culture-of-uttarakhand-5

RUDRAPRAYAG

Kedarnath Dham

Kedarnath Dham is a prominent Hindu pilgrimage site located in the Rudraprayag district of Uttarakhand, India. It's one of the Char Dham, a set of four sacred sites that are highly revered by Hindus. The other three Char Dham sites include Badrinath, Yamunotri, and Gangotri. Kedarnath is situated at an elevation of about 3,583 meters( 11,755 feet) in the Garhwal Himalayan range, near the Mandakini River. The main attraction of Kedarnath is the Kedarnath Temple, which is dedicated to Lord Shiva. It's believed to be one of the 12 Jyotirlingas( godly representations of Lord Shiva) in India. The temple is an ancient stone structure and holds immense religious significance for Hindus. To reach Kedarnath, visitors generally start their journey from the town of Rishikesh or Haridwar. From there, they travel by road to the town of Gaurikund, which serves as the base for the trek to Kedarnath. The trek from Gaurikund to Kedarnath is roughly 16 kilometers( 10 miles) long and takes visitors through scenic mountain trails. In 2013, Kedarnath and its surrounding areas were oppressively affected by devastating floods and landslides, resulting in significant damage to infrastructure and loss of life. still, efforts have been made to rebuild and restore the pilgrimage site, and it's formerly again open to visitors. Kedarnath Dham holds great religious and artistic importance for devotees of Lord Shiva, and thousands of pilgrims undertake the laborious journey to seek blessings at the Kedarnath Temple every year, especially during the pilgrimage season from April to November.

HARIDWAR

Ganga Ghat

Haridwar is a holy megacity located in the Haridwar district of Uttarakhand, India. It's positioned on the banks of the sacred River Ganges and is considered one of the seven holiest places in Hinduism. The riverfront area in Haridwar, known as the" Ganga Ghat," holds immense religious significance and is a major pilgrimage site for Hindus. The Ganga Ghat in Haridwar refers to the series of steps leading down to the riverbank of the Ganges. The ghats are a place for colorful religious rituals, bathing, and prayers performed by devotees. The most notorious ghat in Haridwar is Har Ki Pauri, which translates to" Steps of Lord Shiva." It's believed to be the spot where Lord Vishnu left his footprint, making it largely deified among pilgrims. Har Ki Pauri is especially known for its evening Ganga Aarti, a witching and spiritually uplifting ceremony devoted to the River Ganges. During this ritual, devotees gather on the ghat to witness the priests offering prayers and hymns to the sacred river. Oil lamps are lit, and the priests gesture them in accompanied motions, creating a mesmerizing spectacle. The Ganga Aarti attracts a large number of visitors and is considered a must- see event for those visiting Haridwar. piecemeal from Har Ki Pauri, there are several other ghats along the riverbank in Haridwar, each with its own significance and purpose. These ghats serve as entry points for devotees to take a dip in the holy Ganges, as it's believed to cleanse sins and bestow spiritual purification.

CHAMOLI

Badrinath Dham

Badrinath Dham is a revered Hindu pilgrimage site located in the Chamoli district of Uttarakhand, India. It is one of the Char Dham, a set of four sacred sites that hold great religious significance for Hindus. The other three Char Dham sites include Kedarnath, Yamunotri, and Gangotri. Badrinath is situated at an elevation of about 3,133 meters (10,279 feet) in the Garhwal Himalayan range, near the Alaknanda River. The main attraction of Badrinath is the Badrinath Temple, dedicated to Lord Vishnu. It is believed to be one of the 108 Divya Desams, the holiest abodes of Lord Vishnu. The temple is an ancient stone structure and is considered one of the most important pilgrimage destinations in India. To reach Badrinath, visitors usually start their journey from the town of Rishikesh or Haridwar. From there, they travel by road through picturesque mountainous terrain, passing through towns like Joshimath and Govindghat. The journey involves a drive of approximately 10 hours, covering a distance of about 310 kilometers (193 miles). The Badrinath Temple is open for devotees from April to November, during the summer and autumn seasons. The temple attracts thousands of pilgrims every year, who come to seek the blessings of Lord Vishnu. The idol of Lord Badrinarayan (another form of Lord Vishnu) is enshrined in the temple and is believed to be self-manifested. Apart from the Badrinath Temple, there are several other important sites to visit in and around Badrinath. These include Tapt Kund, a natural hot spring believed to have medicinal properties, and the nearby Neelkanth Peak, which offers breathtaking views of the surrounding mountains. Badrinath Dham is not only a place of religious significance but also holds immense natural beauty, with its snow-capped peaks, gushing rivers, and serene landscapes. The pilgrimage to Badrinath provides devotees with an opportunity to connect with their faith, immerse themselves in spirituality, and experience the serene ambiance of the Himalayas.

Yamuna River

Yamunotri

Yamunotri is a part of the four most revered Hindu pilgrimages in the Himalayas. The small mountain hamlet, with the Yamunotri Temple at its centre, attracts thousands of devotees every year and is the commencing point of the Char Dham Yatra pilgrimage (May to October), which proceeds from Yamunotri to Gangotri and finally to Kedarnath and Badrinath. Lodged in a narrow gorge, close to the source of the Yamuna, the Yamunotri Temple is dedicated to Yamuna, the second-most sacred river after the Ganges. A dip in River Yamuna is said to protect one from untimely death.  Devotees either walk or ride a palanquin or a pony to reach the temple (around 3,233 m above sea level) from Janki Chatti, a steep trek of about 3 km that takes about 3 hours.

Ganga River

Gangotri

One of the (the most sacred pilgrimage circuits in northern India with four holy destinations), Gangotri, in Uttarkashi, is a small town with the temple of Goddess Ganga at its heart. A 12-hour drive from Rishikesh, Gangotri is nestled among lofty Garhwal Himalayan peaks, glaciers and dense forests, and is one of highest pilgrimages in India (approx 3,415 m). Other than its divine atmosphere, Gangotri offers stunning vistas all around. According to Hindu legends, the most sacred of all rivers, Ganges (or Ganga), descended from heaven to earth at Gangotri, when Lord Shiva released the mighty river from his locks. The actual origin of the river is at Gaumukh in the Gangotri glacier, 19 km away from Gangotri and is accessible by trekking. After it originates from Gaumukh, the river is known as Bhagirathi and it acquires the name 'Ganga' after the river Alaknanda merges into it near the town of Devaprayag. Kapat is open now for darshan.