A pilgrimage at least once in one’s lifetime is a Hindu’s sacred duty. Of the many pilgrimage places dotting the Indian landscape, Chardham or four destinations comprised of Yamunotri, Gangotri, Kedarnath and Badrinath are much favored due to the merit one acquires by a pilgrimage to these places. Since all these pilgrimage spots are located high in the mountains of Uttarakhand they can be snowbound during winter and be negotiating the narrow passes becomes impossible. The temples here have a rule of opening only around Akshay Treej in April/May and close for winter around Diwali time. Therefore one must pick the best time to visit Chardham and plan well in advance. Picking the right time is important because all four temples are located high up in the mountains, with Kedarnath being the highest, and you need to travel across steep inclines and rocky paths to reach the sacred temples.
Weather plays an important role in deciding a suitable time to visit these four pilgrimage spots. Your convenience is another factor. High up in the mountains, it is cool and pleasant during the day during April-May-June. Nights can be cold so one must have woollens at hand. The rains start around July and last till early September. Travel could be tough with possibilities of landslides and be waterlogging at places. September after rains becomes relatively cooler and the countryside is green, which is probably the best time for the yatra. By October the temperature drops and you could even see early snowfall. Consider the weather with all due seriousness when you plan a Chardham yatra.
Month Wise Weather Conditions of Char Dham Yatra
If you are planning on taking up the holy pilgrimage journey to Char Dham then referring to this informative, month wise weather guide will definitely come in handy while planning your trip.
January – The entire region of Char Dham remains covered entirely in a thick covering of snow and the temperature tends to go on a subzero level. During this time the presiding deity image is transferred to their respective winter abodes of Ukhimath, Pandukeshwar, Mukhwas and Kharsali.
February – The temperature continues to be extremely chilly and cold during this month and the pilgrimage is shut down for the season. The temperature during this month continues to fall between 0 to 10 degree Celsius making your journey here extremely difficult and tough.
March – The weather condition during this month still remains to be extremely cold and the temperature continues to fall between 4 to 14 degrees Celsius. However a change in the overall temperature can be experienced and the weather goes under a warm climatic change.
April – The overall climatic temperature continues to experience a gradual rise which stays between 7 to 17 degrees Celsius. This is the month when the Char Dham site regions experience an influx of visitors and travelers looking for an adventure. The Kapat door open up for Darshan during the end of April or on the beginning of May.
May – The region experiences a relatively moderate temperature condition where the temperature remains between 7 to 18 degrees Celsius. The sunny days offer a comfortable journey throughout all the Char Dham locations. You can plan your travels during this month owing to pleasant weather conditions.
June – The pleasant and comfortable weather conditions continue to these months as well when the temperature falls between 10 to 20 degree Celsius. This is considered to be the hottest month in the Char Dham Yatra season.
July – This month marks the commencement of the monsoon season. Char Dham Yatras are discouraged during these months owing to the harsh weather conditions. Helicopter services are also suspended and the Yatris are discouraged from travelling.
August – Due to the constant rainfalls the overall temperature of the region experiences moderately cool climatic conditions where the temperature falls between 7 to 15 degree Celsius. the entire landscape is covered in blooming plants and trees however travelling in these months is also discouraged.
September – The temperature during this month continues to be between cold and moderately cold due to the random rainfalls. The temperature continues to be at between 7 to 15 degree Celsius. the surrounding nature appears to be extremely fresh and rejuvenating.
October – This month is considered to mark the onset of winter season with the rain washing away all the humidity and warmness of the atmosphere. The temperature stays between 5 to 14 degree Celsius.
November – The end of October and the beginning of November marks the shutting down of the Char Dham Yatra since the temperature starts to drop substantially during this month. This month also marks the onset of freezing cold and chilly weather where the temperature falls between 4 to 14 degree Celsius.
December – The entire region of all the Char Dham sites remain covered in a thick blanket of snow and the temperature stays between 0 to 10 degree Celsius. All the presiding deities are transferred to their respective winter abodes where the pilgrims can continue with their Darshan activities.
Akshay Treej, the opening day, can see huge crowds because people believe that a pilgrimage on this auspicious day confers special merit. The crowds last all through May and June. With rains on the horizon the crowd tapers off in July and August. As rains vanish the influx of people increases in September and lasts until the closing time of the temples, which is just after Diwali day.
Accommodation and Travel Costs
A yatra is costly and one must plan for accommodation and travel costs. As the number of pilgrims rises, so does the cost of travel and accommodation as well as food. May and June are expensive on all these counts so if you are on a budget, pick some other time like July and August. If you can put up with rains, then you will find plenty of low priced hotels and cheaper travel. Just be prepared to spend more time inside if rains make travel impossible. Prices during September and October are moderate, which makes these two months a good time to undertake the Chardham yatra.
May and June could be good for you if you plan about 3 months in advance, register for the yatra and book hotels and vehicles. If everything is in place then you need not worry about finding hotels or guest houses or transport. It could be enjoyable too since the temperature is around 20 to 35 deg. C whereas it dips below 20 in subsequent months.
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