Namaskar friends! Welcome to Visa2explore! This is your host, Harish Bali. Uttarakhand is divided into two main regions Kumaon & Garhwal. Nainital & Almora are parts of Kumaon region. And the Char-Dhams of Uttarakhand are located in the Garhwal region. In the coming years, we will also travel through the Kumaon region. This time, we travelled just in the Garhwal region of Uttarakhand. Through this summary video,…. …I would like to share such information with you…. …which you can use to…. ..plan the Uttarakhand Char-Dham yatra for yourself. You can finish the Uttarakhand Char-Dham yatra in 10 days as well. Or, like us, in a months’ time as well. By the way, trying to complete the Char-Dham yatra in 10 days can be very tiring. If you check the third episode of Yamunotri Dham yatra,… …you can check our itinerary in that. With that, you can also see how you can finish this yatra in 10 days. First of all, let us talk about if you have just 9-10 days’ time. In that case, as per my understanding, you should divide this yatra into two parts. You can undertake yatra to the two dhams first – Yamunotri & Gangotri Dhams. You can choose to come back again after a few years and…. …visit the Kedarnath and Badrinath Dhams during the second trip. This will be a better way to undertake this yatra. When you will visit the Badrinath Dham,… ….keep four days aside as extra time. You can use those 4 days to visit Shri Hemkunt Sahib as well as the Valley of Flowers. While travelling in the mountains, you will get to see beautiful scenic views at every turn. The view that mesmerised me the most…. …was the one we saw while travelling from Uttarkashi to Harsil. I felt like walking the last 20kms of that journey. It was so beautiful that I wanted to walk for 4-5 hours to Harsil & enjoy the scenic views on our way. It was an ultimate journey. First-time travellers to Char-Dham yatra are unaware about the extent to which they can take the car. Let me tell you about that as wel. First of all, let us talk of the Yamunotri Dham. You can take the vehicle till Janki Chatti. Beyond that, you need to trek for about 5kms. It is a steep climb. You will take approximately 30 minutes to cover one kilometer. Thus, you can reach Yamunotri Dham in about 2.5-3 hours. For kids, there is pithhu (porter) facility available & for the elderly, there is doli (palanquin) facility. A lot of yatries (pilgrims) also hire ponies to ride the way. I feel riding ponies on this route is a little bit risky. If one is not careful enough, he or she may even trip over. Ma Yamuna (the Yamuna river) came to this earth for the welfare of humankind. Among our ancestors, there was a sage named Jai Muni. He sat at this place and did deep meditation to worship Ma Yamuna. Through his meditation he prayed to Ma Yamuna to appear on the earth at this spot. Speaking of the Gangotri Dham,… …the vehicle parking is about 1 to 1.5kms away from the main temple. If you have heavy luggage,… …you might need to hire a porter to reach the Guest House. It was King Bhagirath, fiver generations later, who came to this place….. ….and performed extraordinary mediation for Ma Ganga for 5,500 years. It was then that Ma Ganga granted his wish. But she asked who would tolerate her powerful flow when she reached the earth. Then she herself said that there was only one man who could handle the powerful flow of Ma Ganga and…. ..he was Mahayogi (Great Saint) Lord Bholenath. When King Bhagirath heard this from Ma Ganga…. …he prayed to Lord Bholenath. After that Lord Bholenath placed his feet firmly on two separate mountains and chanted….. ….”Har Har Gange!” It was then that Ma Ganga started from the heavens above and landed on the forehead of Lord Bholenath. If you are physically fit,…. …I would suggest you undertake the Gaumukh Trek for one night and two days. You will enjoy it definitely. In my life, this is the first time that I am having this adventurous journey, no doubt, but…. ….with adventure, there is tension of stones falling from above…. ….or whether we might slip or twist an ankle…. ….and look at the snow, falling in full force! Wow! You can see snow falling around us and Bhojbasa is hardly 200 metres away. On a daily basis, the authorities allow about 150 pilgrims to undertake the Gaumukh Yatra. So, it would be better if you apply for this permission in advance. For the Kedarnath Yatra, you need to start your trek from Sonprayag. If you are physically fit,… …with minimal breaks, you can reach from Sonprayag to Kedarnath Dham in about 5 hours. We took about 10 hours to trek from Sonprayag to Kedarnath Dham. We took a lot of breaks on our way. And we undertook this journey while enjoying the scenic views. If you want to return from Kedarnath Dham the same day, it would be better to…. ….hire a helicopter service. It will cost you between Rs. 6,000 and Rs. 7,000. If the weather is not good,…. …you might have to wait to board the helicopter. There is no certainty while travelling by helicopter. In case of bad weather, the flight may get cancelled & the yatries might even have to wait for a day or two. For night stay in Kedarnath Dham, the Garhwal Mandal Vikas Nigam property is a better choice. Though, you will need to book your accommodation in advance. A person, who, at least once, visits this holy place and sees the Kedareshwar Maharaj with his own eyes,… …that person is freed of the cycle of life and death. It is also believed that during Satyug, two incarnations of Lord Vishnu, Nar & Narayan, also meditated at this place. So, pleased with their meditation, Lord Mahadev appeared before them himself. He also asked the two sages what they wished for but…. ….since the two sages had no needs left, they told Lord Mahadev…. …that they were satisfied with just watching him in person…. ….but for the welfare of the world and mankind, they requested Lord Mahadev to…. …settle down at this place in the form of a Jyotirlingam. In case of Badrinath Dham, you can take your vehicle right upto the parking point of the temple. Badrinath Dham is one of the four main Dhams as per Hindu beliefs. The Char-Dham yatra that you are seeing right now are Uttarakhand’s Char Dham. The Kalyug (modern age) was about to begin. So Lord Vishnu said that he won’t appear directly in front of the devotees. He said that he would appear in the form of a statue though! Thus, Lord Vishnu lent all of his image to a statue, which was established….. ….and created not by any sculptor or artist. The statue is believed to have been created himself by Lord When the Buddhism was on the rise…. …this statue was removed from here and put into the Narad kund (pond). Adi Guru Sankaracharya dreamt of the statue of Lord Vishnu in the Narad Kund. So, it was Adi Sankaracharya who took Lord Vishnu’s statue and re-established it inside the temple. Bhagwan Badri Vishal ki Jai! (Praise be to Lord Badri Vishal!) While travelling from Joshimath to Shri Badrinath Dham… …or while travelling back from there…. ….you should also visit Shri Hemkunt Sahib. From Gurudwara Gobind Ghat, you will travel the first 4kms on jeep. About 9-10kms from there, you will have to walk on a medium-difficulty trekking route. You can spend the night at Gobind Dham. Then you can go for the Shri Hemkunt Sahib yatra, which is 6kms long trek. It is a high difficulty level trekking route. About this place, Guru Gobind Singh has written in the 6th chapter of the Bachittar Natak,… “HEMKUNT PARBAT HAI JAHAN SAPAT SRING SHOBIT HAI TAHAN ” ‘Hem’ means snow and Kund/Kunt means ‘Amrit Sarovar’ (pond). And this Kund is surrounded on all sides by 7 magnificent peaks. Once you return to Gobind Dham…. …you should spend a night here and next day, you must also visit the Valley of Flowers. This is a 4km long trek. In absence of any horse & pony service, you will have to complete this trek on foot. Let us talk about the best time to travel now. During the first few days or weeks from the dates on which these Dhams are open to public,…. …these places are quite crowded with pilgrims. After that, the monsoon season begins. So, in my opinion, from 15th June to 15th or 20th August, you must avoid going on this yatra route. In my opinion, the best time to travel on this route is September month. Since it is not very crowded, you can visit the temples comfortably. Now, let us talk about the cost of travel. If you want to travel in an economical manner, you should take a bus from Haridwar or Rishikesh. At each destination, you will easily get a bus to the next one. You will need to do some time management for that. Like if you want to travel from Sonprayag to Haridwar,…. …during the morning time, you will get four buses every hour. These buses are available between 5 am to 9 am. After that, there are no buses available for the rest of the day. However, if you need to travel during the second half of the day, you can hire a shared cab to Rudraprayag. From Rudraprayag, you will get continuous bus service to Haridwar or Rishikesh. So, you can split your journey like this. Or you can wait till next morning and continue your bus journey. On this route, you will get guest houses, hotels to stay at frequent intervals. You will find double occupancy rooms within a range of Rs. 700-Rs. 2000 easily. In my opinion, if you undertake this yatra as a solo traveller,… …then approximately, at a cost of Rs. 15,000,… …you can spend 10-12 days on this yatra. The second option to travel is…. …to opt for the bus service of Garhwal Mandal Vikas Nigam (GMVN). Travel and accommodation is included in the price mentioned on the GMVN website. Food cost is not included in the price, though. The only negative point in this option is that it lacks flexibility. Suppose you want to travel to Gaumukh, or to another place, not part of the yatra route,…. …that won’t be included in your itinerary. Third option is to hire a taxi from Haridwar or Rishikesh. During the month of May and June, you can hire a vehicle like Swift Dzire, at a cost of…. …Rs. 3500-Rs. 3800 per day charge. This cost comes down to Rs. 2700-Rs. 3000 per day. Since September is off-season for this yatra route, the travel cost comes down considerably. We undertook this journey in Toyota Innova. We paid Rs. 4500 per day for it. We booked this taxi from Gangotri Travels, Haridwar. We also explored lot of Garhwali food during this journey. We experienced the village life in the region. We also experienced the hospitality of the locals from close quarters. Apart from watching folk dance performances, we saw a lot of other things as well. To gather all these experiences, you need to have ample time at hand. There are some moments in this journey, which are bound to register in your mind forever. One of those moments for us was our visit to the Tipri Bisht village. I still remember that day and will always remember it. The most memorable moment for us! My top 5 favorite dishes from the region, which I enjoyed very much – – And I would also want that you should also not miss these when you travel on this route. Those would be — Mandua ki roti (Ragi flour flatbread)! Rajma (kidney beans) of Garhwal! You will get to eat at least 7-8 varieties of rajma in this region. If you want to enjoy authentic Pahari taste,…. ..you will enjoy the food tempered with Jakhiya (mountain cumin seeds). Though we call it Pahari Jeera….. …but its taste and flavor is absolutely different. Apart from this, I enjoyed Aloo (potato) ki Thechwani (crushed and seasoned). Chainsoo! And Bhatwani! Now, it is time to share some travel tips with you! Don’t forget to carry an umbrella and a raincoat with you. On the yatra route, weather can change anytime and anytime, it can start to rain. While travelling in the mountains, try to begin your day’s journey at an early hour. And try to end your day on time as well. If possible, begin your journey at 5 in the morning and reach your destination by 3.30 or 4 in the afternoon. And then spend your night comfortably. Travelling this way will also save you from being stuck in a traffic jam. You will get cold weather in the mountains. Do carry woolens with you. While travelling in the mountains, make sure to avoid any kind of oily food. If you go on this journey after gorging on parathas, when your car will be going zig-zag on the road,…. …you will feel nausea as well as headache. So, avoid parathas, oily food, samosas, etc. Also carry your Aadhaar Card with you for the biometric registration that will take place at many places enroute. Mobile vans are also there. You can also go for combined Biometric registration from any place on the route. You can get it done right at the beginning of the yatra. It would be better to get yourself registered from a mobile van because at the counters, I remember,…. …at Sonprayag, we saw long lines of travellers waiting to get their registration done. Since there is lesser crowd at the mobile vans, getting registration done would be easier for you. If this is your first time at high altitude, it would be better, for Gaumukh Yatra and also that of…. …Shri Hemkunt Sahib yatra, if you carry a portable oxygen cylinder with you. You can easily purchase an oxygen cylinder for yourself at Joshimath. Otherwise too, you will get oxygen cylinder from any other medical shop elsewhere on the route. Now, let us talk about the mobile network. At some places, the Jio network words better. However, I also remember that at Kedarnath Dham, the Vodafone network worked the best. There are some places enroute where you won’t get any mobile network at all. Like Gaumukh or Shri Hemkunt Sahib. If you can carry a BSNL SIM card with you, it will be convenient. I observed that the network connectivity of BSNL was the best in the mountains. If you are interested in trekking,…. …you will find a lot of trekking opportunities on the yatra route. I will mention details about that in the description of this video. You can refer the relevant information from there. Overall, this whole journey is spiritually satisfying! At many places enroute, for some moments, you will find yourself becoming speechless. In absence of any thoughts in the mind, you become thoughtless. To enjoy this experience, you must, at least once in your lifetime, embark upon this Char-Dham yatra. Any extra information related to this yatra…. …or detailed information can be gathered from our Uttarakhand Char-Dham yatra series of videos. Do refer to the description of this video for more information on the yatra. In the description section, you will get each relevant information. After completing our Uttarakhand yatra, we travelled to Meghalaya. Right now, we’ve come back from Meghalaya. Meghalaya series is the next one you will get to watch. For your information, Meghalaya is divided into three regions. Khasi Hills! Jaintia Hills! Garo Hills! We visited all the three regions and enjoyed very much. The next episode you watch will be of Meghalaya. I hope that you will enjoy the Meghalaya series as much as you enjoyed the Uttarakhand series. Before ending this video, let me show you some scenes from our Meghalaya journey. After that, we will meet soon again. New destination, new journey! That is it for now! Thanks for your time!