Best Time to Visit Char Dham Yatra Uttarakhand

Chardhams in Uttarakhand is one pilgrimage destination that every devout Hindu longs to visit. But owing to its high altitude location, the weather out there often remains un-friendly making the journey difficult and even perilous. So you must have a clear idea about the best time to visit the Chardhams so that you can complete your pilgrimage in a hassle-free way.

Best time to visit the Char Dham

Char Dham Pilgrimage

Char Dham Yatra is one of the most sought after religious destinations in India and it is mentioned in Hindu religious texts as being spiritual expressions of the divine power. A visit to the Char Dham i.e. Yamunotri, Gangotri, Badrinath and Kedarnath is said to wash away all the past life sins and much has been said and written about the spiritual power of these shrines.

However all the Char Dham pilgrimages are at very altitude and are prone to heavy snowfall in winters and harsh weather in general. Incidents of mishaps and natural disasters around the Char Dhams are not uncommon and the Yatra circuits only operate at specific times of the year. Learn more about the best time for Char Dham Yatra.

Chardham Yatra 2015 Opening Dates

Char Dham Yatra is not conducted all throughout the year. All government recognized tour operators and reputed private tour operators conduct the Char Dham tour for 6 months (May to October).

The specific opening dates of each of the shrines (Kedarnath, Badrinath, Gangotri and Yamunotri) depend on the Hindu calendar religious date sheet.

  • Yamunotri Temple opens on 21st of April 2015
  • Gangotri Temple opens on 22nd of April 2015
  • Kedarnath Temple opens on 24th of April 2015
  • Badrinath Temple opens on 26th of April 2015

All the temples are located at high altitude and they become inaccessible during the winter season (November to March).

Altitude of Chardham Pilgrimages

  • Gangotri Altitude: 3204 meters above sea level
  • Yamunotri Altitude: 3060 meters above sea level
  • Kedarnath Altitude: 3854 meters above sea level
  • Badrinath Altitude: 3843 meters above sea level

In fact in winters the principal deities are all shifted to a lower area from their original space. Temple puja is still done in the winter but all these activities are not connected to Char Dham Yatra.

Best Times to go for Char Dham Yatra

Usually May and June months are considered to be the best times for the Char Dham Yatra and during this period a lot of tourist traffic and pilgrims visit the Char Dhams. Post the month of July the traffic slows down. Your choice of the best time to visit Char Dham Pilgrimage depends upon your personal preferences. In case you cannot bear even the cold it’s better to choose May-June as your Char Dham Yatra time frame. On the other hand if you want to avoid the mad rush but can bear a little cold then choose October as your Char Dham Yatra time. In Late September or October hotels too lower their room rates and there is no need to book in advance unlike the highly hectic May-June months.

In May there moderate cold with temperature range going up to 18 degrees. Weather is Suitable for outdoor trips. June with its Temperature range from 10 degrees to 20 degrees is the warmest month here. Atmosphere remains moderate and nature looks at her bountiful best. In July the Temperature remains between 7 degrees to 18 degrees with light refreshing showers. Post August temperature starts falling and in September October temperature remains around 5 degrees to 7 degrees.

The Chardham Camps – Barkot-Badrinath-Joshimath-Guptkashi

Chardham pilgrim yatra holds special spiritual significance for all Hindus. To visit all the four dhams perched in the high peaks of Garhwal Himalayas you need to undertake a difficult strenuous uphill trek. Resting at the camps from where your trek starts and knowing all about the camps is important. Here follows a detailed article on Chardham camps

The Chardham Yatra is one of the most spiritually uplifting journeys for Hindus as it washes away all sins and soul impurities. The main Chardham Camps where pilgrims’ stopover for accommodation, facilities, rest and rejuvenation see a lot of activity during the tourist season may to October. The main Chard ham camps are Barkot, Guptakashi, Badrinath and Joshimath. Learn more about the unique and beautiful Char Dham Camps.

Barkot

Barkot Camp

Chardham Barkot Camp

Barkot is at a total elevation of 2118 meters and is fondly referred by locals as Rawaiin or the Valley of Yamuna Rive. Barkot is a place of great scenic beauty as it is flanked by the striking Banderpunch range and acres of luxuriant greenery and terraced greens. This place was shielded away for a long time and it was only in 1940 that trekkers made their presence felt in this region. The people of Barkot are believed to have descended from Pandava and Kaurava clan. Interestingly polyandry or the practice of many brothers marrying a single woman is in practice. Though the practice has now reduced due to urbanization it is still in practice in many places.

Badrinath
Badrinath is situated at an altitude of 2745 meters and has the beautiful and majestic Badrinath Temple that makes it one of the four principal Char Dhams. The location of Badrinath makes it perfect as a base camp and it is scenically placed in a green valley near Bhagirathi. The camp is actually a part of the famous Baspa Valley that is the biggest mountain of Himalayas. There are other mountain ranges like Matri, Kailash ranges in the background. In the right side of Badrinath lies the famous Srikanth Peak which is preceded by Kedarnath. The idyllic Hamlet of Badrinath is full of blooming apple trees and beautiful temples. There are luxuriously shaded roads, tall trees and high mountain ranges all add to the beauty of Badrinath. There are narrow lanes that are flanked on both sides by wooden houses that reflect the ancient Garhwali architectural style. Little streams flanked by weeping willows and pretty little bridges dot the hamlet. In the Char Dham Yatra season Badrinath is at its prettiest.

Guptakashi

Guptakashi Camp

Chardham Guptakashi Camp

Guptakashi is at an elevation of 1319 meters and offers a sweeping view of the Mandakini River. There are several famous places that are within clear view of Guptakashi and these include Chaukhamba, Badrinath, Mandakini Darshan, Neelkanth, Ukhimathand Kedarnath. The town of Guptakashi is very suitable for serving as a base camp as it has all the facilities of post office, telegraph office, bank, hospital, police station and food joints. If you stay in Guptakashi in a camp during your Char Dham Yatra 2015 then don’t miss out on a visit to Vidyapeeth that has an ancient Sanskrit and Ayurveda school. Guptakashi still has a rich practice of authentic Ayurvedic practices and formulations.

Joshimath

Chardham Camp Joshimath

Chardham Camp Joshimath – Image Source:  toshalitravel.com

Joshimath is located at an altitude of 1875 meters and it gained prominence after Sri Adi Sankaracharya the 8th Century saint, reformer and thought leader attained enlighten. It was in Joshimath that the first ever educational centers of Math and technical learning were placed. Post the establishment of Badrinath Shrine there was 3 more different maths established in different areas of the country. In winter Joshimath becomes the seat of Badrinath and it has a beautiful Narsingh temple. The proximity to Niti Valley, Badrinath and Auli makes Joshimath a good tourist destination and an excellent Char Dham Base camp. Joshimath is endowed with a are aura of both spiritualism and adventure.

Harsil
The location of Harsil makes it perfect as a base camp and it is scenically placed in a green valley near Bhagirathi. The camp is actually a part of the famous Baspa Valley. There are other mountain ranges like Matri, Kailash ranges in the background. In the right side of Harsil lies the famous Srikanth Peak which is preceded by Kedarnath. The idyllic Hamlet of Harsil is full of blooming apple trees and beautiful temples. There are luxuriously shaded roads, tall trees and high mountain ranges all add to the beauty of Harsil. There are narrow lanes that are flanked on both sides by wooden houses that reflect the ancient Garhwali architectural style. Little streams flanked by weeping willows and pretty little bridges dot the hamlet. In the Char Dham Yatra season Harsil is at its prettiest. Harsil was part of the Indo Tibet Passageway and there is a considerably large Bhutiya population in Harsil.

Dharsil
This is sometimes referred to as the twin of Harsil as it lies just 3 km away from the village. Dharsil offers great accommodation options for tourists who have embarked on the Holy Char Dham Yatra. The red kidney beans or Rajma in this area is very famous and so are the Delicious Red Apples. Interestingly Wilson Frederick E was the person who introduced local farmers to scientific methods of growing potatoes and apples in the 18th century. The river Bhagirathi flows close to the Dharsil hamlet and the area has a luxuriant canopy of pine trees shading it.

Dharali is the last hamlet on the Indian side of the Indo Tibetan border and there is a huge Tibetan influence here due to the settlement of nomads or Jadhs who live here. The Nilang valley near Dharali is one of the loveliest places on Char Dham Route.

Maneri
Maneri is about 13 km away from Uttarkashi and it also serves as an important base for the Char Dhams. There is a beautiful lake that is beautiful and clear colored and reflects the adjacent verdant green forests. The lake has been formed after constructing a dam on the Bhagirathi and it’s becoming a notable tourist destination in itself. Maneri is important too as it supplies 93 MW of power to Uttarakhand that is generated from the Maneri Bhali project.

Point to Remember
The Char Dham Camps are usually booked well in advance during the Tourist season i.e. May to October. If you are interested in staying at these camps during the Char Dham Yatra (and there are not many alternatives either) then you should book your seats now.