The popular religious destinations among the tourists in Uttarakhand are:
1. Kedarnath – Kedarnath Ji temple, a temple dedicated to lord Shiva, is located in Uttarakhand. The temple is more than thousand years old and built by Adi Shankaracharya. It is believed that pandavas visited this temple to seek the blessings of lord Shiva, at the end of battle of Mahabharata. Due to the extreme weather conditions, the temple is closed in the winters. The temple deities are brought down to Ukhimath, during the winters to perform daily prayers. There is a 14 km trek required to reach the temple, which can be either covered by foot or by boarding the pony. During the devastating 2013 Uttarakhand floods, the temple area got severely impacted. It was an example of divine plan, that the temple structure did not suffer any major damage during the floods, with a large rock acting as a barrier to the temple structure damage.
Best Season / Best time to visit
Kedarnath has a cold climate for most part of the year and the best month for travel is May and June and from September and October.
Winter (November to April) is categorized by chilly days with average minimum temperature dipping below the freezing point.Snowfall is very common during the winter months.
Summer (May to June) are very pleasant with moderate climate, with average around 17°C. Summers is ideal for all sight seeing, temple visit and also for visiting nearby attractions.
Monsoon (July to August) are accompanied with occasional rains and also temperature drops down to 12°C. Landslides are common at this tiime.
Kedarnath is one among the holiest destination in the country where summer have cool and pleasant climate and is the right period to spend relaxing moments and visiting the Kedarnath temple. Winter on the other hand is snow bound and chilly and tourists should carry heavy woolens.
2. Badrinath Ji – Badrinath temple is dedicated to lord Vishnu. Similar to Kedarnath Ji temple, Badrinath Ji temple is closed for six months during winters. Badrinath Ji, along with Kedarnath Ji, Gangotri and Yamnotri form chhota chaar dhaam in the state of Uttarakhand. Close to the Badrinath temple, there is a hot water spring with the name Tapt Kund. Devotees usually take bath in this spring before entering the temple complex. The water of the spring is believed to have medicinal values.
Best Season / Best time to visit Badrinath
Badrinath has a cool and chilly climate all through the year but the best time to visit is from May to June and again from September to October.
Winter (October to April) has chilly days with average minimum touching near 5°C. Minimum can touch sub zero levels and snowfall is very common. These months are not the perfect time for travelling.
Summer (May to June) are very pleasant with moderately cold climate, with average around 18°C. Summers is ideal for all sight seeing and the holy Badrinath pilgrimage.
Monsoon (July to mid-September) are accompanied with regular rains and also temperature drops down to 15°C. The region is prone to occasional landslides and travelling can be difficult.
The holy city of Badrinathis open for public views from May to October but the temple remains closed during the monsoon months as landslides are common and can mar the journey of the pilgrims. The region experiences pleasant and cool summer while winters are very chilly and snowfall is a regular occurrence.
3. Gangotri – Gangotri is another chhota char dhaam destination. Gangotri temple was built by a Gorkha commander, way back in 18th century. The name Gangotri is after riverGanga, which originates from Gaumukh glacier, which is trekkable route from Gangotri. The river Ganga is named as Bhagirathi at the origination, till it passes Devprayag, after which is named asGanga. Being a spiritual destination, alcohol and non vegetarian food is strictly not allowed at Gangotri.
The best time to visit the holy city ofGangotriis from April to June and September to November.
Winter (November to March) is freezing cold with heavy snowfall which can disrupt your journey.
Summer (April to May) is very pleasant with observed maximum never crossing 30°C and can get very cold at night. This is the best season for pilgrimage and sightseeing trips.
Monsoon (late July - August) is accompanied by very heavy rainfall that makes it difficult to reach the temple.
The mystical hill station of Gangotri is famous for the Shivalinga, which lies submerged in river Gangotri, during summer and visible only when winter comes. The temple is open from last week of April to second week of November. Snowfall can be enjoyed during winters, especially from end of November till mid of March.
4. Yamnotri – Similar to Gangotri, which is the origins of sacred riverGanga, Yamnotri is the originis of sacred river Yamuna. It is believed that the pilgrims who take a holy dip in the river Yamnotri, secures a painless death.
Best Season / Best time to visit
Yamunotri has an all year cold climate. Summers during April to July are pleasant with temperature ranges within 6°C to 20°C and May-June are the warmest months. Winters during October to March are chilly freeze have temperatures at sub-zero level and are characterized by heavy snowfalls. This season is not suited for any outdoor activities, especially December and January. Rainfalls are very scanty here.
Basant Panchami held during January–February is a festival which is a blend of cultural and artistic performances. Other festivals celebrated with lots of enthusiasm are Phool Devi during March and Olgia during August.
Best periods to visit Yamunotri are during May to June and September to November.
5. Hemkund Sahib – This is an important pilgrimage spot for Hindus and Sikhs. There is a famous sikh Gurudwara at Hemkund Sahib. For Hindu pilgrims, there is a famous temple dedicated to lord Lakshman. Hemkund Sahib has the mentions in the holy scriptures like Ramayana and Granth Sahib. For the tourists, valley of flowers is very close to Hemkund Sahib.
Best Season / Best time to visit
Hemkund Sahib has a cool climate in most part of the year and the best time to visit is from June to October.
Summers (June to October) have a pleasant cool weather with maximum temperature reaches to nearly 25°C. It is a good season for viewing the panoramic beauty.
Winters (November to May) are snow covered and difficult to visit the outdoor attractions. Minimum temperature can go well down with average minimum about -4 °C.
June to October is pleasant and ideal for the pilgrimage and also for the visit of the national park. August and September are eye catching months with blooming flowers. December to May is snow bound and road blocks prevent the tourist from visiting the outdoors.