Despite the four sites of Yamunotri, Gangotri, Kedarnath and Badrinath being located pretty close to each other, the higher mountain regions makes it pretty impossible to have any direct road connection between them.
One of the sacred, spiritual tours among Hindus in India is the Chota Charm Dham Yatra in the north Indian state of Uttarakhand. The Chota Char Dham, meaning the small four abodes, incorporate the shrines of Yamunotri, Gangotri, Badrinath and Kedarnath.
Each of the pilgrimages have their own legends of mysticism.
As the first stop in the pilgrimage, at a height of 3,293 metres in the Garhwal Himalayas and located approximately 30 kilometers North of Uttarkashi, Yamunotri is where the river Yamuna is considered to have taken birth.
It is believed that by bathing in the rivers, people can cleanse their sins which protects them from untimely and painful death. Located in the Uttarkashi district of Uttarakhand, the place is known for its hot water springs.
Devotees also offer prayers and boil rice and potatoes in the Surya Kund located at the Yamunotri shrine as ‘prasad’ of devi. The shrine was built by king of Tehri, Naresh Sudarshan Shah in 1839.
How to get there?
One can reach there by air, road or rail. The closest airport is the Jolly Grant, Dehradun airport that lies at a distance of 210 kms from the town of Yamunotri. From Delhi, one can catch regular flights to Dehradun and take a cab to Yamunotri which would cost anywhere between Rs 3,000 and Rs 4,000.
One can also reach the sacred town of Yamunotri by state buses running to Hanuman Chatti (14 km from Yamunotri). While Dehradun is at 172 kms from Yamunotri, Rishikesh is at a distance of 213 kms.
By rail, after reaching the Dehradun railway station, a good number of cabs go to Yamunotri at a cost of around Rs 3,000.
Where to stay?
There are limited options for lodging but dharamshalas are available at Yamunotri. Some of the staying options are Ramanand Ashram, Kali Kamli Dharamshala, Kalindi Ashram and Kamli Dharamshala. But it is advisable to book in advance.
There is a travellers’ lodge in Janaki Chatti, where the road route concludes. Barkot, located on the banks of Yamuna river, also has a few places for accommodation. Garhwal Mandal Vikas Nigam (GMVN) runs a guest house and a dormitory in this area as well.
Budget hotels can be booked in advance like Hotel Kalindi (Contact: 01375-233385) and Hotel Himalaya (Contact: 233321), Hotel Chauhan (Contact: 01375-233309) and Hotel Ganga Yamuna (Contact: 01375 – 233301) at Rana Chatti, Hotel Mandakini (Contact: 094129-33148), Hotel Neelakanth, and the GMVN (Contact: 01375-224236) facility at Janki Chatti.
As the origins of the river Ganges, at a height of 3,100 metres, the place assumes a holy significance in the Chota Char Dham yatra. The tale of Gangotri is said to date back to centuries when Goddess Ganga transformed herself into the Bhagirati river to dissolve the sins of King Bhagirath’s forefathers after his penance. To reduce the impact of her fall, Lord Shiva gathered her into his matted locks.
Originating from the Gangotri glacier as Bhagirathi, the river is said to become Ganga once it passes Devaprayag and merges into the river Alaknanda.