The Chota Char Dham is a group of prominent pilgrimage sites located in the Himalayan state of Uttarakhand. It comprises of four famous temples namely Yamunotri, Gangotri, Kedarnath, and Badrinath. These temples are considered as one of the important sacred sites in India and people from all around the country travel to worship and seek blessings. All four Chota Char Dham temples are situated above 3000 m from the mean sea level and offer great views of nature and surroundings to their visitors/pilgrims.
Every year, the temples open in the month of May and close in the month of October/November, near the festival of Diwali. Each temple is dedicated to a different god such as Yamunotri temple is named after the sacred Yamuna river, Gangotri temple is named after the sacred Ganges river, Kedarnath temple is dedicated to Lord Shiva, and Badrinath temple is dedicated to Lord Vishnu. Out of all, Kedarnath is the highest temple situated at an altitude of 3,583 m (11,755 feet) in the Mandakini valley. Kedarnath and Yamunotri temples require an easy trek of around 18 km and 5 km respectively, whereas Gangotri and Badrinath temples can be reached by road up to the temple.
The entire journey takes around 11-12 days and can be commenced either from Dehradun or Haridwar or Delhi. As of now, there are only two ways by which one can visit these temples, by road or by helicopter. However, recently a project got passed and the government is working on connecting all these four temples by the railway line. But it would take years from now.
People often get confused and consider Chota Char Dham as the main Char Dham. Though, the Badrinath temple is also one of the four sites in Char Dham along with Dwarka, Puri, and Rameshwaram.
Temples in Chota Char Dham
- Panch Kedar – Kedarnath, Tungnath, Madhyamaheshwar, Kalpeshwar, Rudranath
- Panch Prayag – Devprayag, Rudraprayag, Karnaprayag, Nandaprayag, Vishnuprayag
- Chopta – Near Kedarnath
- Harshil – Near Gangotri
- Auli – Near Badrinath
- Valley of Flowers & Hemkund Sahib – Near Badrinath