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Pilgrimage in Uttaranchal
Uttaranchal is also popularly known as ‘Devbhoomi’, meaning land of gods. Uttaranchal is one of the most delightful states of India. It boasts of ancient religious inheritance. It has innumerable number of ancient temples situated here. Every rock and every stream of Uttaranchal has association with mythological background of India. It has become one of the most preferred holiday destination and pilgrimage spot in India. The whole landscape is blessed with deep valleys, gorges, gorgeous meadows, snow laden peaks, ice capped glaciers, crystal white lakes, springs and waterfalls. The sacred temples of Char Dham, Holy Panch Prayag, Lord Shiva’s Panch Kedar, Lor Vishnu’s Panch Badri are among the numerous ancient shrines and temples. Thousands of pilgrims travel to Uttaranchal every year to pay their tribute and perform ritual services, including taking a holy dip in the sacred Ganga and paying homage inside a temple deity. A religious visit to Uttaranchal is highly recommended to discover the spiritual side of life.
Popular Pilgrimage sites
The holy towns of Rishikesh, Pauri Garhwal, Rudraprayag, Haridwar are on the priority list of every Hindu pilgrims. The most significant part of the visit to Uttaranchal is the prescence of Char Dham, Badrinath, Kedarnath, Yamunotri and Gangotri. It is believed according to the Hindu mythology that, a trip to these entire four destination leads to salvation. Apart from Char Dham, other Holy towns like Haridwar and Rishikesh have shrines like Neel Kanth Mahadev (Rishikesh), Mansa Devi and Chandni Devi (Hardwar), Vishwanath (Almora) and Binsa Mahadev (Ranikhet), Jageshwar Dham, Hatkali Gangolihat, Purnagiri Temple, Bhadrakali Temple etc. are some of the pilgrimage hotspots in Uttaranchal.
Char Dham is counted as the most preferred Hindu religious sites in Uttaranchal. Traditionally the Char Dham tour is undertaken from west to east. So, the yatra begins from Yamunotri, then proceeding to Gangotri and finally to Kedarnath and Badrinath. The former two are the shrines dedicated to the holy rivers Ganga and Yamuna. Kedarnath is the seat of Lord Shiva and Badrinath is the seat of Lord Vishnu.
Badrinath Dham: is a Holy town situated at Chamoli district of Uttaranchal. It is one of the Four Dhams of India. The town is perched at a height of 3,133 m above sea level on the left bank of river Alakananda. The town Badrinath falls between Nar and Narayana mountain ranges and on the base of Nilkantha peak. The Badrinath temple is the major attraction here. This temple is dedicated to Lord Vishnu and is also one of the Divya Desams of Holy Shrines of Vaishnavities. The current temple was built two centuries ago by the Garhwal kings. It is known that the temple was originally built by Adi Shankaracharya . There are 15 idols found inside the temple, each curved in black stone. Tapt Kund, a natural thermal spring on the banks of Alakananda is also a popular spot.
About Kedarnath Dham: Kedarnath is a Holy town situated in Uttaranchal India. It is one of the Char Dhams located in the Himalayas at an elevation of 3584 m above sea level nearby the head of Mandakini River. The Kedarnath temple is perched amidst the enchanting snow capped Himalayan ranges. It is one of the twelve Jyotirlingas of Kedar or Lord Shiva. In Kedarnath more than 200 shrines are found dedicated to Lord Shiva alone. Due to climatic conditions the Kedarnath temple remains only from the end April to the beginning of November. It is widely believed that Adi Shankaracharya built this temple even before the time of Mahabharata. You can reach Kedarnath after taking a trek of 14 km through a paved road from Gaurikund. Gaurikund is connected by road from Haridwar, Dehradun, Rishikesh and some other areas of Uttaranchal.
About Gangotri Dham : The temple Gangotri is located at a height of 3,048 m above sea level amidst exquisite surroundings. Gangotri is situated at a distance of 99 km from religious Uttar Kashi. The temple was established by Gorkha General Amar Singh Thapa in the 18th century. It is based on the left bank of river Bhagirathi. Many ashrams are seen on the either sides, some of them offer accommodation facilities to the visiting devotees. The weather around here is pleasant during the day and cold at night. The visiting season is from the month of April till October. Gangotri is connected by road to Uttarkashi, Tehri Garhwal and Rishikesh.
About Yamunotri : The starting place of river Yamuna, known as Yamunotri is one of the Char Dhams. Yamunotri is situated at an elevation of 3,293 m above sea level. It comes under the Uttar Kashi district. It is enclosed by high mountains from all sides. The famous Banderpunch Mountain is a t aheight of 6,315 m and lies to the north of Yamunotri. The Yamunotri shrine is supposedly the first stop-over for the Char Dham tour. The temple here is dedicated to Goddess Yamuna. The climate here is extreme with most parts covered in snow for most time of the year. The way to reach Yamunotri is to trek a full day one with 6 km from hanuman Chatti and 4 km from Janki Chatti. Yamunotri is located at a distance of 236 km from Rishikesh, 21 km from Sanya Chattii, 278 km from Dehradun and 176 km from Chamba. The best time to visit during the period of May to October.
About Haridwar : Haridwar connotes to Dwar of Hari or Dwar of Har, and also alluding to Gateway to God. Posited on the bank of Holy Ganga river is one of the four palces where every twelve years the great festival of Kumbha Mela is held and every six years an Ardh Kumbha. Haridwar is also among the seven most revered places of Hindu pilgrimage in India.
About Hemkund Sahib: Hemkund Sahib, crowned and more venerated sanctuary of Sikhs is located at an altitude of 4320mtrs along banks of the lake Hemkund. The crowned place is truly recognized like a refuge of meditation for the guru Gobind Singh, the tenth and the last of the gurus sikhs to require the unification with the Almighty. According to the Hindu mythology of conviction, Hemkund or popular Lokpal under this name also, is a place where Lakshmana, the young brother of Rowed, had made of its atonement.