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Winter Char Dham, Uttarakhand

Winter Char Dham of Uttarakhand

The Uttarakhand tourism department has decided to continue the CharDham Yatra in the hills at the time of winters as well. As the Char Dhams sites are covered under the snow during winter, all the Char Dham deities are worshiped at their nearby wintery sojourns namely Ukhimath, Joshimath, Mukhba and Kharsali for the deities of Kedarnath, Badrinath, Gangotri and Yamunotri respectively.

Browse through the List of Winter Char Dham in Uttarakhand

About Char Dham Yatra in Winters

Traditionaly the pilgrimage starts in May and Ends in October/November with the onset of winters. As the Shrines receive heavy snowfall during winters and are inaccessible, the Idols and symbols are moved to nearby Temples which remain open during winters.

Check out: Winter Char Dham Packages

Winter Char Dham yatra temples

Winter Char Dham Temples

All the Char Dham deities are worshiped at their nearby wintery sojourns namely Ukhimath, Joshimath, Mukhba and Kharsali for the deities of Kedarnath, Badrinath, Gangotri and Yamunotri respectively.  The gates to all these winter Dhams will remain open for devotees making the Char Dham Yatra a year long affair.

Ukhimath: is a small village located before Chopta, is famous as winter seat of Kedarnath Temple. The idol is places in Omkareshwar Temple of Ukhimath, when the Kedarnath Dham is closed due to heavy snowfall.

Joshimath: is the winter seat of Badrinath Temple, where the idol is placed at Vasudev Temple. Joshimath is already popular being the Gateway to Auli, Valley of Flowers, Badrinath and Niti Valley.

Mukhba: is a small village in the town of Harsil, located on the Banks of River Bhagirathi, on the way to the pilgrimage of Gangotri. It popular due to the fact that the idol of Goddess Ganga is brought down to Mukhba from the shrine of Gangotri in the Upper Himalayas and kept here throughout the winters as Gangotri becomes inaccessible due to heavy Snowfall.

Kharsali: is the winter seat of Yamunotri Temple, located at an altitude of 2675 mts above the sea level. Kharsali is a quaint little village in the town of Uttarkashi District. Kharsali also houses the oldest Shani Dev Temple of India; the idol of Goddess Yamuna is kept at the Shani Dev Temple during the winters.

 A visit to the sacred Char Dham washes away all sins and opens doors for ‘Moksha’ or liberation. Every Hindu should consider visiting these four holy places at least once in their lifetime.  

To make this sacred pilgrimage hassle free, several tour operators have tailored winter Char Dham Yatra packages that offers pilgrimage as well as accommodation and transportation facilities to the devotees.

Suggested detailed itinerary for Winter Char Dham Yatra

Day 1: DELHI – HARIDWAR
 Morning, drive to Haridwar (230 kms – 6 to 7 hrs journey). On arrival at Haridwar, check in to your Hotel. In the evening, visit Har ki Pauri to witness the revered Ganga Aarti on the banks of the Ganges. Overnight stay at Haridwar.

Day 2: HARIDWAR – BARKOT
 In the morning depart for Barkot which is located at the foothills of yamunotri (205 kms – 6 to 7 hrs). You will be taken via Mussoorie so visit Kempt Falls on the way. On arrival at Barkot, check-in to your hotel/ camp, pre-booked for you. The day is free to relax and acclimatization. Store your energy for the next day climb to Yamunotri. Overnight stay at Barkot.

Day 3: BARKOT – KHARSALI – BARKOT
 Today morning after breakfast, depart for Kharsiali (40 kms). Yamunotri (3,291 m) is the western most shrine of the Char Dham. It is the source of the river Yamuna, the sister of Yama, the God of Death. It is believed that anyone who bathes in her waters get relief from a tortuous death. The original source of the river is in Champasar Glacier which is 1 km ahead of the shrine (4,321 m). After your visit to the temple, take a holy dip in the river and perform other religious rites here. Come back through the same route to Barkot, for overnight stay in hotel.

Day 4: BARKOT – UTTARKASHI
 This morning, drive (85 kms – 3 hrs journey) towards Uttarkashi. On arrival check in to the hotel. The rest of the day is free for acclimatization. In the evening, visit the famous Vishwanath Temple. Overnight stay at a hotel in Uttarkashi.

Day 5: UTTARKASHI – MUKHBA – UTTARKASHI
 Today you need to drive to Mukhba early morning. Perform the Puja at the Gangotri Temple. Late afternoon drive back to Uttarkashi. Dinner and overnight stay at Uttarkashi.

Day 6: UTTARKASHI – RUDRAPRAYAG
 Wake up early morning and finish your breakfast to check out from the hotel. Today you will be driving for Rudraprayag via Tehri Dam. On arrival at Rudraprayag, check in to the hotel. It is a small town on the confluence of river Alaknanda and Mandakini. Here in Rudraprayag you can see two separate routes for Kedarnath and Badrinath. Overnight stay at Rudraprayag

Day 7: RUDRAPRAYAG – UKIMATH – RUDRAPRAYAG
 This morning drive to Ukimath, the winter abode of Lord Kedarnath. Perform the religious rites and later also visit Chopta. But if you are travelling in December, you will not be able to climb Chopta, as it gets covered with thick layers of snow. Later drive back to Rudraprayag for overnight stay.

Day 8: RUDRAPRAYAG – JOSHIMATH
 Early morning, after breakfast, check out of the hotel. You will be taken through some of the most wonderful ghat roads. On arrival at Joshimath, check into the hotel. Take some rest and refreshments. If you are all set to go to, then visit the nearby temple in the evening. Overnight stay at Joshimath.

Day 9: JOSHIMATH – RUDRAPRAYAG - RISHIKESH 
 This morning after breakfast, check out of the hotel. You will drive downhill to Rishikesh. Rishikesh is the Yoga Capital of India and a spiritually enriched city. On arrival at Rishikesh you’ll be transferred to your hotel for overnight stay. In the evening, visit Parmarth Niketan to take part in the Ganga aarti on the banks of the Ganga. After your visit to Paramarth Niketan you are free to explore this holy town on your own. Overnight stay in Rishikesh.

Day 10: RISHIKESH – HARIDWAR – DELHI
 This is the last day of your Chardham Yatra. So wake up at leisure as per the check out time and have your breakfast. You will be taken back to Delhi (260 kms – 7 to 8 hrs). En-route you will get a halt of a couple of hours at Haridwar to take a holy bath at Har ki Pauri on the Ganges. Drive back to Delhi.

Winter Char Dham Yatra is only started recently and yet has managed to attract pilgrims to these shrines. Some pilgrims prefer Do Dham Yatra which consists of deities from Badrinath and Kedarnath. Char Dham Yatra from Delhi is also a feasible option in winter season.