The Char Dham, also referred to as “the four abodes”, is the journey up the mountains to the four sacred temples in the north-Indian state of Uttarakhand. It is also sometimes called as Chhota Char Dham to differentiate it 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.
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 God of death). A bath in the holy waters of the Yamuna river is said to cleanse one of all their sins and protect them from an untimely death.
Gangothri Dham is the birthplace of the River Ganga. Popular Hindu legends suggests that the River Ganga took birth here because Lord Shiva decided to release the mighty river from the locks of his hair. Dedicated to Goddess Ganga, Gangothri Dham is the second of the four temples at the Chota Char Dham Route.
Kedarnath Dham is an uphill trek for about 22 kilometres from Gaurikund. Pony and Manchan services are available to help the pilgrims reach the structure. The Kedarnath Dham is known to be one of the five spots believed to be where Lord Shiva resides. In the Vedas and Puranas, the word ‘Kedar’ refers to Lord Shiva.
Badrinath is sacred to Lord Vishnu, particularly in Vishnu’s dual form of Nara-Narayana. Badrinath temple was re-established by Adi Shankracharya in the 8th century as part of his mission to enliven Hinduism. The Badrinath Dham is situated on the banks of the Alaknanda river and neighbours many ancient sites which have both historical and religious value.