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Chota Char Dham

Chota Char Dham

Chota Char Dham Pilgrimage Site

The Chota Char Dham (??? ???) is an important Hindu pilgrimage circuit in the Indian Himalayas. Located in the Garhwal region of the state of Uttarakhand (formerly the northwestern section of Uttar Pradesh), the circuit consists of four sites-Yamunotri (: ????????), Gangotri (????????), Kedarnath (????????), and Badrinath (????????). Badrinath is also one of the four destinations (with each destination being in different corners of the country) of the longer Char Dham from which the Chota Char Dham likely draws its name.
While each of these sites is unique in its own fashion, inclusion in the Char Dham has, over time, caused them be viewed together in popular imagination and in pilgrimage practice.

Chota Char Dham
Proper name: Chota Char Dham
Country: India
State: Uttarakhand
Coordinates: Kedarnath 30.73°N 79.07°E , Badrinath 30.73°N 79.48°EGangotri 30.98°N 78.93°E , Yamunotri 30.73°N 78.45°E
Architecture and culture
Primary deity: Shiva in Kedarnath,
Vishnu in Badrinath,
Ganga in Gangotri and
Yamuna in Yamunotri
Architectural styles: North Indian architecture
Date built:
(Current structure)
Creator: Pandavas

The  Chota Char Dham  (little Char Dham) or the Char Dham of the Himalayas is the name given to the four exceedingly religious places in Himalayas: Yamunotri, Gangotri, Kedarnath and Badrinath . The pilgrim to these places is considered holy amongst Hindus and like the original Char Dham, it is considered to rid the pilgrims from the cycle of life and death forever.




Pilgrimage centers

Most pilgrims to the Chota Char Dham embark from the famous temple town of Haridwar. Others leave from Haridwar's sister city, Rishikesh, or from Dehradun, the capital of Uttarakhand. From there, the tradition is to visit the sites in the following order:

  1. Yamunotri , the source of the Yamuna River and the seat of the goddess Yamuna, is a full day's journey from Rishikesh, Haridwar orDehradun. The actual temple is only accessible by a six km walk from the town of Hanuman Chatti (horses or palanquins are available for rent). The current temple is of recent origin, as past iterations have been destroyed by the weather and elements. Lodging at the temple itself is limited to a few small ashrams and guesthouses. Ritual duties such as the making and distribution of  prasad (sanctified offerings) and the supervision of  pujas  (ritual venerations) are performed by the Uniyal family of  pujaris  (priests). Unique aspects of ritual practice at the site include hot springs where raw rice is cooked and made into prasad. One  of the four sacred dhams(Char Dham) of Uttarakhand.Yamunotri is the source of the river Yamuna. About 220 Km from Rishikesh and 149 Km from Tehri, the picturesque shrine of Yamunotri is located at an altitude of 3,235 mtr. Being one of the four Char dhams it is a place of paramount religious importance for the devout Hindus.
    Some Basic Information About Yamunotri Dham ........
    Altitude 3235 mtrs . above sea level 
    Season : May-June, September-October 
    Clothing : Summers-Light Woolens, Winter-Heavy Woolens 
    Language : Garhwali, Hindi and English 
    Festivals :The temple opening & closing ceremonies.

    Yamunotri, the source of the Yamuna River and the seat of the  Goddess Yamuna , is one of the four sites in India's  Char Dham pilgrimage . The actual source of Yamuna River lies in the Yamunotri Glacier at a height 6,387 mtrs. The Yamunotri temple is located in Uttarkashi district, Uttarakhand, India, a full day's journey from Uttarakhand's main towns -  Rishikesh, Haridwar or Dehradun . The actual temple is only accessible by a  13  kilometre treak from the town of Hanuman Chatti  and a  6  kilometer walk from  Janki Chatti ; horses or palanquins are available for rent. The hike from Hanuman Chatti  to Yamunotri is very picturesque with beautiful views of a number of waterfalls.
    Ritual duties  such as the making and distribution of prasad (sanctified offering) and the supervision of puja (ritual venerations) are performed by the Uniyal family of pujari (priests).
    Its  confusion  about who built the temple of Yamunotri, however according to the official website of the district the temple was originally constructed by  Maharaj Pratap Shah  of Tehri Garhwal.
  2. Gangotri , the source of the Ganga River (Ganges) and seat of the goddess Ganga, can be reached in one day's travel from Rishikesh, Haridwar or Dehra Duhn, or in two days from Yamunotri. More popular and important than its sister site to the east, Gangotri is also accessible directly by car and bus, meaning that it sees many more pilgrims. A small village of guesthouses and restaurants serves the pilgrim community. Ritual duties are supervised by the Semwal family of pujaris. The aarti ceremony at the Gangotri is especially impressive, as is the temple, a stately affair that sits on the banks of the rushing Ganges (Ganges River). Adventurous pilgrims can make an overnight 17 km trek to Gaumukh, the actual current source of the Ganges. The shrine of Gangotri situated at an altitude of  3042 mtr  above sea level amidst captivating surroundings, along the right bank of  Bhagirathi  is 100 km from Uttarkashi. The temple was constructed in the early  18th century  by a Gorkha Commander Amar Singh Thapa. The existing temple is said to be the one reconstructed by the Jaipur dynasty. Every year hundred thousands of pilgrims throng the sacred shrine between  May & October . Like  Yamunotri  the shrine of Gangotri opens every year on the auspicious day of  Akshaya-Tritiya  & closes on the day of  Diwali . 

    Some Basic Information About Gangotri Dham ..............
    Location :  Right Bank of River Bhagirathi
    Altitude :  3042 M
    Dedicated to :  Goddess Ganga
    Built in : 18th Century
    Gangotri, the source of the river Ganga and seat of the goddess Ganga, is one of the four sites in the Char Dham pilgrimage circuit. The river is called Bhagirathi at the source and acquires the name Ganga from Devprayag onwards where it meets the  Alaknanda . The origin of the holy river is at  Gaumukh , set in the Gangotri Glacier, and is a 19 km trek from Gangotri. Gangotri can be reached in one day's travel from Rishikesh, Haridwar or Dehradun, or in two days from Yamunotri,.Gangotri is also accessible directly by car and bus, meaning that it sees many more pilgrims than Yamunotri.This small town is centered around a temple of the goddess Ganga.Ritual duties are supervised by the  Semwa l family of pujaris. The aarti ceremony at the Gangotri is especially impressive, as is the temple, a stately affair that sits on the banks of the rushing Ganga.
    How To Reach 
    Air  : Nearest airport is Jolly Grant,  226 kms.
    Rail  : Nearest railway station is at Rishikesh,  249 kms.
    Road  : Well connected to  Rishikesh, Haridwar, Dehradun and Delhi.
  3. Kedarnath , where a form of the Hindu god Shiva is venerated as one of the twelve  jyotirling  (linga of light), is a two-day's journey from either Gangotri or one of the main disembarkation points on the plains. Besides its affiliation with Siva, Kedarnath is also believed to be the site of Shankaracharya's  samadhi  (place of enternment). The actual temple, an impressive stone edifice of unknown date, is accessible only after a steep 13 km walk (horses or palanquins are available for rent). The most remote of the four Chota Char Dham sites, Kedarnath is flanked by breathtaking snow-capped peaks. No specific family of pujaris supervises rituals at Kedarnath, which focus around veneration of the stone lingam that rests in the inner sanctum of the temple. Situated approximate  220 Km from Rishikesh . The Kedarnath is one of the twelve Jyotirlingas of Lord Shiva. Lying against the backdrop of the majestic Kedarnath range, at an altitude of  3,581 m , the imposing Kedarnath temple is surrounded by lofty snow covered peaks.Kedarnath is a Hindu holy town located in the Indian state of Uttarakhand.. Kedarnath is located in the Himalayas, about  3581 m  above sea level near the head of river Mandakini, and is flanked by breathtaking snow-capped peaks. Kedarnath hosts one of the holiest Hindu temples, the Kedarnath Temple, and is a popular destination for Hindu pilgrims from all over the world. Kedarnath is named after King Kedar who ruled in the Satya Yuga. He ruled the seven continents and was a very saintly king. He had a daughter named Vrinda who was a partial incarnation of Goddess Lakshmi. She performed austerities for 6000 years.The temple opens on Akshaya Tritiya (April end or first week of May) and closes on  Bhai Duj  (October end or 1st week of November) due to heavy snowfall and extreme cold weather during winter.  Gaurikhund  is 75 km from Rudraprayag. Kedarnath is highest among the 12 Jyotirlingas. Location.......
    Kedarnath is amongst the holiest pilgrimages for the devout Hindu. It is set amidst the stunning mountainscape of the Garhwal Himalayas at the head of the  Mandakini River . Kedar is another name of lord Shiva, the protector and the destroyer. Shiva is considered the embodiment of all passions - love, hatred, fear, death and mysticism which are expressed through his various forms.
    Best Time to visit:-  The ideal time or peak season to go for a Char Dham Yatra is from May to October, except monsoons ...

Panch Kedar  1. Kedarnath 2. Madhmaheshwar (3289 m) 3. Tungnath (3810 m) 4. Rudranath (2286 m) 5. Kalpashwar (2134 m)

  1. Badrinath , the seat of the Hindu god Vishnu in his aspect of Badrinarayan, is generally a two-day's journey from either Kedarnath or one of the main disembarkation points on the plains. By far the most important of the four sites, as part of the larger Char Dham, Badrinath receives many more visitors than the other three sites. As the route to Badrinath is for much of the way also the route toHemkund Sahib, an important Sikh pilgrimage site, the road to Badrinath is especially crowded. The temple and its substantial surrounding village are accessible by road. The actual temple is a striking building whose bright colors evoke the painted Buddhist ghompas of the region; rumor has it that the temple was originally controlled by Buddhists. Badarinath Dham  is considered as one of the most sacred centres of pilgrimage situated in the Himalayan heights in the Garhwal hill tracks (Uttarakhand) at the height of 10,248 feet above sea leve.At Badarinath Lord MahaVishnu is believed to have done his penance. Seeing the Lord doing his penance in the open, Goddess Mahalaxmi is believed to have assumed the form of Badari tree to provide him shelter to face the onslaught of the adverse weather conditions, therefore the name Badari Narayan. It is believed that Lord Vishnu revealed to Narad rishi that Nar & Naryans forms were his own. According to the Skanda Purana: "There are several sacred shrines in heaven, on earth, and in hell; but there is no shrine like Badrinath." It is also believed that Narad rishi, who also did his penance here, is even now worshipping the supreme God in the form of Nar and Narayan..

    The  Badrinath area  is referred to as Badari or Badarikaashram in Hindu scriptures. It is a place sacred to Vishnu, particularly in Vishnu's dual form of Nara-Narayana.One legend has it that when the goddess Ganga was requested to descend to earth to help suffering humanity, the earth was unable to withstand the force of her descent. Therefore the mighty Ganga was split into twelve holy channels, with Alaknanda one of them. It later became the abode of Lord Vishnu or Badrinath. The mountains around Badrinath are mentioned in the Mahabharata, when the Pandavas are said to have ended their life by ascending the slopes of a peak in western Garhwal called Swargarohini - literally, the ' Ascent to Heaven '. Local legend has it that the Pandavas passed through Badrinath and the town of Mana, 4 km north of Badrinath, on their way to Svarga (heaven). There is also a cave in Mana where Vyasa, according to legend, wrote the Mahabharata.

Panch Badri

  • Badrianth
  • Yogadhyan Badri (1920m) From Badrinath it is near Pandukeshwar
  • Bhavishya Badri (2744m) From joshimath
  • Vridha Badri (1380m) From joshimath
  • Adi Badri (1180m) From karna prayag 


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