In India religion and spirituality has great significance. Devotees from all over the country visit pilgrimage and holy places every year to offer their praying. People often confuse Char Dham Yatra with Chota Char Dham Yatra. The Char Dham also known as Four Abodes is a set of four different sites; Badrinath located in Uttarakhand, Dwarka located in Gujarat, Puri located in Odisha and Rameswaram located in Tamil Nadu. In Hindu religion it is believed that visiting Char Dham during one’s lifetime helps achieve moksha.
The Chota Char Dham also known as Small Circuit of Four Abodes is another circuit of four holy pilgrimages; Yamunotri, Gangotri, Kedarnath and Badrinath,these four sites are the epicenter of religious places in North India. Gangotri Dham Yatra is an important Hindu pilgrimage site located in the Himalayan range in Uttarkashi district of Uttarakhand. The significance of Gangotri Dham is that it is the birthplace of the ancient holy River Ganga.
In Hindu culture it is believed that Goddess Ganga took the form of a river to descend to earth in response to Bhagirath’s prayers to free his ancestors from their sins. The intensity of River Ganga during descent was so high that it would have submerged the entire earth, so Lord Shiva caught River Ganga in his locks and released it in the form of a stream to the earth known as Bhagirathi River.
Places to visit in Gangotri Dham
1) Gangotri Temple - It is located by the side of Bhagirathi River in Uttarkashi district of Uttarakhand. The temple is closed from Diwali day (October/November) of every year to Akshaya Tritiya (April/May) next year. When the temple is closed the Idol of Goddess Ganga is moved to Mukhyamath temple in Mukhba village.
2) Gaumukh Gaumukh meaning Mouth of a Cow is considered the source of the Bhagirathi River, one of the primary headstreams of the holy river Ganga. Situated at a height of 13,200 ft (4,023 m) in Uttarkashi district in the state of Uttarakhand, India. It is a holy pilgrimage site as well as a trekking destination.
3) Bhagirath Shila It is believed to be the holy rock where King Bhagirath prayed to Lord Shiva.
4) Pandava Gufa It is the place where the Pandavas meditated and rested when they were headed to Kailash. It is located at a short distance of 1.5 km from Gangotri.
The best time to plan Gangotri Dham Yatra is during the summer season. In winter there is a lot of snowfall and the weather is too cold. In monsoon there is heavy rainfall which makes travelling very difficult.
Route to Gangotri Dham
1) Air Route Nearest Airport to Gangotri is Jolly Grant Airport in Dehradun.
2) Rail Route Nearest Railway stations to Gangotri are Dehradun, Rishikesh and Hardiwar.
3) Road Route Buses and taxes from important destinations like Rishikesh, Dehradun, Uttarkashi and Tehri Garhwal are easily accessible.
On an average it takes about 10 to 12 days to complete the Chota Chardham Yatra by Road. However, if you consider the Chota Chardham Yatra package by helicopter then the time to complete the Yatra is reduced by half around 6 to 7 days. Chota Char Dham Yatra is not just a religious tour but an Adventurous tour as well which you should experience at least once in your life.
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