Day 01: Haridwar to Barkot, Yamunotri, Gangotri, K
You are welcome in Haridwar by our tour guide who then escorts you to the waiting coach that will take you to Barkot and then onwards to Syanachatti. The 235 km drive spread over 8 hours takes you to Dehradun and Mussoorie where we have brief halts for refreshments and to admire the beautiful view. We stop awhile at Kempty Falls before proceeding to Syanachatti at Barkot where we check into the designated hotel.
Day 02: Syanachatti to Yamunotri to Syanachatti
Syanachatti - Yamunotri: 57 min (17.2 km)
Wake up early, breakfast and then board the coach for the 17 km drive to Jankichatti, the last point where you can drive up to. From here it is a hard 7 km trek over rough mountainous terrain to Yamunotri. You can, of course, opt for a pony or a palanquin. There are hundreds of pilgrims on the road and time passes pleasantly enough as you near the destination. The Yamunotri temple can be seen but your first stop at Suraj Kund. Cook some rice in the hot water springs here to offer to the deity later on. Then we proceed to Divya Shila to pay obeisance and then finally arrive at the Yamunotri Temple. Pilgrims line up for the darshan of the black idol of Yamuna Devi. On the return trip, pilgrims usually bathe in the Yamuna River with priests in attendance to conduct obligatory rituals. Return to Jankichatti, board the vehicle and proceed to Syanachatti / Barkot for the night halt.
Day 03: Syanachatti - Uttarkashi - Harsil
Syanachatti - Uttarkashi: 3 h 58 min (108.5 km)
Uttarkashi - Harsil: 2 h (74.3 km)
Rise at the break of dawn, enjoy a cup of steaming hot tea and hot breakfast before getting into the coach that will take you on the 190 km drive towards Gangotri. The view of the Himalayas with the snow-capped mountains reflecting the morning sunlight is simply astounding. The road takes us to Uttarakashi where pilgrims have a brief stop for a darshan at the Vishwanath Temple and a short walk to the Sukhi top to admire the scenery. Finally, proceed to Harsil and check into your room for the night.
Day 04: Harsil - Gangotri - Harsil
Harsil - Gangotri: 25 min (25.1 km)
Breakfast over, you board the coach that will take you on a one hour drive to Gangotri. You arrive at the gates of the temple complex, alight and walk up to the temple made of white granite, located on the banks of the Bhagirathi River. Gangotri is home to Ganga Devi whose idol is kept inside the temple. It is said Ganga descended to earth here in order to help King Bhagiratha bring peace to the souls of his departed ancestors. Lord Shiva received her in his matted locks and Ganga flowed down in five streams down to the earth. The current temple is said to have been built by Amar Singh Thapa a Gurkha general in the 18th century on the place where a small temple stood for centuries. Adi Sankaracharya is said to have visited this site in the 11th, 12th century. Pilgrims have darshan and usually bathe in the ice-cold waters of the Bhagirathi but it is not obligatory. Return to Harsil for the night’s stay.
Day 05: Harsil - Srinagar
Harsil - Srinagar:6 h 55 min (217.4 km)
Third on the list is Kedarnath, another tough pilgrimage. The coach takes you on an early morning drive along scenic mountain roads to Srinagar. On the way we stop at Tehri Dam, a beautiful picnic spot, to stretch our legs. Arrive in Srinagar, check into your hotel and set out to explore local markets.
Day 06: Srinagar - Kedarnath
Board the coach for the 105 km drive towards Kedarnath. We stop at Rudraprayag where the Alaknanda River meets the Mandakini. Everyone enjoys walking in this small holy temple town. latter you proceed to Gaurikund, this is the last point on the motorable road. From here to Kedarnath is a tough trek of 14 km over craggy, sloping terrain. You can walk, hire a pony or a palanquin. At Gaurikund we check into a hotel prior to visiting the Kedarnath temple, one of the 12 Jyotirlingas of India. Gaurikund itself has a hot water spring with medicinal properties. We trek from Gaurikund to Kedarnath and arrive at the temple on the banks of the Mandakini River for the evening aarti and darshan. We spend the night at Kedarnath. Better bring woollens because it will be chilly at this height of 3584 metres.
Day 07: Kedarnath - Guptkashi
Rise before dawn and proceed to the temple for the morning aarti and then we breakfast and proceed on a leisurely walk back to Gaurikund and then to Guptkashi. It is said that Goddess Parvati performed penance in order to become the consort of Lord Shiva. Guptkashi is also connected with the Pandavas and is known for its temple of Ardhanarishvara. Bhima of the Pandava brothers recognized Shiva in the form of Nandi and tried to hold him by the horns but Shiva vanished, a reason why the place is named Guptkashi (hidden Kashi).
Day 08: Guptkashi - Badrinath
Guptkashi - Badrinath: 6 h 59 min (184.9 km)
Rise early, breakfast and get into the coach for the drive to Badrinath, about 205 km away. We arrive at Joshimath in Chamoli District, the starting point to the trek to Badrinath, the last of the four Chardham. Badrinath is also one of the four major Chardhams. The temple here is dedicated to Lord Vishnu who, it is said, meditated here for ages and Laxmi, his consort, provided him shade and shelter by turning herself into a Badri (plum) tree. Joshimath, in a way, is a starting point to various treks, the most notable of which is the trek to the Valley of Flowers. You can also take the ropeway to Auli, one of the longest of its kind in Asia. However, we proceed on a trek to Badrinath where we visit the temple and enjoy Darshan, a soul-fulfilling act. Retire for the night at a hotel in Badrinath.
Day 09: Badrinath - Pipalkoti
Badrinath - Pipalkoti:2 h 56 min (76.5 km)
Breakfast and set out to explore places in the vicinity such as Badrinath Tapt Kund, Brahma Kapal, Charanpaduka, Narad Kund, Mata Murty Temple, Mana Village, Vasundhara, Bhim Pul and Vyas Gufa as well as a visit to the mouth of the Saraswati River. Tapt Kund is where devotees take a dip before visiting the temple. Brahma Kapal is where Hindus usually perform rites for the souls of their deceased ancestors. Vyas Gufa is where Ved Vyas is said to have penned the Mahabharata. After that, in the afternoon, we proceed on an 80 km drive to Pipalkoti where you check into your room for the night.
Day 10: Pipalkoti - Haridwar
Pipalkoti - Haridwar:8 h 13 min (240.0 km)
The pilgrimage to the Chota Chardham over, it is time to return to Haridwar on a 254 km drive. On the way, we stop at Devprayag where the Alaknanda and Bhagirathi confluence to form the Ganga. The tour guide bids you a fond farewell on arrival at Haridwar and drops you at the airport or the railway station.