Char Dham refers to the four holiest Hindu pilgrimage centres in the state of Uttarakhand, that is, Yamunotri, Gangotri, Kedarnath and Badrinath. Thousands of devotees and pilgrims undertake yatra or a trip to these four sites every year in aspiration of washing away all their sins. This is popularly known as the Char Dham Yatra.
The best time for the Char Dham Yatra is from May to October. During the monsoon months, trip should be avoided. The peak time for the yatra is from May-June and September-October. The closest domestic airport to the Char Dham is Jolly Grant Airport in Dehradun and nearest international airport is Delhi. The nearest railway station is Rishikesh. Registration is compulsory for Chardham Yatra. Yamunotri Temple and Gangotri temple opens on the auspicious day of Akshaya Tritiya. The opening of date of Kedarnath Temple is fixed and decided on the Shiva Ratri and the opening date of Badrinath Temple is on Basant Panchami by Raj Purohit.
The Char Dham must be visited from left to right – beginning with Yamunotri, going on to Gangotri, then Kedarnath and culminating the journey at Badrinath. This route follows the Hindu tradition of parikrama. All four sites can be covered in one stretch in 10-11 days. Nowadays, one can also get helicopter services to visit Char Dham sites in just 2 days.
The easiest way is to book an online travel package from a travel website. One can select the dates and types of package (ordinary or deluxe) and make payment online. Taxi service for Chardham Yatra is also available for a small group of 4 to large group of 10 members. One needs to carry in addition to normal accessories, woolens, jackets, warm clothing and a torch light is a must. Normally, vegetarian food is available at all the destinations. It is important that people get a proper medical checkup done from their doctor and get a certificate from him regarding their fitness for the proposed Chardham Yatra. is also vital to carry a first aid box containing items like thermometer, balm for muscles/joints, etc. To select a comfortable accommodation in advance to complete the yatra successfully is also important.
One must stay updated about the weather conditions of Chardham on a regular basis. This can be done by getting the weather update about Garhwal through online or by seeking help from a local guide. Those planning a pilgrimage tour to Chardham in Uttarakhand will have to undergo an alcohol test also before the yatra. At least a month before the yatra, it is advisable to start preparatory exercises for the trip 4 months in advance. In case of any serious medical emergency, one should call 108. In addition to it, carrying out the necessary research and carrying a route map along will help you to get rid of any problems that you may encounter during the course of the journey.
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