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Adi Sankaracharya, the ancient Hindu philosopher first mentioned the term ‘Char Dham’ to denote four different sacred sites in India. These sites are Badrinath, Dwarka, Rameswaram and Puri, which are located in four different states in North, West, South and East India respectively. The four abodes are dedicated to a specific deity. There is another circuit of four ancient pilgrimage sites located in the valley of Uttarakhand that is called 'Chota Char Dham'. The first Dham Yamunotri is named after the Yamuna river which originates from here. It is believed that having a bath in this river leads to salvation. The second Dham is Gangotri, the place where Ganga originates from. Third Dham is Kedarnath which is believed to be home of Lord Shiva. Last Dham is Badrinath which is the abode of Lord Vishnu. This pilgrimage will introduce you to many adventures.
Several tour operators including Lih.travel (Leisure India Holiday) have amazing packages of Chota Chardham yatra by helicopter. These are full of adventure and religious vibes. Chota Char Dham Yatra is a pilgrimage of four religious sites but you can explore more places during your tour. The journey starts from Dehradun.
Lachhiwala, Dehradun - If you are with your family or friends then this picnic spot is made for you. You can enjoy the silence and can hear the birds chirping. The surroundings will infuse positive energy.
Sahastradhara, Dehradun - This place is between Dehradun and Yamunotri. The aesthetic beauty of nature in its purest form will rejuvenate your mind.
Robber’s Cave, Dehradun - This place is called the robber’s place because in earlier time robbers used to live there. Now it is open for tourists. Inside the cave there is a stream that disappears at some point and there are some small waterfalls.
FROM DEHRADUN TOWARDS YAMUNOTRI
Barkot - This place is located on the way to Yamunotri from Dehradun. It is a small hill station which gives a panoramic view of the snow-covered Himalayas. An ancient Shiva temple is also located in Barkot.
Hanuman Chatti - Base camp of Yamunotri, Dodi Tal and Darwa Top. It is enclosed by the Himalayan peaks. Many people visit this Hanuman temple every year. This spot represents nature at its best.
Janki Chatti - This is the place from where the Yamunotri trek begins. There are hot water springs where you can have a refreshing bath which will lose your muscles and energize you for the journey. You can get a pony ride or trek to the Yamunotri. The scene of snow-covered mountains, cold breeze, and enchanting views fills your soul with peace.
Kharsali - It is famous for the Shani Dev temple located about 1km away from Janki Chatti. In winter when it is not possible for the devotees to reach Yamunotri, the idol of goddess Yamuna is brought here.
It is the first Dham among the Chardham. Goddess Yamuna is worshipped in Yamunotri. According to Hindu mythology, a bath in the Yamuna protects the devotees from a painful death.
Following are the places you should see in Yamunotri-
Surya Kund - As the name suggests it is a hot water spring named after the Sun. The prasad potato and rice are prepared by the devotees in the hot water spring. Then a small part of it is offered to the goddess Yamuna during pooja and the rest is taken home by the devotees.
Divya Shila - Before visiting Yamunotri one has to pay homage to the Divya Shila. It is a pillar near Surya Kund.
Yamunotri Temple - The idol of goddess Yamuna is placed in this temple.
Prakateshwar Cave - It is famous for the Shivling made of limestone. This cave lies on the way to Gangotri and many people pay their homage to Shivling.
Gangotri is the second Dham visited by the people. There is an idol of the goddess Ganga in the temple. Ganga is considered to be the most sacred river which cleanses people from their sins.
The places to discover in Gangotri are as below.
Harsil - Harsil is situated on the banks of the Bhagirathi river. This is a place where you can enjoy the fresh air and wander around in an unpolluted environment. The attraction of this area is its high altitude lakes with clean water which brings calmness.
Submerged Shivling - This is a rock in the form of Shivling which is submerged in the water and can be visible when the water level is low. According to mythology, the existence of the Shivling represents that lord shiva holds Ganga in his braids to minimize the destruction that can be caused by the flow of Ganga.
Pandava Gufa - It is believed that Pandavas have stayed there on their journey to heaven after the war of Mahabharata.
Gaumukh Glacier - It is a place situated 18km away from Gangotri on a hill. The view at the top is astonishing. But you have to take special permission from the forest department to reach there.
The land of shiva is the 3rd destination of the Chardham yatra by helicopter. According to beliefs, it is the place where Lord Shiva appeared in front of Pandavas to free them from their guilt of killing their brothers.
The places to see in Kedarnath during Chardham yatra by helicopter are as below.
Kedarnath temple - This temple is home to one of the jyotirlinga. Many devotees offer their prayers to god.
Bhairav Temple - This temple has an idol of Lord Bhiravnath who is the guardian deity of Kedarnath. This is the only temple that can be visited in winter, while everything is covered in snow. Views from Bhairavnath temple are stunning.
The last stop of Chardham yatra is the Badrinath. Badri means berry. There is a story behind the name. As per mythology, goddess Laxmi had taken the form of berry trees to protect Lord Vishnu from the sun while he was performing a penance.
Badrinath Temple - Lord Vishnu exists in the form of Nar and Narayan in the temple. Many people come to visit this temple to seek the blessings of the god.
Narad Kund - At this place, Adi Shankaracharya found the idol of the Lord Vishnu and then placed it in the temple of Badrinath. It is also believed that Narad Muni authored the “ Narada Bhakti Sutra” at Narad Kund.
Mana village - This is the place where Vyas has taken help from lord Ganesh to write Mahabharata and one can visit the caves of Vyas and Ganesh.
Bheem Pul - This bridge was constructed by Bheem.
Vasudhara Falls - This waterfall is 5 km away from mana village. This site holds a beautiful view.
These places are must-visit places during Chardham yatra. Every place has its own uniqueness and a story worth knowing. This journey will improve your knowledge about spirituality and Hindu mythology. The scenic beauty of sites will mesmerize your heart. The best time to visit these pilgrimage sites is from April to June. So get ready for an awesome experience and book your package for Chardham yatra by helicopter now.
Photographs are sourced from public domain
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