Hinduism is one of the oldest religions in the world and the dominant religion in the Indian subcontinent. For the Hindus, the Chardham Yatra is believed to be a major element in their attempt towards achieving Moksha. The Chardham comprise four sacred pilgrimage places: Yamunotri, Gangotri, Kedarnath and Badrinath. The Yatra begins from Yamunotri and terminates at Badrinath. These four sacred sites are located in the state of Uttarakhand, India. Millions of pilgrims come to Chardham in order to pay homage at the temples every year. Hindus believe that this holy pilgrimage washes away all the sins of a pilgrim and opens the doorway to salvation. Hindus also believe that a person must complete this Yatra once in a lifetime.
Route Information for Chardham Yatra
If a pilgrim visits Chardham from Delhi, Haridwar is the place from where he/she can start this sacred Yatra. Haridwar is at a distance of 210 kilometers from Delhi. After taking a holy bath in the Ganges, the pilgrim then has to proceed to Barkot which is situated at a distance of 220 kilometers from Haridwar. It is only 36 kilometers drive and 7 kilometers of a trek from Barkot to Yamunotri, the first of the four shrines constituting the Chardham. After the Devi darshan at Yamunotri, the pilgrim has to return to Barkot, from where the next stop is Uttarkashi. Uttarkashi is situated at a distance of 100 kilometers from Barkot. The journey from Uttarkashi to Gangotri is about 100 kilometers, and pilgrims can rejuvenate themselves at Harsil, which is a charming place that falls en route. Then from Gangotri the pilgrim has to travel back to Uttarkashi again. After reaching Uttarkashi, the pilgrim has to move to Rudraprayag from where the next stop is Kedarnath. After paying homage to Lord Shiva in Kedarnath Temple, the pilgrim has to return to Rudraprayag. From Rudraprayag, the pilgrim has to go Badrinath, where the sacred tour ends. In order to return to Delhi, one has to drive to Rishikesh from Badrinath. Rishikesh is connected to Delhi by road, rail and air.
Distance of Chardham From Major Cities
· Yamunotri is situated at a distance of 223 kilometers from Rishikesh.
· Gangotri is situated at a distance of about 100 kilometers from Uttarkashi
· Kedarnath is situated at a distance of 223 kilometers from Rishikesh
· Badrinath is situated at a distance of 298 kilometers from Rishikesh and 48 kilometers from the Joshimath
Chardham Yatra 2015 Dates:
Yamunotri Temple Opening Date 2015: Not Disclosed Yet
Gangotri Temple Opening Date 2015: Not Disclosed Yet
Kedarnath Temple Opening Date 2015: Not Disclosed Yet
Badrinath Temple Opening Date 2015: Not Disclosed Yet
Kedarnath was affected by the flood that hit in June 2013, and it will take some time before tourism returns to normalcy. Even now, about hundred devotees still visit the shrine every day. Before the flood happened, Badrinath was well linked with Kedarnath by road and the devotees could visit the shrine either by trekking from Gaurikund or he/she may decide to go for Chardham Yatra by helicopter package. The helicopter services for Yamunotri, Gangotri, Badrinath and Kedarnath are available from Dehradun as well as Delhi. From Kharsali helipad we move towards Yamunotri, from Harsil helipad for Gangotri, from Guptkashi and Phata for Kedarnath. Badrinath in fact has its own helipad. Helicopter is the most convenient way to visit the holy shrines, and it safe as well. There are different aviation companies that provide helicopter services covering all the four sacred shrines. After the flood last year, the way to the Kedarnath shrine has become very long and strenuous. Now, a pilgrim needs to trek about 24 kilometers from Sonprayag to reach Kedarnath.
A devotee going to the Kedarnath shrine will have to inform the local authorities about it and obtain a fitness certificate from them. The topography of Kedarnath has changed due to the floods.
According to the state chief secretary Subhash Kumar, biometric cards will be given to the devotees visiting Chardham and records will be kept from the coming season to ensure their safety. He further added that there seems no need of restricting the number of devotees visiting the other three shrines. The route to Kedarnath is tough, thus the restriction on the number of visitors will be restricted here.
BRO To Build And Maintain The Roads On The Route To Chardham
The construction and maintenance of the roads to the Chardham circuit will be carried out by the Border Roads Organization (BRO). The Lakhwad Power Project has given the final clearance for it. The chief secretary of state Subhash Kumar and the additional chief secretary Rakesh Sharma had a meeting with the PM’s principal Secretary Pulok Chatterji and Union cabinet secretary Ajit Seth in New Delhi. The then past chief minister of Uttarakhand Vijay Bahuguna, requested the prime minister to release an amount of Rs. 300 Crore for the road construction work carried out by BRO. The PM then had a meeting with the cabinet secretary; Ajit Seth then met Additional CS and DG Lt General A.T Patnaik, Uttrakhand CS, highway officials and the Surface Transport Officials. Minister Veerappa Moily granted the final approval for the project.
According to the recent updates, the current chief minister of Uttarakhand, Harish Rawat, has ordered the completion of the construction work on the road from Gaurikund to Kedarnath before the launch of the sacred Chardham Yatra 2015. The dates for the opening of the portals of the Kedarnath shrine will be announced on Shivratri. Harish Rawat further added that the project will be carried out by efficient officers, so that the construction work can be speed up while ensuring that the route is secure and suitable for the devotees.
It is a positive development for the pilgrims in India that the Chardham Yatra of 2015 is going to start in the month of May. It is the perfect time to do the Chardham Yatra booking and pay the homage to God in His own abode!