Char Dham Yatra in Winters
The Uttarakhand government has decided to start Char Dham Yatra in winters as well. After talking to priest of the four Dham ( Gangotri, Yamunotri, Kedarnath and Badrinath) temples the Chief Minister of Uttarakhand Decided to start Chardham Yatra in Winters also. The Char Dham Yatra in winter started today 16th November, 2014 for this season.
Earlier the Char Dhams being on higher hills remained closed in winters for the want of accessibility. All the Char Dham deities are taken to the nearby towns for worship in winters which are accessible throughout the year. These towns are Ukhimath for Kedarnath, Joshimath for Badrinath, Mukhba for Gangotri and Kharsali for Yamunotri. Now the winter Char Dham Yatra will be done at these locations.
Winter Chardham is easier than usual Char Dham Yatra. Winter Char Dham will require only 7 days ex Haridwar where as usual Char Dham required minimum of 12 days.
Places where Char Dham are Worshiped in winter. (Winter homes for Char Dham)
Ukhimath- Ukhimath (Okhimath) is situated in Rudraprayag District in the State of Uttarakhand at an altitude of 1300 meters above sea level. The Omkareshwar Temple is home to Kedarnath Dham in winters. Another Kedar out of Panch Kedars is also nearby. Chopta is just 35 km from Ukhimath and a mild trek of 5 km takes you to Tungnath Temple of Lord Shiva.
Pandukeshwar-Pandukeshwar is a sacred place situated on the way of Badrinath. The Yogadhyan Badri is located in Pandukeshwar. It is the winter seat of Lord Badrinath. Lord Badrinath is worshipped here in Winters. Yogadhyan Badri is at an elevation of 1829 mts above the sea level. King Pandu meditated here in Pandukeshwar to please Lord Shiva. Yogadhyan Badri is also one of the Sapt Badri Temples.
Mukhba-When the Gangotri Glacier freezes in the Winters, Maa Ganga travels to her winter abode that is Mukhba from Pilgrimage of Gangotri. Mukhba is a small village and situated in the town of Harsil. Mukhba is located on the Banks of River Bhagirathi. Mukhba is popular because the idol of Goddess Ganga is brought here in winters and it is kept here through out the winters as Gangotri is not accessible in winters due to heavy Snowfall.
Kharsali- Kharsali is a little quaint village located in the town of Uttarkashi and at an elevation of 2675 mts.Visiting Kharsali is very easy now a days as Uttrakhand Government has announced Char Dham Yatra During Winters. Devotees Worship Goddess Yamuna during Winters in Kharsali as Yamunotri Shrine become inaccessible due to heavy Snow Fall. Kharsali is also the house for India’s Oldest Shani Dev Temple. The Idol of Goddess Yamuna is kept at Shani Dev Temple during winters to worship. Every year on the occasion of “Bhaiya Dooj” Goddess Yamuna’s Idol is moved here.