Yatra Chardham in Uttrakhand Himalyas is one of the wishes of any Sanatan Hindu, it is the salvation of soul , our life of birth and rebirth is free from this cycle after making prayers at these places, the soul rests in peace or it attains the “Moksha“. Reaching by road to all four Dhams is long journey , difficult treks at Yamunotri and Shri Kedarnath , road journey from Joshimath to Shri Badrinath is very tiring . The opening of Helicopter services to all these places have cut down the journey from 12 days to 2-3 days it is a boon for the old aged and people with time constrain can fulfill their wishes.
The helicopter used in this tour were state of art BELL407 four seater along with the Pilot and Flight Engg. From Dehradun Sahstrdhara helipad, it takes 35 minutes flight to Kharsali , helipad is on the left bank of river Yamuna there is no motor able road from helipad one is to walk across the foot bridge to reach Janki Chatti, from Janki Chatti there is a 6 km. steep trek one is to climb from 2650 meters to reach Yamunotri temple at a height of 3293 meters, one can take a horse or Palanquins a chair which is carried by four porters . One can perform the puja and return to Janki Chatti and then crossed the river to helipad at Kharsali in 4 to 5 hours. There is a oldest Lord Shani Dev temple at Kharsali which is constructed like a fort made of stones and wood it is also called the Someshwer temple .
Flight from Kharsali to Harsil is of 30 minutes located at a height of 2623 meters from sea level , Harsil the Maha Prayag of nine rivers in to Bhagirathi and a temple didicated to lord Vishnu, place where lord Vishnu is in form of Shaligram at the confluence of river Jalandhari , Vishnu Ganga and Bhagirathi, we stayed at Harsil Retreat cottages next to the confluence , the Mah Prayag at river Bhagirathi, a beautiful village Dharali the last village on Indian side on Indo-Tebitean border is about two km from Harsil
Rishi Markandey Ashram which is marked by a white temple didicated to Ma Bhagwati on the right banks of river Bhagirathi where he wrote the Durga Saptshati the first ever written text on the Godsess Durga .
After the night stay early morning we took a car arranged for us from Uttarkashi , road to Gangotri is 24 Km drive along the river Bhagirathi which crosses the Asia deepest Gorge near Bhairon Ghati , road is good, passing through dense pine forest and Apple orchards, except for few rough patches , before the temple there is an arched gate from here the main shrine is about 600 meters this temple is at a height of 3120 meters from sea level was built by Gurkha Army commander in early 18th century. the actual source of river Ganga is at Gaumukh which is a climb of a beautiful 18 km trek at a height of 4120 meters the Bhagirathi glacier which is fed by three glaciers namely the Raktvarn , the Chaturangi and the Kirti , the impressive Aarti is performed at Gangotri temple it is a stately affair on the banks of rushing holy river Bhagirathi here, we return to Harsil for the night stay . Harsil is beautiful landscape full of Deodar and Pine trees with apple orchards and nine rivers ( Jalandhari, Vishnu Ganga, Bhim Ganga , Telangna, Lakshmi Ganga, Him Ganga, Pawan Ganga, Khir Ganga and Hatya Harini ) criss crossing and joining the Bahgirathi to form a Maha Prayag , from here there is a beautiful view of Mayank Parwat and Banderpunch range.
Next morning after the early breakfast we reach the helipad at Harsil on the banks of river Bhagirathi it took a 45 minutes of flying over the Tehri Dam a lake a massive water body fourth largest in the world ,we change the helicopter at Phata and flew over the Mandakini river in a narrow valley to reach Kedarnath situated at a height of 3553 meters surrounded by snow-capped mountains , the main temple is about 600 meters from the helipad , one is to be careful not to walk fast here because of thin air low in oxygen can result in head ache and breathlessness.
deepest Gorge in Asia near Gangotri
Kedarnath is one of the twelve Jotirlings of Lord Shiva , the present structure is built by Adi Shankarcharya at the site which existed at the time of Mahabharta , Lord Shiva is worshiped of his Hump over ground at the entrance there is a Nandi Bull , it is also one of the Panch Kedars the body parts of Lord Shiva others are Tungnath , Rudranath, Madhmaheshwar and Kalpeshwer are in Uttrakhand while Pasupatinath is in Nepal. This temple is a massive rock stone structure fixed without the mortar surrounded by high snow covered mountains standing on a plateau in a glacier , there are several Kunds (pools, tanks) are known for their religious significance – Shivkund , Retkund, Hanskund , Udakkund, Rudhirkund are the most important. A little away from Kedarnath is a temple dedicated to Bhaironathji who is ceremoniously worshipped at the opening & closing of Kedarnath temple . The belief is that Bhairavnathji protects this land from evil during the time when temple of Kedarnath is closed in winters . just behind the temple is the Adi Shankaracharya samadhi , it is said that after establishing the Dhams The Shankaracharya at the age of 33 took the “Jal Samadhi” here. There is a priority darshan slip for the pilgrims arriving by helicopter at the main shrine .
It took about an hour and half to have darshan and to perform the pooja , we took our flight back to Phata where helicopter for flight for Sri Badrinath ji was waiting , 35 minutes flight over Rudra Pryag, Joshimath and having the view of Nanda Devi peak, Choukhamba peak and Hathi , Ghora, Palki peak we landed at helipad after taking a circle of the main temple which looked beautiful, from helipad the main temple is a small distance passing through the street with restaurants and shops on both sides, after crossing the Alaknanda river bridge is the main shrine , from out side the Blue , Red , White and Golden colour of main entrance, impressive gate look like a Budhist Mutt ,
This temlpe is about 1200 years old built by the Adi Shankaracharya to re establish the Sanatan Dharma which was being over took by Budhisim and Jainism , we were taken inside and seated just in front of the main deity for 15 minutes with the help of main pujari to perform the pooja The image of Badarinarayan here is made out of Saligram. Sri Badarinarayan is seen under the Badari tree, flanked by Kuber and Garuda, Narad, Narayan and Nar. Mahalakshmi has a sanctum outside in the parikrama Lord Badari Narayan (also called as Badari Vishal) is armed with Shankh (Conch) and Chakra in two arms in a lifted posture and two arms rested on the lap in Yogamudra.The principal image is of black stone and it represents Lord Vishnu seated in meditative pose.
We were overwhelmed after completing the pilgrimage which is one of the life time wish of a devout Hindu in a short time of just two days which normally takes 12-14 days if done by road , the flight back to Shastradhara was an hour flying over the river Alaknanda ,
confluences at Karnpryag , Rudrapryag and Devprayag from here it is known as the Ma Ganga , flows onwards to its journey to Rishikesh and down plains of North and East of India as a holy mother giving birth to the civilasations and making the land most fertile in Asia before entering into Bay of Bengal at Ganga Sagar , making a world famous delta in the Sundarbans with mighty Bharamputra river .
All above arrangements were handled by M/s PROMARK TRAVEL SVCS PVT LTD NEW DELHI phone 09810506646
About the Author
||Mrs. Madhu, Joint Director, Govt of Indiais currently in Parliament House Secretariat.She loves to travel to Religious Places in India.