The shrines dedicated to Lord Vishnu and Lord Shiva at Badrinath and Kedarnath, respectively, and those dedicated to Goddesses Yamuna and Ganga, respectively, have been revered pilgrimages since antiquities. Once accessed only on foot after steep treks, these temples now can be reached by road. These four temples, known as the 'Char Dham' in popular parlance, are visited by thousands of devotees. Shrouded in mystery, myth and legends, the temples and the places that lie on route to the four shrines enhance the spiritual impact of the Char Dham.
The Char Dham temples remain closed from November, i.e., after Diwali till the end of April due to rough weather.
Located in awe-inspiring surroundings in the Himalayas, this temple at Badrinath enshrines the black stone statue of Vishnu Located at a height of 10,800 ft on the banks of the river Alaknanda, Badrinath is one of the four Dhams (four divine) sites attracting large number of pilgrims each year. The other three dhams are Rameshwaram in the South, Dwaraka in the west and Puri in the east.
Badrinath, one of the sacred places of the Hindus, brims with many holy ponds and lakes which are used by the devotees for bathing before entering the temple. A hot water spring in front of the temple called Tapt Kund or Surya Kund is also used for bathing.
Kedarnath is a holy place in the Rudraprayag district of Uttrakhand. Located in a landscape flanked by awe-inspiring snow-clad capped peaks of the Himalayas, the place is home to one of the twelve Jyotirlingas.
A visit to Kedarnath, the most remote of the four Char Dham sites, provides a wonderful opportunity to have a brush with divine. Situated at an elevation of 3584 mts. on the head of river Mandakini, Kedarnath temple, enshrining the Jyotirlinga, was built in the 8th century by Adi Shankaracharya, one of the greatest theologians and scholars of the world.
Gangotri is a Hindu sacred site of the first order, and its Gangotri Temple is an obligatory stop on the Chota four Char Dham pilgrimage circuit. The Gangotri Temple is a place of immense spiritual significance for the Hindus. Located at the confluence of the rivers, Kedar Ganga and Bhagirathi Ganga, in the Uttarkashi district, Gangotri is the place where the Ganges, the most sacred river of the Hindus, descended on earth as a reward for King Bhagirath's severe penance.
Greatly revered as the origin of the Yamuna, another sacred river for the Hindus, Yamunotri is a Hindu sacred site of the first order, and its central temple, the shrine of Yamunotri, is an obligatory stop on the Chota four Char Dham pilgrimage circuit. The Yamunotri Temple, situated at an elevation of about 3,235 amidst stunning natural beauty in the forms of lofty snow-capped peaks, glaciers, thermal springs, gushing cascades, turquoise lakes and lush meadows, is a place of immense spiritual significance for the Hindus.
By Air: The nearest airport is at Dehradun which is 177 km from Yamunotri, 240 km from Kedarnath, 298 km from Gangotri, 315 km from Badrinath and is connected by flights to Delhi. Delhi is the most convenient airport. Rail: The nearest railhead is Rishikesh which is 223 km from Yamunotri, 229 km from Kedarnath, 251 km from Gangotri and 297 km from Badrinath. Rishikesh is connected via Haridwar with major cities and towns in India. Road: Badrinath, Kedarnath, Gangotri and Yamunotri are connected by roads with different places and cities in India.