When you embark on the holy yatra of the Uttarakhand Chardhams, it not only takes you to the four dhams carrying huge religious significance but also you may come across some other quite visit-able places that serve as an additional treat for anyone who loves touring places. Read on to learn about what places you could visit in the course of your Chardham yatra.
Vacations are a wonderful way to explore unknown places, recharge your mind and body and add richness to one’s experiences. That’s why most of us jump with glee at the mention of a vacation or holiday. And if that vacation leads you to the picturesque locales of the mountain state of Uttarakhand then it’s nothing more than a cheery on a cake!
Uttarakhand is popularly known as ‘Devbhumi’, meaning the Land of the Lords. And it’s rightly called so, because it houses the sacred site of the Chardham, or the Chhota Chardham. Let’s explore the places that you can visit, if you have decided to do the Chardhamyatra in Uttaranchal.
Hemkund Sahib: Also known as Gurudwara Sri Hemkunt Sahib Ji, this is a popular pilgrimage site for the Sikhs. It is dedicated to the tenth Sikh guru, Guru Gobind Singh and is mentioned in the Sikh sacred book, DasamGranth. This book is believed to be penned by the Guru. According to Hindu mythology, the notable Kind Pandu practiced yoga here. Sikh pilgrims arrive here in the month of May. Then they devote their time to repair the path to this site, which is usually covered with snow and glacier. This repair work is an integral part of the Sikh religion, which is commonly called ‘karseva’.
You can take a train to Haridwar from Delhi and then take a bus to Govindghat through Rishikesh.
You can set out for Hemkund Sahib from Govindghat that is about 275 kms from Rishikhesh. The 13 km stretch from Ghangharia to Hemkund Sahib can be travelled by walk or on a pony. You cannot stay in Hemkund Sahib during the night as it is not permitted. So you should leave Hemkund by 2pm to return to Govindghat by the night.
Valley of Flowers Very close to the Hemkund Sahib, is the beautiful Valley of Flowers National Park. It is about 3 kms away from Ghangharia. This valley is about 8 kms long and 2 kms wide. The park has an area of about 87.50 square kms. The valley of flowers is part of UNESCO’s World Network of Biosphere Reserves since 2004 and is a World Heritage site too. This valley is a place of international repute as well.
Chopta: If you’re on a Chardham trip, you must visit the Chopta villageáthat is a base for a trek to the Tungnath, the thirdPanchKedar temple. In Chopta, you can view the breathtaking Himalayan range. For its unparalleled beauty, Chopta is often referred to as the ‘Mini Switzerland’ in Uttarakhand and the best time to visit is from May to November. Chopta also attracts a huge number of birds and is hence quite popular among bird-watchers. You can see the stunning peaks of Trishul, Nanda Devi and Chaukhamba from Chopta.
Harsil and Barkot: There are other two towns you can pay a visit to. Both these towns are in Uttarakhand. While Harsil is situated on the banks of the river Bhagirathi, Barkot is on the bank of river Yamuna.
By all means, the Chardham trip will not only allow you to be close to the Almighty, it will also be at one with Mother Nature.