The holy and extremely auspicious Char Dham Yatra of Devbhoomi Uttarakhand is one of the most highly revered holy journeys which are taken up by anyone. Each year a number of pilgrims and devotees flock together to cover the four holy destinations of Kedarnath, Badrinath, Gangotri and Yamunotri, with an aim of attaining their Moksha, and freeing themselves from the karmic cycle of birth and rebirth. The Char Dham Yatra is not only known for its unparalleled and obvious spiritual significance and raw natural beauty but it is also famed for being extremely arduous and testing.
This pilgrimage tour will take you across the Himalayan ranges and will also make you experience pure and sheer spirituality like never before. This pilgrimage journey is considered to be a potentially life-changing experience where you go as one person but come back as a completely rejuvenated individual. All these Dham sites are situated in the Garhwal region of Himalayas making a trip here filled with exciting vibrancy and deep spirituality of the lord. This holy journey was established by the popular sage, philosopher and seer Adi Shankaracharya during the 8th century who is also credited with the creation of the all India Char Dham Yatra where the pilgrims cover all the holy sites panning across the four corners of India that include – Rameswaram in the south, Badrinath in north, Puri in east and Dwarkadheesh in west.
One cannot just take up a Char Dham journey since visiting these places require immense planning and acclimatization due to its location. If you are planning on going on this spiritual Yatra then make sure that you are fully prepared not just physically but mentally as well. Here are some of the most vital and extremely important travel tips for your Char Dham Yatra that will definitely prove to be successful in your journey towards the almighty lord:
It is vital for you to know when the best time to make your Char Dham Yatra is. Being situated at high altitudes the gates of these shrines have very specific opening and closing dates. The Kapat generally opens up during the month of April end or the beginning of May and closes by the end of October or the beginning of November. However making the pilgrimage during the monsoon months of July to September is discouraged since the entire landscape remains covered in heavy rainfalls making it susceptible to unexpected avalanches and landslides. The best time to visit your Char Dham destinations are between the months of May and mid-June and the end of September.
Utilize the Services of a Tour Operator:
Going on this Yatra without the convenience of a tour package will definitely be of a huge hassle. Taking up this holy Yatra will not only be physically or mentally testing but it also requires you to make a number of advance bookings and reservations which you won’t be able to do and may face a lot of hassles while attempting to do so. A Char Dham Yatra tour operator will provide you with all the necessary arrangements related to transportation, Darshan and accommodation. They have the capability to turn your pilgrimage journey into a smooth and hassle-free experience.
Choose Your Mode of Transportation Wisely:
Keeping in mind your travel budget you have the freedom to book your mode of transportation accordingly. You have the option of choosing from a road journey or a helicopter Yatra. Look into the pros and cons of each mode of transportation. If you are physically incapable or anyone in your family suffers from some sort of an inability to cover the journey by road or on foot then completing this journey through a helicopter tour package to Char Dham is a sensible option for you to choose since it is extremely comfortable and guarantees a VIP Darshan.
Carry All Your Medicines:
Be sure to carry all your important medicines along with you. Due to the location of the sites which are all situated on high altitudes, traveling there can be a gruesome and extremely challenging task. Be sure to carry all your medicines relating to your physical or mental ailments. Carrying medicines will guarantee that your holy journey is not hampered in any way and that your journey is completed in a hassle-free manner. Also carry a first aid box with you in case of emergencies which will contain bandages, Dettol, band-aids and the likes. There is limited availability of hospitals and medical care centres which provides proper medications so it is logical for you to carry your own set of medications.
Load up on Dry Fruits and Packaged Food Items
Since this is one of the most physically and mentally demanding journey then you will need a constant source of energy. You will get extremely tired due to all the trekking and journey activities however it is important for you to stay healthy and fit for carrying on the Yatra. Due to the lack of presence of food stalls and eateries make sure you keep yourself energized by carrying a lot of dry fruits, chocolates, biscuits and milk powder. You can also carry cup noodles if you want to have a meal any time you are hungry. If you are not comfortable about eating outside every day then you should also carry packaged and ready to eat meal packets which is easy to carry and easier to prepare.
Carry a Local Phone Along:
In the entire journey you will not be able to get any sort of Wi-Fi services or internet facilities anywhere. In order to keep your smartphones safe then it is advisable for you to keep it home and not carry it along with you, instead you can carry a cheap phone with the numbers and contact of all the important people. You can pick up a local Sim card as well since this will ensure that your phone is connected successfully to anywhere you go. Telecommunication services like Airtel and BSNL works the best on this Himalayan terrain.
Char Dham Yatra in summer – Located at relatively similar elevations the holy Char Dham sites in Uttarakhand experiences similar weather conditions. The summer months commences from the month of April and lasts till June. During this time the Kapat for these holy sites opens up for Darshan and all these places witness a throng of pilgrims and devotees from all over the globe. The temperature generally stays between 12 to 20 degree Celsius and the overall weather remains extremely comfortable.
Char Dham Yatra in Monsoon – The months of July to September marks the monsoon months and during this time the helicopter Yatra to Char Dham is suspended owing to the harsh and unpredictable weather conditions. The entire region remains covered in heavy rainfall and mist and the terrain is prone to heavy landslides and unexpected mud slides. It is advised to all the pilgrims to not make your Yatra journey plans during these months in order to stay safe and secure. The temperature stays between 7 to 15 degree Celsius.
Char Dham Yatra in Winter – The months of October to march are marked as the winter months for the Char Dham Yatra. During this time the Kapat shuts down for Darshan and closes for winter since the entire region gets covered in a thick blanket of snow making pilgrimage journey unbearable and impossible to cover. The temperature during these months stays between subzero levels to 5 or 7 degree Celsius. Trekking and pilgrimage is considered to be extremely dangerous and impossible to complete.
The Chota Char Dham site of Uttarakhand is one of the most important pilgrimage Yatra among devout Hindus looking to attain their moksha. For a brief period of 6 months the Kapat of these sites are opened up for Darshan for the pilgrims. This holy journey commences from the end of April or beginning of May depending on the date of the auspicious Akshaya Tritiya. The temple Kapat shuts down for Darshan during the auspicious date of Bhai Dooj or on Diwali and Vijayadashami.
The Char Dham Yatra route will take you across some of the most picturesque landscape and hilly terrains in Uttarakhand. Given below is a brief route map for Char Dham Yatra which you can refer to in case you are planning on taking this pilgrimage Yatra:
Delhi – Haridwar – Barkot – Yamunotri – Uttarkashi – Gangotri – Guptkashi – Kedarnath – Badrinath – Rishikesh – Delhi
You can also choose the helicopter Char Dham Yatra packages for extra convenience and a hassle free experience. This option is the best way of going if you are physically incapable of completing the journey on foot or by road, especially senior citizens.
Additional Travel Tips to Char Dham Yatra:
- Be sure to carry heavy woolen clothing and accessory items like woolen gloves, socks, mufflers and thermals in order to keep yourself safe from the harsh Himalayan weather conditions.
- Be careful to hire a registered pony service provider or even a porter. It is also advisable for you to never walk far away from your luggage.
- Being a tedious and an extremely arduous journey it is vital for you to keep in mind to walk slowly and steadily since too much exertion will definitely be harmful to your overall health condition.
- It is also advised for you to start your physical training exercises at least one month prior to the commencement of your journey by walking almost 4 to5 kms each day. You can also do some pranayama which will help you in combating the lack of oxygen-related problems on high elevations.