Top Spiritual Destinations to Cover During Chardham Yatra 2020
The Chardham (Char Dham) yatra of Uttarkhand is a very famous and religiously significant pilgrimage for Hindus. People from around the world visit Uttarkhand during summer or autumn to take part in this pilgrimage tour. The tour covers the four main abodes of God namely Badrinath Temple, Kedarnath Temple, Yamunotri Temple, and Gangotri Temple.
Apart from these four, you can also find numerous religious sites on the route. Uttarakhand is the land of numerous religious sites and temple towns for you to explore during the pilgrimage of Char Dham Yatra.
Must Read about: What is Chardham Yatra?
1. Haridwar and Rishikesh
Haridwar and Rishikesh are spiritual destinations, which are repeatedly mentioned in numerous mythologies. The holy river Ganges runs through these cities, and the purity of the river brings forward interesting spiritual ties to these destinations.
Suggested Tour: 9 Days - Chadham Tour from Haridwar
Top pilgrimage sites to cover in these two regions are :
This is the site where King Bhagirath prayed to Lord Shiva for the salvation of his ancestors. As an answer to his prayers, Lord Shiva sent Goddess Ganges to earth. The king took a holy dip in the river and attained salvation for his soul and his ancestors.
Today, the site where the king meditated and took a holy dip is considered the pinnacle of purity and people take a holy dip in River Bhagirathi (River Ganges) for salvation.
On the ghats, you can witness Ganga Aarti every evening. Pandits come together and chant Vedic hymns in a chorus and the devotees who are watching the aarti would let a small earthen lamp on a leaf to float on water. This is a very important religious ritual to attend.
Mansa Devi Temple
This hilltop temple can be visited via a cable car ride. It is said that this deity will fulfill wishes if the devotees tie a thread on the branches of a temple tree inside the premises. Once the wish is fulfilled, the devotees have to return to the temple to untie it.
Chandi Devi Temple
Located on Neel Parvat, this temple is visited right after visiting Mansa Devi Temple. This is a Siddha Peetha of Haridwar and is considered as a powerful deity.
Neelkanth Mahadev Temple
This Lord Shiva temple is located in Rishikesh. This is the site where Lord Shiva drank the perilous poison that emerged from the Samudra Manthan. The poison remained in his throat and it changed his throat into blue and thus, the name Neelkanth.
This is a famous pilgrimage site of Rishikesh. The temple has 13 levels, and each floor is dedicated to a different form of Shiva. The LaxmanJhula that leads to this temple also has a religious significance.
This is the spot where Saraswati, Yamuna, and Ganga Rivers confluence. This place is considered as a spiritually important site for salvation. The MahaAarti that takes place in the evening (similar to Ganga Aarti) is quite famous among pilgrims.
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2. Dehradun and Mussoorie
The pilgrims have two options to choose from while starting Char Dham. They can start at Rishikesh or Haridwar (cities are very close to each other) and move on to Uttarkashi to visit Yamunotri Dham. The second option is starting at Haridwar, moving to Dehradun and covering Mussoorie and Barkot. If you are choosing the second route, below are the top pilgrimage sites to cover.
This is a natural water spring, which is said to have medicinal value.
This is the base camp from where the trekkers start their journey towards Yamunotri, Darwa Top, and Dodi Tal. The Hanuman temple in this region is quite famous among pilgrims.
Barkot’s Shiva temple is a major pilgrimage site here. This hill town is also famous for the views of Bandarpoonch Peak.
This is the last point up to which you can find a road route. At this point, a hot water spring is found. This spring is said to be linked with Goddess Shakti and pilgrims take a dip in this spring before starting the trek.
This is a small town, which is famous for holding one of the ancient Shani Devi temples of the country. During the peak winter season, the Yamunotri Temple will be closed and the main deity of the temple will be brought to this Shani Dev temple for six months.
Also Read : Chardham Yatra by Helicopter
3. Yamunotri Dham
The main pilgrimage site here is the Yamunotri Temple dedicated to Goddess Yamuna, sister of God of Death. The temple is a simple structure, and the main deity is made of silver.
After visiting the Yamunotri Temple and taking a holy dip in the river, you can explore the region to find numerous important and hidden pilgrimage sites.
Top must-see pilgrimage sites near Yamunotri Temple are :
This water spring is dedicated to Sun God. Pilgrims tie potato and rice in a cloth and dip it in the river. The hot water in the river would cook it. This dish is served to the main deity in Yamunotri Temple.
The pilgrims pay tribute to this rock pillar before entering Yamunotri Temple. This pillar is located closer to Surya Kund.
This is a cave, which is assumed to be used by sages to meditate. The cave holds a limestone Shivlinga.
This is a small historic city on the Riverbanks of Bhagirathi. This temple town is famous for numerous ancient temples.
This ancient temple is dedicated to Lord Shiva. According to mythology, Lord Shiva came down to earth to save Markandeya from God of Death. The temple has idols of Lord Shiva as Swayambhu Lingam, Goddess Parvati, Rishi Markandeya, and Lord Ganesh.
5. Shakti Temple
Right opposite to the Vishwanath Temple, you will find Shakti Temple, which is dedicated to Durga. The deity’s main weapon, the trident is quite famous among the pilgrims. The weapon is prayed to as a form of Shakti.
This town is famous for Rishikund Teerth. This hot spring is considered as a spiritual entity, and pilgrims take a holy dip in this hot spring.
Dharali Shiva temple is an ancient shrine, which is frequented by pilgrims. The town is also famous for apple orchards and picturesque views.
8. Mukhba Village
This village holds a Ganga Temple. During peak winter, the main deity in the Gangotri temple would be taken to this Ganga Temple. If you are visiting during the off-season, this temple will hold the main deity and all the rituals take place here.
9. Bhairon Ghati
This valley holds the Bhairon Temple. Pilgrims also visit the spot where Jat Ganga joins with the Bhagirathi River at this valley.
This is the second Dham in the circuit. The Gangotri temple is dedicated to Goddess Ganga. This temple is located closer to River Bhagirathi, which then merges with the Alaknanda River to become River Ganges. People take a holy dip in the river before visiting the Gangotri Temple.
Apart from the temple, the place is famous for the following pilgrimage sites.
Must Read : About Gangotri Dham
This is a Shivlinga formed naturally and found submerged underwater. The Shivlinga is seen only during certain months. According to mythology, this is the place where Lord Shiva received the river in his locks and reduced the ferociousness of the flow.
This is an ancient cave located closer to Suryakund Waterfall. This cave is said to be used by the Pandava Brothers during their journey to heaven.
This is a rock on which King Bhagirathi prayed to Lord Shiva to bring River Ganges to the earth.
Suggested Tour: 12 Days - Chardham Tour Packages from Delhi
This is a small village, which is famous for Omkareshwar Temple (temple of Lord Madhyamaheshwar and Lord Kedarnath), Madhymaheshwar Temple (The temple which was built where Lord’s Shiva’s belly part fell when he was fleeing from Pandavas), and Kali Matha Temple (the site where Kali killed Raktabeej Demon).
12. Gupt Kashi
Gupt Kashi is the place where Lord Shiva proposed Shakti to marry him. This is the place where Lord Shiva hid in secret from Pandavas. Top temples to visit in this region are
The idol of this temple is said to be the main deity of Lord Vishwanath Temple of Varanasi. When Mughal Emperor attacked the temple, the pilgrims brought the idol to this temple to safeguard it.
The Ardhanarishwar Temple holds the main deity, which is a half-man (Lord Shiva) and half woman (Lord Parvati). This temple is located very close to Vishwanath Temple
The Shivaling of this waterbody is bathed by River Ganga and River Yamuna. This is a very important spiritual site on the route of Chardham.
This is a small pilgrimage town, which is famous for the Basuki River, Mandakini River, and Triyuginarayan Temple. The temple is the place where Lord Shiva and Goddess Parvati got married in front of Vishnu.
Gaurikund is famous for the Gauri Temple. This is the place where Goddess Parvati prayed for winning the hand of Lord Shiva.
Also, this is the place where Lord Shiva gave Lord Ganesh, the elephant head.
This is the third Dham of the circuit. This is the place where Pandavas saw Lord Shiva in a triangle form. This is the place where the Pandavas’ sins of killing their kin and many sages were washed off. The Kedarnath Temple is one of the famous 12 Jyotirlinga temples.
Apart from the Kedarnath Temple, the place is also famous for other pilgrimage sites like
This lake is where Lord Vishnu bathed. It is not easy to visit this lake from Kedarnath Temple. Some pilgrims trek for 8 km to reach this lake from Kedarnath Temple.
This is the guardian deity of the region. It is said that in ancient times, this temple was buried under glaciers. The temple is also famous for its unhindered view of the Kedarnath Valley.
Suggested Tour : 12 Days - Chardham Tour Package
Chopta is a small hill town famous for adventure activities like rappelling, rock climbing, trekking, and others. Visiting Chopta during the route is optional. If the pilgrims are choosing to visit Badrinath via Karanprayag, they will not be crossing Chopta.
Top pilgrimage attractions of Chopta are :
Tungnath Temple is 1000 years old and is a famous Shiva Temple. According to legends, this is the place where Lord Shiva’s arms fell off when he was running away from Pandavas, in the form of a bull.
Located closer to Chopta, this Shiva temple is said to hold a holy trident. The trident was thrown by Lord Shiva on Lord Kamdev, the God of Love.
This is the spot where River Nandakini and River Alaknanda join together. At this spot, King Nand and Yashoda prayed to Lord Vishnu that he should be born to them as their son.
On the route towards Badrinath, this is a famous stopover point. Joshimath is famous for Narsingh Temple and Shankaracharya Math. Narsingh Temple is the place where Lord Badri of Badrinath Temple would be shifted during winter. The deity of this temple is half human and half lion – the Narsingh form of Lord Vishnu.
Shankaracharya Math was started by AdiShankaracharya, and it holds the deities Lord Badri and Rajrajeshwari Devi.
This is the place where River Dhauliganga and Alaknanda join together. This spot was chosen by Sage Narad to worship Lord Vishnu. Taking a holy dip in the river at this site is said to be sacred.
20. Hanuman Chatti
This is an ancient Hanuman Temple, which is said to be built at the spot where Hanuman crushed the pride of Bheema, a Pandava brother. It is said that the deity of this temple will grant all wishes.
This place holds the ancient temple of Yog Dhyan Badri. This temple was built at the same time as that of the main structure of the Badrinath temple. The main deity of this temple is Lord Vishnu in a meditative position. This is one of the seven sacred abodes of Lord Vishnu.
This is the last Dham of the circuit. The Badrinath town is the place where Lord Vishnu undertook a very long penance.
During the penance, to shade Lord Vishnu from the sun, Goddess Lakshmi took the form of berry trees (Badri). The main deity of Badrinath temple is Nar and Narayan. The main deity is made of black saligram stone. Apart from this temple, other top pilgrimage sites of this region are
Tapt and Narad Kund
These two are holy water springs. People take a holy dip in the Tapt Kund before entering the temple. Narad Kund is the place where Adi Shankaracharya found the main idol of Badrinath temple.
This village holds a Ganesh Temple and Vyas Cave. This is the cave where Sage Vyas wrote Mahabharata.
This natural bridge is found on the River Saraswati. This bridge is said to be created by Bheem, a Pandava brother, by throwing a large rock on the river during their journey towards heaven.
This is one of the most ancient and sacred rivers in the route. It is said that the Rig Veda was composed on this bank.
On the way back, you can also spot some of the other pilgrimage sites like Karnprayag (temple for Sun God), Rudraprayag, Augustmuni, Devprayag, and Srinagar. Remember that covering all the above-mentioned pilgrimage sites would take a considerably longer duration.
Moreover, some of the sites can be reached only via trekking through harsh routes.