Himalayan Char Dham Yatra

What is a Yatra?

Yatra, a Sanskrit word meaning journey, refers to a pilgrimage to spiritual places, such as temples, monuments and other sacred or historical sites. Please be aware that the yatra is not a vacation, but a spiritual pilgrimage. It is our intention to visit North India’s most holy and sacred places of worship while still practicing sadhana. For this reason it is recommended that you have visited one of our ashrams and are accustomed to our routines. Schedule permitting, our days will also begin at 5:30 or 6:00 AM with meditation, yoga asana or other spiritual practices.

Char Dham Yatra

Gangotri: the origin of the River Ganges and seat of the goddess Ganga, is one of the four sites in the Chota Char Dham pilgrimage circuit. The original Gangotri Temple was built by the Gurkha general Amar Singh Thapa. The river is called Bhagirathi at the source and acquires the name Ganga (the Ganges) from Devprayag onwards where it meets the Alaknanda. The origin of the holy river is at Gaumukh, set in the Gangotri Glacier, and is a 19 km trek from Gangotri.

Yamunotri: is the source of the Yamuna River and the seat of the Goddess Yamuna in Hinduism. It is situated at an altitude of 3,293 metres (10,804 ft) in the Garhwal Himalayas. The sacred shrine of Yamunotri, source of the river Yamuna, is the westernmost shrine in the Garhwal Himalayas, perched atop a flank of Bandar Poonch Parvat. The chief attraction at Yamunotri is the temple devoted to the Goddess Yamuna and the holy thermal springs at Janki Chatti.

Kedarnath: is a town located in the Indian state of Uttarakhand and has gained importance because of Kedarnath Temple. The most remote of the four Chota Char Dham sites, Kedarnath is located in the Himalayas, about 3,583 m (11,755 ft) above sea level near Chorabari Glacier, the head of river Mandakini, and is flanked by snow-capped peaks. Kedarnath and its temple exist from the Mahabharata era when the Pandavas are supposed to have pleased Lord Shiva by doing penance there. It is one of the most important dhams amongst the Chota Char Dham.

Badrinath: is a holy town and a nagar panchayat in Chamoli district in the state of Uttarakhand, India. It is the most important of the four sites in India’s Char Dham pilgrimage and gets its name from the temple of Badrinath. The temple in Badrinath is also a sacred pilgrimage site for Vaishnavites. Badrinath is also gateway to several mountaineering expeditions headed to mountains like Nilkantha.

Uttarkashi: The town of Uttarkashi is located in the Indian state of Uttarakhand. This town is a very important tourist destination in the region and it is located in the Uttarkashi district. Theplace is known for its stunning natural beauty, and is also called as Devbhumi, which can be literally translated to ‘Land of the Gods’. Pilgrims from all around the country flock to this region too, due to its religious heritage.

Rishikesh: is a city in India’s northern state of Uttarakhand, in the Himalayan foothills beside the Ganges River. The river is considered holy, and the city is renowned as a center for studying yoga and meditation. Temples and ashrams (centers for spiritual studies) line the eastern bank around Swarg Ashram, a traffic-free, alcohol-free and vegetarian enclave upstream from Rishikesh town.

Char Dham Yatra

Airport Details: The tour begins at the Sivananda Kailash Colony Centre in New Delhi. The closest airport is Indira Gandhi International Airport (DEL). All participants need to make their way to New Delhi and be there on the Saturday 28th of September, so we can depart on the 29th early morning

Visa Requirement: Foreign nationals require a visa to visit India. Please apply for a tourist visa for the pilgrimage. Contact your local Indian consulate for more information.

Transport & Accommodation: Transportation will be in cars and jeeps, moving up and down and side to side. If you tend to get car sick, please bring necessary medicines for it. We will be staying in guest houses and hotels, which have very simple shared rooms. Some places the bathrooms are shared and not all will have running hot water and most if not all places will not have toilet papers on the toilets.

Indian Culture: By Western standards Indian culture can seem very conservative and we ask you to honour this tradition while on the yatra. Participants are asked to dress modestly while in North India, especially women. In temples your shoulders, knees and chest must be covered. A shawl is recommended. Traditional Indian dress for women in temples is either a saree or chudihar (2 piece pant suit with a long top and shawl). We also request that modest clothing be worn during yoga asana practice and swimming as well. The left hand is regarded as unclean in India. While in temples always use your right hand to make an offering or accept prasad (blessed food). Photography is not allowed in most Indian temples. Please follow instructions from the guides as to when photography is appropriate.

What to Bring: Please make sure to bring warm clothes – winter jacket, rain jacket, trekking shoes, hat, gloves and walking poles (optional), sleeping bag and a light towel. The Temple areas will all be above 3.000 metres of altitude, which means that we might encounter snow. Down the mountains the weather should be fine and moderate.

Health: It is important that each person remains in relatively good health. If you have any chronic health conditions please consult your doctor prior to coming to the Himalayas. Please make sure you inform our staff of any medical conditions you may have so that we can support and advise you as best possible.

Schedule

  • Day 1 (29th Sep): Transfer from Delhi to Rishikesh and check in to the hotel.
  • Day 2 (30th Sep): Make our way to Barok (170 km)
  • Day 3 (1st Oct): Travel to Janki Chhatti (45km) and trek to Yamunotri shrine. Head back to Barok for the night.
  • Day 4 (2nd Oct): Travel to Gangotri (around 220km) and check in to hotel – Temple visit.
  • Day 5 (3rd Oct): Visit to the town and to Swamiji’s cave. If time and weather allows, visit to Pandu Gufa. Travel to Uttarkashi in the afternoon (95km)
  • Day 6 (4th Oct): Spend day in Uttarkashi – Visit to Sivananda Ashram in the morning for Satsang, class and food. Visit to Uttarkashi temple and maybe to Swami Janardananandaji and Hariomanandaji’s place.
  • Day 7 (5th Oct): Travel to Guptkashi (210km)
  • Day 8 (6th Oct): Take Helicopter ride to Kedarnath in the morning. Spend the time there to visit the Temple and village and then trek down. Spend the night in Guptkashi
  • Day 9 (7th Oct): Travel to Pipalkoti/Joshimath in the morning.
  • Day 10 (8th Oct): Travel to Badrinath and check in to hotel.
  • Day 11 (9th Oct): Travel back to RudraPrayag (157km) and spend the night.
  • Day 12 (10th Oct): Travel back to Rishikesh (140km), visit to Vasishtha Gufa and spend the night
  • Day 13 (11th Oct): Spend the day in Rishikesh. Visit to Sivananda Ashram, Ganga Arati, shopping and so on.
  • Day 14 (12th Oct): Return to back in Delhi

Yatra Fee: $1800 CAD

Included in the yatra fee:

  • Accommodation from Day 1 to Day 13 (day 14 will be the return to Delhi which there will be no accommodation included at the city)
  • Innova for transportation.
  • Services of an experienced Guide.
  • Medical kit.
  • Travel to Kedarnath by helicopter.
  • Costs of performing Puja at respective shrines.
  • Meals (breakfast, lunch and dinner) – The food in the mountains will consist mainly of chapati/parotta (wheat flat bread) or rice. All accompanied by lental or beans and vegetables. The food can be quite spicy compared to Western food.

In order to register for the Yatra, please contact [email protected] for registration form, interview and payment details.

Applications for the Yatra will only be accepted until August 15th, 2019. Once your application is approved you will be able to make the payment. To reserve your spot the full payment is required by August 15th.