Chardham 2022

Om Namah Shivaya !!!

With his blessing, I finally completed the Chardham yatra this year. 2022 happens to be a special year for me personally: having just completed 50 years and come June, I will be completing 25 years of working in the IT industry. Really lucky and feel blessed that I have been able to take 4 months’ leave of absence from my work and complete this long-awaited Chardham yatra as my first trip during my break.

Chardham Yatra consists of four major pilgrimage sites in Uttarakhand – Yamunotri, Gangotri, Kedarnath, and Badrinath (the order in which the 4 images of the cover photo are shown). Hindu epics / puranas say that the Chardham yatra is auspicious and should be done clockwise i.e. from West to East. The yatra typically starts from Haridwar, then the first Dham is Yamunotri followed by Gangotri, Kedarnath, and finally Badrinath, before ending at Haridwar once again.


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Uttarakhand also known as the Dev Bhoomi or Land of Gods, is the land of 5 Kedar’s, 5 Badri’s and 5 Prayag’s. While the Prayag’s are linked and are directly related to major rivers of  India and their journey, the rest of the places are seeped into our puranas/epics and are reference points to innumerable Kathe / Upa-Kathe (stories / sub-stories) from Mahabharatha and Ramayana. This yatra not only allows you to learn and marvel at our puranas/legends but also lets you experience the sheer joy of traveling through this rugged, but utterly beautiful landscape from the lower to mid-altitude Shivalik range of Himalayas.

Thought physically and mentally taxing, the sheer joy and the energy that I experienced during this yatra is beyond words for me. This travelogue is my vain attempt at capturing the beauty of this place, along with its historical / purana references. Will also add any travel-related information that I have been able to collate and that might help you when you go on your yatra. It is my wish and blessing that you get to go on this sacred yatra yourself and experience it firsthand.

Here is a map of Uttarakhand, with a lot more details in terms of the towns and roads that one has to travel on.


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Best time to visit:

The high-altitude shrines remain shut for around six months every year, opening in summers (April or May) and closing with the onset of winter (October or November). The “Badrinath – Kedarnath Samiti” decides the exact opening and closing of these shrines. Also, note that each shrine has slightly different opening and closing dates. Hence one needs to plan their travel around these dates. There are two “optimal windows” to visit Chardham. One is from May to mid-June is basically the ‘pre-monsoon window and is a typically a good time to visit from a weather point of view. Then the monsoon arrives and travel becomes difficult on these high-altitude mountain roads. The monsoon in these regions lasts from mid-June till about the end of August. The second best window to travel would be during September, October, and till the day shrines are closed in November.

The first window, though good from a weather perspective, can get extremely crowded, due to the summer holidays for most of the schools throughout India. If you can’t handle the crowd, then the second window is better, but be ready to handle severe cold conditions.

How did we make this yatra:

We made this yatra through Nirmala Travels, a very well-known and very popular travel house from Karnataka. If not for the travel managers/cooks from this house, we would have found it extremely difficult to have a successful yatra. I would highly recommend that you go through Nirmala Travels for such long trips that are pretty complicated to plan unless you are a local.

We started our yatra from Bangalore on May 18th and returned to Bangalore on June 5th. Here are the actual dates on which the 4 dham’s opened this year:

Opening Dates of Chardham’s 2022:

  1. Yamunotri Temple Opening Date: 3rd May 2022 (Akshaya Tritiya)
  2. Gangotri Temple Opening Date: 3rd May 2022 (Akshaya Tritiya)
  3. Kedarnath Temple Opening Date: 6th May 2022
  4. Badrinath Temple Opening Date: 8th May 2022