Chardham Yatra - Introduction
Char Dham Yatra (travel to ‘Four Sacred Places’) is one of the famous pilgrimages undertaken by Hindus. The four sacred places Yamunotri, Gangotri, Kedarnath and Badrinath comprise the Char Dham. Traditionally, the Char Dham yatra is undertaken from the west to the east. Thus, the yatra starts from Yamunotri, then proceeding to Gangotri and finally to Kedarnath and Badrinath.
Sarasa and myself, along with our friends Mr. Chetan Dave and Mrs, Amita Dave, left New Delhi by Toyota van (Innova Model) at 7.00 am on July 1, 2006 and returned to New Delhi, after completing the Char Dham Yatra, at 5.00 pm on July 16, 2006. The driver of the car was Deepak. Our travel agents provided us with an escort/guide by name Vivek. Thus we six, with our bags loaded on top of the van traveled together for 15 days.
This website provides detailed descriptions of our journey, the places that we visited en route to, and including, Chardham.
Time for Char Dham
The Char Dham sites will be under snow and ice during winter months (from about mid-November to about mid-April of every year) and hence unsuitable for travel to those places during this period. Many publications suggest travel times to these places as follows:
– From mid-April to end-July (if travel to all four sites are desired)
– From mid-April to end-August (if travel to Gangotri, Kedarnath and Badrinath only)
– From mid-April to end-September (if travel to Kedarnath and Badrinath only)
– From mid-April to mid-to-end-October (if travel to Badrinath only)
Some other publications, and even some of those publications that state as stated above in different sections of the same publications, state that months July and August are not suitable for travel to any of the Char Dham sites due to rainy season. These publications state that travel be done during mid-May to end-June or during September and October. Walking is difficult during rainy season. Additionally, the driving during rainy season in these roads is difficult. Mud-slides and other difficulties may pose additional difficulties.
Since our Kailash Yatra in 2002, Sarasa and I have wanted to make this Char Dham Yatra during the mid-May to end-June timeframe. Due to various reasons, we couldnt do the yatra in 2003, 2004 or 2005 but decided to do it in 2006. Our friends Chetan Dave & Amita Dave, with whom we have vacationed few times previously, wanted to go with us on this yatra if we delay our trip until July. This is because Mrs. Amita Dave works for LA Unified School District and will be able to vacation only after the school closes in end-June. When I checked in January 2006, travel agents and others familiar with this yatra stated that we can travel in July. Hence, we chose these dates (July 1 to July 16) for our yatra.