Yamunotri

HISTORY 

According to Hindu mythology, Surya, the sun god is the father of Yamuna, and Yama, the god of death. It is said that since Yamuna is the sister of Yama, anyone who takes a holy dip in the river is spared a painful death. Another legend says that the lonesome place of Yamunotri was once the home to Asit Muni. 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

The actual temple is only accessible by a 14 kilometer walk from the town of Hanuman Chatti and a 6 kilometer walk from Janki Chatti. The hike from Hanuman Chatty to Yamunotri is very picturesque with beautiful views of a number of water falls. The temple situated here close to the thermal springs is dedicated to Goddess Yamuna. The temple was constructed in 1839 by Tehri Naresh Sudarshan Shah. However, since the place is highly prone to earthquakes, the temple has been damaged several times. It was built again in 19th century by Maharani Gularia of Jaipur. Even after that the temple has been renovated and reconstructed quiet a few times. Inside the temple is an idol of Goddess Yamuna carved in black stone that is mainly worshiped. Surya Kund is known for its thermal springs. The hot water pool here is used to prepare the prasad or holy offerings to the deity, which is normally rice and potatoes, cooked by tying the food in cloth bags and dipping it into the hot water which is as high as 190°F. Divya Shilla is a rock pillar that is worshipped by the pilgrims before they enter the Yamunotri temple.

Gangotri

One of the four Dham amoung the holiest places. Gangotri is an ideal location for all those who wish to take a dip into the oceans of divinity, as well as those have a thirst for adventure. According to mythological records , King Bhakirahta prayed to lord Vishnu and brought Ganga to the earth she is the river who flow in aksh (sky) hence she is also named as Akash Ganga. As the flow  was so strong to hold by earth. The king prayed to lord shiva. lord shiva accepted her in his Siras (head) and from there she started flowing through mountains, the starting point of ganga called as “GOMUCK” means “Cow horn end”. Ganga was also called as Bhagirathi named after king Bhakirathan.  The holy river Ganges originated from the Gangotri glacier.Here it is known as Bhagirathi, when the river passes Devaprayag and is merged into the river Alaknanda, only then it called the Ganga. Another holy place here is Jalamanga Shivlinga where a natural shivalinga is submerged in the river and is only visible in winter months.Hundreds of devotees throng the place every year in order to unleash the secrets of spirituality. In the 18th century, Gangotri Temple was built by a Gorkha Commander that stands at an altitude of almost 3042 meters.

HOW TO REACH

Reach By Road

Roadways are considered as best option to reach Gangotri. Via roadways, this place is well linked with other major parts of the country. It is located with NH108. There are number of buses available from ISBT Kashmiri Gate. You can also get taxi to reach Gangotri from major destinations of Uttarakhand such as Rishikesh, Dehradoon, Tehri Garhwal, Uttarkashi and many others.

Reach By Train

Rishikesh railway station is considered as the nearest railway station which is almost 243 kilometers away from Gangotri. The railway station is located on NH58 and it takes few hours to reach the place. Here one can get number of trains to Rishikesh that further connects it to major parts in Uttaranchal such as Rishikesh, Tehri Garhwal, Uttarkashi.

Reach By Air

The nearest airport to Gangotri is Jolly Grant Airport which is located around at the distance of 250kms. This airport is well linked to Delhi and there are numbers of daily flights which connects to major parts of the country. This place is well linked by roadways with Jolly Grant Airport.

WEATHER

Summer Season

Gangotri witness its summer season from the month of April which ends in the month of May. Generally the summer season of this place is quite pleasing as it is observed that the temperature even in the summers never crosses 30°Celcius. But mostly the nights get very cold. It is one of the best seasons in the Gangotri for pilgrimage and sightseeing trips.

Monsoon Season

This place welcomes its monsoon from the late July – August month. This season is accompanied by very heavy rainfall. This season is also considered as bad time to visit the temple due to heavy rainfall.

Winter Season

Winter season in the region starts from the month of November to March. Usually in winters, the season is freezing cold and having a heavy snowfall which can even interrupt your journey. So most people avoid visiting Gangotri in winter season.

THINGS TO CARRY

Medicine, Woolen blankets, Sweater, monkey Cap, Muffler, Shawl, Rain Coat, Sport Shoes & Torch light

 

Badrinath – Sri Badri Narayana Perumal Temple

Name of the Temple

Sri Badri Narayana Perumal Temple

Period of origin

Before 2000 years

Name of deity

Moolavar:  Badrinarayanar

Thayar: Aravindhavalli thaayar

Pushkarani: Tapta Kundam.

Vimanam: Tapta Kanjana Vimaanam.

Mangalaashaasanam: Periyalwar , Thirumangai Alwar

Sthalapuranam:

The Moolavar of Badrinath Kshetram is Badri Narayanan. He is found in Irundha (sitting) thirukkolam facing his thirumugham towards east direction. Prathyaksham for Naran. The Moolavar Badrinarayanar is said to be made of Salagramam. He is found along with Aravindhavalli thaayar, Garudan, Kuberan, Naradhar, Utthavar, Devarishi and Narayanar. He is found in sitting pose and has 4 hands. His left hand holds the Sangu and his right hand hold the chakkaram and is lifeted upwards and remaining two hands are joined together and found as Yoga muthirai and Abhaya Varadhan.

The Perumal, Badrin Narayanan explains all these 5 different things known as “Artha Panjaga Gnanam”. For a human, 5 relations are the most prominent one. They are Mother, Gather, Guru, God and the pre generation peoples. In this, Guru is so important and it is non – equivalent to anything. Without a proper guru, one cannot attain anything. So, the perumal here serves as the guru and explain the Gnana to the world. As the same way, the perumal is born as both Naran and Narayanan and he gives the seva to both Naran and Narayanan and he gives the seva to Naran thereby explaining the Gnanam towards him.

While going towards Badrinath, one can visit enjoy and get the seva of Perumals in Haridwar, Vishnupaadham, Thiriveni Sangamam, Rishikesh, Deva Prayag, Kandam (Kadinagar), Rudra Prayag, Karna Prayag, Nandha Prayag, Joshi mutt, Hanuman Chatti, Bramagha dam, Taptha Kundam and Simha Dwaram. Badrinath is 10,380 feet above from the sea level. Bhaktas who travel Badrinath, first should visit Haridwar, where Brahma Kundam (theertham) is found where bhaktas have a spiritual bath in that theertham before going to Badrinath. This place is also called as “Vishnu Paadham”

From here, we can see the Ganga river originating. It is said that river Ganga originates from the thiruvadi (feet) of Sri Vishnu. The Dwaram (the small entrance (or) hole) from where the Ganga river originates is said to be Haridwar. People get this Ganga water closed in a small vessel and take to their houses and keep them as sacred. Haridwar is called as “Kapilasthan”, because Kapila Munivar did the tapas here and worshipped Goddess Maya and because of this, the place is also called as “Mayapuri”. There are temples for Goddess Manasa Devi, Chandi Devi, Maya Devi, Anjani Devi, Neeleshwarar, Dattatreyar, Navagrahas, Mahadeva and Mrithyunjaya Mahadevar. Lots of Ashrams are found. Some of them are Kailasha Ashram dedicated to Aadhi Sankarar, Sri Vananda Ashram started by Swami Sivanandar, Gita Ashram, Swarga Ashram, Paramathma Niketan.

Badrinath is said to one among the great Dhamas (holy Shrines). Other great Dhamas are Rameswaram, Dwaraka and Jaganath. There are 5 Badris namely Vishal Badri, Dhayana Badri, Yoga Badri, Vridha Badri and Bhavishya Badri and five prayags are Devaprayag, Rudra prayag, Karnaprayag, Nandaprayag and Vishnu prayag.

Devaprayag:
This is the place where the Alaknanda and Bagirthi rivers mingle to one another and the river falls down as “Aadhi Ganga”, In Devaprayag, Brahma devar, King Dasarathan and Sri Ramar are believed to have done tapas. And an Mutt is installed by Aadhi Sankarar here.

Rudraprayag:
Rudraprayag is the place where river Mandakini joins the Alankananda river. Here a temple for Rudran is found Mandakini river rises from Kedarnath and it joins Ganga and then towards Madhya Maheshwar near Gupta Kasi. In Gupta Kasi a famous temple for Ardha Nareeshwarar is found (Artha Nareeshwarar is one of seva given by Lord Shivan where he is found as one part of his body and another side for Uma devi).

Karnaprayag:
Karnaprayag is the place where Karnan did strong tapas to get all sorts of mantra arrows.

Nandaprayag:
Nandaprayag is the place where the Nandakini river arises and joins Alaknanda. It is said that king Nanda did a severe tapas here in this place.

Vishnuprayag:
It is believed that this is the place where Pandu King did strong tapas towards the Emperumaan Sri Vishnu and it is said that the Pandja Pandavas born here.

Next to Vishnu Prayag is a place called Hanuman Ghat where Lord Hanuman and Bheeman met each other. Once, Bheeman thought he was the strong person in the world and was travelling along this side. At that time, Hanuman laid there as a old monkey. Bheema say an old monkey lying before him in the path and shouted at the monkey to give way for him. But, the old monkey (Hanuman) told that since he is so weak, he could not able to move and told that if Bheema could mvoe the tail, he can move it and go along with his way. Bheeman thought he can move the tail with his one hand, but he could not do that. Using his full strength, he tried, but he could not even move the tail for an inch. Finally, he thought, the old monkey might be some Arakkan (or) Magic man. But finally, Anjaneyar showed his original Roopam and explains him that there are brothers (since both are Vaayu Puthras). Bheema fell to the feet of Sri Anjaneyar and asked that he should be along with them during the war against the Gauravars (Duriyodhanan and his troop). Sri Anjaneyar told that he will be along with them in the flag which is found on top of the Chariot of Arjuna. Since, Naran and Narayanan came to this sthalam, two mountains on the names of them are found. The Nara Parvatham (mountain) is found on the Eastern bank of Alknanda river and Narayana parvatham on the west bank of Alknanda river. These two mountains are almost covered by snow, in all times.

Nara Parvatham is also called as Kubera Bhandar since lots of precious gems and diamonds are found onits glaciers. Once, there lived an arakkan (demon) by name “Sahasrakavacha”, who gave lots of trouble for the Rishis and yogis. All of them prayed towards the perumal to help them out from the Arakkan. At that time, both Naran and Narayanan did tapas towards the perumal. On hearing that these two persons were doing severe tapas towards the Emperumaan, Sahasrakavachan rushed towards them to kill them. Both, Naran and Narayanan fought strongly with the demon and finally killed him. Thus, they permenantly stayed in Badrinath to help all the Rishis and Yogis from lots of Arakkans.

About 5 miles away from Badrinath, is a place found which is called as “Dharma Shila”. It is believed tht only in this place, Dharma Rajan and his wife kala did tapas towards the perumal. As the Varam from the perumal, Dharma Raja and his wife asked that the perumal should also be found along with them and thats the reason why Dharma shila is found near Badrinath.

Tapta Kund:
This tapta Kund is found in between the temple (Badrinarayanan) and Alaknanda river. Inspite of being so cold and lots of snow fallings, this tapta kund excreats hot water (springs) which is said to be a special one. It is said that the Ganga river after coming from the thiruvdi of Sriman Narayanan is beared by the Lord Shivaperuman’s head and since it comes out form the hot and from Kabhala of Shiva, it is said the water of Tapta kund is hotter.

After taking bath in tapta kund, bhaktas have to climb some steps up where Garudalwar is found. After worshipping him, we can reach the pragaram. The place where Garudalwar is found is called “Simha Dwaram”.

Infront of Badrinath temple, the Nara and Narayanan mountain are found. Inside the temple, Badrinarayanar is found in sitting position which is termed as “Padmasana” pose. On his left is Naran and Narayanar and found, to his right, Kuberan with a big silver face is found. Narada Maharishi is also found along with them. A Sudharsana chakkaram to spiritualise the sthalam is also found. The Utsavar is Uddhava is found and infront of him, a small Garudalwar is found.

It is said that a big date (Elandhai) tree is covering the Badrinarayanar temple and it will not be found to any person in Kali yigham. The tree is said to be the hamsam of Sri Mahalakshmi and she is protecting Badrinarayanan from cold by covering him.

Route:

Badrinath temple is Located in Central Himalayas in Garhwal district of Uttar Pradesh.

Temple Timings:

4.30 am to 12 noon and 3pm to 8pm

Temple Address:

Sri Badri Narayana Perumal Temple

Badrinath

Samoli dst

Utharkand

Uttharkhand – Sri Kethareswarar Temple

Name of the Temple

Sri Kethareswarar Temple

Period of origin

Before 2000 years

Name of deity

Moolavar: Kethareswarar

Ambal: Gowri

Sthala Theertham: Mandakini

Dhevaram : Tiruganasambandar, Sundarar

Sthalapuranam:

The Rudra Himalaya range is also known as the Pancha Parvata; its five peaks are Rudra Himalaya, Vishnupuri, Bhramapuri, Udgari-Kanth and Swargarohini. It is believed that four of the Pandavas died on the last of these peaks. Legend has it that Parvati worshipped Kedareshwar to unite with Shiva as Ardhanareeswarar. Kedara Munivar is also said to have established this shrine visited by the Pancha Pandavas.

During the war between the Kauravas and Pandavas, their own kith and kin are killed. In order to absolve themselves of this sin, the Pandavas went for a pilgrimage. But Lord Vishweshwara was away in Kailasa in the Himalayas. On learning this, the Pandavas, left Kashi. They reached the Himalayas via Hardwar. They saw Lord Shankar from a distance. But Lord Shankara hid from them. Then Dharmaraj said: “Oh, Lord, You have hidden yourself from our sight because we have sinned. But, we will seek you out somehow. Only after we take your Darshan would our sins be washed away. This place, where you have hidden yourself will be known as Guptkashi and become a famous shrine.”

From Guptakashi (Rudraprayag), the Pandavas went ahead they reached Gaurikund in the Himalayas valleys. They wandered there in search of Lord Shankara. While doing so Nakul and Sahadev found a buffalo. It was unique to look at. Then! Bhemma went after the buffalo with his mace. The buffalo was clever and Bheema could not catch it. But Bheema managed to hit the buffalo with his mace. The buffalo had its face hidden in a crevice-in the earth. Bheema started to pull it by its tail. In this tug-of war, the face of the buffalo went straight to Nepal, leaving its hind part in Kedar. The face of the buffalo is known as Pashupatinath in Nepal.

On this hind part of Mahesha, a glorious JyotirLinga appeared. Lord Shankara appeared from this great light. He appeared before the pandavas. By getting a Darshan of Lord Shankar, the pandavas were absolved of their sins. The Lord told the Pandavas, “From now on, I will remain here as a triangular shaped JyotirLinga. By taking a Darshan of Kedarnath, devotees would attain piety”. Near Kedarnath, This place is famous as Pandukeshwar. The tribal’s here perform a dance called “Pandav Nritya”. The mountain top where the Pandavas went to Swarga, is known as “Swargarohini”. When Darmaraja was leaving for Swarga, one of his fingers fell on the earth. At that palce, Dharmaraj installed a Shiva Linga, which is the size of the thumb.

To gain Human form , Shankara and Bheema fought with maces. Bheema was struck with remorse. He started to massage Lord Shankara’s body with ghee. In memory of this event, even today, this triangular Shiva JyotirLinga is massaged with ghee. Shankara is worshipped here in this manner. Water and Vilva leaves are used for worship. When Nar-nrayan went to Badrika village and started the worship of Parthiva, Shiva appeared before them. A few days later, a pleased Shiva granted them some boons. Nar-narayan wished that for the welfare of the humanity, Shiva should remain there in his original form. Granting their wish, in the snow-clad Himalayas, in a place called Kedar, Mahesha himself stayed there as a Jyoti. Here, He is known as Kedareshwara.

By visiting Kedareshwar, sorrows do not come even in dreams. By worshipping Shambara (Kedareshwar) Pandavas were rid of all there sorrows. Badri-Keshwar’s darshan rids one of the material ties. Whoever gives Dan (alms) at Kedareshwar, just gets assimilated into Shivaroopa. Around the main Kedarnath temples, there are many holy places. At the back, there is the Samadhi of Shankarachrya. A little further up, there is dangerous cliff called Bhariguptan (Bhairav Udan). One has to pass through dreadful, and life threatening circumstances. But what one gets is not Mrityu (Death) but Moksha (Salvation). On all the eight sides of the temple, there are eight shrines.

Four Himalayan shrines dedicated to Shiva have been glorified by the Tamil Tevaram Hymns composed by the Nayanmars of the 1st millennium CE. These shrines are Indraneela Parvatam in Nepal, Gowrikund, Kedarnath and Mount Kailash in Tibet. Although none of the Nayanmars visited Kedarnath, Sambandar sang its praises from Kalahasti. The Tamil hymns of the Nayanmars refer to Kedarnath as Tirukkedaram. Kedarnath is the fourth of the Tevara Stalams hailed by the Tamil hymns of the Nayanmars. this small shrine is accessible by foot, only 6 months a year. The temple at Kedarnath enshrining the Jyotirlingam of Shiva opens only when the sun enters the zodiac sign of Aries and it is closed when the sun enters Scorpio. The priests then go to Ukhimath, where the worship of Kedareshwara is continued during the winter season.

Route:

Nearest railhead at Rishikesh, 221 km away from Kedarnath. Prepaid taxi services are available in the railway station which charge about Rs 3,000. One has to travel 207 km by road and the rest 14 km by foot to reach Kedarnath.

Temple Timings:

6.30 am to 3 pm and 5 pm to 7.30 pm

Temple Address:

Sri Kethareswarar Temple

Dehradun

Uttharkhand