Plan Your Chardham Yatra and Make It Go Smooth - Some Tips
Posted: Feb 13, 2022
The Easiest Way - Join a Char Dham Yatra Group Tour. You can book one of these tours from any city in India and have the operator take care of all travel arrangements, accommodation, and food. One of the better ways is to join the Garhwal Mandal Vikas Mandal Limited Char Dham Yatra that originates in Rishikesh. Tour operators take you by private vehicles to the nearest point from where you hire ponies or walk up the inclines. For those who wish to do it quick and easy, there are helicopter rides taking off and landing at the sites closest to the pilgrimage spots. Such organized Yatras are timed to start from the middle of May, letting you have ample opportunities for darshan at all the temples.
Going on Your Own - If you plan to travel in a group you could hire a taxi that could be a small car or a large SUV, from Haridwar or Rishikesh. From Haridwar you proceed to Barkot, about 184 kilometers away and, on the way, admire the Kempty Falls and take in an ancient Shiva temple. From Barkot you proceed to Jankichatta, about 45 kilometers away. From here it is a 5 kilometer trip to Yamunotri, on foot or pony, the first leg of your yatra. Here you offer prayers to Ma Yamunaji at her temple, take a dip in the Kund and return to Barkot. The next stop on your itinerary would be Uttarkashi, about 120 kilometers away. With what time you have at your disposal you take in local temples and drink in the lovely landscape, preparing for an overnight halt. The next day it is onwards to Gangotri, the second leg of your yatra. On the way, you stop at Gangnani hot water springs and proceed to Ganga Maya Temple and then return to Uttarkashi. The third leg is onwards to Guptkashi about 211 kilometers away and then onwards to Gaurikind, the starting point of the trip to Kedarnath, one of the 12 jyotirlingas of Lord Shiva. It is a 14-kilometer trek or rides by pony to the temple where your soul is gratified by the pooja ceremony. Return to Guptkashi or go to Rudraprayag and rest before undertaking the last leg to Badrinath. From Rudraprayag Badrinath, it is a 160 kilometers drive whereas from Guptkashi it is a 200-kilometer drive. Your Char Dham Yatra ends and you return to Haridwar or to Rishikesh. You will need to plan for a 10-day trip if you wish to go about it in a relaxed way.
If you plan to start your trip from Rishikesh, you can hire a taxi to take you from Rishikesh to Barkot to Yamunotri, Uttarkashi, Gangotri, Guptkashi, Kedarnath, Pipalkoti, Badrinath and then to Rudraprayag before returning to Rishikesh.
- To take along woolens since it can be quite cold up there in the mountains, especially at night.
- To take along a basic first-aid package and some medication, just in case. Since these spots are at a height, you will need to acclimatize yourself for a day or two.
- To time your yatra before the rains start in order to avoid treacherous landslides and being stuck in a place.
- At some places, you may not be able to have food of your choice and will have to make do with whatever is available, usually aloo paratha or Maggie noodles.
- To book accommodation in advance at all places where you plan to stay for the night since there will be quite a rush in the summer months.
- If you plan on going by foot, the total trek involves over 50 kilometers. You must be physically fit and have stamina. Ponies and dollies are available for the infirm.
- You will be spending many hours cooped up in a vehicle, at least 6 to 8 hours each day so pick scenic spots along the way to stretch your legs and have a nice picnic.
- Book the pooja and aarti at Badrinath in advance since only limited people are allowed inside.
- Traveling along scenic mountains and valleys does open up your spiritual eye and you will certainly enjoy the journey as much as you will find satisfaction for your soul on completion of the Char Dham Yatra.
Devendra Singh Dhauni is an Seo Executive and specializing in articles writing at Namaste India Trip. Traveling is one of my favorite hobbies.