Leisure Hotels, the largest hotel chain in Uttarakhand set up the Chardham Camps in the year 2003 for the first time and pioneered the concept of luxury pilgrimage travel in the Chardham sector.The picturesque location of Chardham Camps on the circuit is chosen in such a way that one is able to reach in time from one camp to another and still gets some time to rest and relax for nest day’s journey. The convenient location makes it extremely easily accessible from Shrine as well as the nearest town. The locations of the
Chardham Camps are
-Barkot for Yamunotri
-Harsil & Maneri for Gangotri & Gomukh
-Guptakashi for Kedarnath
- Joshimath for Badrinath, Auli and Valley of flowers.
At the Chardham Camps hospitality is not just to sumptuous cuisine and luxurious accommodation, guest are also offered assistance which include comfortable shrine visits, glimpses of the local culture & heritage and are encouraged to explore the area themselves. Some of the assistance which readily available are:
- Assistance for shrine visit and arrangement of pony and Palanquins (palki)
- Umbrellas during the trek to Kedarnath
- Oxygen Cylinders on hire
- Special arrangements for people with difficulty in walking
- Assistance in Helicopter booking for Kedarnath
It is revered as one of the most sacred pilgrimages in the world. A venture fuelled by devotion and yearn for sheer spirituality. Standing proud and aware of its majesty, the four heavenly abodes are reachable to not the strongest or fittest, youngest or oldest, but perhaps to the most enduring. Char Dham yatra comprising of Yamunotri, Gangotri, Kedarnath & Badrinath is the road to salvation for a Hindu.
Nothing spells devotion more than a visit to the Char Dhams. Four temples, each more enchanting than the other, nestled in seclusion among the mighty Himalayan peaks. It’s exclusivity and mystery are strong enough to stir up a relentless yearn for spiritual absolution in everyone’s hearts. Ganga, Yamuna, Vishnu and the mighty Shiva are existent in their purest of incarnations up there, and for a Hindu, it is the closest one can come to experiencing heavenly bliss. Over the years, the Char Dhams have evolved into important places of worship, thronged by people looking to connect with ultimate power.
The Relevance Of The Chardham Yatra
Char Dham, literally ‘the four abodes’, yatra refers to the journey up the mountains to four sacred temples in the north-Indian state of Uttarakhand. It is also sometimes referred to as Chhota Char Dham to differentiate it from from the bigger circuit of Char Dham sites. The four temples that comprise Char Dham are, Yamunotri Dham, Gangotri Dham, Badrinath Dham and Kedarnath Dham. Each of these temples has scintillating myths associated with them, which give them immense religious importance.
Yamunotri Dham, the first Dham en route the yatra, is situated at Yamunotri- where the sacred river the Yamuna originates. It named after Goddess Yamuna, the twin sister of Yama (the goddess of death). A bath in the holy waters of Yamuna river is said to cleanse one of all sins and protect from untimely death. It is believed that sage Asit Muni lived here and bathed in both Ganga and Yamuna. In his old age, when he was unable to go to Gangotri, a stream of Ganga started to flow across the steam of Yamuna. The temple houses a black marble idol of the goddess.
Gangotri is the birthplace of the holy river Ganga. According to popular Hindu legend, it was here that Goddess Ganga descended when Lord Shiva released the mighty river from the locks of his hair. Dedicated to the goddess, Gangotri Dham is the second temple that falls on the Chota Char Dham route. It was built by the Nepalese General, Amar Singh Thapa. The origin of the holy river, however, is at Gaumukh, the sacred snout of the Gangotri Glacier, which is a 19 km trek from Gangotri. Bhaghirath Shila and Pandava Gufa are religious spots located very close to the Gangotri Dham.
The word ‘Kedar’ refers to Lord Shiva in Vedas & Puranas. Kedarnath, as per holy belief and sacredness, is known to be the land of Lord Shiva, where Lord still resides in the form of Linga. The otherworldly Kedarnath Dham is about 500 meters above Badrinath and is believed to be one of the five uprisal spots of the Lord. It is also the highest located jyotirling. The temple is an old stone edifice located on the shores of Mandakini River. It is believed to have been built by the Pandavas and revived by Adi Sankara in 8th century CE. The view of this temple against its snowy backdrop is just resplendent. Kedarnath Dham is definitely one of the most important Dhams in the yatra.
Badrinath, the final checkpoint in the yatra, is considered one of the holiest places in Hindu religion. It is said that Lord Vishnu, also known as Lord Badri, came here to seek penance through meditation after a life of indulgence. Located along the banks of Alaknanda River, Badrinath Dham is also the only dham part of the bigger Char Dham circuit. It stands beautifully on Garhwal Hill, rearing its golden head and fluttering its red flags with Godly presence. The 3.3 feet tall black stone statue of Vishnu inside is often considered to be a self-manifested image. The Badrinath Dham is surrounded by Tapt Kund, Suraj Kund and Narad Kund - housed naturally occurring hot springs where all devotees take a ritualistic dip before entering its hallowed sanctum.
Imagine a world straight out of your imagination; A world reminiscent of spiritual utopia- where Godly presence is not only perceived but strongly felt. Char Dham yatra is all about experiencing that fantasy. The journey may be long, arduous and not for the faint-hearted, but it is definitely rewarding- both spiritually and sensually.
Every year, hundreds of devotees, young and old, from near and far, ride, trek and fly to the Char has to answer its beautiful calling.