The Char Dham ('the four abodes) is a term coined for the four most revered Hindu pilgrimage destinations of Gangotri, Yamunotri, Kedarnath and Badrinath in the Garhwal region of Uttarakhand, in the Himalayas. While each site in the circuit has a unique history and significance that predates and remains distinct from their status as a circuit. The particular word Char Dham has, over the times, ingrained in popular imagination and pilgrimage practice. According to the Puranas and various Hindu scriptures, the Chardham Yatra is of the highest religious significance in a religious believer's life. Pilgrims from all around the world brave the severe conditions of landscape and weather to visit the shrines for holy darshans of the revered deities.
The Circuit Holy confluences. scenic surroundings and the aura of spiritual serenity make Char Dham an ideal religious destination. Traditionally, the yatra is done from the west to the east- starting from Yamunotri, then proceeding to Gangotri and finally to Kedarnath and Badrinath. Most pilgrims to the Char Dham enter the circuit at the famous temple town of Haridwar. Others disembark at Rishikesh, or from Dehradun, the capital of Uttarakhand. From there, the route is followed in this order:
1.Yamunotri: The source of the Yamuna River, is a full day's journey from Rishikesh, Haridwar or Dehradun. The temple of Goddess Yamuna is accessible by a 5 km walk from the town of Janki Chatti. Ritual duties are performed by the Uniyal family of priests. Unique aspects of ritual practice at the site include the hot springs where raw rice is cooked and made into prasad.
2.Gangotri: The holy source of the river Ganga and seat of the Goddess Ganga, can be reached in one day's travel from Rishikesh or Haridwar and in two days from Yamunotri. Gangotri is also accessible directly by car and bus. Ritual duties are supervised by the Semwal family of pujaris. The aarti ceremony at the Gangotri is especially impressive, as is the temple, on the bank of the Ganga. The adventurous can make 17 km. trek to Gaumukh, the actual current source of the Ganga.
3.Kedarnath: Here the very form of God Shiva is venerated as one of the twelve Jyotirlingas. It is a two-days journey from Gangotri or from the journey points on the plains. Besides its affiliation with Shiva. Kedarnath is also believed to be the site of Shankaracharya's samadhi. The most remote of the four Char Dhams, Kedarnath is known for its breathtaking view of the snow covered Himalayan peaks.
4.Badrinath: The seat of the lord Vishnu in his aspect of Badrinarayan, is generally a two-days journey from either Kedarnath or one of the destination points on the plains. Perceived as the most important of the four Char Dhams, Badrinath gets more visitors than the other three sites, since the route to Badrinath is for much of the way to Hemkund Sahib also, the holy Sikh pilgrimage site.
The first stopover for the Char Dham Yatra is the westernmost shrine of Yamunotri in the Garhwal Himalayas. Dedicated to Goddess Yamuna. Perched atop a flank of the Bandar Poonch peak (3165 mts. above sea level) and is situated opposite to Gangotri, the shrine attracts devotees In large numbers from May to October. Yamunotri Is the source of the revered river Yamuna which originates from the Champasar Glacier, lying 1 kin ahead of the shrine. at an altitude of 4421 mts. as It is not easily accessible.
The source of Yamuna lies about 1 km. ahead at the altitude of about 4421 metres. The approach is extremely difficult. Pilgrims do not frequently visit the source of the river and offer pools at the temple itself. The motorable road to Yamunotri continues till Jankichatti via Sayanachatti, Ranachatti and Hanumanchatti, 50 km. from Barkot. From Jankichatti it is a 5 km. trek to Yamunotri for which ponies, dandies and kandies are also available.
Yamunotri finds a special mention in the Hindu mythology. According to a legend, this secluded hilly spot was the home of an ancient sage, Asit Muni. Yamuna is the twin sister of Yama the Lord of Death. It is believed that anyone who bathes in her waters will be spared a torturous death. Yamuna is also the daughter of Surya the Sun. Near the temple there are three hot springs. The most important, Surya Kund, is a tank full of boiling water into which rice and potatoes are dipped to be cooked and taken as "prasad". Near the Kund, a rock slab, the "Divya Shila" Is worshipped before puja is offered to the black marble Idol of Yamuna. A bath In the springs is very refreshing after a tedious 13 kms. trek from Hanumanchatti or 5 km. from Janki Chatti. The trek to Yamunotri is spectacular, dominated by a panorama of rugged peaks and dense forests.
- Air: Nearest airport is Jolly Grant, Dehradun. 200 km away
- Rail: Nearest railhead is Dehradun, 170 km far from the temple
- Road: The road to Yamunotri diverts at Dharasu, on way to Uttarkashi. Important road distances are : Hanumanchatti 14 kms., Dharasu 107 kms. Tehri 149 kms. Bus: Hanumanchatti, the roadhead for Yamunotri is connected by bus services of Sanyukt Rotation Yatayat Vyavastha Samiti to Rishikesh, Haridwar and other major centres in the region.
- Altitude: 3,235 mts.
- Summer : Cool during the day and cold at night.
- Winter: Snow-bound touching sub-zero.
- Clothing Summer : Light woollens.
- Winter: Heavy woollens.
- Languages: Hindi, Garhwali, English
Dharamshalas and other alternative accommodations are available at Yamunotri.
Government Tourist Rest Houses
- Barkot: Type of room: Deluxe, Dormitory
- Sayanachatti: Type of room: Ordinary
- Hanumanchatti: Type of room: Executive, Dormitory
- Janakichatti : Type of room: Executive, Ordinary, Dormitory
- Yamunotri: Type of room: Dormitory
Yamunotri Temple: The main temple is dedicated to Goddess Yamuna. The present temple was built by Maharani Guleria of Jaipur in the late nineteenth century. Once destroyed by an earthquake, it has been rebuilt. A holy dip in the nearby tank filled by hot springs and cooking rice in its water are common rituals performed by the devotees. The temple remains closed from November to May.
Surya Kund: There are a number of thermal springs in the vicinity of the temple which flow into numerous pools. The temperature of the water is very high 190'F. The most important of these is Surya Kund.
Divya Shila: A rock pillar, worshipped before entering the Yamunotri Temple. Origin of the Shila is not known. But this holds a place of reverence in the rituals in and around Yamunotri, since time immemorial.
Sayanachatti:A majestically located scenic spot on the banks of river Yamuna. The surroundings offer great relief to the tourists trekking to the shrine.
Jankichatti:Noted for its thermal springs, where tourists can enjoy a refreshing bath. Most of them wait here after a bath to freshen up the remaining journey.
Hanumanchatti:The confluence of Hanuman Ganga and Yamuna rivers, from where the trek to Dodi Tal (3,307 mts) starts.
Dodital:Literally meaning the Dodi Lake, is at an elevation of 3024 m north of Uttarkashi Crystal clear waters are surrounded by dense oak woods. pine, deodar and rhododendrons. The lake is full of fish and is known for some rare species like the Himalayan Golden Trout. The trek from Dodital to Hanumanchatti via Darwa Top takes two days, moves on to the upper reaches of the Garhwal Himalayas in Yamunotri. the place where the sacred river Yamuna originates from.
Where Ganga Came Down to the Earth. The picturesque pilgrimage of Gangotri in the hinterlands of the Himalayas is the most sacred spot where Ganga, the stream of life, touched earth for the first time.
According to mythology, goddess Ganga- Brahma's daughter, manifested herself in the form of a river to absolve the sins of King Bhagirath's predecessors, following his severe penance of many years. To minimise the immense impact of her fall Lord Shiva received Ganga into his matted locks. She came to be called Bhagirathi at her legendary source. According to another legend, King Sagar, after slaying the demons on earth decided to stage an Ashwamedh Yagya as a proclamation of his supremacy. The horse which was to be taken on an uninterrupted journey around the earth was to be accompanied by the King's 60,000 sons born to Queen Sumati and one son Asmanjas born of the second queen Kesani. Indra, supreme ruler of the gods feared that he might be deprived of his celestial throne if the 'Yagya' succeeded and then took away the horse and tied it to the ashram of Sage Kapil, who was then in deep meditation. The sons of the King Sagar searched for the horse and finally found it tied near the meditating sage. Sixty thousand angry sons of King Sagar stormed the ashram of sage Kapil. When he opened his eyes, all the 60.000 sons perished by the curse of sage Kapil. Bhagirath, grandson of King Sagar, is believed to have meditated to bring down the Ganga which brought back to the sixty thousand sons into life.
Along the right bank of Bhagirathi stands the shrine of Gangotri dedicated to the Goddess. Perched at a height of 3,042 mts., it was constructed in the early 18th century by a Gorkha Commander. Amar Singh Thapa.
- Air: Nearest airport is Jolly Grant, Dehradun. 275 kms. from Gangotri
- Rail: Nearest railhead is Rishikesh, 248 km far from Gangotri.
- Road: Distances from Gangotri: Rishikesh (248 kms.), Tehri (172 Km.), Dharasu (129 Km.). Yamunotri (224 Km.), Mussoorie (247 Km.)
Tourist Rest Houses
- Chinyalisaur :-Type of room: Executive
- Uttarkashi:- Tele:01374-222271, Type of room: Deluxe. Executive, Ordinary, Family suite, Dormitory
- Harsil:-Type of room : Deluxe, Executive, Dormitory
- Lanka:- Type of room Executive, Dormitory
- Bhaironghati:-Type of room : Executive. ordinary
- Gangotri:- Type of room : Deluxe, Ordinary, Dormitory
- P.W.D. Inspection Bungalows at Gangotri, Bhaironghati, Bhatwari, Harsil, Chinyalisaur P.W.D. Rest House at Uttarkashi
- Forest Rest Houses at Gangotri, Bhaironghati. Harsil. Dharasu and Uttarkashi
Gangotri Temple: The 18th century's temple dedicated to Goddess Ganga is an exquisite 20 ft, high structure made of white granite. The sacred stone The Bhagirath'Shila' is located near the temple of Ganga where the holy Ganga first descended on earth from heaven. The Gangotri temple is visited by roughly 3 lakh devotees annually. It opens on the auspicious day of "Akshay-Trtiyan, generally in the month of April or May. By November, Gangotri is covered by snow.
The temple is closed on the Diwali day every year and is reopened in April or May. During this time, the idol of the goddess is kept at Mukhba village, near Harsil her winter abode (12 kms. downstream. home to the main Pandas of Gangotri). The other places of pilgrimage are Surya Kund, Vishnu Kund and Brahma Kund located in the vicinity of Gangotri.
Gaumukh:Gaumukh is where the waters of Ganga trickle down from the glaciers. The sages called it 'Gaumukh', because in the distant past, it probably appeared like a cow's mouth. though today it no longer appears so. The Gaumukh glacier is the source of Bhagirathi (Ganga) and is held in high esteem by the devouts who do not miss the opportunity to have the holy dip even in the bone chilling icy water. It is 18 kms. from Gangotri. There is a Tourist Bungalow at Bhojbasa, 14 kms. from Gangotri where lodging and other facilities are available. From Gangotri pilgrims move along the beaten track towards Chirbasa. From here, one can get a clear view of the Bhagirathi Peak.
Bhaironghati : At 2743 nit. further downstream, 10 kms. from Gangotri, is the picturesque forested halting place of Bhaironghati. There exists a small temple of Bhairon appointed by Shiva to safeguard this region which gives the place its name. The bridge over the Jhanvi river at Bhaironghati is said to be the highest in Asia.
Nandanvan Tapovan :An arduous trek along the Gangotri Glacier leads to scenic Nandanvan, the base camp for the Bhagirathi peaks, that offers a panoramic view of the surrounding Shivling peak. A trek across the snout of the Gangotri Glacier leads to Tapovan known for its beautiful meadows that encircle the base of the Shivling Peak.
Dharali :16 km downstream of Gangotri lies the township of Dharali, where also, it is believed that King Bhagirath had undergone penance. There one may see the submerged remains of a temple, termed Kedar Kund.
Gangnani:Hot springs are encountered at Gangnani. 56 km from Gangotri on the road to Uttarkashi, near the tank called Rishi Kund is a temple dedicated to the Parasher, believed to be the father of Ved Vyas, author of the Mahabharata.
Kedar Tal :An enhancing lake, 4425 mts. above sea level against the splendid backdrop of mighty Thalaiyasagar peak at a distance of 18 kms. Accessible through a rough mountain trail. it is the base camp for trekking to surrounding peaks. The trek to Kedartal needs a local guide.
Uttarkashi :At a distance of 99 kms., its an important pilgrimage centre, situated at an elevation of 1,150 mts, above sea level on the bank of river Bhagirathi. Some of the important temples worth visiting are - Vishwanath temple, Ekadash Rudra temple. Gyaneshwar temple and Kuteti Devi Temple. Nearby is the Nehru Institute of Mountaineering. Every year, during the 'Magh Mela' people visit Uttarkashi to take a holy dip in Bhagirathi along with the image of their village deity.
Dayara Bugyal :A breathtakingly beautiful meadow, situated at a height of 3,048 mts, above sea level at 93 kms. A motorable road connects Bhatwari (27 kills. from Uttarkashi) with Raithal village, from where follows a 6 kms. long trek to Dayara. The famous Sheshnag Temple enroute is an attraction of the trek.
Amidst the dramatic mountainscapes of the majestic Kedarnath range stands one of the twelve " Jyotirlingas" of Kedar or Lord Shiva. At an altitude of 3584 mts. and on the head of river Mandakini, the shrine of Kedarnath is amongst the holiest pilgrimages for the Hindus. There are more than 200 shrines dedicated to Lord Shiva in this district itself. the most important one being Kedarnath.
Situated in the Rudraprayag district of Uttarankhand. Kedarnath is very close to the Indo-Chinese border It is the source of the Mandakini River. Couched in the scenic locales of the Garhwal. the area is extremely cold in the winters with the ground being covered with snow. In the summers, the mercury barely crosses the 20°C mark. The best time to visit is between May and October.
As per the tradition decided by Lord Brahma the temple would be open for six months i.e from Hindu calendar month Vaishaka to Kartik for darshan to the common people. For the remaining six months i e from Margashirsh to Chaitra the temple would be closed for darshan to common people as it is now the Devas turn for Lord's darshan. During the winters, the shrine is submerged in snow and hence is closed.
- Air: Nearest airport is Jolly Grant, Dehradun. 234 kms. from airport
- Rail: Railhead Rishikesh (234 kms.) Kotdwar (260 kms.)
- Road: Road Approachable on foot from Gaurikund, which is connected by road to Rishikesh, Kotwar, Dehradun, Haridwar and other important hill stations of Garhwal and Kumaon region.
Tourist Rest Houses
- Temple Committee Guest House
- GMVN Tourist Bungalow, Modi Bhavan, behind the temple.
- Punjab Sindh, next to the Post office.
- Tourist Rest House, GMVN.
- Saraf Cottage, Moth Bhavan, Kali Karlin Dharamshala, Bhajan Ashram, Bharat Seva Ashram etc.
Kedarnath Temple:Kedarnath is a majestic sight, standing in the middle of a wide plateau surrounded by lofty snow covered peaks. The Kedarnath Temple is situated at an altitude of 3580 m. amidst the background of snow covered mountain peaks and greenery. The temple is built of large, heavy and evenly cut grey slabs of stones and is considered more than 1000 years old. The temple has a garbha griha where a conical rock formation is situated and a Mandapam for seating of pilgrims and visitors. A large statue of the Nandi Bull is situated outside the temple door. The nearest motorable road is Gaurikund . The pilgrims have to trek 14 kms. to reach the temple.
Dedicated to Lord Shiva, the exquisitely architectured Kedarnath temple is built of extremely large, heavy and evenly cut gray slabs of stones, it evokes wonder as to how these heavy slabs were handled in those ancient days? The present temple, built in the 8th century by Adi Shankaracharya, 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 the Nandi Bull stands as guard.
Shankaracharya Samadhi: Behind the Kedarnath Temple lies the samadhi or the final resting place of Adi Guru Shankaracharya. It is believed, after establishing the four dhams in India, he took his samadhi at an early age of 32 years. It is surprising to believe, how at a tender age of 32, this enlighted man form the southernmost part of India, Kerala, travelled all across India. discussing religion. writing religious treatises, and at last resting eternally at the northernmost part of India. in the icy ground of Kedarnath.
Vasuki Tal: At a distance of 6 kms. from Kedarnath, a picturesque lake, 4,135 mts. above sea level is encircled by lofty mountains and offers a breathtaking view of the Chau khamba peaks.
Son Prayag: at an elevation of 1829 mts. and on the main Kedarnath route at a distance of 20 kms, Son Prayag lies at the confluence of river Vasuki and Mandakani. The holy site of Son Prayag is of immense religious significance. It is said that a mere touch of the holy water of Son Prayag helps one to attain the "Baikunth Dham".
Trijuginarayan: 25 kms, from Kedarnath. a 5 kms. trek from Son prayag, it is the mythological venue. According to legend, this was the place where the wedding of Lord Shiva and Parvati was solemnised. In front of the Shiva Temple is an eternal flame. which is said to be a witness to the marriage. It can also be reached by a 12 km. drive from Sonprayag.
Ukhimath: 60 kms from Kedarnath, it's a major religious centre. Winter home of the deity of the Kedarnath Temple and the seat of the Rawal of Kedarnath. Connected by bus services to Rudraprayag and other major centres.
Augustmuni :At a distance of 73 kms. Famous for the temple dedicated to sage Agastya. From here Helicopter service is available for Kedarnath.
Guptkashi: 49 kms. off Kedarnath. The temples of Ardhnarishwar and Vishwanath are major attractions here. Guptkashi is the shrine at a height of 1319 mtrs. where Shiva went incognito.
Chandrashila: 93 kms. from the temple town. The Chandrashila peak provides a rare view of snow-clad peaks. The rhododendron Forests and alpine meadows dominate the trek from Tungnath to Chandrashila.
Deoria Tal: 68 kms. from Kedarnath. Sari village is the last bus terminus on Chopta-Ukhimath road from where a 2 kms. trek leads to Deoria Tal. This beautiful lake at an altitude of 2,438 mts. gives the spectacular reflection of snow capped peaks in the lake water. Ideal spot for angling and bird watching.
Four Other Kedars: Madrnaheshwar, Tunganath, Kalpeshwar, Rudranath Three of these (barring Kalpeshwar) are in mountain meadows at higher altitudes than Kedarnath. The climb to Rudranath is the most strenuous but lookwise this meadow is one of the finest in Garhwal.
Tungnath: The sanctity of the region of Tungnath is considered unsurpassed. The peak of Tungnath is the source of three springs that form the river Akashkamini. At this temple at 3,680 mts, Shiva's arm is worshipped The highest Hindu shrine in the Himalayas. 3 kms. uphill from Chopta, Tungnath is reached through a path that wends through alpine meadows and rhododendron thickets. An hour's climb from here leads to Chandrashila with its panoramic views. The entire journey and the shrine are located in some of the finest, most picturesque realm of the Himalayas.
Rudranath : Situated amidst thick woods, here the 'mukh' or the Lord's face appeared and Shiva is worshipped as Neelkanth Mahadev. Situated at a height of 2,286 m. all around are fragrant flower laden meadows where herbs, grow in profusion In the background, in all their glory, are the glittering snow-covered peaks of Trishul, Nanda Devi, Devasthan etc. Near the temple is a stream of sparkling water known as Vaitarni - the 'Water of Salvation'.
'There are many sacred spots of pilgrimage in the heavens, earth and the nither world, but there has been none equal to Badri, nor shall there be"! Encircled by a beautiful valley, on the banks of holy river Alaknanda. with the Neelkanth mountains as the backdrop, Badrinath Dham is the holiest of the four shrines on the scared itinerary of every devour Hindu. Perched on the twin mountain ranges of Nar and Narayan, Badrinath is the abode of Lord Vishnu. The name Badrinath is derived from wild berries. Locally called Badri. Once the spot was carpeted with 'badris' or wild berries and hence was known as 'Badri Van' or wild berries forest. The revered shrine is still alive with myriad legends from mythology. The facilities on the road to Badrinath has improved manifold in the recent times.
- Air: The nearest airport is the Jolly Grant Airport near Dehradun, around 317 kms. from Badrinath.
- Rail: The nearest railway stations to Badrinath are at Rishikesh and Kotdwar, which are at a distance of 297 Rms. and 327 kms. respectively.
- Road: This holy place is well connect to rest of India. There are regular buses operating to Badrinath from Delhi, Haridwar and Rishikesh.
Tourist Rest Houses enroute to Chardham run by GMVN
- Auli 01389-223208
- Badrinath(Devlok, Traveller's Lodge, Yatri Niwas) 01381-222212
- Barkot 013752-24236
- Devprayag 01378-266013
- Gangotri 01372-22221
- Guptkashi 01364-267221
- Hanuman Chatti 01375-2233371
- Harsil 013773-23210
- Joshimath 01389-222226, 01389-222118
- Karnaprayag 01363-244210
- Kedarnath 01364-263218
- Khirsu 01346-228509
- Lansdowne 01386-262509
- Mussoorie 0135-2632682
- Nandaprayag 01372-261215
- Pauri 01368-222359
- Purola 013732-23311
- Rishikesh 0135-2433002
- Srinagar 01346-252199
- Uttarkashi 01374-222271
Badrinath Temple:The temple of Shri Badrinath dates back to vedic times. The 15 mts. high temple is dedicated to Lord Vishnu. it is built in the form of a cone with a small cupola of a gilt bull and spire The present temple is believed to have been built by Adi Shankracharya the great 8th century philosopher-saint. who also established a 'math' here. The temple has been renovated several times thereafter.due to damages by avalanches. It looks very attractive and colourful due to the multi hued "Singh Dwara' or the main entrance gate. It has three pads- Garbha Griha (the sanctum sanctorum), Darshan Mandap (for pupas) and Shobha Mandap (for devotees to assemble).
Tapt Kund: Devotees take a holy dip in the natural thermal springs on the banks of the river Alaknanda, before entering the Badrinath Temple. The water of the kund is believed to have medicinal properties.
Brahma Kapal: A flat platform on the bank of river Alaknanda where Hindus perform propitiating rites for their deceased ancestors.
Sheshnetra: A boulder having an impression of the legendary serpant - known as Sheshnag's eye.
Charanpaduka: The footprints of Lord Vishnu can be seen on a boulder in this beautiful meadow.
Neelkanth: A Pyramidical-shaped snowy peak towering above Badrinath, popularly known as the 'Garhwal Queen'.
Panch Badris : Five Badris, Besides the main temple of Badrinath there are four other smaller Badri temples. These are collectively called the Panch Badris or Five Badris Very few pilgrims however, visit the other four Badri temples.
Yogadhyan Badri : (1920 mts, 24 kms.): Closest to the main temple of Badrinath lies this tiny, sleepy hamlet which remains unnoticed by most pilgrims and is the winter home for the idol at Badrinath. Pandukeshwar is also an important archaeological site. Some years ago. four ancient metal foils engraved with a description of several kings in the region were discovered here. Believed to be over 1500 years old. these foils are kept at Joshimath. 30 kms. downstream.
Bhavishya Badri (2,744 m./69 kms.): The Bhavishya or future Badri is situated at Subain near Tapovan, about 17 kms. east of Joshimath. According to Hindu belief, when evil will be on the rise in this world, the two mountains Nara and Narayan at Badrinath will close up on each other and destroy the route to the present Badrinath. This would also mark the end of the present world and the beginning of a new one. Lord Badrinath will then appear at the Bhavishya Badri temple and be worshipped here instead of at the present one.
Vriddha Badri : Also Known as 'Old Badri'(52 kms) is the third temple about 7 kms short of Joshimath, on the main Rishikesh-Badrinath motor road at Animath. It is believed that Badrinath was worshipped here before its enshrinement by Shankaracharya at the main Badrinath seat. The temple of Vriddha Badri is open throughout the year.
Adi Badri: (146 kms) is the farthest from the other four badris. It is approachable from Karnaprayag by a motorable road enroute Ranikhet. The temple complex has 16 small temples with intricate carvings. Seven of these temples belong to the late Gupta period. Local tradition assigns these buildings to Shankaracharya The main temple is distinguished by a pyramid shaped raised platform, with a black stone idol of Vishnu.
Mata Murti Temple ( 3 kms.): This is a scenic spot atop the hills,on the right bank of Alaknanda . Here stands the holy temple dedicated to the mother of Sri Badrinath.
Mana Village (4 kms.): Primarily inhabited by Indo-Mangolian tribe, it is considered to be the last Indian village before Tibet on this route. Nearby are Vyas Gufa - the rock cave of saint Ved Vyas, the writer of Mahabharata: Bhim Pul - a natural bridge over the Saraswati river and Vasundhara Falls - a 122 mts. high waterfall - all forming an important part of the pilgrimage to Badrinath.
Alka Puri (15km): From Gopeshwar on Badrinath highway is the tiny mountain retreat that attracts visitors for its verdant landscapes and fresh mountain air.
Valley of Flowers (42 kms.): An unparalleled experience, an exotic valley in a conical shape lies to the east of Badrinath with river Pushpawati flowing through it. The valley that is presently a national park, is 19kms. trek from Govindghat. A must-see for all nature lovers.
Hemkund Sahib ( 43 kms.): Near the Valley of Flowers is the holy lake Hemkund, an important pilgrimage of the Sikhs as well as the Hindus. Along its shores is the sacred Sikh Shrine where Guru Gobind Singh, the tenth Guru unified with God after prolonged meditation in his previous birth. Nearby is the Lakshman Temple where Lakshman, the brother of Lord Rama performed his penance.
Satopanth ( 25 kms.): A three cornered lake with a circumference of about 1 km., situated at an elevation of 4.402 mts. above sea level. It is named after the Hindu triad - Brahma. Vishnu and Mahesh. who are believed to occupy one corner each of the lake. The trek is hazardous with dramatic landscapes. An experienced guide is advisable.
Govindghat ( 25 kms.): The confluence of Alaknanda and Lakshman Ganga rivers. It's the site of the imposing Gurudwara named after Guru Govind Singh.
Joshimath (44 km.): The winter home of Shri Badrinathji is situated on the slopes above the confluence of Alaknanda and Dhauliganga. It is one of the four 'maths' established by Adi Guru Shankaracharya.
Auli (57 kms.): An ideal Ski resort in the Garhwal Himalayas with its slopes comparable to the best in the world. Perched at an elevation of 2,500-3,050 mtr., Auli not only offers a magnificent view of the Himalayan ranges but is a delight for winter sports enthusiasts.
Panch Prayag: The five important confluences- Devprayag, Nandprayag, Rudraprayag, Karnaprayag and Vishnuprayag, form the Panch Prayag.