The breath- taking beauty and the spiritual aura of the Chardham Yatra in Uttrakhand makes it one of the most popular pilgrimage circuits of India. All year round the devotees wait for summer season when the great Himalayas make it easier for them to set out for the divine trek- Chardham Yatra, even though the routes for Chardham are open for six months. The yatra is believed to be completed by pilgrims to earn blessings from Gods and Goddesses and to gain redemption. The Chardham Yatra is very long trek to the four divine shrines at Yamunotri, Gangotri, Kedarnath and Badrinath in the state of Uttarakhand. The complete journey of these four dhams depending on one’s location takes almost 11 to 12 days.
Mesmerized by the beauty and spiritual value of Chardham Yatra, I wanted to visit these heavenly sites ever since. The only thing that pulled me back was tight schedule and exertion that would further take more hours before I could recoup and get back to work.
So I had almost dropped the idea of visiting the Chardhams, but aviation companies like Arrow Aircraft have been providing a wide range of aviation services ( like- Aircraft Charters, Jet Aviation, Kedarnath Yatra etc.) since 2009. Arrow Aircraft with their customer focussed aviation services have started the helicopter services to Chardham Yatra. After knowing this, those long distances and even longer treks started to seem small. Now I wanted to visit Chardham Yatra and it turned out to be the best decision of my life.
Yamunotri, is the shrine that is built where the Yamuna river starts; popularly known as the place where Goddess Yamuna resides. Common belief states that whoever takes a dip in this sister river of Yam, Yamuna on the auspicious day of Bhai Dooj will not go to hell (Narak/ Yamlok) after death. This 10 km long trek has beautiful hot water springs that are considered sacred and the prasad from here is a must have.
Gangotri is a temple dedicated to river Goddess on the river Bhagirathi. The Ganga originates from the Gaumukh Glacier and make sure to carry a permit to the glacier when you visit it. The view of the lush green valley through the helicopter was a memorable experience.
One of the twelve Jyotirlingas, Kedarnath is the highest shrine in the complete Chardham Yatra. The 14 km long trek near the river Mandakini where Kedarnath is a serene sight is experienced usually covered by foot or pony. But when visiting the shrine through a helicopter, the helipad is just 500 m away, making the journey quick and easy. Plan your trip in such a way that it falls on a full moon night. Kedarnath on a full moon night is one of the most serene sights I have ever seen.
Badrinath, considered the home for Lord Vishnu, is situated between the Nar and Narayan Peak with the background of the mesmerizing Neelkanth peak. There are various types of prayers that take place here but the dip in the holy Tap Kund is considered mandatory before entering the temple. A different kind of prasad is offered here. On the day when the temple is opened, the fibres of the cloth that is used to cover the idol of Lord Vishnu are distributed as Maha Prasad.
● Best Time- April to June and September to October
● Get yourself medically tested before the journey so that you know if you are fit enough for the long journey or not.
● Keep a stock of your regular medicines as you may not find them in case of emergency.
● Keep thick woollen clothes as the weather is almost always cold.
● Keep the clothing pieces to the minimum and wear comfortable clothing so that you can easily travel.
● The Chardham Yatra by helicopter is highly recommended for senior citizens.
The ariel view of the Chardham Yatra during the helicopter journey was such a rewarding experience, I might never forget it in my life. The quick and hassle free journey made the whole experience an enriching one!