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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Yatra Chardham – Hurdles this year 2014

Sri Badrinath Ji Temple

 

The Yatra Chardham for the year 2014 will start from Akshaya Tritiya which falls on the third Tithi (Lunar day) of Bright Half (Shukla Paksha) of Hindu month of Vaishakha , when the Sun and Moon are in exaltation; they are simultaneously at their peak of brightness, which happens only once every year .   Lord Vishnu and his incarnations are worshiped on the day. People also conduct Lakshmi puja on Akshaya Tritiya.

This year it falls on 2nd May 2014 and pilgrims from all over India will assemble at Haridwar / Rishikesh and start the holy journey on 30th April or 1st  May to reach the dhams at the time of opening of gates at the main temples of Sri Kedarnath and Sri Badrinath .

The devastating  floods, last year on 16th and 17th June 2013, washed away many roads and bridges in the Uttrakhand along with many thousand deaths of pilgrims and the local residents, it also washed away many guest houses, hotels and flat land suitable for the camps .

Upon talking with the local residents the information shared about the road conditions is bad at many places , Govt. agencies are working to repair the damaged roads and bridges but with the onset of winter the and snowfall in the area the works are stopped and it will resume only after the melting of snow around mid or end March 2014 .

The roads towards Barkot and Janki Chatti were not affected much and are in good condition , the onward  7 km trek to Yamunotri temple is safe ,  the road for Gangotri , Uttarkashi on wards washed away at 7-8 places  near Bhatwari , it is a soft road and at present suitable for light vehicles .

The road form Rudraprayag to Guptkashi / Phata is good for small / light vehicles but onward road to Gaurikund is in bad condition , the 14 km old trek route along the river Mandakini  from Gaurikund  to Rambara and then to Sri Kedarnath is washed away at many places and a new trek is under construction , this new route is aprox. 24 km long climbing up to  13000 ft. and then coming down to Sri Kedarnath at 11760 ft. , it is not possible to travel this distance in one day, one night stop will be required in both the directions and  it is not certain if Govt. will allow the pilgrims to have a night stay at Sri Kedarnath , where the yatris will spend the night , even if it is decided it will be in the tents or may be this year the Yatra for Sri Kedarnath will be by Helicopters with same day return .

The road from Guptkashi to Chopta and then to Pipalkoti is good for small vehicles , the road from Rudraprayag to Pipalkoti and then to Joshimath is better . Road from Joshimath to Gobindgaht and then to Pandukeshwer is ok but onward to Lambagarh, Hanuman chatti till Sri Badrinath is not good only light vehicles can go . There are chances of preparing a helipad at Gobindghat for Helicopter Shuttle service for Sri Badrinath . The trek for Ghangharia , Velley of Flowers and Sri Hemkund Sahib are travel worthy .

Changed flow of river Alakhnanda at Lambagarh after June 2013 floods , it use to flow on the other side of temple built by JP Hydel Project .

In all the preparations this year,it seems that most of the pilgrims will avoid Sri Kedarnath and the road journey will be done in small vehicles for Yamunotri , Gangotri and Sri Badrinath .

This year the yatris may have to get registered and will be allowed only to travel by registered Tourist and State Roadways vehicles .

 

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