Char Dham Yatra 2023
Being able to partake on a pilgrimage to the four Dham, aptly termed as ‘heavenly abodes’ is a privilege and blessing in itself. Thousands of devotees from India and abroad travel to Uttarakhand every year to visit the four holy regions— Yamunotri, Gangotri, Kedarnath, and Badrinath. As per religious beliefs, the Char Dham Yatra must be completed in a clockwise direction. Hence, devotees begin their yatra from Yamunotri, then move on to Gangotri, then Kedarnath, and end it at Badrinath.
Despite the long and arduous journey, people from all over come to be a part of the Char Dham Yatra. The perseverance of the devotees to complete the yatra is humbling to see. The challenging terrain, high altitudes, abrupt weather changes, etc., make the journey extremely tough. However, devotees face the challenges head-on with sheer faith, determination, and willpower, leaving all their problems at the deity’s feet.
In the Hindu religion, it is believed that the Char Dham Yatra is a path to salvation (Moksha) as it washes away the sins of the individual. Hence, every Hindu should, at least once in their lifetime go on this yatra.
The four holy temples are each dedicated to a deity—Yamunotri for the Goddess Yamuna, Gangotri for the Goddess Ganga, Kedarnath for Lord Shiva, and Badrinath for Lord Vishnu. These shrines are considered sacred and have religious significance for the Hindus. People from all walks of life take part in this journey to obtain enlightenment and gain a closer connection with God.
Opening dates for Char Dham Yatra 2023
The sacred pilgrimage usually takes place during the onset of summer as the holy shrines are closed down for the winter. The temples are closed for around six months every year. Dates for the opening and closing of the Yatra are announced by the Kedar-Badri Mandir Samiti and the temple committee.
The Char Dham Yatra will commence on 03 May 2023. Only two of the four temples—Yamunotri and Gangotri— will be opening on the auspicious day of Akshaya Tritiya for the Char Dham Yatra 2023. The Uttarakhand government has set multiple rules and regulations in place to ensure the safety of visiting travelers and pilgrims. While the closing dates are still tentative, the opening dates have been declared as:-
|Yamunotri Temple||22 April 2023|
|Gangotri Temple||22 April 2023|
|Kedarnath Temple||25 April 2023|
|Badrinath Temple||27 April 2023|
Char Dham Yatra 2023 registration
The travel policy of the Government of Uttarakhand requires all travelers and pilgrims to register themselves and submit the mandatory verification documents. The registration process for the yatra can be done online or offline. For the online process, you can register through the web portal itself, the Mobile App, or the Whatsapp number given on the site. To register for the yatra, you can visit the link https://registrationandtouristcare.uk.gov.in/ and fill out the forms. Visitors should be mindful of entering their personal details correctly. Only after the registration process is done, they will receive a Pilgrim ID and Yatra pass or permit.
Registration can also be done offline through the various registration counters set up at the Haridwar Railway Station, Rishikesh Roadways bus stand, Hemkund Gurudwara, Janki Chatti, Guptkashi, Ganotri, Phata, Kedarnath, Sonprayag, Govindghat, Pandukeshwar, etc. Pilgrims are required to carry valid ID proof along with the Yatra pass to gain entry to the temples. Registration is mandatory for the Char Dham Yatra 2023 to keep track of the yatra and ensure the safety of the visitors in case of any mishap.
Travel packages and routes for the Char Dham Yatra 2023
For the Char Dham Yatra, travel packages will vary depending on the mode of transport, route, and travel agency. These travel packages include basic travel and other required amenities such as accommodation and food. The fastest mode of travel is by air.
The estimated package from Haridwar by helicopter is about ₹1,55,000—₹1,85,000. On-road packages excluding the ponies and Palkies rate vary from around ₹10,000—₹55,000. The travel cost will vary accordingly, hence based on your budget and requirements you can choose the travel package of your choice.
Only two Dham, i.e., The Gangotri Dham and Badrinath Dham are accessible by vehicles. The other two Dham—Yamunotri and Kedarnath Dhamrequire trekking or horseback travel to reach the temple. The ponies and Palkies rates vary for both the Dham. Estimated rates (one-way charges) include:-
|Janki Chatti to Yamunotri Dham||Estimated charges|
|Palki (dandi or palanquin)||₹1400—₹1550|
|Gaurikund to Kedarnath Dham||Estimated charges|
|Palki (dandi or palanquin)||₹5000—₹6000|
The most popular route by road passes through developing town’s remote villages, lush valleys and hills, glaciers, rivers, lakes, snow-covered mountains, and scenic views that show mother nature’s beauty. The Char Dham Yatra route begins from Haridwar.
Haridwar – Rishikesh – Barkot – Yamunotri – Uttarkashi – Gangotri – Guptakashi – Kedarnath – Guptakashi – Badrinath
The route to Yamunotridham begins at Haridwar and then to Rishikesh. From there the route proceeds to Chama, then Brahmkal to Barkot. After reaching Barkot the route leads to Sayana Chatti to Hanuman Chatti, then Phool Chatti, and another 41 km until you reach Janki Chatti. A 6 km trekking route begins from Janki Chatti to reach Yamunotri. Moving on from Yamunotri, travel a distance of 123 km to Uttarkashi, then to Bhatwari to Gangnani to Harsil. Once you reach Harsil, it takes about an hour by road to reach Gangotri.
Coming back to Harsil from Gangotri, proceed to Guptakashi, from there you’ll travel to Gaurikund passing Sonprayag. The trekking route to Kedarnath will begin after reaching Gaurikund. From Kedarnath, come back to Gaurikund and proceed to Guptakashi. Then from the route through Chamoli proceed to Joshimath, then Badrinath.
Holy Shrines of the Char Dham Yatra
One of the Dham of the Chardham, situated at an altitude of 3293 meters, the Yamunotri is located in Uttarkashi and is known to be the source of the river Yamuna. The shrine is located at the foot of the hill as the actual source of river Yamuna, i.e., the Yamunotri glacier is located at an elevation of 6,387 meters near Banderpooch peaks and is not accessible. Yamuna river is the second holiest river in the country, the Ganges being the first.
From Janki Chatti, the temple is located on a 5-6 km trek route. This holy temple is said to be constructed by Maharaja Pratap Shah of Tehri Garhwal. If you are visiting Yamunotri, then you must visit Surya Kund which is a hot water spring near the temple. Another place to visit is the Shani Dev temple, located in Kharsali. Other places include Divya Shila, Saptarishi Kund lake, and Hanuman Chatti. The beauty of the Garhwal hills can be witnessed in its full excellence during the pilgrimage.
Situated at an elevation of 3,100 meters, Gangotri is the second Dham of the Char Dham Yatra and is considered one of the holiest regions in the country. It is located in Uttarkashi near river Bhagirathi, which is the source of the river Ganges. Bhagirathi flows from Gaumukh, a Gangotri glacier that is the source of the river. The river is called Bhagirathi until it reaches Devprayag and meets the Alaknanda forming what we know as the Ganga (Ganges).
The origin story of the Ganges according to well-known Hindu legends states that the Goddess Ganga flowed down from heaven as a river from Lord Shiva’s matted hair. The holy shrine was built in the 18th century by a Nepali commander Amar Singh Thapa. Gangotri’s beauty remains unmatched to date. The region carries undue significance in the Hindu religion not only due to the legends surrounding it but also the serenity and diversity it provides.
A holy shrine that is known all over the world, the Kedarnath temple is one place every follower of Lord Shiva should visit once in their life. Dedicated to Lord Shiva, the temple is located near the banks of the Mandakini river which originates from the Charabari glacier. Kedarnath is at an altitude of 3,583 meters above sea level making it hard to access. The trek to Kedarnath is about 14 km from Gaurikund. Kedarnath holds a lot of significance as it is one of the 12 jyotirlinga temples of Lord Shiva.
It is also one of the Panch Kedar pilgrimages—Kedarnath, Kalpeshwar, Tungnath, Madhya Maheshwar, and Rudranath. Some places to visit around the Kedarnath temple include Gandhi Sarovar, also known as the Charabari Tal. It lies on the foothills of the Kirti Stambh Peak and Kedarnath. Bhairav mandir, Sonprayag, Gaurikund, Vasuki Tal, Shankaracharya Samadhi, and Triyuniginarayan temples are some of the other places you can visit.
Badrinath is the last Dham of the yatra and is located in Chamoli, near the banks of the river Alaknanda. The temple is dedicated to Lord Vishnu and is at an altitude of 3,133 meters above sea level. It is one of the most visited temples out of the four shrines of the Char Dham Yatra. Badrinath temple was founded by Adi Guru Shankaracharya, who apparently attained salvation at the site.
The tranquility of the surrounding areas encompassing the temples transcends human comprehension. Pilgrims are enveloped by the sanctity and life-changing atmosphere of the temple. Many Hindu legends are associated with Badrinath, one of them being that Lord Vishnu performed meditation here and to protect him from the heat, Goddess Lakshmi took the shape of a Badri tree providing him shade. Places you should visit at Badrinath are the Tapta Kund, Charan Paduka, Mata Murti temple, Ganesha cave, Brahma Kapal, Panch Dhara, PanchShila, Vasudhara falls, Alkapuri glacier, etc.
Is Char Dham Yatra difficult?
Yes, the Char Dham Yatra is difficult. The high altitudes, terrain, and unpredictable weather conditions make the yatra difficult.
What is the sequence of the Char Dham Yatra?
The Char Dham Yatra starts from Yamunotri, then Gangotri towards Kedarnath and ends at Badrinath.
Which Gods’ shrines are located in the Char Dham?
Yamunotri is dedicated to Goddess Yamuna, Gangotri to Goddess Ganga, Kedarnath is dedicated to Lord Shiva and Badrinath is dedicated to Lord Vishnu.
What is the best time to visit Char Dham?
The best time to visit Char Dham is from April to June.
Where does the Char Dham tour begin?
The Yatra begins from Yamunotri.
What is the cost of Char Dham Yatra?
Prices vary depending on the mode of travel, but the price range is usually around INR 14,000—1,85,000.