Must Know Facts About the Char Dham Yatra
The Char Dham are the four essential sites for the spiritual tour to the pilgrimage site in Uttarakhand, India. Each of these temples have a significance from the start of history. Before you go for the Chardham yatra it this is good to know Essential Things to know about Chardham. This helps to be prepared and not do certain things that will cause discomfort to you or others. It helps to have a basic idea of what things you can or cannot expect to see. This way you can make your Chardham pilgrimage a memorable journey.
The Parikrama means the encircling in respect around the sacred sites. According to mythological belief, it is necessary to take this Char Dham Yatra from left to right. Hence, the pilgrimage begins at Yamunotri, the west, to Gangotri temple, then Kedarnath and last to the Badrinath which is in the east city.
It is interesting to know that this Shiva linga of natural rock is only visible during the winter months of the year. The water level gets lower in these months. Myth says that this is the place where Shiva held the river Ganges in his dreadlocks. It is situated in the area of Gangotri Dham.
Conch is Prohibited
The conch shell is known to be one of the prime instruments used in temples. However, it is surprising to know that use of Conch or blowing a conch is prohibited. This is only in the Badrinath temple as they believe that one of Kedarnath demons are hiding inside, and he comes out if you blow it. However, science has a different reason why the conch is not blown here.
Joshimath has the arm of Narshing’s idol. It is believed that when it falls and Jay and Vijay, two massive mountains merge, the route to two sites of Chardham will be blocked. Hence, the yatra will proceed through Bhavishya Badrinath near the Joshimath.
Situated in vicinity of Yamunotri this hot water spring is believed to be sacred water and ‘prasad’ is prepared in these waters. There are snowy ice glaciers surrounding Surya Kund. But, temperature of the hot springs remains at 88 degree centigrade. Hence it is believed to be magic waters of Kund.
Essential Things to know about Char Dham Yatra
- As it is a high altitude tour, it is very difficult to tour especially for beginners. However, with some preparation before the tour, it will be better. There are also other options to trekking up the temple mountain shrines. This includes ride on doli / pony or sometimes by helicopter by air.
- 1- 2 month before taking the pilgrimage tour, start fitness route such as brisk walking / jogging / climbing steps. Consult your doctor if you have any health issues to make sure you can be fit to take the tour. It is good to even start ‘Pranayama’ for breathing exercises as it helps to breathe well especially in higher altitude regions.
- It is advisable to only drink bottled water from a clean source or carry mineral water. Do not drink water from anywhere or take any beverages with ice.
- Always go for cooked food like fried stuff or boiled and cooked stuff. Avoid fruit / vegetables salads even if it tempts you. Raw or cold foods, or smoothies or drinks with ice, etc. is advised to be avoided.
- Always take a mosquito repellent or insect repellent to avoid insect bites or mosquito bites that also cause diseases like malaria, or even body rash.
- Take along your basic medicines or emergency medicinal kit as you may require for headache, fever, diarrhea, vomiting etc. and band-aids, antiseptic ointment, or bandages, in case of wound, injury, etc.
- Especially in summers, carry and use sunscreen to prevent sunburn. Also, carry or use winter creams to heal cracks, chipped skin, etc.
- Heavy woolens, thermal wear, body warmers, wind cheaters, raincoats, sleeping bags, blankets, small water proof camping tents, torch with enough batteries, extra water-proof shoes with high grip, grip gloves, summer hats / caps, walking sticks, anything that is necessary for the trek you feel is important.
- It is better to consult your doctor to make sure you are physically and mentally fit to perform the Yatra. Remember trekking is at an altitude of 1,4000 feet.
- For Women, please avoid wearing saris and instead opt for comfortable wear such as salwar kameez or trousers.
- Carry a slip with your full details like Name, Address, Mobile emergency number, person accompanying yatra, etc. in your pocket.
- Certain things can be purchased on the way such as firewood and even ration. So, carry bottled water and dry eatables especially such as energy bars, dry fruits, etc.
- If you opt for a porter or pony ride, make sure you hire only a registered ponywalla or porter. Do not walk too far from ponies carrying luggage.
- Other pilgrims also travel, so please maintain discipline.
- Go slowly and steadily, as it is an arduous yatra or tour.
- Do not stop for rest or try to relax at places with warning signs.
- Do not try to go on a short cuts by yourself or a small group on the route. Stay with your Yatra travel or tour group and make sure you walk with them all way.
- First make sure that the mode of transport you select is presently available. You can choose between air travel like helicopter or travel by road like car or on foot.
- Carry a local SIM card with phone and all important numbers. Service providers like Airtel / BSNL has good coverage on the Himalayan tours.
- Instead of being stressed out by the Yatra without help of a tour operator, for hassle – free experience, accommodation, necessary arrangements, transportation to sites, etc, it is advisable to go with a trusted tour operator. Book here.