The natural wonders in the Central Himalayan region have been identified as manifestations of the Gods themselves, or of places where mythical events took place. In the backdrop of this, four Himalayan sites came to be known as undisputed important shrines for Hindus. Named as 'Char Dham' (four seats), they have been the most important Hindu pilgrimage centers which have been visited by devout Hindus for ages. The circuit consists of four sites: Yamunotri, the source of the Yamuna river and seat of Goddess Yamuna; Gangotri, the source of the Ganges river and seat of Goddess Ganga; Kedarnath, where a form of the Hindu God Shiva is acclaimed as one of the twelve jyotiling; and Badrinath, the seat of the Hindu God Vishnu. Experience the divinity and mysticism of these sacred shrines as we take you on a journey to the Abode of Gods.
Day 01: Delhi – Haridwar
In the morning we'll drive to Haridwar (230 kms - 6 to 7 hrs journey). On arrival at Haridwar, check in to your Hotel. Haridwar is one of the seven holy cities of Hinduism. Legend has it that Vishnu's footprint was found on the bank of the holy river, giving it its sanctity. Situated at the base of the Siwalik Hills, Haridwar is where the River Ganges passes through its last gorge and begins a 2,000km journey across the plains of India to the Bay of Bengal.
In the evening, proceed to Har ki Pauri to enjoy Ganga Aarti on the banks of Ganges. Overnight in Haridwar.
DAY 02: Haridwar – Barkot
This morning depart for Barkot, located on the foot of Yamunotri (205 kms - 6 to 7 hrs)). On arrival at Barkot, check-in to your hotel. Rest of the day is free to relax and store your energy for the trek tof Yamunotri the next day. Overnight in Barkot.
DAY 03: Barkot – Yamunotri – Barkot
After breakfast, depart for Hanumanchatti (40 kms), then 8 kms by local jeeps till Janki Chatti. Here you will begin your trek to Yamunotri (5 kms trek). You can hire a Doli or a horse, for your trek.
The trek passes through lush green valley, a profusion of conifers, rhododendrons, cacti and several species of Himalayan shrubs. Yamunotri (altitude 3,291 m), the western most shrine of the Char Dhams, is dominated by Banderpunch (6,361 m). Yamunotri is the source of the river Jamuna, the twin sister of Yama, the Lord of Death. Anyone who bathes in her waters is said to be spared a tortuous death. Yamuna is also the daughter of Surya the Sun.
After performing pooja, take holy dip in Yamuna river and take the same route back to Barkot, for overnight stay in hotel.
DAY 04: Barkot – Uttarkashi
In the morning, drive (85 kms - 3 hrs journey) to reach Uttarkashi. Check in into the hotel. Uttarkashi is situated on the banks of river Bhagirathi and is famous for its historical monuments, Temples & Ashrams. In the evening, visit the famous Vishwanath Temple. Overnight stay at Uttarkashi.
DAY 05: Uttarkashi – Gangotri – Uttarkashi
Early morning drive to Gangotri. Nestled in the magnificent Garhwal himalayas, Gangotri is set at an altitude of 3048 mts. The river Ganges is also called Bhagirathi at its origin. Visit the Gangotri Temple. The 18th century's temple dedicated to Goddess Ganga is located near a sacred stone where King Bhagirath worshipped Lord Shiva. Ganga is believed to have touched earth at this spot. The temple is an exquisite 20 ft. high structure made of white granite.
Late afternoon drive back to Uttarkashi. Overnight in Uttarkashi.
DAY 06: Uttarkashi – Rudraprayag
After breakfast check out from the hotel and depart for Rudraprayag via, Tehri Dam. Upon arrival at Rudraprayag check in at the hotel. The small town, Rudraprayag, is situated at the holy confluence of rivers Alaknanda and Mandakini.
Overnight at Rudraprayag.
DAY 07: Rudraprayag – Kedarnath
Early morning check out from the hotel and depart for Gaurikund (76 kms) from where, you will start your 14 kms trek to Kedarnath. You can hire a Doli or a horse for your trek. With rare flowers and streams on the Kedarnath route, you are just walking from one picture postcard to another. The path is almost ethereal, and unlike many other so-called holy places, one does feel some ancient divinity residing in this frigid dreamscape. Probably there is a reason why they call it the abode of the gods. On reaching Kedarnath, you will be checked into your hotel.
One of the holiest Hindu pilgrim sites dedicated to Lord Shiva, Kedarnath Temple is perched at an altitude of 3,584 meters amidst towering snow-clad Himalayan peaks on the head of river Mandakini. The original temple is said to have been built by the Pandavas to atone for their sins procured during the Kurukshetra war of Mahabharata. The present temple was reconstructed by Adi Sankaracharya in the 8th century. One of the 12 Shiva-Jyotirlingas resides in this temple.
Overnight in Kedarnath.
DAY 8: Kedarnath – Rudraprayag
You get up before dawn for an audience with Kedarnath Shiva. After visiting the temple return to the hotel for breakfast. Checking out of the hotel, you'll start the return trek of 14 kms from Kedarnath to Gaurikund by about 8:30 am. On reaching Gaurikund by about 2 pm drive back to Rudraprayag. Overnight at the hotel in Rudraprayag.
DAY 9: Rudraprayag – Joshimath – Badrinath
This morning, after an early breakfast, you check out of the hotel at 7.30 am and drive to Badrinath (165 kms - 6 to 7 hrs) via Joshimath. After driving through some wonderful ghat roads you arrive at Badrinath by 2:30 pm. Check into the hotel. After some rest and refreshments you are all set to visit Badrinath Temple in the evening.
Dedicated to Lord Vishnu, the temple of Shri Badrinathji is 15 meters in height, built in the form of a cone with a small cupola of a gilt bull and spire. Legend dates the temple prior to the Vedic age, though the present temple is believed to have been established by Adi Shankaracharya, the 8th century A.D., Hindu reformist. The temple has been renovated several times due to earlier damages by avalanches and looks modern now with a colorful "Singh Dwara" or the main entrance gate.
After the visit, return back to the hotel or visit the town and shop around. Overnight in Badrinath.
DAY 10: Badrinath – Joshimath – Rudraprayag
This morning, after another visit to the temple, you drive back to Rudraprayag. Overnight in Rudraprayag.
DAY 11: Rudraprayag – Rishikesh
Early morning, after breakfast, you drive downhill to Rishikesh. On reaching Rishikesh you'll be transferred to your hotel for overnight stay.
In India, certain cities are particularly renowned and revered for the spiritual essence bestowed on them by virtue of being home to one or more of the Hindu Gods and wise sages. Such places often become pilgrim destinations, visited by yogis and seekers who travel from around the world to bathe in their sacred glow. Rishikesh is certainly one such place.
In the evening, you'll be taken to Parmarth Ashram to participate in the Ganga aarti on the banks of Ganges. Rest of the evening free to expereince this fascinating town on your own. Overnight in Rishikesh.
DAY 12: Rishikesh – Delhi
Early morning, after breakfast, you are on your last lap of this journey. Drive back to Delhi (260 kms - 7 to 8 hrs). On arrival in Delhi, rest of the day free at leisure. In the evening transfer to the Airport to board flight for your onward destination.