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Badrinath Kedarnath Gangotri Yamunotri
Haridwar Rishikesh Mussoorie Nainital
Dehradun Ranikhet Auli Hemkund Sahib

Badrinath
Badrinath is devoted to the worship of lord Vishnu, who, according to an amusing tale, usurped this place from Shiva. For Vishnu had come here as the gods once did, to offer penance. He loved the place so much that he plotted to unseat Shiva from his meditation here. He took on the form of a beautiful child and began to wail. Shiva's wife, Parvati, picked him up but could not calm the child. Since his wailing continued to disturb Shiva, he shifted to Kedarnath in exasperation, leaving the spot free for Vishnu to occupy. But reminders of Shiva's stay continue to linger, most visible in the name, Badri, a kind of berry that Shiva was most fond of and the gigantic tree, invisible to the mortal eye, that served Shiva. Legend also has it, when the Ganga was requested to descend to earth to help the suffering humanity, the earth was unable to withstand the force of its descend. Therefore the mighty Ganga was split into twelve holy channels, Alaknanda was one of them that later became the abode of Lord Vishnu or Badrinath.

When the sage Narad disapproved of Lord Vishnu's way of living in worldly comforts, he was hurt and sent his spouse to nagkanyas. He himself decided to disappear in the Himalayan valley-whose peaks make for some of the most enticing manifestations of God's creations. The spot was carpeted with Badris or wild berries and hence was famous as Badri Van. The Lord Vishnu assumed a yogdhyani posture and for several years meditated at the same spot and fed himself with wild berries. Laxmi on return found the sesha shayya empty, she went to the Himalayas in search of the Lord and ultimately found him amidst the badri in deep meditation. He addressed the Lord as Badrinath and requested him to give up the yogdhyani posture to return to his original sringaric form.
 

The Temple of Badrinath prior to the vedic age and the original temple is believed to be built by King Pururava and the icon of the lord carved by Vishwakarma, the creator of gods, The idol is made of black stone similar to granite. It is built in the form of a cone with a small cupola of a gilt bull & spire.

Adi Shankaracharya, A Hindu reformist and the saint of 8th century reshrined the temple. It was renovated several times due to the damages by avalanches and restored in the 19th century by the royal houses of Scindia & Holkar. A flight of steps takes pilgrims to the main gate & then into the temple. The temple is divided into three parts - the 'Garbha Griha' or the sanctum sanctorum, the 'Darshan Mandap' where the rituals are conducted and the 'Sabha Mandap' where devotees assemble. The Garbha Griha portion has its canopy covered with a sheet of gold offered by Queen Ahilyabai Holkar. The complex has 15 idols. especially attractive is the one-metre high image of Badrinath, finely sculpted in black stone. It represents Lord Vishnu seated in a meditative pose-padmasan.

Famous Attractions :- Ganesh Gufa, Vayas Gufa, Vasu Dhara, Panch (Five) Badris, Vishal Badri, Yogdhyan Badri, Bhawishya Badri, Bridha Badri,Adi Badri


Kedarnath
Kedarnath is amongst the holiest pilgrimage for the devout Hindu, located in the Uttaranchal state of India. Kedarnath, where a form of the Lord Shiva is venerated as one of the twelve jyotirling (linga of light), is one of the four sites in India's pilgrimage Char Dham. The most remote of the four Char Dham sites, Kedarnath is located in the Himalayas, about 3584m above sea level near the head of river Mandakini, and is flanked by breathtaking snow-capped peaks.

Besides its affiliation with Shiva, Kedarnath is also believed to be the site of Shankaracharya's samadhi (achievement of beatified afterlife). The actual temple is an impressive stone edifice of unknown date. No specific family of pujaris supervises rituals at Kedarnath, which focus around veneration of the stone lingam that rests in the inner sanctum of the temple.

The northernmost Jyotirlinga of lord Shiva, the third halt in Char Dham, is located at eleven thousand feet above sea level, close to the source of the holy river Mandakini. The experience of offering water from Gangotri, to him who held river Ganga in his locks, can be described as divine. From Gaurikund the road to kedarnath is 14 km trek north along the Mandakini, a steady ascent along as stone-paved path in large parts through a thick forest; it is steep until Garur chatti after which the path is levels out until you reached.

Famous Attractions :- Panch (Five) Kedar, Madhyamaheshvra (or Madhyamaheshwara), Tunganath, Rudranath, Kalpeshwar

 

 


Gangotri 
The Eternal Gift Of Lord Shiva’s and Bhagirath's Penance Hindus consider Gangotri the source of the Ganges, although the actual source is the glacier at Gaumukh, another 18 miles upstream. Gangotri is an ideal location, here is the mystical aura that India is so famous for. The town has two important ritual centers. The first is the Ganges itself, which is considered the Goddess Ganga in material form. Pilgrims bathe in it, and perform rituals beside it. The other important center is the temple to the goddess Ganga. Gangotri also has a strong historical past and bears the eternal feel of antiquity, But Gangotri is equally favorite destination for an intrepid traveler. One who is looking for solace in the Himalayas. The river itself begins at Gangotri which literally means Ganga Uttari or Ganga descending. She came to be called Bhagirathi at her legendary source.
The Shrine of Gangotri opens during the last week of April or the first week of May, on the auspicious day od Akshaya Tritiya. The temple opening is preceded by a special Puja of Ganga both inside the temple as well as on the river bank. The temple's closes on the day of Diwali followed by a formal closing ceremony amidst a row of oil lamps. It is believed that the Goddess retreats to Mukhwa, her winter abode (12 km downstream).

The mother Ganga is worshipped as Goddess and the holy river in the temple. Before performing the Puja rituals, a holy dip in the Ganga flowing nearby the temple is must. The Pujari's (priest) belong to Brahmin community from Mukhwa village. Ten of them are selected by rotation every year to perform all the functions covering the temple and they also perform the duties of pandas. You can also pray for your ancestors on bank of Divine Ganga. Worships are belongs in every aspects of life one can perform here with Holy Ganga.

Famous Attractions :- Gaumukh, Gaurikund & Devghat


Yamunotri
The Garhwal Himalayas have been blessed with some of the holiest Hindu pilgrimage sites and Yamunotri is one such. One of the Char Dhams according to Hindu mythology, Yamunotri is the origin of the sacred river Yamuna. Famous for its thermal springs and glaciers, it is one of the most important stopovers on the itinerary of the Hindu pilgrim. According to an old legend, Asit Muni, the revered sage, used to reside here.

The Yamunotri Temple is the major attraction of this site. Maharani Gularia of Jaipur built the temple in the 19th century. It was destroyed by a major earthquake in 1923, and was subsequently rebuilt. It was once again damaged in 1982. It is located at a height of 3030 meters, about 6 km below the glacier. 
The temple is dedicated to the river Yamuna, who is represented in the form of a silver idol, bedecked with garlands. According to legend, Yamuna is the daughter of Surya, the sun God, and Sangya, the Goddess of consciousness. Yamuna is also the sister of Yama, the God of death, and so anyone bathing in the waters of the river is spared of a painful death.

Famous Attractions :- Surya Kund, Divya Shila, Janki Chatti, Hanuman Chatti, Saptarishi Kund Lake

 


Haridwar
Haridwar is the gateway to the four pilgrimages (Char Dham Yatra) of Uttarakhand. Haridwar is an important pilgrimage city and municipality in the Haridwar district of Uttarakhand, India. The River Ganges, after flowing for 253 kilometres (157 miles) from its source at Gaumukh at the edge of the Gangotri Glacier, enters the Indo-Gangetic Plains of North India for the first time at Haridwar, which gave the city its ancient name, Gangadwára.

It’s also your starting point on the journey to the sacred sources of the rivers Ganga and the Yamuna. According to legend, Prince Bhagirath performed penance here to salvage the souls of his ancestors who had perished due to sage Kapil’s curse. The penance was answered and the river Ganga trickled forth from Lord Shiva's locks and its bountiful water revived the sons of King Sagara. In the tradition of Bhagirath, devout Hindus stand in the sacred waters here, praying for salvation of their ancestors.

Haridwar is regarded as one of the seven holiest places to Hindus. According to the Samudra manthan, Haridwar along with Ujjain, Nasik and Allahabad is one of four sites where drops of Amrit, the elixir of immortality, accidentally spilled over from the pitcher while being carried by the celestial bird Garuda. This is manifested in the Kumbha Mela being celebrated every 3 years in one of the 4 places, and thus every 12 years in Haridwar. Amidst the Kumbha Mela, millions of pilgrims, devotees, and tourists congregate in Haridwar to perform ritualistic bathing on the banks of the river Ganges to wash away their sins to attain Moksha. Brahma Kund, the spot where the Amrit fell, is located at Har ki Pauri (literally, "footsteps of the Lord") and is considered to be the most sacred ghat of Haridwar
.

Famous Attractions :- Har Ki Pauri, Mansa Devi, Chandi Devi, Daksha Mahadev Temple, Sapt Rishi, Maya Devi, Kumbh Mela, Parad Shivling, Bhimgoda Tank

 


Rishikesh
Rishikesh also spelled Hrishikesh, Rushikesh or Hrushikesh, is a city and a municipal board in Dehradun district in the Indian state of Uttarakhand. It is surrounded by two other districts namely Tehri Garhwal and Pauri Garhwal. It is located in the foothills of the Himalaya in northern India and attracts thousands of pilgrims and tourists each year, from within India, as well as from other countries. Rishikesh is a vegetarian city by law, as well as an alcohol-free city. Rishikesh has also banned use of plastics bags by shopkeepers and vendors.

Rishikesh is also known as the gateway to the Himalayas and is located around 25 kilometres north of another holy city, Haridwar. Rishikesh is also a Yoga and spiritual destination with an international feel.

Rishikesh has been a part of the legendary 'Kedarkhand' (the present day Garhwal). Legends state that Lord Rama did penance here for killing Ravana, the demon king of Lanka; and Lakshmana, his younger brother, crossed the river Ganges, at a point, where the present 'Lakshman Jhula' bridge stands today, using a jute rope bridge. The 'Kedar Khand' of Skanda Purana, also mentions the existence of Indrakund at this very point. The jute-rope bridge was replaced by iron-rope suspension bridge in 1889, and after it was washed away in the 1924 floods, it was replaced by a stronger present bridge.

The sacred river Ganges flows through Rishikesh. It is here that the river leaves the Shivalik mountains in the Himalayas and flows out into the plains of northern India. Several temples, ancient as well as new, can be found along the banks of the Ganges in Rishikesh.

Famous Attractions :- Lakshaman Jhula, Ram Jhula Ashrams in Rishikesh, Bharat Mandir, Triveni Ghat

 


Mussoorie
Popularly known as the Queen of Hills, this charming hill station, 34 kms from Dehradun is situated at an altitude of 2003 mts in the Garhwal hills. above sea-level. Mussoorie is one the beautiful hill stations in India and the most frequently visited. It provides excellent respite to people who want relief from the hot sultry conditions of the plains, especially since it is close enough to the capital to make just weekend trip. Also, major Hindu pilgrimage sites like Kedarnath, Badrinath, Gangotri, Yamunotri, Haridwar, Rishikesh are not far from this place.

In 1820, Captain Young of the British army was influenced by the beauty of this place and made it his residence. The name, Mussoorie is derived from plants of 'Mussoorie' which were found in abundance here. After its discovery, this hill station gradually developed as a centre of education, business, tourism and beauty.

Mussoorie, located some 250 miles north of Delhi, capital of India, is among the most popular hill stations of India, and is called the Queen among the hill stations. It overlooks the sprawling Doon valley and the city of Dehradun, the gateway to Mussoorie and infact to the entire Garhwal.

Famous Attractions :- Kempty Fall, Gun Hill, Lake View, Prakesheshwar Mahadev Mandir, Dhanaulti, Sir George Everest House, Jwalaji Temple

 


Nainital
In the Northern part of India, is a state called Uttrakhand, there is a nice international tourist destination for visitors from all over the world called as Nainital. Nainital derived it's name by famous Naini lake and Naina Devi (goddess) temple. Having area of about 11.73 sq km with maximum temperature 28 Deg. C and minimum temperature 7.6 Deg. C.

Ideal place to visit any season of the year, but going there during September & October will be the best time. The languages spoken in Nainital are Hindi, Kumaoni and English so there could not be a problem of communication for anyone from any part of the world.

According to a legend King Daksha held a great 'Yagya' but did not invite Parvati and her consort Shiva. Parvati could not bear this direct insult, in her great fury Parvati gate-crashed into the 'Yagya' ground and leaped into the high flames of 'Yagya' fire to end her life.And later lord Shiva retrieved her half-charred corpse himself. The majority of the local people believe that the eyes of Sati dropped in the lake while her body was being carried by Lord Shiva to Kailesh Parvat. Hence,the lake was given the name of 'Nainital' or Naini lake. Later the spot became famous by this very name.

Famous Attractions :- Naini Lake, Sat Tal, Naina Peak or China Peak, St. John Church, Naina Devi Temple, Zoo Gardens, Caves Garden, Hanuman Garh, Snow View

 


Dehradun
Dehradun is the capital of Uttarakhand, occupying a beautiful position in the Doon Valley. This beautiful City is known as the gateway to Mussoorie and the Garhwal interiors. The town is also known for being one of the most ancient in India. Before the city came under the ruling of the British government, it was ruled by the Mughals, Sikhs and Gurkhas. It is 230 kilometers in the North of Delhi, capital of India. The holy River Ganga and Yamuna criss-cross city quite beautifully. Dehradun was a division of Uttar Pradesh, before the existence of Uttarakhand. Later on, the city came into the State of Uttarakhand, India.

The city has a rich and ancient history. Dehradun is also a proud possession of Uttarakhand, aptly referred to as the life-blood of the state as well. It is a corrupt shape of 'Dera' which indicates a temporarily site. The other term 'Dun' was derived from 'Dronashram'. Dronashram was a residential place for Dronacharya of Mahabharata (a Hindu epic). The terms 'dun' and 'Doon' stand for the low-down areas in the foothills of the mighty Himalayan ranges. Hence the place is called Dehradun.

The climate of Dehradun represents a sub-tropical atmosphere with cool winters, warm and a pleasantly cold spring is the best season for the sightseers to reach Dehradun and enjoy the environment there. The summer months are hot and monsoon stays tough. Due the mountainous region the town also includes a sufficient amount of snowfall in winter.

Famous Attractions :- Sahastradhara, Tapkeshwar Temple, Tibetan Temple, Sai Darbar, Tapovan, Lachhiwala, Robber's Cave (Guchhupani)

 


Ranikhet
Ranikhet is one of the most beautiful hill station, situated in north Indian state Uttarakhand. It is year-round destination, attracts to tourists from all over the country and outside. An idyllic hill station in Kumaon hills, offers the tourists a panoramic view of the mighty Himalayan peaks. According to popular belief, Rani Padmini queen of Raja Sudhardev loves this place very much and decide to settle down here.

At the height of 1829 meters above from the sea level, this place is undoubtedly paradise for tourists who love to nature. Ranikhet Tourism offers some wonderful treks for trekking to adventure’s lover, you can enjoy the trekking tours in Kausani, Dunagiri and Sitalakhet.

There are a number of places to visit near Ranikhet. There are cheap hotels and accommodation available for Ranikhet tourism. The following sites can be visited during stay at Ranikhet.

Famous Attractions :- Upat Kalika, Chaubatia Garden, Jhula Devi Temple, Tarikhet, Mankameshwar Temple, Haidakhan Temple, Bhalu Dam, Binsar Mahadev Temple

 


Auli
Auli is a popular tourist place that lies in the famous Himalayan belt. The snow capped slopes here makes it a favorite hunt for winter sports enthusiasts. Located amidst some lofty mountain peaks everything is in blue and white. The crystal clear sheet of snow reflects the whole of the sky giving it an additional tinge of icy ambience. The slopes are fantastic and ideal for skiing. It is truly a game for all skiers. That is how most of the adventure aspirants reach the place. With facilities all geared up the place is one resort that gives a real chill.

Skiing in Auli :
The three kms long slope at Auli is one of the best skiing spots in the whole of the country. Located at an altitude of about 3000 meters the place is devoid of loathing human construction. What lays there is just the sheet of snow and sparsely distributed deodar trees. No wonder you find a lot of skiers in their nerve racking jumps. The Skiing Centre at Auli was set up in the year 1984. Though late but the place finally received patronage from the state agency and things have been happening since then. Today, the place is considered as the third best skiing spot in the country.

At Auli skiing is more fun than a serious sports exercise. The facilities available makes your time and trip a very entertaining one. The ropeway from Joshimath, chair lifts, skiing lifts, snow beaters, skiing gear hiring agencies, huts and restaurants make it all incredible, a great experience at Auli. The skiing season starts from the month of January and continues till March, during which a number of events take place. The skiing competitions and festivals generate a good rush of sports activists, tourists, adventure lovers who participate with all the zeal. National Championships organized by Winter Sports Federation of India is one major skiing event conducted at Auli.

Famous Attractions :- Chattrakund, Kwani Bugyal, Chenab Lake, Joshimath

 


Hemkund Sahib
Hemkund Sahib or Hemkunt Sahib is the world’s highest Gurudwara, situated at a height of 13500 feet above sea level. It is situated in Chamol district of Garhwal Region in the state of Uttarakhand in India. It is tough to reach Hemkund Sahib as it requires long and tiring road journey from Haridwar to Govindghat and then trek of 21 km from Govindghat. This trek is done in two days, first day you will be going only up to Ghangaria. Ghangaria is the base camp for Valley of Flowers and Hemkund Sahib Trek. Nature lovers coming for Valley of Flowers trip go to Hemkund Sahib also but most of the pilgrims coming for Hemkund Sahib do not go to Valley of Flowers.



   

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