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Chota Char Dham

Located on the foothills of Himalayas in Garhwal district of Uttarakhand, there are four sacred temples known as Char Dham. They are Kedarnath, Badrinath, Yamunotri and Gangotri. Millions of visitors visit the holy place every year aspiring to wash away their misdemeanor and get moksha. As per the myth, it is said that earth and heaven unite at this holy place and it is very auspicious to be born or die here. The parikrama or journey of the holy visit should start with Yamunotri, then Gangotri, then to Kedarnath and finally concluding at Badrinath. Char Dham yatra is the vital holy pilgrimage in the Hindu religion which en-routes the Himalayan range. Char Dham is located in the Garhwal district and all the four sites can be visited together. Char Dham yatra usually starts during mid-April and lasts till the end of November. Pilgrims from various cultures, traditions and regions, visit the Char Dhamyatra, some of them include Marwaris, Oriyas, Bengalis, Maharashtrians, Delhites, Gujratis and people from Uttar Pradesh are the commonly seen tourists.

It is considered that once in a lifetime every Hindu should visit Char Dham temples. Chota Char Dham is visited by 250,000 tourists every year. There has been an increasing trend in foreigners visiting Char Dham with an intention to get a view of snow clad Himalayas and to know the Indian culture closely.


Formerly, Char Dham Yatra title included four temples of Badrinath, Puri, Dwarka and Rameshwaram located at four important locations of the subcontinent. The typical formation of Chota Char Dham was created by philosopher and reformer from 8th century, Shankaracharya. Chota Char Dham yatra comprised of main Hindu rituals and hence the temples include Vaishnava site (Badrinath), Shiva situate (Kedarnath) and Gangotri and Yamunotri (two goddess locations). Earlier, Char Dham was done by nomadic religious experts and visiting this place included lengthy walking trails.

There was an improvement in the access to Chota Char Dham after the 1962 Indo-China war, as gigantic road building projects and infrastructure deals were carried out in India. The middle class pilgrims started visiting Chota Char Dham as the accessibility to the temple increase due to travel in cars, minibuses and jeeps. The nearest motor able road takes the tourists upto 10 to 15 kms near the temples. Every day, millions of pilgrims visit Char Dham to get blessings. Chota Char Dham can be covered in a stretch of 10 to 12 days, but currently helicopter service is available which covers the entire Char Dham Yatra in 2 days. Chota Char Dham Yatra is also widely known as “Char Dham of Uttarakhand”, “Char Dham of Himalayas” and “Char Dham of India”. The four temples are located in separate districts like Chamoli, Uttarkashi, Rudraprayag and on the hills of Garhwal. The tourists usually start visiting the shrines from Haridwar first and then visiting the Badrinath temple.

Best Time to Visit

Chota Char Dham can be visited during April to October or start of November months. Usually summers from the month of March to June are pleasing and ideal for touring and visiting the temples. Rainy season should be avoided to visit the temples, as temperature drops down to 15 degree Celsius. Due to heavy snowfall in winter season the temples are closed for tourists for six months.

Places to Visit

During Chota Char Dham tour there are enroute many places which can be visited, like –

Surya Kund

Located near Yamunotri is famous attraction Surya Kund. It is said that Yamuna River is the offspring of the Sun God as per mythology and hence, the temperature of water in this Kund is 88 degrees.

Divya Shila

Located close to Surya Kund is Divya Shila which is a powerful rock pillar where pilgrims can climb this mammoth wall. The soothing ambience of the overall voyage gives peace to the devotees.


Uttarkashi is the address of many temples and ashrams and is also called as “Kashi of the North”. The Nehru Institute of Mountaineering is located here


It is famous for the Vishwanath temple of Lord Shiva, Guptkashi is located in the northern side of the Mandakini River


The district Rudraprayag witnesses union of Alaknanda River and Mandakini River. The man eating Leopard was hunted here at Rudraprayag

Hemkund Sahib

This is a Sikh pilgrimage located in the Chamoli district also known as Hemkunt. The holy place is devoted to “Guru Gobind Sing Ji” who was the tenth Sikh Guru.

How to Reach

Tourists should reach Delhi by air or railway and then there are buses or cabs which can be hired to reach Haridwar through a road trip.

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