Badrinath is the holiest of the four Dhams in Uttarakhand. It stands at a height of 3133mts and is on the banks of the holy river Alaknanda. It is bounded by some beautiful Himalayan peaks and the prominent mountains among them are Neelkanth, Nar and Narayan. Badrinath Is home to Lord Vishnu and the temple has a colourful ‘Singh Dwara’ on the main entrance gate. Inside the ‘garbha griha’ there is a one meter tall black stone image of Vishnu in the form of Lord Badri Narayan. Devotees take a holy dip in the thermal springs at Tapt Kund before entering the temple.
Kedarnath is located at a height of 3584mts in the district of Rudraprayag. Kedarnath is one of the twelve ‘Jyotirlingas’ of Kedar or Lord Shiva. The temple is flanked by dramatic mountains covered with snow covered peaks. It is made of large, heavy and evenly cut gray slabs of stones. It was built in the 8th century by Adi Shankaracharya. A conical rock formation is worshipped as Lord Shiva in his Sadashiva form. There is a large statue of the Nandi Bull outside the temple. It is open for the common people for six months from Vaishaka to Kartik. During the remaining six months the temple is closed and the area gets submerged in snow. It is believed that during these months the Devas themselves come for the Lord’s darshan.
Gangotri is located at a height of 3048mts and is dedicated to Goddess Ganga. It is a very sacred place from where Ganga, the stream of life, touched earth for the first time. The River Ganga originates at Gaumukh or the cow’s mouth. Gaumukh is around 17kms before Gangotri and devotees who reach there do not miss the chance to take a holy dip in the bone chilling icy water. The Semwal family of priest’s supervises the ritual duties of the temple. Gangotri is easily accessible by car or bus. It is the starting point of the Gangotri-Gaumukh-Tapovan and Gangotri-Kedartal treks.
Day 01: DELHI – HARIDWAR
In the morning we’ll drive to Haridwar (230 kms – 6 to 7 hrs journey). On the way, stop for lunch at a restaurant on the highway. On arrival at Haridwar, check in to your Hotel. In the evening, proceed to Har ki Pauri to enjoy Ganga Aarti on the banks of Ganges. Overnight stay at haridwar
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.
Day 02: HARIDWAR – UTTARKASHI
In the morning, drive (145 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 03: UTTARKASH – GANGOTRI – UTTARKASHI
Early morning drive to Gangotri. Nestled in the magnificent Garhwal Himalayas, Gangotri is set at an altitude of 3048 mts. Upon arrival at Gangotri take a holy dip in the sacred river Ganges which 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 Bhagirathi 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 for dinner. Overnight stay at Uttarkashi
Day 04: UTTARKASHI – RUDRAPRAYAG
Early morning after breakfast check out from the hotel and depart for Rudraprayag via, Tehri Dam. Upon arrival at Rudraprayag check in at the hotel. Overnight at Rudraprayag.
The small town, Rudraprayag, is situated at the holy confluence of river Alaknanda and river Mandakini. The presence of two separate routes for Badrinath and Kedarnath Dham from Rudraprayag render great importance to the place. Overnight stay at Rudraprayag
Day 05: 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 (by Pony / Horse / Doli / Helicopter at your own cost). Gaurikund is a cute little village bustling with activity. You can see mules and horses everywhere used by pilgrims who cannot trek. Mandakini, one of the main tributaries of the Ganges originates at Kedarnath and flows through Gaurikund. With rare flowers and streams on the Kedarnath route, you are just walking from one picture postcard to another. Trudging with you are pilgrims chanting “Jai Bholenath.” Sometimes the mist would envelop the mountains and slowly lift away, revealing a shiny blinding-white peak that threatens to rupture the skies.
Pilgrims are allowed to touch the linga, perform worship, abhishek (bathe), and massage the linga with ghee. There are deities of goddess Parvati and Ganesh in front of the main altar door. Outside the second door are Lord Krishna, the five Pandavas, their wife Draupadi, and their mother, Kunti. In the temple is a Lakshmi-Narayana deity, which was installed by Adi Sankaracharya. Overnight stay at Kedarnath
Day 06: KEDARNATH – RUDRAPRAYAG
You get up before dawn and after taking bath you are at the temple by 5:45 am for the ‘Abhishek’ to Kedarnath Shiva. Everyone can go inside Garbha Griha and touch the idol. You can also prostrate with your head touching the deity etc. After darshan and puja you come out of the temple and return to the hotel for breakfast. Checking out of the hotel, you’ll start the return trek of 14 kms from Kedarnath to Gauri kund by about 8:30 am. On reaching Gaurikund by about 2 pm drive back to Rudraprayag in the vehicles that have been waiting for you. Overnight stay at Rudraprayag
Day 07: 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 Joshi math. After driving through some wonderful ghat road and probablya couple of landslides you arrive at Badrinath by 2:30 p.m. Check into the hotel. After some rest and refreshments you are all set to go to Badrinath Temple for darshan in the evening. But first you have to go to Tapt Kund (Hot Spring), take bath and then go to the temple. Dedicated to Lord Vishnu, the temple of Shri Badrinath ji 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., and Hindu reformist. The temple has been renovated several times due to earlier damages by avaIanches and looks modern now with a colorful “Singh Dwara” or the main entrance gate.
The temple has three parts – Garbha Griha (the sanctum sanctorum), Darshan Mandap (for pooja) and Shobha Mandap (for devotees to assemble). There are 15 idols in the temple complex. Finely sculpted in black stone, the Badrinath (Vishnu) image is a meter high. Other images include those of Laxmi (Vishnu’s consort), Garurh (Vishnu’s mount), Shiva, Parvati, Ganesh etc. After darshan, return back to the hotel or visit the town and shop around. Overnight stay at Badrinath.
Day 08: BADRINATH – JOSHIMATH – RUDRAPRAYAG
This morning, after an early morning darshan once again, you drive back to Rudraprayag. Overnight stay at Rudraprayag
Day 09: RUDRAPRAYAG – RISHIKESH
Early morning, after breakfast, you drive downhill to Rishikesh a spiritual city and the Yoga capital of the world. 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 experience this fascinating town on your own. Overnight in Rishikesh.
Day 10: RISHIKESH – HARIDWAR – DELHI
Early morning, after breakfast, you are on your last lap of this journey. Drive back to Delhi (260 kms – 7 to 8 hrs) stopping en-route for a couple of hours at Haridwar to take a ritual bath at Har ki Pauri on the banks of Ganges. Drive back to Delhi.