4 North Char Dhams Tour- A YATRA!
-APRIL THRU SEPTEMBER- 2013 The Four Abodes.
It has a nice sound to it when you say the word: Abode. The four Char Dhams of the north are Yamunotri, Gangotri, Kedarnath, Badrinath. The hotels on this pilgrimage are very basic, the travel is hard with twisty roads. The scenery is breathtaking and the air is filled with prayers. A great definition of pilgrimage. $3900 per person for 20 days..Badrinath, Kedarnath closes October. This is an amazing pilgrimage, see my video of the falls at Gangotri. There is a sacred hot spring we bath in, sweet memories of this amazing pilgrimage. Roaming the Himalayas! Reserve your spot, a stay in Dwarahat is included in this Himalayan sojourn! Shimla now has a new YSS retreat, advanced reservations required. Opening day this year for the Yatra is May 16, 2013 when the Idol returns to the North.
1. Yamunotri is the source of the Yamuna river. The temple here is Shakti, dedicated to the Goddess Yamuna. There are holy thermal springs to bathe in before you enter the temple. The diety is made of black marble. Like the Ganges it has been elevated to a status Jagamata-Divine Mother.
2. Gangotri is the origin of the river Ganga, another Goddess site. It is a day’s journey from Rishikesh. In our video section you can see the falls at Gangotri. The temple is another shakti, and the whole town has a lofty vibe to it. One day is not enough to check it out. My hatha yoga teacher, Swami Visnu Devanandaji, lived in a cave there. Many YSS monks have made make the pilgrimage to this HOLY place. There are several places to stay, great prasad shops, and outstanding samosas. Once you have a fresh-cooked, extremely hot, delicious samosa in India, it’s all over for you. I haven’t found one that even comes close in the USA. Sadly I wait for a return to India for taste-bud refuge.
3. I love Kedarnath. The temple is so ancient, over a 1000 years old, and nearly 14,000 feet high. It is a Shiva temple and the place of Shankaracharya’s mahasamadhi. His form is buried here.
There are 2 ways to reach Kedarnath: 1) By foot: a steep 13 km trek over a paved path (horses or palanquins are available for rent) from Gaurikund, which is connected by road from Rishikesh, Haridwar, Dehradun, and other known hill stations of Garhwal and Kumaon regions in Uttarakhand; and 2) Through helicopter service.
4. Badrinath The temple is approximately 50 ft (15 metres) tall with a small cupola on top, covered with a gold gilt roof. The facade is built of stone, with arched windows. A broad stairway leads up to a tall arched gateway, which is the main entrance. The architecture resembles a Buddhist temple, with the brightly painted facade also more typical of temples. Just inside is a large pillared hall that leads to the main shrine area. The walls and pillars of the mandapa are covered with intricate carvings.
The main shrine area houses the black stone image of Lord Badrinarayan, sitting under a gold canopy, under a Badri Tree. There are fifteen more murtis around the temple that are also worshipped. The Tapt Kund hot sulphur springs just below the temple are considered to be medicinal – many pilgrims consider it a requirement to bathe in the springs before visiting the temple. The springs have a year-round temperature of 45°C.