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16 Nights Chardham Yatra

Destinations Covered
New Delhi - Haridwar - Barkot - Yamunotri - Harsil - Gangotri - Sitapur - Kedarnath - Badrinath - Rudraprayag - Rishikesh - New Delhi

Day 1 New Delhi – Haridwar (230km/6hrs)

Early morning departure from Delhi to Haridwar.

On arrival, check-in at selected hotel.

Post lunch, half-day sightseeing tour of Haridwar, visiting the Bharat Mata Temple, dedicated to Mother India. Visit Har-ki-Pauri to witness the Ganga Aarti (Ceremony to worship the River Ganges).

Har-Ki-Pauri, regarded as one of Haridwar’s major attractions, is a sacred ghat built in the 1st Century BC by the King Vikramaditya, in memory of his brother Bharthari. It is believed that Har-Ki-Pauri is the precise spot where the Ganges enters the plains. The “aarti” takes place at sundown by the holy River Ganges. It’s a beautiful ceremony, performed by priests holding fire bowls in their hands and offering their homage to Shiva, the river, the sun and the universe.

Dinner and overnight stay at the hotel.

Day 2 Haridwar – Barkot (220km/7hrs)

Post breakfast, depart from Haridwar to Barkot.

Lunch break in Mussoorie with a short visit to Kempty Falls.

Kempty Falls, situated at an altitude of 1371 metres, is a beautiful waterfall. Developed as a tourist destination by British officer John Mekinan in 1835, the name Kempty is probably derived from the words “camp-tea”. Kempty Falls offer a stunning panoramic view of the surroundings.

Afterwards, resume journey to Barkot, a beautiful town nestled in the Rawain Valley on the banks of the Yamuna River, at an altitude of 1220 metres. Barkot offers panoramic views of snow-capped mountains, and is an important stopover on the way to Yamunotri.

On arrival, check-in at the hotel.

Dinner and overnight stay at the hotel.

Day 3 Barkot – Yamunotri – Barkot (37km/1hr drive + 7km/3hrs trek - one way)

Post breakfast, depart for Hanuman Chatti with packed lunch.

From Hanuman Chatti, take a local jeep to reach Phool Chatti.

Start the Yamunotri trek from Phool Chatti.

On arrival, visit Yamunotri Temple, perform puja (offering ceremonies) and then relax for some time in the lovely surroundings.

Note

  • It's possible for older people to ride on horse-back (pony rides), at their own expense.
  • This trekking is not suitable for elderly people or people with walking difficulties.

The Yamunotri Temple, dedicated to the goddess Yamuna, was constructed by Maharaja Pratap Shah of Tehri Garhwal. It sits at an altitude of 3293 metres. Built around three piping-hot sulphur springs by the river, the temple opens in May and closes in November. Its main shrine is actually part of the top spring, and is worshipped as the source of the river. This shrine holds a small silver figure of the Goddess Yamuna, who is bedecked with garlands. The daughter of Surya - the sun god and Sangya - consciousness, Yamuna is the twin sister of Yama - the god of death. All who bathe in Yamuna's water are said to be spared a painful end, while food cooked in the hot sulphur springs is considered to be prasad (a divine offering). "Divyasheel" is the name of the stone placed before the temple; it is a ritual to worship it before entering the sanctum.

The actual source of the River Yamuna is the glacial lake, Saptarishi Kund, at the feet of Champasar Glacier (Yamunotri Glacier). It is located on the Kalind Mountain at an altitude of 4421 metres, and is not generally accessible. Hence the shrine is located at the foot of the hill.

Return to Phool Chatti in the evening and driven back to Barkot.

Dinner and overnight stay at the hotel.

Day 4 Barkot – Harsil (154km/4hrs)

Post breakfast, check-out and depart for Harsil.

Lunch break in Uttarkashi and stop for photoshoot on the way at Gagnani.

Gangnani is an ideal destination for the spiritually inclined, and those seeking peace of mind. Being a great spot for meditation, and famous for its thermal water springs, it’s a perfect place for rejuvenation. The thermal water spring at Gangnani is called Rishikund.

Afterwards, resume journey to Harsil; on arrival, check-in at the hotel.

Harsil, a small village situated on the banks of the sacred River Bhagirathi, lies on the way to Gangotri at an altitude of 2620 metres. This unspoiled village and cantonment town is famous for its peace and serenity, here in the lap of the Himalayas. Dense deodar forests, the gushing Bhagirathi River, chirping birds and serene environs are the highlights of this secluded place. Being in Harsil is a rejuvenating experience; you can also practice meditation and yoga here.

Dinner and overnight stay at the hotel.

Day 5 In Harsil

Post breakfast, morning at leisure to enjoy the surroundings.

Lunch, dinner and overnight stay at the hotel.

Day 6 Harsil – Gangotri – Harsil (22km/1hr - one way)

Post breakfast, depart for a full-day visit to Gangotri.

Gangotri is a town at an altitude of 3048 metres, on the banks of the holy Bhagirathi River. Its center is the Ganga Temple, built by Amar Singh Thapa, a Gorkha general, in the early 18th Century. The origin of the Bhagirathi River is the Gaumukh glacier, located 18km from Gangotri. The river is called Bhagirathi at the source, and acquires the name Ganga (The Ganges) from Devprayag onwards, where it meets the Alaknanda River.

Gangotri offers views of rugged terrain, the gushing water of Bhagirathi River, and snow-clad peaks. This place holds great importance because, according to mythology, Goddess Ganga manifested herself here in the form of a river to absolve the sins of King Bhagirath's predecessors, following his severe penance of several centuries. Shiva received Ganga into his matted locks to minimize the immense impact of her fall to earth. She came to be called Bhagirathi at her legendary source.

On arrival, visit Gangotri Temple and perform puja (offering ceremonies).

Post lunch, relax in the lovely surroundings, before going back to the hotel in evening.

Dinner and overnight stay at the hotel.

Day 7 Harsil – Guptakashi – Sitapur (310km/11hrs)

Post breakfast, check-out and depart for Sitapur with a packed lunch.

On arrival, check-in at the hotel.

Sitapur is a beautiful, picturesque hamlet; this untouched haven falls on the way to Kedarnath. It is 26km from Guptkashi, and 7km before Gaurikund.

Dinner and overnight stay at the hotel.

Day 8 In Sitapur

Post breakfast, morning at leisure to enjoy the surroundings.

Dinner and overnight stay at the hotel.

Day 9 Sitapur - Gaurikund - Kedarnath - Sitapur (7km/15min - drive + 14km /4hrs trek – one way)

Post breakfast, depart for Gaurikund with a packed lunch, and start trekking to Kedarnath from Gaurikund.

Note

  • It’s possible for older people to ride on horse-back (pony rides), at their own expense.
  • This trekking is not suitable for elderly people or people with walking difficulties.

On arrival, proceed to Kedarnath Temple.

Kedarnath Temple sits at an altitude of 3583 metres, on the shores of Mandakani River. It’s an impressive stone structure, believed to have been constructed in the 8th Century by Adi Shankaracharya. It stands adjacent to the site of an earlier temple built by the Pandavas. The inner walls of the assembly hall are decorated with figures of various deities and scenes from mythology. Outside the temple door, a large statue of Nandi Bull stands guard.

Dedicated to Shiva, the exquisite Kedarnath Temple houses one of the twelve “Jyotirlingas” of Kedar or Lord Shiva. The temple has a Garbha Griha (Sanctum) for worship and a Mandap (Worship hall) used for assemblies of pilgrims and visitors. A conical rock formation inside the temple is worshipped as God Shiva in his Sadashiva form.

The origin of the revered temple can be found in the great epic Mahabharata. According to the legend, the Pandavas sought the blessings of Shiva to atone for their sins after the battle of Mahabharata. Shiva eluded them repeatedly, and while fleeing took refuge at Kedarnath in the form of a bull. On being followed, he dived into the ground, leaving behind his hump on the surface. This conical protrusion is worshipped as the idol in the shrine. Further parts of Lord Shiva are worshipped at four other places: his arms (bahu) at Tungnath; his mouth (mukh) at Rudranath; his navel (nabhi) at Madmaheshwar; and his hair (jata) at Kalpeshwar. Together with Kedarnath, these places are known as the Panch Kedar. It is also believed that parts of Shiva appeared at Pashupatinath, Kathmandu.

Take part in a puja (offerings ceremony) at the Kedarnath Temple and visit Shree Adi Shankaracharya's Samadhi at the back of the temple.

Later in the evening, return to Gaurikund for being driven back to Sitapur.

Dinner and overnight stay at the hotel.

Day 10 In Sitapur

Post breakfast, morning at leisure to enjoy the surroundings.

Lunch, dinner and overnight, stay at the hotel.

Day 11 Sitapur – Badrinath via Chopta (226km/8hrs)

Post breakfast, check-out and depart for Badrinath via Chopta.

Chopta, at an altitude of 2700 metres, offers a majestic view of the snow-clad Himalayan ranges and lush green meadows. Surrounded by dense forest, the Chopta region is rich in varied flora and fauna, with plenty of rhododendron and deodar trees around.

After lunch break in Pipalkoti, resume journey to Badrinath.

On arrival, check-in at the hotel.

The Badrinath Temple is cradled in the Nar-Narayan mountain range, with the grand Neelkanth Peak forming an enchanting backdrop. It sits at an altitude of 3133 metres, on the left bank of the River Alaknanda. The temple is believed to have been established by Adi Shankaracharya, and the temple's present structure was built by the Kings of Garhwal. The temple has three sections: the Garbhagriha (Sanctum), the Darshan Mandap (Worship Hall), and the Sabha Mandap (Convention Hall). The Garbhagriha (Sanctum) houses Shree Badari Narayan, Kuver (God of Wealth), Narad Rishi, Udhava, as well as Nar & Narayan. Shree Badari Narayan is armed with a shankh (conch shell) and a chakra (disc) in two of his arms, which he holds up, while he rests his other two arms on his lap, in the yoga mudra pose. The principal figure is of black stone, being Vishnu seated in meditative pose. The temple also houses Garuda (the carrier of Shree Narayan), as well as shrines dedicated to Maha Lakshmi and Adi Sankara. The temple remains snowbound for over six months each year, and during this time Shree Badrinath is shifted to Joshimath.

Dinner and overnight stay at the hotel.

Day 12 In Badrinath

Early morning, visit the temple to attend morning aarti (ceremony).

Post breakfast, morning at leisure to enjoy the surroundings.

Later in the evening, attend evening aarti (ceremony) and witness how the local rituals are performed in the temple.

Lunch, dinner and overnight stay at the hotel.

Day 13 Badrinath – Joshimath – Rudraprayag (157km/5hrs)

Post breakfast, check-out and depart for Joshimath, en-route visiting Vishnu Prayag, Joshimath and Karnprayag.

Vishnuprayag, at an altitude of 4500 metres, lies at the confluence of the Alaknanda and Dhauliganga Rivers. Vishnuprayag was named after Shree Vishnu. It is the place where Sage Narada meditated until Lord Vishnu appeared before him. The natural beauty that surrounds the town, especially the view past the temple on the hillock above the confluence, is mesmerizing. A temple stands at the confluence that is believed to have been built in 1889 by Ahalyabai, the Maharani of Indore.

Joshimath was named after the Jyotirmath, and was established by Adiguru Shankaracharya. Visit Adiguru Shankaracharya’s Math. The math (monastery), established in Joshimath in the 8th Century, is also known as Jyotirmath, and has a huge mulberry tree in its precincts. This tree is said to be around 2400 years old, and is located atop a cave where Adiguru meditated. Joshimath Town itself is located on a gentle, beautiful, north-facing slope. Several peaks – including Nilkanth, Dronagiri, and Nanda Devi – are visible from Joshimath.

On arrival, check-in at the hotel.

Rudraprayag lies at the convergence of two Rivers, the Alaknanda and the Nandakini. It is said that Narad was blessed by Lord Shiva in this place; he appeared to Narad in Rudra form. This is one of the five confluences of the Alaknanda River and is described as "The Abode of Gods", with the majestic Himalayan backdrop, the gushing water of the sacred rivers, and a rich variety of flora and fauna.

Lunch, dinner and overnight stay at the hotel.

Day 14 Rudraprayag – Rishikesh (141km/4hrs)

Post breakfast, check-out and depart for Rishikesh, en-route visiting Devprayag, the joining point of the Bhagirathi and Alaknanda Rivers.

On arrival, check-in at the hotel.

Rishikesh, also known as the “Place of Sages” is a town situated along the banks of the River Ganges. It’s surrounded by the scenic beauty of the hills on three sides, and is called the yoga capital of the world. Rishikesh is famous for Ayurveda, yoga, meditation, and spa therapies. You will find numerous Ayurveda study centres, yoga centres and ancient temples along the banks of the Ganges River.

Rishikesh is the site where Vishnu vanquished the demon Madhu. Legends state that Lord Rama did penance here for killing Ravana, the demon King of Lanka. Lakshman, his younger brother, crossed the River Ganges where the Lakshman Jhula Bridge stands today, using a jute-rope bridge. The Kedar Khanda of Skanda Purana also mentions the existence of Indrakund at this very point. The jute-rope bridge was replaced by an iron-rope suspension bridge in 1889. After that was washed away in the 1924 floods, the current stronger bridge was built.

Located on the bank of the Ganges River, Rishikesh is an ideal destination for adventure activities like rafting, trekking, rock climbing, and kayaking.

Post lunch, morning at leisure to enjoy the surroundings.

Dinner and overnight stay at the hotel.

Day 15 In Rishikesh

Post breakfast, morning at leisure to enjoy the surroundings.

Lunch, dinner and overnight stay at the hotel.

Day 16 In Rishikesh

Post breakfast, morning at leisure to enjoy the surroundings.

Lunch, dinner and overnight stay at the hotel.

Day 17 Rishikesh – New Delhi (235km/6hrs)

Post breakfast, check-out and depart for New Delhi International Airport/Railway Station, or any convenient point for your onward journey.

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