chardham Yatra

Chardham Yatra – A Complete Guide to Help You!

Chardham yatra is a combination of four pilgrimage sites. It is believed by the Vaishnavite Hindus that visiting these sites helps you in achieving Salvation (Moksha). The Chardham comprises of Rameshwaram, Badrinath, Puri, and Dwaraka. People visit these places one by one and it is known as Chardham Yatra. It is considered by the Hindu community that every Hindu must visit Chardham once in his lifetime.

Another circuit of Chardham lies in the Uttarakhand state. Here the four pilgrimage sites include visiting Kedarnath, Badrinath, Yamunotri and Gangotri. This circuit is referred to as “Chata Char Dham”, to differentiate it from the Chardham Yatra. The shrines Chota Char Dham remains closed during winters because of snowfall and it remains open during summer. The Chardham in Uttarakhand has become very popular in the Northern states for religious travel and attracts more and more pilgrims every year. Traditionally, to perform Chardham Yatra the journey commences from the west and concludes in the east. That’s why Chardham Yatra begins at Yamunotri and ends at Badrinath following Gangotri to Kedarnath.  Each of these four pilgrimage sites is devoted to a specific God or Goddess. Yamunotri is dedicated to Goddess “Yamuna”. Gangotri is dedicated to Goddess “Ganga”. Kedarnath is dedicated to the “Lord Shiva”. Badrinath is dedicated to “Lord Vishnu”. Each place has its own significance and known for a different reason and has a different story. At each pilgrimage site, you will find one special ritual which when combined completes the journey of Chardham Yatra.

Why take this trek?

The devotees take up this spiritual tour in the hope that will provide them a successful purge and they will experience the ultimate feeling of ecstasy, free from all kind of unwanted quality.This journey furnishes the divine calmness and embellishes your journey with the beauty of Himalayas.

To embark this religious journey, you need to prepare yourself physically as you will be experiencing the Himalayan roads and trails which are quite arduous.

How much time does Chardham Yatra require?

You can complete your Chardham Yatra in 10-12 days.The entire journey is covered through road trips and hiking.

How to reach and start the journey?

There are two routes for starting your journey with. You can either start your journey from Haridwar or Rishikesh. The rest of the itinerary will remain the same.

To reach Haridwar or Rishikesh you can take a bus or train from Delhi. You can also drive by road or hire a taxi to reach one of these places. It takes around 5-6 hours to reach Haridwar from Delhi by road if you are going by private vehicle or bus. If you have opted for the train, then it will take around 9 hours. From Delhi to Rishikesh, it takes around 6 hours by bus or private taxi and 7-9 hours by train. If you think to take flight, then for reaching both the locations you have to take a flight to the Dehradun, as it is the nearest airport to the Rishikesh as well as Haridwar. From Dehradun, you can hire a taxi or take public transport to reach your respective places. To reach any of the places it will take around 2 hours by road.  So you can choose one according to your convenience.

Details of the Chardham Yatra

Delhi-Haridwar/ Rishikesh

If you are starting your journey from Haridwar then you will cover this route- HARIDWAR-YAMUNOTRI-GANGOTRI-KEDARNATH-BADRINATH-HARIDWAR. And if you choose to start from Rishikesh then your route will be- RISHIKESH-YAMUNOTRI-GANGOTRI-KEDARNATH-BADRINATH-RISHIKESH. Either you start from Rishikesh or Haridwar; you will have to follow the same itinerary till the end. Stay at the respective places; enjoy the food, sightseeing and local things which are famous like Lakshman jhula in Rishikesh and Ganga Arti at both the places.

Haridwar/ Rishikesh to Barkot

From Haridwar/ Rishikesh, you will be heading to Barkot which will take around 7 hours to reach.

Barkot to Janki Chatti

You can either choose to stay at Barkot or ride to JankiC hatti and stay there. The distance between Barkot to Janki Chatti is covered in 2 hours so, if you are staying at Barkot, you can leave early in the next morning and you will easily reach Janki Chatti.

Janki Chatti to Yamunotri and return

From Janki Chatti, there is a 7 km trek to Yamunotri. At Yamunotri, take a bath in the Jamnabai Kund. Dip raw potato or rice in the Surya Kund; the hot water spring and you can use it as prasad. The dark rock in Yamunotri is the most sacred area from where the hot spring emerges, known as Divya Shila. Enjoy the evening Arti offered to the Divya Shila and Yamunotri.

Later you can choose to drive back to Barkot and stay there or stay overnight in the JankiChatti.


Janki Chatti to Uttarkashi

Leave in the morning from JankiC hatti and it will take around 4-5 hours to reach Uttarkashi. After reaching Uttarkashi, stay there overnight and you can visit Vishwanath temple there.

Uttarkashi to Gangotri

After having breakfast, you must leave for Gangotri which is located at a height of 3048 meters above sea level. You will be mesmerized by the beauty of the view you will see at Gangotri; the Picturesque Himalayas covered with white snow all over. After you offer prayer to the Gangotri temple, walk around the area and explore the majestic views of mountains of Himalayan ranges. Ask the locals and you can visit to see the submerged Shivling which is made up of natural rocks. After exploring the place you can drive back to Uttarkashi and stay overnight.

Uttarkashi to Guptkashi

After breakfast take a morning ride to reach Guptkashi. You will cover a distance of 210 km and you will reach your destination in around 7 hours. After arrival, stay there overnight and explore the area.

Guptkashi to Kedarnath

From Guptkashi take a ride in the morning and cover a distance of 45 km to reach Gaurikund which is near Kedarnath. To reach Kedarnath, you will have to trek 14 km from Gaurikund. Kedarnath is located at a height of 3584 meters from sea level. To cover the trekking distance you can also hire a pony or Doli, as these are easily available in the route to Kedarnath. One of the twelfth Jyotirlingas of Lord Shiva is in Kedarnath. On reaching the top, visit the temple offer praying and Trek back to Gaurikund and stay overnight at Guarikund. After the floods in 2013, there is no option for the night-halt accommodation at Kedarnath. Kedarnath is also a part of the Panch Kedar and the holy River Mandakini starts from here.

Kedarnath to Pipalkoti

From Gaurikund, you will have to take a ride covering 158 km to reach Pipalkoti. It will take around 5 hours to reach there.

Pipalkoti to Badrinath

Take some rest and have a meal at Pipalkoti, and then you will be headed towards Badrinath via Joshimath. You will be covering 77 km road distance in around 3-4 hours to reach Badrinath. On arrival, take some rest, freshen up and go to the Badrinath temple and enjoy the evening aarti. View the beautiful River Alaknanda passing nearby. Explore the surrounding and stay in Badrinath for overnight.

Badrinath to Rishikesh/Haridwar

From Badrinath, you can hire a taxi to reach Rishikesh/Haridwar. It will take around 10-11 hours to reach Haridwar via NH 7.  If you are going back to Rishikesh, then it will take around 9-11 hours to reach there.

How much it will cost?

The price can range anywhere between INR 20,000 – INR 40,000, per person. The price depends upon the hotel you choose, the travel conveyance you are opting and other things which you include in your trip.

Tips and Tricks for the Chardham Yatra

  • After you have planned to visit the Chardham Yatra, prepare yourself physically for traveling in the high altitude areas. Do some brisk walk, pranayama, and exercises on a regular basis. It will help you on your trip.
  • Do not drink water from any random source, it can cause serious issues to your health. Best is to keep a bottle of packaged drinking water always with you.
  • Avoid eating cold food or raw vegetables and salad in those areas. Try to eat fully cooked meals. Boiled ones are the best.
  • Always carry mosquito or insect repellent with yourself to avoid any kind of discomfort.
  • Basic medical kit is a must. Do not forget to carry the medical kit with you at all. This includes the basic first-aid kit along with some medicines for fever, diarrhea, headache, upset stomach and vomiting.
  • Carry your moisturizer and sunscreen lotion and cover your hat while walking.
  • Get yourself medically checked before starting this journey. You need to be physically fit to take a trip which involves trekking at an altitude of 14,000 feet above sea level.
  • Double check your clothes you are carrying to the trip. It must include warm clothes, socks, raincoats, trousers, sleeping bag, and all the necessary stuff.
  • A good pair of shoes is highly recommended. Avoid sports shoes as it will not help you in walking in an upward direction.
  • Do not try to attempt shortcut routes.
  • Book hotel rooms in advance to avoid any kind of difficulties during your trip.
  • Always carry your ID cards.

Frequently Asked Questions

When does the Chardham Yatra begin?

The Chardham Yatra begins from the month of April or May every year.

Which is the best month to go for Chardham Yatra?

All six months are equally best for the Chardham Yatra. As the Chardham Yatra remains open only for six months, it will be okay if you visit anytime in these 6 months March or April to September or October.

What are the things we should carry to the Chardham Yatra?

Before packing your luggage you must make a list of the things you need to carry with you. This makes it easy for you to make a check on what you have taken. The necessary items include warm and woolen clothes, a good pair of shoes with grip, raincoat, torchlight, moisturizers, sunscreen lotion, medical kit or first aid, mosquito repellent, your medicines and prescriptions of medicines.

What is the fare of Helicopter ticket to reach Kedarnath?

The fare of the helicopter ticket to Kedarnath is approximately INR 7,990/- per person.