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Tourist Places To Visit In Char Dham
One of the most famous pilgrimages in North India, Char Dham Yatra includes the 4 most spiritual places in India – Yamunotri, Gangotri, Kedarnath and Badrinath. The spiritual energy and historical significance make the Char Dham Yatra essential for lakhs of Hindus and Indians alike. From April to June, the tourism in the area sees thousands of pilgrims flock to Uttarakhand to complete this epic journey. However, due to extreme weather conditions, some of these spots are shut for up to six months in the year (post the Diwali Festival). This is a list of the best tourist places to visit on the Char Dham Yatra.
Yamnotri is the starting point of river Yamuna. One of the most prominent tourist spots at Yamunotri is Surya Kund. Situated close to the Yamunotri Temple, its name is derived from Yamuna, the mythical descendant of the Sun God, Surya. This hot water spring sees temperatures rising as high as 88°C even in the peak of winters. With the gorgeous backdrop of the Himalayas, this is one of the best tourist spots on the Yatra.
As per spiritual rites, followers must first pay their respects to the Divya Shila (rock pillar) before stepping into the sacred Yamunotri temple. However, it is not mandated, just a recommended part of the Pooja process. This little temple around a stone is another coveted spot near Yamunotri.
One of the Panch Prayags or five unions of the Alaknanda River, Rudra Prayag is located where the Mandakini and Alaknanda Rivers converge to meet. Situated 610 metres above sea-level, it has been named after Rudra Roop or the angry form of Lord Shiva. Kedarnath is located 86 km away from Rudra Prayag. The Rudranath Temple dedicated to Lord Shiva here is also a massive tourist attraction.
Situated at an altitude of 4,329 metres above sea level, Hemkund means ‘Lake of snow'. Surrounded by waterfalls and luscious forests and home to the revered Sikh pilgrimage site, Hemkund Sahib Gurudwara, this is another popular tourist place to visit.
Nestled between the mountaintops of Nar and Narayan, the temple is the most majestic and significant of the Four Dhams. The Badrinathji Mandir draws lakhs of local and international visitors. It is definitely one of the most celebrated temples in the country and is the only memorial that is part of both Chota Char Dham and Bada Char Dham. Please note, it is open to the public only between April and November.
Situated in the Rudraprayag district of Uttarakhand, Kedarnath is situated at an elevated height of 3586 metres above sea level, in the lap of the Garhwal Himalayan peaks, where the River Mandakini begins. It has the added history of being one of the 12 Jyotirlingas, or spots sacred to Lord Shiva. Extreme weather conditions mean it stays open to the public only between April and November.
3100 metres above sea level in the Uttarkashi region of Uttarakhand, it is another sacred and revered spot for Hindus, forming another part of the Char Dhams. Aside from the gorgeous location at the foothills of the Himalayas, Gangotri is renowned for its deep spiritual connection with the River Ganga. From the origin of Indian mythology till today, the Ganga River has remained a symbol of purity and unity for tourists and locals. This is the glacier from where River Ganga originates.
To the west of the Garhwal Himalayas, rests the sacred Yamunotri Dham. Approximately 3,293 metres above sea-level, it is admired for its massive snow-capped mountains, being home to arguably India’s second most sacred river, the Yamuna and the beloved Indian goddess of the same name. It tends to be the first spot on the Char Dham Yatra and the origination point of River Yamuna.