Char Dham Yatra is a religious trip to the holy places of Hindu religion. There are two types of Char Dham Yatra, one is where the whole India is involved, Badrinath in the North, Dwarka in the west, Puri in the East and Rameshwaram in the South. The other Char Dham Yatra is the chota Char dham yatra, which have four sacred Hindu places, Yamunotri , Gangotri, Kedarnath and Badrinath, by visiting these places, it is assumed that one gets salvation & attain inner-peace.
Some time back, the devotees had to wait for a perfect time to take the pious Chota Char Dham Yatra. But later the idols were moved to other places where one can conveniently go for a visit.
Adi shankaracharya initiated this journey and found these sites for Hindus. Haridwar was picked up as the starting point. Each year more than 250,000 pilgrims visit these places for various reasons. What we know as Char Dham, was earlier related to only sages and saints of the country. But later with time, things changed, now devotees, commoners and those in hunt of challenging tours also visits these places. The visit involves a lot of trekking and walking. Earlier it took around 10 to 15 days to complete the whole trip but nowadays it takes two days with the helicopter service propelling the area, to complete the whole yatra.
The quaint environs plus high altitude mountain region, intense forests and beguiling surroundings provides an opportunity to unwind oneself and experience the regality of the locations. It is believed that the utter salvation associated with the Char dham yatra, should be done once in life time by all the Hindus. There are many stories wrapped around this holy yatra, people say it brings peace, order and self realization to all lives. It is believed that the best part of a Hindu life is to conduct or be the part of this pious Yatra.
Teerth Yatra (commonly known name of Char Dham Yatra), is actually one of the 5 duties of a Hindu, other four being adhering to ones Dharma, be a staunch Worshiper of your creator, observe traditional and proper “Sanskaras” (values) and celebrating with great pomp and show the religious festivals.
This pilgrimage is execution or test for the stored willpower, humility plus faith, as during the trip, the devotee faces many challenges, which he/she is expected to overcome though the name of God. Remembering only God on their journey and forgetting the shams of life is the crux of the trip.
The importance associated with the four places are:
- Yamunotri: It is the origin spot of River Yamuna, it is belived that the temple of Goddess Yamuna is located here. The spot is opened for the people on the auspicious day of Akshaya Tritiya.
- Gangotri: There the temple of Goddes Ganga here it is crucial as the origin of River Ganga or Ganges is here. This place also gets open for all on the day of Akshaya Tritiya.
- Kedarnath: It is the shrine of Shiva. Folk stories has it that this place is one of the twelve Jyotirlingas which is the part of Panch Kedar. The opening date of Kedarnath is decided on Shiv Ratri every year.
- Badrinath: This place is the shrine of Lord Vishnu. There is a tale of Saint Adi Shankaracharya attaining his freedom from the incarnation in this area. Badrinath opening day is fixed on Basant Panchami every year.
The four temples is also the source of 4 sacred rivers
- Yamuna (Yamunotri)
- Ganga or Ganges (Gangotri)
- Mandakini (Kedarnath)
- Alaknanda (Badrinath)
when does it starts
It is said the Akha-Trij or Akha-Teej which falls in the month of May is beginning of the Yatra. It closes 2 days post Diwali, on the day of Bhai Dooj (the festival related to the bond of brothers and sisters).
things you should remember before planning
- You muct contact an experienced travel agent and preferably contact someone who had already successfully completed the yatra without any jilt. You can get in touch with them, using the social networking sites.
- You must get your health check up done before proceeding, as you never know what the mighty Himalayas may show up, you must be prepared mentally as well as physically to face any challenge while the journey is on. The area is highly prone to natural disasters, thus stay alert, stick according to plan, donot loiter or explore much. You must follow the advise of guides and locals as they understand the area way more than you do!
- Whomever you contact for booking and registration (which is must for the yatra), you must know detailed itenary and follow the same, accordingly pack your bags and all other essentials.
- Once you get through the medical check up make sure, you know what sort of medicines suits you incase of any medical emergency, get all sorts of tests done to ensure total fitness before journey. REMEMBER : the Yatra has trekking at an altitude of aprrox 1,4000 ft.
- Try to avoid hefty food while on journey, as they may cause inadvert digestion issues, make sure you are hydrated always which will help you with the drop in oxygen levels at high altitudes, you must drink bottled water only.
- Before you go through the yatra not just you must have faith in what you are about to do, you must start light exercises to develop stamina,brisk walking may help. You must check your climbing stamina with the help of staircase at your place.
- You must carry with you heavy woolens, raincoats, blankets, sleeping bags, water-proof shoes and torch among other essentials which you may need while the tour, make your luggage as light as you can, carry only things which are crucial.
- Females should avoid sarees which may inhibit in smooth trekking or climbing the off road areas and go for salwar kameez/kurta Legings or may be trousers.
- Registration before the yatra begins is compulsory for all, you shall not entertain strangers offering easy discounts and short cuts to the dham, which may result in theft or loot in secluded areas, be very careful and follow th government rules and regulations for the Yatra.
Nothing can beat the beautiful sceneries and areas you will cover while the journey is on, but you must take care of your health while enjoying the trip. Talk to an expert before beginning.
Have a “Mangalmaya Yatra”……………