Chardham

Located in the lofty laps of Himalayas are the holy centres of Gangotri, Yamunotri, Badrinath and Kedarnath - collectively the Chardham or four sacred spots. According to the scriptures of Hinduism, these are the most sacred of all pilgrimages, and undertaking a journey to them will not just wash away one's sins but ensure release from the cycle of birth and death. For centuries, saints and pilgrims, in their search for the divine, have walked these mystical vales known in ancient Hindu scriptures as 'Kedarkhand'. Thus these four sites are revered.

When one goes to this area, it is easy to acknowledge when told that heaven and earth converge in these holy spots. The Chardham must be visited from left to right -beginning with Yamunotri, going on to Gangotri, Kedarnath and culminating the journey at Badrinath. This route follows the Hindu tradition of parikrama or clockwise circumambulation. Explore these places and have a deep communication with the Lord Almighty up in the misty heights of the majestic Garhwal Himalayas in the magnificent state of Uttaranchal.

Earlier, a yatra (or journey) to this area was arduous and difficult, simply because while the area was beautiful, accessibility was grueling and strenuous. Thus few people came here, and due to the short travel season limited to the summer months and the harsh winters, the limited infrastructure could not even offer the comforts of a basic hotel elsewhere. Spiritual Journeys now offers you one of the finest accommodations in Char Dham, the cradle of eternal tranquility, by way of very luxurious tents offering you the best accommodation possible.

The spiritual solace of the Char Dham yatra endows peace of the mind and soul. Once we are in the lap of the Himalayas, our Chardham Yatra comprises of staying in one of our tented bases, and going out to one of the Dhams.

Each of the four camps at Barkot (for Yamunotri), Harsil (for Gangotri), Guptkashi (for Kedarnath) and Joshimath (for Badrinath) offers:

  • Spacious all weather proof (16' x 12') tents
  • Attached baths and toilets with running hot & cold water
  • Vegetarian multi-cuisine dining facilities
  • Hot water bottles in bed at night
  • Guides for visits to local shrines
  • Escorts for walks and visits to nearby areas
  • National and International telephone facilities
  • Reception tent - facilitation & provisions of lockers
  • Medical dispensary - equipped with first aid facilities and oxygen cylinders, with doctor & nurse on call
  • Activity block for:

    Aartis
    Yoga classes everyday.
    Ayurvedic massage - expert masseurs
    Religious discourses
    Crafts bazaar
    Utilities
    Media center

Set amidst the serenity of plush flora, a stay at the commodious hotel in Char Dham feels like a ‘home away from home.’ Dotted with the sacred shrines, the Char Dham yatra gives an insight into the glorious Hindu mythology that carries the most amazing tales of miracles and marvel. The Char Dham pilgrimage tours are believed to set the spirit to a novel journey of salvation that imbues the soul with a regenerated self.

Every year, the Hindu religious calender determines when the Chardham opens to the public. The best time to travel is mid-May to mid-July, and then mid September to mid-October, making this the ideal vacation time for the year. However, please contact us prior to making travel bookings.

Our itinerary for the Chardham Yatra is as follows, however, we will customize the tour for you and your group. (Please note while we have mentioned distances, due to local conditions, time to traverse these distances is much longer than in other places).

Day 1. Leave the USA or Australia this evening.

Day 2. Leave Europe in the morning. Arrive into Delhi late at night. Overnight: A five star de-luxe hotel.

Day 3. Leave Delhi for Hardwar by train. Arrive at Hardwar and transfer to your hotel, The Haveli Hari Ganga. If Hardwar can be described as the Confluence of The Mind & the Soul then The Haveli Hari Ganga, a beautiful heritage “Haveli” is the Confluence of The Mind, the Body & the Soul. Situated on the banks of the Holy Ganga, a mere 500 meters walk through the Bazaar and the sacred "Har ki Pauri" at Haridwar, it stands at the gateway to the Devbhumi – the abode of the Gods and the "Char Dham Yatra". The Haveli is an architectural marvel, where the ancient structure has been restored to recreate the old - world charm with modern day hospitality. The interiors of The Haveli are interestingly reminiscent of old Indian Mythological times where there are balanced tones of tranquility & comfort. And the only way to get to the Haveli is by the three-wheeled pedal rickshaws. Relax with an Ayurvedic massage. Dinner and overnight: The Haveli Hari Ganga.

Day 4. Depart early in the morning and lunch on the way at Mussoorie, a glorious hill station. Continuing our journey, stop at Kempty Falls, and arrive at The Chardham Camp in Barkot in the evening, a journey of 7 ½ hours. The Chardham Camp at Barkot, Yamunotri, at an altitude of 1830 metres (6000 feet) is 40 kms (25 miles) from Dharasu. Barkot is a place of great scenic beauty with spectacular views of snow capped mountains all around. A magnificent view of the eternal snow peaks of Bandarpunch can be seen from here. Relax with an Ayurvedic massage. Dinner and overnight: The Chardham Camp Resort, Barkot.

Day 5. Leave early, drive to Hanuman Chatti, and take a local 4-wheel drive vehicle to Phool Chatti, then walk 7 km (4 miles) to Yamunotri. Arriving at Yamunotri, we will pray at the temple and start our most scared pilgrimage to the Char Dhams. Reverse our journeys by walking back to Phool Chatti then driving to the Barkot resort, and relax with a soothing Ayurvedic massage. Dinner and overnight: The Chardham Camp Resort, Barkot.

Day 6. After a relaxed breakfast, drive to Harsil, a total journey of 6 ½ hours. Enroute stop at Uttakashi. At Gangnani, stop for a dip in the hot water spring. Going through beautiful valleys, arrive at the Chardham Camp Resort, Harsil amidst an apple orchid in Dharali village at an altitude of 2620 metres (8595 feet), and relax with an Ayurvedic massage. Located in the topographically mountainous district of Uttarkashi, this hamlet is famous for its natural beauty and delicious apples. From Harsil, the adventurous ones can trek to Sat Tal, situated just above Dharali, 2 km beyond Harsil, to be greeted by the rewarding sight of seven lakes situated amidst beautiful natural surroundings. Dinner and overnight: The Chardham Camp Resort, Harsil.

Day 7. Drive to Gangotri, and upon arrival, take a dip in the sacred Ganges (called the Bhagirathi, here at its origin). Perform a pooja, and relax in the lovely surroundings. Drive back to the Harsil Resort to relax in the bright sunshine, the beautiful views of the valley, and an Ayurvedic massage. In the evening, we will perform the Ganga Aarti at our own riverbank. Dinner and overnight: The Chardham Camp Resort, Harsil.

Day 8. Embark on the single longest journey of our trip when we drive to Guptakashi, a journey of 9 ½ hours, with lunch in Srinager. Get your first glimpse of the beautiful River Mandakini and then follow the river as we drive on her bank arriving at Chardham Camp Resort, Guptakashi at an altitude of 1320 metres (4330 feet), at dusk. Guptkashi has great importance, quite like that of Kashi. The ancient Vishwanath temple, Ardhnareshwar temple and Manikarnik Kund, where two streams of the Ganga and Yamuna meet, are the main places of attraction in Guptkashi. A stupa is constructed at Nala, close to Ukhimath. Ukhimath is the winter seat of Lord Kedarnath, when the doors of the temple of Kedarnath are closed. Relax with an Ayurvedic massage. Dinner and overnight: The Chardham Camp Resort, Guptakashi.

Day 9. Start on our 2-hour drive to Gaurikund. Arriving there, we embark on our 14 km (9 mile) trek to Kedarnath, arriving late in the afternoon. After freshening up, perform Pooja and visit (darshan) Shri KedarnathJi. At dusk, visit the Adi Shankaracharya Samadhi. Overnight and dinner: Punjab & Sindh Awas. (The quality of this out of the way pilgrim’s guest house is maintained by us).

Day 10. Reverse our journey back to Chardham Camp Resort, Guptakashi, arriving there by the evening, and relaxing with an Ayurvedic massage. Dinner and overnight: The Chardham Camp Resort, Guptakashi.

Day 11. Depart by car for Joshimath, a journey of 6 ½ hours, stopping at Chopta and Pipalkoti. This is one of the most beautiful sites of the whole trip. Enjoy the stunning drive through the thick medicinal forest, home of many a herb used in Ayurveda. Arrive at Chardham Camp Resort, Joshimath by late afternoon, leaving the evening free for you to explore Joshimath, at an altitude of 1845 metres (6050 feet). Joshimath is described in the ancient scriptures as Kartikeyapura, because the Katyuri kings named it after their God, Kartikeya. It is one of the four great maths or monasteries and a popular center of pilgrimage. It is also the base for treks to the famous Valley of Flowers. Joshimath is close to Nanda Devi (7816 metres (25,645 feet) the highest peak in India), and 15 kms (10 miles) from the AULI skiing resort. Relax with an Ayurvedic massage when you arrive. Dinner and overnight: The Chardham Camp Resort, Joshimath.

Day 12. Drive to Shri Badrinath, a journey of 3 hours. After your visit (darshan), spend time at the village of Mana, the last village before the Indo-Tibetan border. Drive back to the resort for an Ayurvedic massage. Dinner and overnight: The Chardham Camp Resort, Joshimath.

Day 13. Return to Hardwar, a 9 ½ journey through Srinager, visiting Devprayag, the confluence of the rivers Alakanda and Bhagirathi which forms the Ganga. Arrive Hardwar late evening, and relax with an Ayurvedic massage. Dinner and overnight: The Haveli Hari Ganga.

Day 14. Return to Delhi by train. Transfer to your hotel, and a few hours of shopping in Delhi. Overnight: A five star de-luxe hotel.

Day 15. Spend the rest of this day on your own, shopping or sightseeing in this, the capital city. In the evening, transfer to the airport for your flight home. Overnight: On your flight.

Day 16. Arrive this morning in Europe. Arrive this evening into USA or Australia.

COST: Price will depend on number of people in the tour. It will include all meals, hotels as listed or best hotel in town, transportation and accommodation on a shared double room basis. Excludes International air.


RECOMMENDED READING:
Sacred Waters: A Pilgrimage up the Ganges River to the Source of Hindu Culture, by Stephen Alter. Publisher: Harcourt; (October 17, 2001). ISBN: 0151005850.

REGISTRATION: Please use our registration form to register.

COST INCLUDES:

  • 13 nights accommodation on Twin / Double Sharing,
  • Transfers & Sightseeing - by air conditioned vehicles in Delhi, and appropriate vehicles in the Hills,
  • Breakfast, lunch and dinner, every day. Non-vegetarian options in Delhi, but vegetarian in the Hills,
  • Ten Ayurvedic massages as specified in the itinerary,
  • Services of a SJI representative at all airport / railway station / hotel transfers,
  • Trains as detailed,
  • Two bottles of mineral water per day,
  • Current hotel taxes and service charge,
  • English speaking guides,
  • Current entrance fees at all monuments as on date subject to change, and,
  • All Government taxes at hotels as on date. Future levies will be charged extra.

COST DOES NOT INCLUDE:

  • Departure Taxes or Visa handling fees,
  • Visas are required for travel to India,
  • Beverages, alcohol, laundry, telephone calls or other items of personal nature,
  • Tips and Gratuities to drivers, porters, bellboys and waiters at restaurants,
  • Increases in Government imposed taxes,
  • Services not specially stated in the itinerary, and,
  • International Air to and from India.

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION: E-Mail or postal-mail: Deepak Singh, Spiritual Journeys, Inc., 262 Upland Road, Cambridge, MA 02140. USA. Ph: 508-358-4267