali is a small village across the river Yamuna from Jankichatti ,  214 km from Rishikesh. During the winters  the main idol of  Maa Yamuna or Yamunotri is kept at Lord Shani Dev temple at Kharsali  which lies at 2675 meters from the sea level .

Kharsali village Winter seat of Yamunotri

This place  is also known as Khushimath  is one kilometer from Janki Chatti across the River Yamuna. It is  not only the winter seat of Ma Yamuna but there is  a oldest temple of Lord Shani Dev who happens to be the brother of Ma Yamuna and  in-charge of punishing the crooked and bad people but he also rewards the good people .

Yamunotri winter seat at Kharsali Village

This temple is very old constructed of stone and wood without using the mortar to fix the two stone slabs together , an old inscription on a stone slab is in a language which is yet to be translated by the Archaeological Survey of India.

Shani Dev Temple at Kharsali 

Yamuna, The daughter of the Sun God (Surya) and consciousness Chhaya (the Shadow) she has one sister Sangya, brother Shani Dev, Yamraj . Gangotri as cousins . Every year around the first week of May on “Akshya Tritiya”, Lord Shani Dev accompanies his sister Yamuna seven km up to Yamunotri and returns back to Kharsali . He again meets to bring her back on the “Bhai Dooj” or “Yam Dwetiya” two days after Diwali it is also a day for Yamuna to meet her brother Yamraj. ( Lord of taking away the spirits after death).

Architecture

Who built this temple here at Kharsali, an inscription on stone on its wall could not be translated till now, locals believe it is constructed by the Pandavas, looks more like fort, it is a stone and wooden four story structure. The main structure is constructed in a way by using stones, wood the Urad dal or Vigna mungo (botanical name Lens culinaris) is used as a part of mortar to fix the stones together. It has faced the mighty earthquakes and floods with no damage to the building since immortal time. One can climb up through a narrow stairs, the main Bronze idol of Lord Shani Dev is kept here along with the Chaaya (the Shadow), the Sangya (the conciseness) and the Nag Devta, there are two urns one big and one small are  kept and no one touches them because of any unforeseen danger to self or family, there is a belief that these Urns change their position themselves on Purnima (Full moon night) and Amawasya (Dark night) the Yamuna Idol is kept during the winters on the first floor.

The helipad for Yamunotri is at Kharsali, this helipad serves to the pilgrims during the Yatra period , Yamunotri temple is Seven km. from the helipad.

For more details and packages contact 09810506646

Callers from Outside India + 44 7700093414

Office phone numbers  011 45725562, 63, 64

Email : promark@promarktravels.com

Website : yatrachardham.com

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