Choosing the Right Rental Car For Chardham Yatra

Chardham Yatra is an important pilgrimage trip for Hindus. Every year thousands of pilgrims throng the Uttarakhand region to pay their tribute at the ‘Char’ Dhams. To lessen the difficulties of the route, Rental car services can be hired up to a certain point. Read on to learn more-

The chardham yatra need not be considered a sacred spiritual duty. It can also become a fun-filled vacation even if it means enduring the hardship of trekking some distances to reach each temple. This is possible if you choose a rental car for chardham yatra instead of joining a group tour.

Chardham Car Rental

Chardham Car Rental

The Char Dhams

In contrast to the major char dhams spread over four corners of India, the chota char dhams are located conveniently close to each other and a tour can be completed in a week or so. The four holy pilgrimage sites are Yamunotri, Gangotri, Kedarnath and Badrinath.

  • Yamunotri is home to Yamuna Devi and the site is about 13 km from Hanumanchatti from where you go on to Phool chatti, a distance of 5 km and from here you walk the rest of the way to the temple.
  • Gangotri is next on the list, 105 km from Uttarkashi and can be reached from Hanumanchatti if you travel by road. The temple to Ganga devi is on the banks of the Bhagirathi and this is the spot where Ganga is said to have descended from Heavens on to the matted locks of Shiva.
  • Kedarnath is the third pilgrimage destination, one of the 12 jyotirlingas in India and home to temple of Lord Shiva. Pilgrims reach Sonprayag because the road to Gaurikund may not be fully repaired after the 2013 floods. From here you go on to Gaurikund and walk, take a palanquin or ride a horse for 13 km on a steep path to reach the temple.
  • Badrinath is the final stop. It is located in the scenic Chamoli district and reach Joshimath, the closest town with some facilities.

Best Way to Travel

If you can afford it and are short on time, take a helicopter to reach each of the char dham and your pilgrimage could be completed in as little as 4 days. However, hiring a rental car is the better way since you can admire the scenery, stop at interesting places and take excursions to nearby places of interest. If you have come all the way to Uttarakhand, it is only fair you sample some of its scenic delights.

Which Type of Rental Car Should You Select?

  • This again depends on the number of passengers traveling together. A family of three could make do with a sedan but be sure to pick a car with a powerful engine and enough road clearance since the road may be littered with rocks at places, especially near Kedarnath.
  • A family of five to eight members would find an SUV to be better. In fact, even a small family would find SUV more comfortable with ample legroom and more than sufficient space for luggage. SUVs also have more ground clearance, more powerful engines and can take on tough terrain with ease. With more than enough space, SUVs allow you to pack in all your luggage and clothing as also food and even a camping tent or a folding cot.
  • Needless to say pick a car that is almost new and is well maintained and serviced with good tyres. A breakdown could leave you stranded.
  • You will not need air conditioning since the weather is cool and pleasant even in summer.
  • Groups of 10 to 14 could do well in a mini coach but picking 2 SUVs is better since the roads are narrow and a smaller vehicle navigates turns much better.
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Panch Prayag Travel Tour Information Guide

The journey to Panch Prayag of Uttarakhand is perhaps the most soul elevating and spirit rejuvenating journey you can undertake in your lifetime. The holy confluence of the sacred rivers creates a divine aura about the place and taking a dip in the holy confluences of the Panch Prayag can serve as an act of great sin ablution as the myths have it. So if you are planning for a yatra to Panch Prayag this travel information guide below will help you a lot. Read on:

Panch Prayag Uttarakhand

Panch Prayag Uttarakhand

Uttarakhand is the land of Gods, a place where heaven meets the Earth and rightly so. You have the famous Char dhams here. Not quite so famous but equally important for the devout are the Panch Prayags or the five places where holy rivers confluence. A pilgrimage to these places and bathing at the place where the rivers meet is said to free you from sins and from the cycle of birth and death.

The Panch Prayags

The famous Panch Prayags you must make a point to visit at least once in your life time are:

  1. Vishnu Prayag
  2. Nanda Prayag
  3. Karn Prayag
  4. Rudraprayag
  5. Dev Prayag

Mythology states that the divine Goddess wishes to bestow her blessings on mankind and decided to descend to Earth. Only Lord Shiva knew how devastating her force of descent would be and He, therefore, took it upon himself to break the force. He allowed her to land on his head and she flowed through his matted locks down to the Earth, splitting into 12 channels. These 12 channels unite after Devprayag, perhaps the most important point. The holy Rivers Alaknanda and Bhagirathi confluence at Devprayag and transform into the holy Ganges.

Devprayag

Devprayag

However, the starting point is Vishnu Prayag where the Alaknanda meets the Dhauli Ganga or white Ganga due to the frothy nature of its waters. It is located close to Joshimath, at a height of 1372 metres and there is a temple to Lord Vishnu next to a Pool. Nanda Prayag is about 190 kms from Rishikesh on the Uttarkashi Road and this is where Alaknanda is joined by the River Mandakini. Karna Prayag is 20 km from Nanda Prayag, about 31 km from Rudra Prayag and 12 km from Gauchar. This is where Alaknanda is joined by the Pindar river flowing from the Nanda Devi Glacier. About 137 Km from Rishikesh you will come to Rudra Prayag where you will find a temple dedicated to Lord Shiva and also the meeting point of Alaknanda and Mandakini rivers. Down the line comes Devprayag, the most important prayag, about 68 km from Rishikesh where the Alaknanda joins with Bhagirathi, the starting point of Ganga River.

Rudraprayag

Rudraprayag

Sightseeing

You will travel along the Rishikesh Badrinath route, a scenic road dotted with hills. If you hage the time you can visti Srinagar, about 32.5 km from Dev Prayag. Narendra Nagar is another place worth visiting for its beautiful view of the countryside. Joshimath is a resort town in Chamoli district and could be the base of your excursion to Chamoli and to the Bhavishya Badri temple. On the way to Nand Prayag you can stop at the Gangeshwar Temple for her blessings. Rudraprayag has its Laxman Jhula and Ram Jhula in addition to temples to keep you busy. There are plenty of places to visit such as the char dhams, of course, in addition to Hemkund Sahib, the Kakbhushandi Lake, Auli and the Valley of Flowers.

Getting There

Rishikesh is the starting point to your Panch Prayag tour. Rishikesh is close to Haridwar which is connected by rail to all major cities of India. Jolly Grant airport in Dehradun is only 18 km from Rishikesh. Besides, one can motor by road to Rishikesh from various parts of the country or take private or state run coaches. Distance wise the prayags are located like this from Rishikesh:

Dev Prayag is about 68 km
Rudra Prayag is 140 km
Karna Prayag is 169 km away
Nanda Prayag is 190 km away and
Vishnu Prayag is 256 km away, the farthest of all the Prayags.

From Rishikesh you can hire private taxis, join private tours or go by bus to each of these destinations.

Best Time to Travel

Summer is the best time when weather is pleasantly cool but do carry woolens since it gets quite chilly at night and even during day time. In winter the roads are open but you can expect landslides or snow to block the roads.

Accommodation

You will find only a temple and pool at most of the Prayags except for Rudra Prayag, which has some modest accommodation facilities. It is best to pick a town close by and book a hotel there before going on to the Prayag. For instance, you can stay at Joshimath in a hotel of your choice and then hire a private taxi to take you to Vishnu Prayag.

Shopping

Why would you want to shop when you go on a pilgrimage? Anyway there is nothing much you can buy except for local handicrafts.

Cuisine

If you are in Uttarakhand, go for local foods such as aloo dal pakora, Bhaang ki chutney, Gahat soup, Gahat ki Daal, Jhangore ki Kheer, Lesu, Palau, Phaanu, Thechwani and stuffed gahat chapattis. The taste is entirely different.

Activities

Just walking to each of these Prayags once you alight from the taxi or coach is enough to keep you fully exercised. Still, you can explore possibilities of trekking, mountain climbing and white water rafting at Rishikesh.