The Char Dhams are the four holy shrines in the blessed ‘Dev Bhoomi’, Uttarakhand. The pilgrimage includes paying homage at the four holy places of Yamunotri, Gangotri, Kedarnath, and Badrinath. Also known as the Chota Char Dham, these shrines are believed to be the holiest pilgrimage sites in Hinduism.
Each of the pilgrimage sites, that is each of the Dhams are believed to be sacred as it is associated with many legends of Hinduism mentioned in many sacred texts and beliefs. The Dhams are believed by Hindus as the gates to the ultimate salvation (moksha). Visiting the Dhams are said to cleanse all sins of a lifetime and grant the pilgrims on the journey with health, prosperity, and divine blessings.
Till some years back, the Char Dham Yatra was very difficult and only completed by the devotees who kept great health. The places and the routes were almost inaccessible but as the popularity of the Yatra grew, the Indian government put efforts into the journey accessible to pilgrims. The roads to the Dhams have been developed with facilities for pilgrims, services are started for helicopter journeys for devotees and even the shrines have been maintained with amenities.
Char Dham Yatra by helicopter
Devotees prefer to visit the holy Char Dhams on a complete Yatra and not just the individual Dhams. Earlier pilgrims used to cover the journey on bus and foot, making it possible for only the healthy people with 10-12 days of time to embark upon the sacred journey, but with the starting of the services of Chardham Yatra by helicopter the difficult journey has become easy, hassle-free and time-saving. The entire tour can be covered in 4-5 days. The Yatra starts from the Helipad in Dehradun making stops at Yamunotri and Gangotri then Kedarnath and lastly at Badrinath. The helicopter package of Chardham Yatra suits pilgrims who are not in great health or short on time or who would like a hassle-free visit to the holy shrines.
Yamunotri the origin of Yamuna River is the sacred shrine of the Goddess Yamuna. It is located in Garhwal Himalayas at an altitude of 3,291 meters (10,797 ft.) in the Uttarkashi district of Uttarakhand. According to legends, Yamuna is the sister of the God of Death, Yama, and visiting the temple blesses the pilgrims’ protection against painful death and cleanses all sins. To reach Yamunotri there are options for air, rail, road, and helicopter. The temple can be reached after a 6km trail that pilgrims can either trek or ride a pony or palki.
The Jolly Grant Airport in Dehradun is at a distance of 210 km. From the airport, there are options of either further taking a helicopter tour or getting by road.
The Kharsali Helipad is the stop for the helicopter to get to the holy shrine.
The nearest railway station is 172 km away. From the Dehradun Railway Station, pilgrims can further embark by road or get to the Sahastradhara Helipad for Chardham Yatra by helicopter.
Regular buses ply to Hanuman Chatti located at a distance of 14 km from Yamunotri.
The second pilgrimage site of Char Dham Yatra in Uttarakhand, Gangotri is located at a height of 3050 meters above sea level on the banks of Bhagirathi River. Dedicated to Goddess Ganga, the Dham is said to be the origin of the holy Ganga River while the Gaumukh glacier, the source of the river is a further 1 km away. A dip in the holy waters of the river Ganga is said to cleanse all sins of a lifetime and help attain salvation. The Gangotri Dham is easily accessible by rail, rail, road, and helicopter.
Jolly Grant Airport in Dehradun is at a distance of 226 km. From the airport, the holy shrine can be reached by road or by helicopter.
Harsil Helipad is only 2 km away from the holy Dham.
Rishikesh is the nearest railway station at a distance of 250 km. From the railway station, the temple can be visited by road.
The road to Gangotri is covered by frequent options of buses and taxis from Rishikesh, Dehradun and other places in Uttarakhand.
One of the holy 12 Jyotirlingas in India, Kedarnath is a holy shrine of Lord Shiva set an elevation of around 3584metres above the sea level. Nestled in the lap of snow-covered mountains of Uttarakhand by the Mandakini River it is one of the most beautiful places in India that brings devotees from far ends. The Dham is one of the toughest to get to by road. It is a challenging 14km trek from Gaurikund that can be covered on foot, pony, or by palki. The easiest option to reach the sacred shrine is a helicopter Yatra to Kedarnath Dham.
Jolly Grant Airport is at a distance of 238 km. From the airport buses and taxis cover the journey by road while from Sahastradhara one can get a chopper ride to the Phata helipad and further Kedarnath helipad.
The Kedarnath helipad is only 500 m away from the temple.
Rishikesh is the nearest railway station at a distance of 216 km. From the railway station, you can hire a cab or a taxi to reach Phata for a chopper ride or to Gaurikund and further journey by road.
Buses and taxis are available to reach Gaurikund, the town from where Kedarnath is accessible by road.
Badrinath Dham in the Chamoli district of Uttarakhand is settled at an elevation of around 3300 meters along the banks of the Alaknanda River. Dedicated to Lord Badri (Vishnu) the shrine is part of both the Char Dham circuits of Uttarakhand and India. The sacred shrine is accessible by air, rail, road, and helicopter.
Jolly Grant Airport is the nearest airport situated at a distance of 311 km. From the airport, the journey can be completed by chopper or by road.
Badrinath helipad is only 700 m from the temple.
Haridwar railway station is the closest at a distance of 318 km.
Taxis and buses ply to Badrinath from many places in Uttarakhand.