Char dham yatra of Uttarakhand has to be one of the most phenomenal and spiritual pilgrimages in India which is attended by pilgrims seeking for their moksha or salvation. The holy sites of Kedarnath, Badrinath, Gangotri and Yamunotri are the pillars of this pilgrimage and are opened for darshan during the summer months of April or May and it remains open for 6 months and finally shuts down with the onset of the winter months in October or November. Established by the great seer and philosopher, Adi Shankaracharya during the 8th century, this yatra has ever since been the focal point of all the religious activities in India. Visiting these sites have always been a trying and testing experience for people going on this journey and with the advent of more convenient options to visit people are now getting easy accessibility to the char dham sites. However, one needs to be well prepared beforehand and even during the journey since all these locations are extremely remote places.
People going on this journey should make it a point to be prepared of any sort of situation that can occur on this journey. Here are a few essential tips that will help you in preparing for the yatra journey in a better manner:
Travel Tips to Char Dham
- Advance Booking: Make sure all your bookings are completed and done way beforehand. Being an extremely popular Hindu pilgrimage site that is attended by lakhs of devotees the number of hotels and helicopter tickets run out easily. In order to have a wholesome spiritual experience you should look for the services of a well reputed char dham yatra provider company. Check for feedbacks and reviews from their past customers and clients before completely being sure about your choice of company. No matter which char dham yatra Provider Company you choose it is vital to confirm your booking for the holy pilgrimage.
- Include Only Necessary Items: As you know char dham yatra pilgrimage will take you to higher elevations. It has been advised for you to avoid carrying heavy luggage and only carry the essentials that you will definitely need and your travel is impossible without it like medicines and first aid kit. Instead of dragging along your luggage everywhere you have the option of leaving your luggage at a hotel in Haridwar or Rishikesh before proceeding on for your journey of char dham.
- Woolen Clothing and Accessories: Make sure to load up on all the woolen clothing items and winter wear. No matter which time of the year you plan on making your visit to the char dham, you will be required to carry along an appropriate amount of woolen clothes and accessories. From sweaters and jackets to mufflers and gloves and even sun glasses, hat and sun screen everything important for a high altitude trekking expeditions should be taken along with you. Even if you choose to go for the yatra during the summer months at night the temperature drops dramatically making it extremely chilly and freezing.
- Dress Up Properly: Since your pilgrimage journey will require you to walk a lot every day you will be required to dress up accordingly. Women are advised to opt for salwar kameez or comfortable trousers and men can wear anything that is not revealing keeping in mind the sanctity of this place. Also remember to carry along with you warm pair of socks and good quality walking shoes. Your clothes and shoes should be your priority for going on this char dham yatra.
Tips To Stay Healthy During Char Dham
- Start Walking: 3 to 4 months prior to the commencement of your scheduled date of departure, you should start doing some walking and other cardio exercises. Walking will make your legs stronger and will also increase your capacity for walking during the yatra journey. Walking from at least half an hour every day before the journey will enable you to easily go on this trekking journey. You will also be able to deal well with altitude sickness, exhaustion and be able to tackle easily with the rugged terrain.
- Carry Along Chocolates: Activities like walking and trekking requires a huge amount of glucose. If you start feeling faintish or weak then having a bite of chocolate will give you a boost of pure energy and will enable you to get on with your journey easily. Along with chocolates you also have the option of carrying along some dry fruits, glucose powder or dark chocolate. Chocolates also work well in letting you finish your yatra journey without getting tired easily.
- Carry Important Medicines: Along with the prescribed medicines it will be wise for you to carry along some medicines that you may think you will need during your yatra journey including antibiotics, pain killers, antiseptic cream, medicine for diarrhea, cough syrup among others. It is also important for you to carry some important components of the first aid kit like – band aids, bandages, medicines for motion sickness and altitude sickness. Keep in mind that there are only selective few medicine shops on the pilgrim sites.
- Eat Safe Food: Recent reports and researches have shown that the food served during the char dham yatra and in the dhabas, eateries, tea stalls and restaurants around it is adulterated and unsafe for human consumption. You should also drink only boiled or packaged water. One cannot trust the water you are provided from the taps or other sources. Another point to be noted is that you should always keep with yourself some packaged, dry food items like packet noodles which can be made by just adding water in order to deal with random hunger pangs that you may experience during your journey.
Safety Tips for Char Dham
- Check For Best Time To Visit: Make sure that the duration of the journey when you decide to go to char dham is safe and secure weather – wise. The entire region of Uttarakhand gets engulfed in torrential rains and landslides during the monsoon months of July to September. Keep in mind that for the monsoon months the char dham yatra helicopters services are shut down due to the weather and the footfall to the temple shrines are also low since the entire region remains prone to extreme weather conditions. Booking your char dham yatra during these months will be extremely dodgy and you may even have to cancel at any moment due to worsening weather conditions. The best time to visit char dham is from the months of April / May to June and September to October / November.
- Ensure Physical Fitness: It is advised for you to get yourself checked up completely by your doctor before even confirming your booking for char dham yatra. Physical fitness matters the most and should be of top priority for every devotee taking up this holy pilgrimage. Physical fitness can also be ensured by going on regular walks and keeping yourself active way before the starting of your journey. Make sure you also carry a mosquito repellent to help you keep safe from deadly disease like malaria.
- Carry A Phone Book: Make sure you stay connected with your family friends during your journey. Write down all your contacts and emergency phone numbers in a small diary which will come in handy during the time of some emergency or unfortunate situation. In case your phone battery runs out then connecting through the numbers mentioned in the diary will be of great help.
- A Local Phone With A Local Sim Card: For the most convenient way of staying connected to your family, friends and loved ones is by getting yourself a locally available phone along with a sim card of the network that is most widely available and has a large coverage area to ensure that no matter where you are you get undisturbed phone services. The batteries on this phone don’t run out easily like any other smart phone and is a good choice for travel purposes.
Other Important Tips
- Remember to carry along a battery operated torch with extra set of batteries since on your way back you will be able to see properly after sundown.
- If you are planning on getting yourself a pony wallah or a porter then remember to make sure that they are authorized since they are available at pre-determined charges by the higher authorities.
- Refrain from wearing costly jewellery items and make sure not to carry any valuable item with you during the journey since, it will not be needed and will only be an add on stress to your travel plans.
- Remember not to halt at places where there are no signs available. Also remember not to attend any short cuts or divert from the given yatra route it may prove to be disastrous for you.
- Along with your clothes be sure to carry raincoats, umbrellas and other such accessories along since you never know when you may need it, since the weather on the hills are extremely dynamic.