Category Archive : Pilgrimage

Tera Manzil Temple

Tera Manzil Temple, Rishikesh, Uttarakhand

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Tera Manzil Temple, also famous by the names of Trayambakeshwar Temple or Trimbakeshwar temple is a 13-storeyed mystic temple located in Rishikesh tehsil of Dehradun district in Uttarakhand. The temple is among the most visited temples of Rishikesh and becomes more serene by its spectacular location on the banks of River Ganga and surrounded by the lush green Himalayas.

Information on Tera Manzil Temple-

Tera Manzil Temple is a unique architectural temple that has 13 floors and looks giant from a distant view. Unlike most of the Hindu temples of India, this temple is not dedicated to any single God or deity. Instead, this houses small temples on each of the floors that are dedicated to various Hindu deities.

In the evening time, the Arti of River Ganga is performed which enhances the spirituality of the temple. At this time the temple is also decorated with glittering lights that make an awesome image that persists forever in our heart and soul.

The temple also houses various shops that sell some products like frames of deities, garlands, articles, and books that one can purchase as a mark of a visit to the temple.

The view of River Ganga from the top floor of the temple is really breathtaking and gives us a heavenly feeling that rejuvenates us from the depth.

Photo by Chnadan Verma from Pexels

Location of Tera Manzil Temple-

The temple is situated on the banks of India’s most religious and pious River Ganga that ha sits origins from the mighty glacier of Gangotri. The temple is on the left side of the Lakshman Jhula, the bridge that makes path over the River Ganga to reach the temple.

This exquisitely wonderful Tera Manzil Temple is located in the Rishikesh tehsil of Dehradun district in the Indian state of Uttarakhand (earlier known as Uttaranchal). Uttarakhand is also known by the name of The Land of Gods as a lot of pilgrimage sites are situated here, mainly the Chota Char Dham circuit that includes four main temples of Kedarnath, Badrinath, Gangotri, and Yamunotri.

Rishikesh is located at an approximate distance of 55 km from the Dehradun district and can be accessed within 2 hours of drive through buses and private taxis or vehicles. The distances of Rishikesh from other important places are- Haridwar– 25 km, Rudraprayag– 142 km, Uttarkashi– 169 km, Delhi– 241 km, Mumbai-1641 km, Kolkata– 1493 km, Chennai– 2388 km, Lucknow– 520 km, Jaipur– 492 km, Ahmedabad– 1165 km, Indore– 1056 km, Bhopal– 860 km, Kedarnath– 229 km, Badrinath– 288 km, Gangotri– 267 km, and Yamunotri– 213 km.

How to reach Tera Manzil Temple?

ADDRESS- Lakshman Jhula, Rishikesh, Uttarakhand

PIN Code- 249302

Jolly Grant Airport in Dehradun district is the airport that is nearest to the temple and is at a distance of about 30 kilometers.

Rishikesh Railway Station at a distance of about 6 kilometers from Tera Manzil temple, is the nearest railway station. It has good connectivity to other parts of the country and state.

Rishikesh Bus Station is at a distance of 12 km from the temple and makes Rishikesh well connected with other parts of Uttarakhand and nearby states through roads.

Photo by Chnadan Verma from Pexels

Entry Fee-

No Entry Fee is charged to visitors visiting this auspicious temple dedicated to various deities of the Hindu religion.

Timings of Tera Manzil Temple-

The opening hours of the temple for the devotees are from 6 am in the morning to about 7 pm in the evening. The temple is closed at about 8 pm after the Arti of the river Ganga. The temple remains open on all the days of a week.

Best Time to Visit Tera Manzil Temple-

The months of July-August are not suitable for the journey as it is the time of monsoon and the condition of roads gets damaged. Few tourists come here during this period.

The best time to visit the temple would be the months of September-October and from February to June. In the months of December-January, you will have to face extreme cold weather conditions.

Travel Tip-

No lift facility is available for reaching the top floor of the temple, so make sure to stay at lower floors if you have problems related to legs or breathing.

Notices of Photography Ban are written on the walls, so keep an eye on the security persons there to avoid any penalties.

Try to have adventurous sports like rafting in River Ganga near the temple.

Location on Map-

Temples in Uttarakhand-

Forts in Uttarakhand-

Gurudwara Sis Ganj Sahib, Delhi

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Gurudwara Sis Ganj Sahib is among the most visited religious places in Delhi. Located in the most known area of Delhi, Chandni Chawk, this shrine was built to preserve the place where the ninth Guru of Sikhism, Guru Teg Bahadur Ji was decapitated on 11th November 1675 by Aurangzeb’s orders. The reason behind this was that Guru Teg Bahadur Ji stood for the Kashmiri Pandits, who were unwillingly forced for conversion to Islam. This beautiful and spiritual Gurudwara is a must-visit place for devotees seeking serenity and fulfillment of their wishes.

Let us peep into its details-

History of Gurudwara Sis Ganj Sahib-

On the day of 11th November 1675 at this site of present-day Gurudwara, the ninth Guru of the Sikhism, Guru Teg Bahadur Singh was decapitated by Mughal Emperor Aurangzeb as a punishment to deny the conversion into the Islamic religion. He stood for the favor of Kashmiri Pandits who were forced religion conversions. The place thus got the name Sis Ganj as “Sis” in Punjabi signifies to someone’s head.

Lakhi Singh Vanjara, one of the disciples of Guru Teg Bahadur Ji, took his body away before it was defamed in front of the public and cremated it in his own house by burning the house, where the present-day Gurudwara Rakab Ganj Sahib is situated.

The construction of the Gurudwara was done by Baghel Singh Dhaliwal in the year 1783 within a span of eight months. He was a Sikh military leader who occupied the throne of Delhi on 11th March 1783 and then had settlements with the then Mughal ruler Shah Alam II, who allowed him to construct Gurudwaras at important historical sites in Delhi in exchange for some taxes.

The cut-off head of Guru Teg Bahadur Ji was taken to Anandpur Sahib in Punjab and a shrine named Gurudwara Sisganj Sahib was constructed there by Ranjit Singh Ji at the place where the head of Guru Teg Bahadur Ji was cremated according to the rituals of Sikhism. One of the disciples named Bhai Jaita (renamed Bhai Jivan Singh) did this task of transferring his head to Anandpur Sahib in 1675.

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The architecture of Gurudwara Sis Ganj Sahib-

The present-day shrine is a two-storeyed building in a rectangular shape with seven kiosks (open pillared-dome) on the top of the building. There is a big kiosk at the center, two small ones near it, and the remaining four at the corners of the building are of medium size. These kiosks are covered with gold metal plating on the domes.

A majestically beautiful large rectangular prayer hall is present within the gurudwara that has a pillared circumambulation path along the boundary and sitting space for the devotees at the center. Spectacular chandeliers and stone artwork enhance the elegance of this divine place. People are devoted in Bhajans and Ardaas to please their god through chanting.

The shrine also preserves the tree under which he was beheaded and the well whose water he used to have a bath during the tough times of his prison by the orders of Aurangzeb, till date.

The present-day building was constructed after the year 1930 with the combined efforts of about 4000 workers and artisans.

The eleventh guru of Sikhs, Sri Guru Granth Sahib Ji is kept in the main prayer hall of the Gurudwara and is worshipped by people visiting there. Chants and various bhajans are performed during the day to please Guru Granth Sahib Ji.

Interior Hall Image Source CC BY-SA 3.0

Location of Gurudwara Sis Ganj Sahib-

Gurudwara Sis Ganj Sahib is situated in the capital city of India, New Delhi, in the locality of Chandni Chawk, one of the most famous and oldest settlements of Delhi. It is in close proximity to Delhi’s largest monument, the Red Fort.

How to Reach Gurudwara Sis Ganj Sahib?

ADDRESS- Chandni Chowk, Delhi

PIN Code- 110006

Contact No.- +911123285117

Gurudwara Sahib is about 20 km away from the Indira Gandhi International Airport. Thus, it can be reached by taxi within 40 minutes via NH 48, the fastest route.

From New Delhi Railway Station, the shrine is about 3 km far and can be reached within 15 minutes through a taxi on a normal day via Chawri Bazar Road.

The nearest metro station is Chandni Chowk on Yellow Line, about 500 meters from the destination. Another good alternative is the Lal Qila Metro Station on Violet Line, at about the same distance.

Various DTC buses are also available from throughout the city to reach the destination in the cheapest costs of travel.

Best Time to Visit Gurudwara Sis Ganj Sahib-

Each and every hour of the day is the best time to have a visit to Gurudwara Sahib. It is a spiritual place, so the best time is when you visit there. Although some added beauty of golden lights can be witnessed during the evening hours and some added peace can be experienced during early morning hours.

Timings of Gurudwara Sis Ganj Sahib-

Gurudwara Sis Ganj Sahib remains open for the whole day. It is treated as God’s home open for all, at all times and everyone is welcomed here. If you wish to have Langar there, then try to visit after 11 am so that the food is ready.

Entry Fee-

No Entry Fee is charged to devotees who visit this pious and religious place. People from every culture and religion are welcomed here without charging them any type of fee. Although visitors offer according to their faith and will in various forms like management services, food, and money.

Travel Tip-

Try to have Langar at the Gurudwara as this food is a gift from God’s side.

Carry a cloth or handkerchief to cover your head before entering the complex, as a note of respect to the Guru Granth Sahib Ji and a mandatory part of Sikhism.

Photography and video shooting are although allowed within the premises but is certainly restricted in the main hall and near the seat of Guru Granth Sahib Ji.

There is a lack of parking facility near the destination, so try to have a visit by public transports like rickshaws and buses, if possible.

Location on Map-

Ajmer Sharif Dargah

Ajmer Sharif Dargah, Rajasthan

Featured Image by-Zakir Naqvi CC BY- SA 2.0

Ajmer Sharif Dargah, the most visited tourism and a religious spot in Ajmer is a divine shrine dedicated to a Sufi Saint Khwaja Moinuddin Chisti. Every year people from different countries head towards this majestic place famous for the beliefs of fulfilling the wishes of the devotes, who pray with pure hearts and souls.

The spectacular aroma of the incense sticks and red roses all around and the heart touching Qawwali songs create a positive and pious atmosphere that attracts people from around the globe to this sacred place for the fulfillment of their wishes. It is located in the Aravalli Ranges of mountains and near the Taragarh Hill, in Ajmer district of Rajasthan.

Let us explore this spiritual gem of Ajmer to a greater extent…

Location of Ajmer Sharif Dargah-

Located in the Ajmer district in the lap of Taragarh hills, this miraculous shrine is the main Islamic religious attraction of the state and the city.

This enchanted shrine of Khwaja Moinuddin Chisti is located in the central Rajasthan at a distance of about 133 km from the state capital Jaipur.

The distances of this destination from the major cities of the country are as follows- Delhi-402 km, Mumbai-1026 km, Chennai-2034, Kolkata-1667 km, Hyderabad-1410 km, Bengaluru-1812 km, Ahmedabad-548 km, Udaipur-264 km, Jodhpur-203, and Lucknow-703 km.

History and Significance of Dargah-

The shrine is the resting place of a Persian Sufi saint named Khwaja Gharib Nawaz Moinuddin Chisti who is believed to reach Ajmer in 1192 to teach his preaching after the orders of Muhammad in his dreams. The saint died in Ajmer in the year 1236 and his grave is the main place that is worshipped nowadays.

His resting place was visited by many people including various emperors. Mohammad Bin Tughlaq is credited for the construction of a Dargah around the tomb to enhance its beauty and elegance in 1332.

People from different parts of the world reach this auspicious and serene place of Muslims and offer their prayers in forms of Chadars. It is believed that if a devotee prays with the depth of his pure heart and soul, all his wishes are fulfilled and he gets rid of all the pains.

According to the sayings, Moinuddin Chisti prayed continuously for six days by locking up himself at the age of 114 and finally left his body. So, every year Urs or the death anniversary of Nawaz Moinuddin Chisti is celebrated for 6 days in the Muslim month of Ramadan that usually falls in March. Recently, the 808th Urs was celebrated in March 2020.             

                                                           Image SourceZakir Naqvi CC BY- SA 2.0

The architecture of Ajmer Sharif Dargah-

The main architectural features of the Dargah are two courtyards, a domed tomb, a mosque built by Shah Jahan, and a massive gateway called Nizam Gate. Most of the construction work in the shrine is done in white marble.

Nizam Gate– This colossal gateway to the mosque was constructed by the orders of Mir Osman Ali Khan, the then Nizam of Hyderabad. The name of Nizam Gate well suits with its creator’s name.

The other gateways are the Shahjahani Gate and the Buland Darwaza.

Another attraction of the mosque is the huge cooking urns known as Kadhaaye in which tons of food can be cooked at a time. Daily this food is cooked at night and is distributed as a blessing to the devotees after the morning prayers.

Most of the architectural work is done in the Islamic and Mughal styles of architecture and white marble is used as the key material for the construction. Along with this, gold and silver plating is also done to enhance the eternal beauty of the Dargah.

Jalahara is a small pond with pure water that is used for the sacred works of the Dargah and exists there from the earliest times of this shrine.

On the western side of the mosque, a silver gate is present that known as the Jannati Darwaza and is opened only four times a year.

Akbari Mosque is located within the premises of the Dargah, was built by the Mughal Emperor Akbar as an offering while he had his son Jahangir.

ImImage By- Zakir Naqvi CC BY- SA 2.0

How to Reach Ajmer Sharif Dargah?

ADDRESS- Dargah Sharif, Khadim Mohalla, Ajmer

CONTACT NO.- +919461130786

PIN CODE– 305001

Although the nearest airport to Ajmer is the Kishangarh Airport at a distance of about 33 km from the main city but it is not well connected to other parts of the country.

The next nearest and the best airport is the Jaipur International Airport, which is about 138 km distant and can be accessed within 3 hours drive by a taxi, cab, or private vehicles through NH 48. This airport is very efficiently connected with almost every part of the nation.

The Ajmer Railway Station is less than 2 km distant from the shrine and can easily be reached by hiring public vehicles like taxis and rickshaws. It connects Ajmer to major parts of India and is an integral part of Indian Railways.

People also reach Ajmer by buses too. The nearest bus stand is the Ajmer Bus Stand at a distance of about 2.5 km from the Dargah.

Timings of Ajmer Sharif Dargah-

The opening and closing time of gates of the Dargah vary according to the seasons in a year. In Summers, the visiting hours are 4 am to 10 pm while in Winters these are reduced to 5 am to 9 pm.

Entry Fee to Dargah-

This mosque is the most epic abode of god and no fees is taken from the devotees coming to this place. People come here with their faith in Khwaja Ji and make offerings based on their wishes and capabilities.

Best Time to Visit Ajmer Sharif Dargah-

Usually, the months of October-March are best suitable for a visit to the Dargah. These months of winters will save you from the dread and exhausting summer heats of April-June and the monsoons of July- September. If you have no problem with the crowds then do pay a visit to the shrine during the Urs celebrations in the month of Ramadan.

Qawwali Image By- Saswat swarup mishra CC BY SA 4.0

Hotels and Restaurants Nearby-

Hotels– Hotel AL TOWHEED is probably the nearest one to the shrine, about 300 meters distant. Some other good hotel alternatives to stay near the Dargah are Hotel Jannat, Hotel Satyam, Hotel Moin Mahal, and Hotel ATA Inn and Restaurant. All these hotels range from medium to high rates. Hotel Madni Royale is an expensive 3-star hotel at about 300 meters from the main place.

For someone who is in search of budget hotels, the best options are Hotel Raj Inn, Sufi Hotel, Hotel Bani Hashim, and the Hotel Dabi Palace. Do try these hotels and share your reviews and experiences below in the comments.

Restaurants- Momin Restaurant is the best restaurant, based on reviews by the visitors, to have healthy and authentic food near the Dargah of Khwaja Moinuddin Chisti. It is open from 4 am to midnight and serves both veg and non-veg food.

Some other options to ponder over are- Garib Nawaz Restaurant, Madina Restaurant, Zaffran Restaurant, Bari Deg, and Khawaja Niyaz Restaurant.

Buland Darwaza Image By- Saswat swarup mishra CC BY SA 4.0

Travel Tip-

Always have a handkerchief or a plain cotton cloth with you to cover your head while entering the mosque. Muslim people already have their veils and headgears for the same. This is done as a mark of respect to god.

It takes around 2 hours to completely explore this divine religious center as one gets completely mesmerised by the majestic aroma and positive vibes of the place. So, manage your time accordingly.

Although handbags are allowed, it is not advisable to carry cameras, carry bags inside the mosque to avoid the high chances of them getting stolen in the heavy crowds.

Mobiles are allowed to be taken inside but, photography inside the mosque premises is completely banned.

Beware of people who force you to donate money to them or try to indulge you in some kind of activities that you are not familiar with. They could fraud you and can even harm you. So, please be careful.

If you want, then buy the offerings like chadar and flowers from the shops outside the mosque and put your luggage with them for security until you return back.

Nizam Gate Image By- Nadeem Patel CC BY SA 4.0

Location on Map-

Suggested Articles-

Gangotri Temple, Uttarakhand

Featured Image By-Atarax42  CC BY- SA 3.0

Gangotri Temple is a Hindu temple dedicated to the most sacred and the perennial river of India, the Ganga River or the Ganges, which has its origin from the majestic Goumukh Point in the Gangotri Glacier. The temple is also addressed by the name of Gangotri Dham and is one of the four iconic Hindu temples of Uttarakhand or the Chota Char Dham. Actually, the river originating from Goumukh is river Bhagirathi and it forms River Ganga after merging with River Alaknanda at Devprayag.

The main temple is located in the Uttarkashi District of Uttarakhand as a part of breathtaking Greater Himalayas, at an approximate altitude of 3415 meters. It is usually visited post the journey to the Yamunotri Dham Temple as a part of the Chota Char Dham itinerary. The temple is open for the devotees from April to October-November or more precisely from the day of Akshay Tritiya to Diwali according to the Hindu calendar.

Let us explore this splendid location that awaits your visit…

History and Mythology of Gangotri Temple-

Amar Singh Thapa, a Nepalese General is credited for the construction of the main temple of Goddess Ganga at Gangotri at the starting of the 18th century. Later, the temple was reconstructed by the Maharaja of Jaipur, and more beauty was added to it.

According to Hindu mythology, a king named Sagara performed Ashwamedh Yagya after letting the Earth free from the cruelty of demons and to prove his supremacy. The king had 60,000 sons from Queen Sumati and one from Queen Kesani, named Asamanja. The procedure of Yagya had a horse that would run freely on the Earth accompanied by the king’s sons and the area swept by it would come under the king’s empire.

Lord Indra, afraid of losing his place, stopped the horse and tied to the Sage Kapil’s hut while he was meditating. While searching for the horse, Sagara’s sons and soldiers stormed the sage’s ashram as they assumed that the Sage Kapil had stolen the horse. Disturbed in the meditation, the angry sage converted all sixty thousand sons of Sagara into ashes and cursed them that only River Ganga flowing in heaven can give freedom or Moksha to them.

Later, King Bhagiratha, the grandson of King Sagara performed serious meditation of around a thousand years to please holy River Ganga to come on the Earth. Ganga agreed to the prayers of King Bhagiratha and was ready to come to Earth and grant salvation to his predecessors. But, worried about the destruction caused by the turbulent flow, Lord Shiv reduced the speed of Ganga by locking it in his hair at a place named Jalmagna Shivling or Submerged Shivling.

Bhagirathi River Image By- Atarax42 CC BY-SA 3.0

Location of Gangotri Temple-

Gangotri temple is located in the lap of Himalayas with heavenly natural beauty spread all around our eyes can see. It is located in the Uttarkashi district of the Greater Himalayas in the Uttarakhand state of India. The temple gets more marvelous by the virtue of river Bhagirathi flowing nearby.

The approximate distance of the Gangotri Dham temple from Uttarkashi is 99 kilometers. The distance of Gangotri Dham from the major areas nearby is – 268 km from Haridwar, 249 km from Rishikesh, 228 km from Dehradun, 335 km from Kedarnath, 415 km from Badrinath, 227 km from Yamunotri, and about 453 km from the National Capital Delhi.

The architecture of Gangotri temple-

The main temple of Gangotri is made entirely in white stone and an idol made in silver, dedicated to Goddess Ganga is situated in the main sanctum of the Temple. A small temple is also located on the left side of the main temple.

Timings of the Temple-

Arti of Goddess Ganga is performed twice a day at 6 am and 7:45 pm with religious chants and full devotion of people. The opening hours of the temple are from 6:15 am to 2 pm and then again from 3 pm to 9:30 pm at night. The scene of people chanting and praying to God appears simply as divine as heaven.

Opening Dates-

The Kapaat or the doors of the temple are opened at the end of April or the start of May on the day of Akshay Tritiya and the yatra to this holy temple starts for the devotees. The temple remains open for about six months and the worship of river Ganga as a deity is done here with full adoration.

In the months of October-November, on the day of Diwali, the temple is closed for the next six months and the idol of Goddess Ganga is shifted to village Mukhba near Harsil. In these six months, Gangotri becomes a no man’s land due to extreme cold and snow in the valley.

The opening date of the Gangotri temple in 2020 is 26 April on the Akshay Tritiya day of the Hindu calendar. The closing dates would be soon declared for the year 2020, while in 2019 the temple closed on 28 October.

15 Places to Visit Near Gangotri-

1.Gaumukh

Gaumukh is the main originating point of River Ganga spotted in the Gangotri Glacier, located at a trekking distance of about 18 kilometers from Gangotri. The trek to this glacier is among the most thrilling treks of Uttarakhand. The itinerary to Gaumukh is divided mainly into two halts of Chirbasa (9 km from Gangotri) and Bhojbasa (4 km ahead of Chirbasa). One can reach to Bhojwasa by pony or by walking and around 150 travelers are allowed per day on the trek. It is advisable to issue advanced permits online from the website of Gangotri National Park. Majestic waterfalls, streams, bridges, natural beauty makes this trek more scintillating.

Image By- Barry Silver CC By 2.0

2.Tapovan

Tapovan trek is an extended trek after one reaches Gaumukh point. En route to Tapovan we witness Mt. Shivling, Manda Peak, Mt. Meru, Bhagirathi massif and the natural beauty sprinkled all around. This is a trail over the loose stones and amidst the water streams. The magnificent view at the Tapovan is worth the exhausting journey.

3.Gangotri glacier

After the Siachin Glacier, the Gangotri Glacier is the second-largest glacier of the nation and spreads over 30 km length and 4 km width. The starting of this glacier is marked by the forest check-post at about 2 km from the main Gangotri town. This glacier is the main source of India’s holiest river Ganga that has an important role in everyone’s life. Although the glacier is getting reduced in its size day by day due to the curse of global warming.

Gangotri Peak Image By-Arpit rawat CC0 1.0

4.Kedartal

This is a breathtaking lake, also known by the name Shiva’s Lake, present at a height of about 4912 meters from the ocean level. This lake can be visited by challenging trekking of about 18 kilometers from Gangotri town. The lake forms Kedar Ganga, that meets to Bhagirathi later. It is surrounded by the ice-capped mountain peaks of Thalay Sagar (6904 m) and Bhrigupanth (6772 m).

Kedartal Image by- Ravi Panday  CC By-SA 4.0

5.Gangotri National Park

Spread over an area of about 2390 sq.km., Gangotri National Park has its entrance check-post in the route to Gaumukh trekking. The flora here consists of oak, fir, deodar, and spruce while the fauna has various distinct species like Blue sheep, brown bear, black bear, partridges, and Himalayan snowcock.

Image By- Gauravkaintura1234 CC By-SA 4.0

6.Bhagirath Shila

It is located at a distance of about 200 meters from the main Gangotri Temple and this is believed to be the place where King Bhagirath meditated for thousands of years to please river Ganga to descend from heaven to earth. A small white sheltered temple exists there in which the Bhagirath Shila is the key attraction.

7.Bhairoghati and Bhaironath temple

It is a small area and has the beauty of being on the meeting point of Jadh Ganga and Bhagirathi rivers. It is located at a distance of about 6.5 kilometers downstream from the main Gangotri temple and is easily accessible by roads as it lies en-route to the Gangotri voyage. Bhairon Nath temple is located here and is considered as a must-visit after completing the Gangotri Dham yatra.

8.Surya Kund

Surya Kund is famous for the spontaneous waterfall of river Bhagirathi and is located at a distance of about 400 meters downstream. The water droplets borne with air gives a soothing effect to our body and soul and tell us the importance of water in our lives. People offer their prayers to Lord Surya or Sun at this excellent place, which is believed to receive the first rays of sun falling on earth.

Surya Kund Waterfall Image By- schwiki CC By-SA 4.0

9.Gangnani

Gangnani is located about 46 kilometers from Uttarkashi district as one goes to Gangotri and is famous for its hot water springs called the Rishi Kund in which visitors bathe to get rejuvenated for the further journey.

10.Pandav Gufa

Pandav cave is at a distance of 1.5 km from the main Gangotri town and famous as a place where the five Pandavas did meditation during their exile while going to Kailash Parvat.

11.Mukhba

This village is the winter seat of Goddess Ganga which is brought in the form of an idol from the main Gangotri Temple in Gangotri town. It is located about 26 km downstream and the rites are performed by Semwal pujaris of Mukhba village for about six months from November-April when the main Gangotri valley is all snow-covered.

12.Harsil

This small town is nestled about 26 kilometers downstream from the main Gangotri Temple and is blessed with scenic beauty, picturesque locations, majestic waterfalls, and view of ice-capped mountains. This town is a perfect halt place for people heading towards the Gangotri voyage.

Harsil Image By- Debrupm CC BY-SA 3.0

13.Dayara Bugiyal

This location is covered with green meadows and can be accessed by trekking from Barsu, which is about 40 kilometers from Uttarkashi district on the way to Gangotri. The trek is perfect for beginners and gives them a pleasant experience.

Image By- BizareEX CC By-SA 4.0

14.Submerged Shivlingam

This mighty place is also known as the Jalmagna Shivling and it is believed to be the spot where Lord Shiva took river Ganga in the locks of his hair. A shivling is present near Gangotri which remains submerged in water in summers and is only visible in winter when the water level moves down.

15.Khedi Waterfall

This is the first attraction as we move on our way to Gangotri Dham, just 14 km from the Uttarkashi district. A small but intense waterfall whose noise thrills our mind. It just needs a few minutes for beholding and appreciating its beauty.

How to Reach Gangotri-

Jolly Grant Airport, Dehradun is the airport that is nearest to the Yamunotri Temple and is at a distance of about 250 kilometers.

The journey of Gangotri is also possible by helicopter also, which starts from Harsil and takes around 2 hours to complete the journey.

Rishikesh Railway Station at a distance of about 245 kilometers from Gangotri Dham, is the nearest railway station. It has good connectivity to other parts of the country and state.

Buses and taxis run on regular intervals from Dehradun, Haridwar, and Rishikesh to reach Gangotri in months of May-November.

From Rishikesh one can directly reach Gangotri by following route-Rishikesh-Narendra Nagar-Chamba-New Tehari-Dharasu bend-Uttarkashi-Bhatwarhi-Harsil-Gangotri.

Parking is available at about 400 meters before the main temple and charge of INR 50 is taken from the visiting vehicles.

The rest part of the journey is covered by walking and the facility of a wheelchair is also available for specially-abled people.

The yatra to Gangotri Dham is the easiest based on the difficulties to reach there, among the four temples of the Chota Char Dham circuit. It is then followed by Badrinath Temple, Yamunotri Temple, and the most difficult and exhausting one is the itinerary to Kedarnath Temple.

Best Time to Visit-

The months of July-August are not suitable for the journey as it is the time of monsoon and the condition of roads gets damaged. Few tourists come here during this period.

The best time to visit is the months of May-June, the peak season, or the months of September-October, the ending season. Every year a huge number of devotees head towards this auspicious temple during these months.

Where to stay in Gangotri?

Various guest houses, lodges, inns, hotels, and dormitories are available in budgets that are suitable for everyone reaching there. Rates and facilities may vary according to the season. The best arrangement suggested is to stay in the Gharwal Mandal Guest House as they provide good facilities at suitable rates.

Travel Tip-

Don’t forget to carry all the necessary belongings like ID cards, woolens, ice jackets, raincoats, medical kit, trekking shoes, food supplements, small oxygen cans, goggles, torches, and food supplements with water bottles.

Try not to use cameras and other gadgets near the waterfalls and on risky rocks while trekking, as there are high chances of losing grip that causes damage along with losing our body balance.

Try to carry a pair of binoculars to behold the mesmerising distant waterfalls and the ice-capped mountain peaks.

If you have plans for trekking, then advanced booking of permits and tents is advisable to avoid the last-minute hassles.

Make your body adaptable to continuous walking prior to the actual trekking.

If you get a chance then don’t miss out to have Garhwali food, awesome in taste, and is healthy too along with new varieties to explore.

Location on Map-

Do share your pleasant experiences about this heavenly place in the comments below…

yamunotri temple

Yamunotri Temple, Uttarakhand

Yamunotri Dham is the temple located in Yamunotri or the origin of the river Yamuna and a residing place of Goddess Yamuna. Situated in the Uttarakhand state of India, this temple is the first Dham among the four Chota Char Dhams of Uttarakhand. The other three Dhams or pilgrimage sites in Uttarakhand are Kedarnath, Badrinath, and Gangotri.

In this post you will come to know about all the details of this temple, how to reach there, safety precautions to be taken, where to stay, itinerary, and much more.

Let’s begin… 

History and Mythology of Yamunotri Temple-

According to the beliefs of Hinduism, Goddess Yamuna is the sister of Yamraj, the God of Death. And, Surya or the Sun is the father of Goddess Yamuna in Hindu mythology.

Another belief prevalent in society is that a saint name Asti Muni lived here in solitude and used to bath in both rivers, the Ganga and the Yamuna as a ritual. During the last days of his life, he was unable to perform the ritual, so River Yamuna appeared opposite to River Ganga in this place to keep his ritual unhindered.

The architecture of Yamunotri Temple-

The present-day temple has a yellow and brown structure that has an idol made of black marble dedicated to Goddess Yamuna. Another sculpture of white marble dedicated to Goddess Ganga is also situated in the main sanctum.

The temple is small in size and has a tower-shaped structure at its top that is yellow colored with red and brown borders.

Location of Yamunotri-

Yamunotri temple is situated in Uttaranchal or Uttarakhand State of India, in the Uttarkashi district of Gharwal Himalayas. This majestic temple known for its elegance in the whole world is situated at the base of the mountain that has glacier from where River Yamuna originates. The approximate altitude of the temple from the sea level is around 3,291 meters or 10,797 feet.

Scenic Yamunotri ValleyImage By- Atarax42- CC BY-SA 3.0

Near the Bandarpoonch peaks of Himalayas, lies the Yamunotri Glacier which is the actual source of the River Yamuna. The approximate distance of Yamunotri Dham temple from Uttarkashi is 129 kilometers. The distance of Yamunotri Dham from the major areas nearby is – 213 km from Haridwar, 204 km from Rishikesh, 164 km from Dehradun, 350 km from Kedarnath, 406 km from Badrinath, 227 km from Gangotri, and about 382 km from the National Capital Delhi.

How to Reach There-

Rishikesh Railway Station at a distance of about 202 kilometers from Yamunotri Dham, is the nearest railway station. It has good connectivity to other parts of the country and state.

Jolly Grant Airport, Dehradun is the airport that is nearest to the Yamunotri Temple and is at a distance of about 187 kilometers.

Janki Chatti is main base from where the trekking for Yamunotri temple starts and it is also the last stop for the coming vehicles. After this spot, roads are not present and only path for trekking exists. Parking is available at Janki Chatti and the charges are INR 100 per vehicle per day.

From Janki Chatti, the trekking to the temple is of about 5-6 kilometers and devotees reach Yamunotri temple from Janki Chatti by various means like walking or by horses, palkis, and pitthus.

Trekking to the temple from Janki Chatti is an affair of around 2-3 hours at normal pace with some intervals in between the journey.

The estimated time for Rishikesh to Janki Chatti journey is 8-9 hours by bus or taxi.

The charges for the journey by horses is around INR 1300 per person from Janki Chatti to Yamunotri one way

While the charges for the palki start from INR 4000 from Janki Chatti to Yamunotri temple both ways, rest it depends on the weight of the person.

Places to Visit Nearby-

Janki Chatti

It is located about 6 kilometers down the mountain from the main Yamunotri Temple is the starting point of the trek to Yamunotri Temple. It is the last stop for the coming vehicles and also has a huge capacity for accommodation of devotees.

Garud Ganga, Ganesh Ganga, and Naag Ganga are the three water streams that emerge above the hills near the Yamunotri temple. These three water streams flow below the glaciers and finally merge into the River Yamuna. Generally, trekking to these places is not advisable as it is risky to walk over the glaciers.

Divya Sheela

Divya Sheela is present near the main Yamunotri temple and is worshipped before devotees go to worship Goddess Yamuna.

Tapt Kund

A bath into this kund is considered as a rite before going to worship Goddess Yamuna in the temple. Also, it is believed that devotees get rid of their skin diseases and pains by taking a dip in this pure source of hot water.

Surya Kund

This hot water source has boiling water and people cook rice and potato in this kund to offer them to Goddess Yamuna as prasad. It is the most significant kund around the temple

Surya Kund Image By- Guptaele- CC BY SA-4.0

Kharsali Village

Kharsali village is the place where Goddess Yamuna is worshiped after the Yamunotri temple is closed in the month of November. All the rites and rituals are performed here for six months and the Yamunotri valley remains as a no-man land during these months. This village is the Seat of Goddess Yamuna in Winters and is also known as Khushimath.

Where to Stay?

Various hotels and guest houses are available in Janki Chatti and you can select the one which is suitable to your budget.

Rates of rooms are from INR 800- INR 4000 depending on the season in which you are visiting. They are pretty high in the peak season of May-June.

Limited guest houses and ashrams are available near the main temple, so try to stay in Janki Chatti.

Time to Visit-

Entry for the temple is opened for the visitors in the last week of April or by the first week of May, every year on the day of Akshay Tritiya. A huge number of people visit here to show their faith in Goddess Yamuna as soon as the entry starts. This process continues for about six months and then, the entries to the temple are closed around November, on the second day after Diwali or the Bhaiya Dooj for the next six months.

The timings of the temple are from 6 am to 8 pm and the timings for the Arti in the evening are from 6:30 pm to 7:30 pm every day.

Try to visit there in the months of May-June to avoid the monsoons of the months of July-August.

Travel Tip-

Ensure to start your journey to Yamunotri from Janki Chatti in the early morning so that you can get back safely by the evening. Limited or No accommodation facility is available in Yamunotri so try to get back to Janki Chatti on time.

Watch your head at places where rocks are coming outward from the mountains and way is narrow during the trekking to the temple.

There is very steep trekking at some places so patients of asthma and other diseases should consult to doctor before going on their journey to the temple.

Glaciers are found near the temple but don’t step over glaciers in excitement as it could result in mishaps like slipping and stucking in the ice.

Do carry necessary items that are required during the journey-

  • Warm clothes Raincoats
  • First Aid and Necessary Medicines
  • ID cards
  • Trekking shoes
  • Caps
  • Umbrellas

The voice and the sight of fast-flowing Yamuna river stream rejuvenate the heart and soul from deep inside and a feeling of serenity comes. 

So, have you been there? Comment below and share your experiences…

Location on Map-

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kedarnath temple

Kedarnath Temple, Uttarakhand

Featured Image by Shaq774 Copyright Free
Kedarnath Temple is one of the 12 Jyotirlingas of Lord Shiva located throughout the country and is the holiest shrine of Lord Shiva for the people having faith in Hinduism. Located in the Rudraprayag District of Uttarakhand, Kedarnath Dham is a place where a large number of devotees reach every year to offer their prayers to Kedar form of Lord Shiva, besides the hard and exhausting trekking of more than 16 kilometers. People walk over the glaciers, on the hills, and cross the bridges over rivers to reach their destination. The soothing effect of the vision of Lord Kedarnath, people chanting near the temple, and the purest form of nature is worth the hard work to reach there.

Let’s explore this majestic temple in more detail-

Location of Kedarnath Temple-

The Kedarnath temple is situated in Uttaranchal or Uttarakhand State of India, in the Rudraprayag district of Gharwal Himalayas. This temple gains more beauty by the virtue of River Mandakini flowing near it. This auspicious temple known for its elegance in the whole world is situated in a unique natural location. The approximate altitude of the Kedarnath temple from the sea level is around 3583 meters or 11,755 feet.

The approximate distance of Kedarnath from Rudraprayag is 95 kilometers. The distance of Kedarnath Dham from the major areas nearby is – 250 km from Haridwar, 230 km from Rishikesh, 264 km from Dehradun, 218 km from Badrinath, 350 km from Yamunotri, 334 km from Gangotri, and about 435 km from the National Capital Delhi.

History of the Temple-

According to the legends of Shiv Puran, two sage brothers named Nar and Narayan worshiped an idol of Shiv with full dedication and as a result, Lord Shiva offered them to ask for any boon. They both asked Lord Shiva to stay in Kedarnath for the betterment of the common people, and so he appeared as a Jyotirling in Kedarnath.

Another story is related to Pandavas from the famous epic of Mahabharat, who after the assassin of family members and sages in the war of Kurukshetra, came here to search for Lord Shiva to beg for his forgiveness and blessings. Lord Shiva took the form of a bull but was recognized by Bhim, who caught him from legs and tail. After that, Lord Shiv disappeared into the earth and reappeared into 5 parts at 5 different places. These five places are combinedly known as Panch Kedar and are Kedarnath (raised hump is worshiped), Tungnath (arms), Madhyamaheshwar (the navel and stomach), Rudranath (face), and Kalpeshwar (hair and head).

How to Reach the temple-

The main trekking for the temple starts from Gaurikund and is about 16 kilometers in distance, divided into parts named Jungle Chatti (4 km from Gaurikund), Bhimbali (3 km from Jungle Chatti), Linchauli (4 km from Bhimbali), and Kedarnath (5 km from Linchauli).

Compulsory and free biometric registration of visitors going to Kedarnath is done at Sonprayag, which is about 5 kilometers before Gaurikund.

Taxis are available from Sonprayag to Gaurikund at a rate of INR 20 per person at regular intervals.

The cost of a pony from Sonprayag to Kedarnath is around INR 2500 for one side journey.

Various facilities like post offices, medical relief points, washrooms, shops, shelters, drinking water, and, camps are available at short distances on the trek.

Where to Stay?

Gharwal Mandal Vikas Nigam has its own tents and rooms available at Kedarnath Base Camp, which can be booked at rates of INR 300 for tent, INR 990 for 6 bedded huts, and INR 750 for 10 bedded huts per bed. It is better to book rooms in advance during peak seasons to avoid any chaotic situations.

Timings of the Temple-

The doors of the temple are opened for people in the month of April on the day of Akshay Tritiya according to the Hindu mythology calendar.

The temple remains open for about 6 months and then, closed on the day of Bhai Dooj after the Hindu festival of Diwali, most probably in the month of November.

In this year 2020, the temple has the opening date on April 29 and the closing date on November 16. In the times, when the temple remains closed, the idol of the deity is moved to the Omkareshwar Temple in Madhya Pradesh.

The opening time of the Kedarnath temple in around 5 am in the morning, while there is no fixed closing time. The gates are open until the last devotee in the queue gets a sight of Lord Shiva in the temple.

Travel Tip-

Visit the temple in the months of May and June or September-October to avoid the unpredictable weather and monsoons in the months of July and August. Take proper arrangements of warm clothes along the journey as the temperature is cold and you can find glaciers even in the month of May. Generally, oxygen levels remain low as one reaches the top of the mountains so, carry proper medicines and first aid items with you. The trekking to the temple is of moderate difficulty and should be covered with taking halts at regular intervals and appreciating the views of nature. Do carry other necessary items like ID Cards, trekking shoes, woolens, caps, umbrellas, and raincoats.

Location on Map-

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badrinath temple

Badrinath Temple, Uttarakhand

Badrinath Temple in the Uttarakhand state of India is one of the 4 religious places for Vaishnavites or Char Dhams, established by Adi Shankaracharya throughout the country. The temple is addressed by different names like Badrivishal, Badrinarayan, and Badrinath, all symbolizing to Lord Badri, an incarnation of Lord Vishnu. It is one of the most important pilgrimage sites for those having faith in religion and in god. Badrinath Dham is related to the Dham of Satyug or the first Yug among the four Yugas. According to Purans, the Badrinath Dham is served by Lord Brahma and Lord Vishnu, which gives it the significance as the Ashtam Baikunth or the Eighth Heaven.
This temple is also known as Mukti Prada Temple or the place which leads to freedom from the boundations of this world.

Let’s have more details of this place-

History of Badrinath Temple-

The present-day temple of Badrinath is said to be made by Adi Shankaracharya in the 7th– 8th century. According to the legends, Lord Vishnu meditated at this place for years but was unaware of the extremely cold weather of the place. To save Lord Vishnu, Goddess Laxmi took the form of a Badri Tree (Indian Date) and saved him from snow and chilling cold. After, the meditation Lord Vishnu named the place Badrinath to respect the Badri form sacrifice of his wife. Various other stories and beliefs are still prevalent regarding the establishment of this temple.

The architecture of the Temple-

The main sanctum of the temple has an idol of Lord Badri made of black stone (Shaligram) in Padmasana posture and has a size of about 1 foot. Other sculptures and images of Nar, Narayan, Kuber, Narada, and Uddhava are also housed in the sanctum.

Main Sanctum Image By-Sksumathy- CC BY SA 3.0

The front part of the temple is made by intricate decorations of various colors and art styles and looks much enchanting. 

The statue of Garuda, or the vehicle of Lord Vishnu, is located near the main entrance gate of the temple, the Sinh Dwar. Also, the sculpture of Lord Ganesha and Lord Hanuman is present on the circumambulation path of the main temple. Inside the temple complex, a sculpture of Goddess Laxmi is also present.

Location of the Temple-

The Badrinath temple is situated in Uttaranchal or Uttarakhand State of India, in the Chamoli district of Gharwal Himalayas. This temple gains more beauty by the virtue of River Alaknanda flowing near it. This majestic temple known for its elegance in the whole world is situated in a unique natural location between two mountains known as the Nar and the Narayan Mountains. The latter one supports the temple from the backside while the Nar Mountain adds to the scenic beauty in front of the temple. The approximate altitude of the temple from the ocean level is around 3133 meters or 10,279 feet.

The approximate distance of Badrinath from Chamoli is 100 kilometers. The distance of Badrinath Dham from the major areas nearby is – 315 km from Haridwar, 295 km from Rishikesh, 335 km from Dehradun, 225 km from Kedarnath, 412 km from Yamunotri, 428 km from Gangotri, and about 526 km from the National Capital Delhi.

It is located in the lap of nature with greenery and beauty of nature spread all around the area. The temple at Badrinath is one of the five main abodes of Lord Vishnu or Panch Badri in the Gharwal Himalayas. These five temples are namely Badrinath, Adi Badri (135 km down from Badrinath), Vriddha Badri (38 km down from Badrinath), Bhavishya Badri (56 km down from Badrinath), and Yogdhyan Badri (23 km down from Badrinath).

How to Reach there-

Rishikesh Railway Station at a distance of about 300 kilometers from Badrinath, is the nearest railway station to Badrinath. It has good connectivity to other parts of the country and state.

Jolly Grant Airport, Dehradun is the airport that is nearest to the Badrinath Temple and is at a distance of about 310 kilometers.

The temple can also be visited by Helicopters and whose booking can be done online.

Places to Visit nearby Badrinath Temple-

Tapt Kund-

Tapt Kund is a natural water tank present just near the temple and has hot water coming from deep inside the Earth throughout the year, and is believed a medical healer to many diseases. People bath in this hot water before going to the temple.

Adikedareshwar temple

Adikedareshwar temple is located in between the Tapt Kund and Badrinath temple, which is believed to give the benefits of worshiping Kedarnath to those who are unable to visit there, according to the mentions in Skand Puran.

Mana Village-

People generally visit the Mana Village, which is about 3 kilometers from Badrinath and is the last village of India, ahead to which lies the Indo-China Border. This village is located at an altitude of 3,111 meters from sea level, on the merging point of Guptganga and Alaknanda Rivers. So, do visit this remarkable village if possible and have a cup of tea at India’s Last Tea Shop. Ganesh cave and Ved Vyas cave are the main religious attractions of Mana Village.

Mana Village Image By-Amitmogha- Own Work

Bheem Pul-

Bheem Pul is made of a huge rock that was placed by one of the Pandavas named Bheem, on the gorge of Saraswati River to cross it. According to the legends, when Pandavas were on their way to heaven with their wife Draupadi, this River Parvati hindered their way ahead and Draupadi was unable to cross it. So, Bheem made this stone bridge to cross the river easily and continue their journey to Swargrohini. It is located about 5 kilometers away from Badrinath Temple and near the Vyas Gufa in Mana Village. Scenic beauty is visible from this bridge.

Bheem PulImage By- Shashankk Rai CC BY SA 4.0

Hanuman Chatti-

It is a temple dedicated to Lord Hanuman on the way to Badrinath, about 11 kilometers before the main Badrinath Temple. It is a place visited by almost every tourist as it is en route to their journey ahead. It takes only 15-20 minutes to explore this small saffron-colored temple. According to the legends, this place was the one where the interaction between Lord Hanuman and Bheem took, while Bheem was in search of a Lotus for his wife Draupadi.

Neelkantha Peak-

This lofty peak is located near the Badrinath Temple and is a hindrance between the path of Badrinath and Kedarnath. This peak is believed to be erected by Lord Shiva as a curse to the sins of a priest. It has an altitude of about 6596 meters and is only for viewing from the Neelkanth Base Camp.

Neelkanth Peak-Image By- Chakumar CC BY 3.0

Satopanth Lake-

This lake is located at an elevation of about 4600 meters from the ocean level and is 18 kilometers away from the main Badrinath Temple. This is located amidst the lofty ice-capped hills and mountains. Trekking of about 5 days is done from Badrinath to reach this lake. Satopanth literally means the path of truth. 

Satopanth LakeImage By- Soumit ban  Own Work

Alkapuri Glacier-

This glacier is located about 1.5 kilometers upside from the Mana Village and about 6 kilometers from the main Badrinath Temple. It is said to be the source of River Alaknanda and is reached by trekking from Mana Village.

Vasudhara Falls-

These waterfalls are about 8 kilometers from the main Badrinath Village and about 3 kilometers from Mana Village. The water here falls from a height of about 122 meters and creates a scintillating view.

Vasudhara Falls- Image By- Bodhisattwa Own Work CC BY-SA 4.0

Mata Murti Temple-

This temple is on the right bank of the Alaknanda River and about 3 kilometers from Badrinath Temple. It is dedicated to the mother of Nar and Narayan- Mata Murti. An annual fair is organized here every year on the eve of Vaman Dwadashi.

Charan Paduka-

This is a small place that has a stone having the impressions of Lord Vishnu’s feet. It is located about 3 kilometers from the Badrinath Temple.

Where to Stay?

A lot of hotels, lounges, guest houses and homestays are available nearby the temple. The rates of rooms fluctuate between INR 1000 to INR 3500 per night and are dependent on the season in which one visits. They are pretty high during the initial months of May and June while they are somewhat cheaper in the later months.

Time to Visit-

Entry for the temple is opened for the visitors in the last week of April or by the first week of May, every year. A huge number of people visit here to show their faith in Lord Vishnu as soon as the entry starts. This process continues for about six months and then, the entries to the temple are closed around November for the next six months.

The timings of the temple are from 4 am to 12:30 pm and then, from 3 pm to 8:30 pm at night.

Travel Tip-

Try to visit in the months of May-June and September-October to avoid the difficulties caused by the monsoon in the months of July-August. Ask the horse and pony owners about the correct posture of sitting to avoid the back pain caused during horseriding. Complete the journey by taking rests at particular intervals and in no haste with full joy and excitement.

Do carry necessary items that are required during the journey-

  • Warm clothes
  • Trekking shoes
  • Caps
  • Umbrellas
  • Raincoats
  • First Aid and Necessary Medicines
  • ID cards

Location on Map- 

vaishno devi

Vaishno Devi, Katra

Vaishno Devi is a holy shrine dedicated to Maa Vaishnavi or Vaishno in Katra, Riasi district in Jammu and Kashmir, in the lap of Trikuta Mountains of the Shiwalik Range of Himalayas. It is located at an approximate height of 1500 meters from sea level. Every year this temple has more than 70 lakh visitors on an average. This is among the most visited and famous pilgrimage sites of Hindus from around the world.

Let us have complete information about the temple starting from the evolution of Vaishno Devi-

Story of Maa Vaishno Devi-

According to the Hindu Mythology legends, the story of the evolution of Maa Vaishno Devi dates back to the Treta Yuga or the third Yuga among the four Yugas or the time phases of humans on this Earth. In Treta Yuga, evil and tyranny of the demons increased to a great extent and to get rid of this, three Goddesses namely Maha Lakshmi, Maha Saraswati, and Maha Gauri created Maa Vaishnavi by their combined energies. Then, the demons were killed by Maa Vaishnavi and she decided to reside on Earth in the form of human incarnation, named Vaishnavi.

Vaishnavi had an intense habit to worship Lord Vishnu from her childhood only. As she approached the age of marriage, she went in search of Lord Vishnu for marrying her. Seeing her devotion, Lord Vishnu appeared as Lord Rama and told that he is already married to Sita and he cannot marry her. But Rama told Vaishnavi that one day he would return to her and would surely marry her if she recognized him. Later on, an old man approached Vaishnavi and asked for a marriage proposal, but she refused to him, thinking him to be unsuitable according to her age and beauty.

The old man was Lord Rama who came to keep his end of the promise and Vaishnavi failed to recognize him. Still, Rama promised that he would marry Vaishnavi, in his 10th incarnation of Lord Kalki in Kalyuga. Till then she should wait on the Trikuta mountains and help the people get rid of their pains and problems by the powers she had.

Ardhkuwari Temple-

It is the cave temple at almost half the distance of the journey to Bhawan. Slips are issued from the Garbhjoon Slip Counter for visiting this cave. It is the temple where Maa Vaishnavi stayed for 9 months (similar to womb or garbh time of a baby) on her transit to the main cave.

Main Temple of Vaishno Devi-

The main temple of Maa Vaishno Devi is present in a cave on the Trikuta Mountains at a height of about 5200 feet from sea level. The main sanctum has three Pindis or Stone incarnations of three Goddesses namely Saraswati, Mahalakshmi, and Mahakali. The view of mountains and natural landscapes as seen after Darshan is much soothing and satisfactory.

Main Sanctum- Image Source- wikimedia.org

The Kal Bhairav Temple and the Story Behind-

Vaishnavi continued her meditation and helped people a lot and this threatened the popularity of a local Tantrik. He sent his disciple Bhairav to check for Vaishnavi, but Bhairav stuck in the beauty of Maa Vaishnavi and stalked her everytime. To escape from Bhairav, she entered a cave for nine months meditation. After Bhairav Nath discovered the hiding spot of Vaishnavi, he tried to hunt her. Then, Maa Vaishnavi took the form of a 10-armed, dark complexed Devi, Mahakaali and attacked him with her weapons and cut off his head. Bhairav Nath pleased her to forgive him for his deeds. As an answer she gave him the boon that he would always be worshiped in a shrine whenever she would be worshiped by people.

Image Source- hi.m.wikipedia.org

As a result, a visit to worship Maa Vaishno Devi is not considered successful and fruitful if one does not visit the shrine of Kal Bhairav Baba on the mountains above, about 4 kilometers from base. One can reach the Bhairav Nath Temple either by walking or through rope ways costing INR 100 for combined up and down journey.

How to Reach Katra?

The nearest railway station is the Katra Railway Station or the Shri Mata Vaishno Devi, Katra (SVDK) Station. From here, one should hire rickshaws to reach the center of Katra town.

The nearest airport to Katra is the Jammu Airport, which is about 46 kilometers from Katra and can be reached by taxis or by direct buses.

How to Reach the Vaishno Devi Temple from Katra?

From the center of Katra town, the distance of the main shrine of Vaishno Devi is about 14 kilometers. One can reach the top of mountain either by walking or other ways like palkis, ponis, and pithoos. There are two paths constructed- the newly constructed path via Tarakote which is only for walking people and taxis and the other is the older one which is a common path for pedestrians, ponis, palkis, and pithoos. Also, battery taxis run from Ardhkuwari to Vaishno Devi (7 am to 7 pm) i.e. half-way from the top. The facility of helicopters is also available from Katra to Sanjhichhat. People who are aged and have walking issues should prefer other methods than walking. The various charges are listed below-

  • Taxi from Ardhkuwari to Vaishno Devi Shrine base (Bhawan)- INR 236. (one way)
  • Palki from Katra foothill (Chetak Bhawan) to Vaishno Devi Bhawan- INR 3000. (one way)
  • Pony from Katra foothill (Chetak Bhawan) to Vaishno Devi Bhawan- INR 1300 (one way)
  • Pony from Vaishno Devi Bhawan to Bhairav temple- INR 100-150 per person (one way)
  • Cable Car from Vaishno Devi Bhawan to Bhairav temple- INR 100 per person (both ways)
  • Baby Car facility is also available there.
  • Helicopter Charges from Katra to Sanjhichhat- INR 1045 per person (one way)

Helicopters function from morning 7 am to evening 7 pm based on the weather. The booking office for Helicopter is located near the bus stand in Katra and open from 6 am to 6 pm. Online tickets for Helicopter journey can be booked from here, 60 days prior to the journey date. All these charges are fixed by the Vaishno Devi Shrine Board that is the care-taker and developer there.

Image Source- wikimedia.org

Yatra slips are issued to each visitor at the starting of the journey from the registration office (Niharika Bhawan) near Katra Bus Stand, which is compulsory for further journey. This registration is done from 5 am to 10 pm only.

The whole journey of around 14 kilometers is divided into various base points-

  • Chetak Bhawan (Katra)
  • Banganga 

Ban Ganga-Image Source- commons.wikimedia.org

  • Charanpaduka
  • Ardhkuwari (6 km from Ban Ganga)
  • Bhawan (or Main Shrine of Vaishno Devi)
  • Bhairav Temple (4-kilometer steep trekking from Bhawan)

Food there-

Various restaurants and food outlets along with cafes are present throughout the journey. You will get Amul parlors, Café Coffee Day, Sagar Ratna, Dosa Point and various others there. Affordable food is also served near the Bhawan.

Accommodation there-

For staying in Katra, one can book Hotels in the town which range from INR 800 to INR 2,000 depending upon the season and type of rooms.

Dormitory Accommodation facilities are available at Bhawan at INR 120 per bed. Other facilities to stay are also available and can be booked from the Niharika Bhawan near Katra Bus Stand.

Shopping there-

Various shops are present in the Katra town which sell articles ranging from small keychains, pens, bangles, jewelry to large vases and statues. All these articles have pictures and designs of Maa Vaishno Devi that give them a different look. Some of these should be purchased as a gift to others and as a mark of a successful journey.

Dry fruits market is also present in Katra but they should be purchased carefully and safely to get rid from frauds.

Travel Tip-

One should carry the relevant ID cards -Aadhar Card, Driving License or Voter ID Card, the latter two are used for sim card registrations there, as the prepaid sim cards of other states do not work in Jammu and Kashmir. Cloakrooms, restaurants, washrooms and drinking water throughout the way, medical facilities, rooms, and banks are some facilities that are present there. Visitors should beware of the shopkeepers that try to cheat them in the name of faith and belief. You should keep the travel tickets and other slips with you throughout the journey for security purposes like background verification. Yatra slips should always be kept securely in the whole journey as these are mandatory to get Darshan of Vaishno Devi. Raincoats are available for free during monsoons from the registration counters at a security fee of INR 300.

The place is best to visit in the months of February to June, when the weather is pleasant. From November to January extreme cold is there and journeys may get hindered due to heavy snowfalls. Do take care of family members and companions, as network issues prevail and they could get lost.

Location on Map-

Jama Masjid, Delhi

Featured Image by Bikashrd CC BY- SA 4.0     

The Largest Mosque in India and one of the famous Muslim pilgrimage destinations in the world, the Jama Masjid of Delhi, is also known as the’ Friday Mosque’. Originally, it was known as Masjid-i-Jahan Numa, meaning ‘the mosque commanding the view of the whole world’. Its located in the heart of Old Delhi and is the Principal Mosque of people of Delhi.

Let’s have an insight at its details-

History and Some Information of Jama Masjid-

  • Jama Masjid was established in 1656 AD, by the Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan, the ruler who constructed Red Fort of Delhi, and Taj Mahal of Agra too.
  • The construction of the Masjid took place from 1650 to 1656 AD. with the help of about 5,000 workers and artisans.
  • Saadullah Khan looked after the construction of the mosque, as he was the Prime Minister or wazir in the reign of Shah Jahan.
  • The inauguration of the Jama Masjid took place on 23 July 1656 and was done by Imam Syed Abdul Ghafoor Shah Bukhari Uzbekistan, who came on Shah Jahan’s invitation.
  • Recently, there were two terrorist activities in the Jama Masjid complex. In 2006, on 14th April there were two successive bomb blasts just after the Friday prayers, that resulted in major injuries to eight people and one was in serious condition.

The architecture of Jama Masjid-

  • The whole Jama Masjid complex is made up of Red Sandstone and Marble, based on the Indo- Islamic and Mughal Styles of architecture.
  • The dimensions of the mosque are 80 m by 27 m, length and breadth respectively. While the main hall for prayer measures about 61 m by 27.5 m.
  • There are two minarets in the mosque, each having a height of 41 metres and five storeys along with 130 steps.
  • The base of the mosque is a 1200 square meter platform made of red sandstone which rises about 30 feet high from the ground.

jama masjid eidEid Prayers Image By Jaithakurpix CC BY- SA 4.0 (cropped)

  • The complex of Jama Masjid has a large square-shaped courtyard of side 100 metres, that has a capacity of holding 25,000 devotees that gather there at special occasions like Eid and Friday Prayers.
  • The Masjid is said was constructed at a cost of One Million Rupees at that time, and is known as the Replica of Moti Masjid of Agra.
    The mosque has two tall minarets, three large gates, and four towers as an architectural feature.
  • There are three domes, in which the central one is the biggest. The other two are located on either side of the central dome.

How to Reach Jama Masjid-

  • ADDRESS- Near Red Fort, Chandni Chowk, Delhi, India PIN 110006.
  • It is located in the heart of Old Delhi and the nearest Metro Station is Chawari Bazar on Yellow Line of Delhi Metro. From here one can walk to the masjid or can hire a rickshaw.
  • Its around 17 km away from Indira Gandhi International Airport, Delhi and can be reached by a 30 minutes ride in a taxi.
  • The distance of the Masjid from New Delhi Railway Station is about 4 km and can be reached within 15 minutes by rickshaw or a taxi.

Entry Fee-

There is No Entry Fee for a visit to the Masjid. People are welcomed by the Islamic Religion to see the mosque and offer their prayers to get blessed.

INR 300 is charged as an extra fee for Photography.

Timings of Jama Masjid-

Jama Masjid is open to the public for their prayers, On All Days of a Week. The timings of the mosque are from 7 am to 12 noon and from 1.30 pm to 6.30 pm. Tourists are not allowed to visit the mosque during the prayer hours in a day.

Travel Tip- 

The place is a good destination to visit for solo travellers, photographers and families. Ladies are not allowed in the main mosque of the complex according to the beliefs of the Muslims. The nearby places like Red Fort should be covered along with this place. The approximate time taken to visit the place is around 1 hour. One should not miss the chance to visit this magnificent site of architecture.

Location on Map-

lotus temple

Lotus Temple, Delhi

One of the most charming tourist spots of Delhi, the Lotus Temple is situated in the Bahapur Village of New Delhi. People visit the place for getting peace of mind, body, and soul. The temple is well known for the phase of utter silence that people witness inside the main hall of the temple. The temple is a Bahai House of Worship shaped in the form of a Lotus flower, open to people from every religion and aims at Uniting People to One Common Faith. There is no set particular pattern of worship and performing ritual acts and playing music is forbidden in the main hall. Lotus temple is one of the Seven Bahai Houses of Worship, the other six are located in different parts of the world.

History and Introduction of Lotus Temple-

  • This beautiful piece of art, the Lotus Temple, was made by an Iranian architect named Fariborz Sahba, and he chose the lotus as shape as this flower is common to all religions.
  • The construction of the temple got finished on 13 November 1986 and it was made open to the public’s service on 24 December 1986.
  • A Bahai follower named Ardhishir Rustampur, from Hyderabad in the Sindh province of Pakistan, donated his entire savings to fund the land purchase of the temple
  • According to a CNN report of 2001, it was the most visited building in the World and the temple won many awards for its architecture in later years.

The architecture of  Lotus Temple-

  • The temple is a House of Worship that is based on the Expressionist style of architecture that relates to the European Expressionist Architectural Movement of early decades of the Twentieth century.
  • The central hall of the temple has a seating capacity of around 2500 and people of every caste, creed, economical background, gender come here to worship and gain some peace in their lives.
  • A short film explaining various religions is shown in the main hall at fixed intervals repeatedly.
  • The structure comprises of the 27 marble plates standing to form the Nine sides of the temple.
  • The total area of the premises is around 26 acres that include various ponds, gardens, footpaths, and the main Central Hall Structure.
  • The height of the temple is 34.27 meters along with the diameter as 70 meters.
  • The structure is designed in a way that it is the first temple in the national capital which uses Solar power.

Also Read-

How to reach Lotus temple-

  • ADDRESS-Lotus Temple Road, Bahapur, Kalkaji, New Delhi, PIN- 110019.
  • Metro Station of Kalkaji is the nearest one to the Lotus Temple, about 1 km away. This station lies on the interchange of the Violet Line and the Magenta Line of Delhi Metro. The next nearest Metro Station is Nehru Place Metro Station which is about 1.4 km from the temple. This station lies on the Violet Line of Delhi Metro.
  • From New Delhi Railway Station, the distance of Lotus Temple is about 15 km.
  • The temple is around 21 kilometers from Indira Gandhi International Airport through the fastest route.

Timings-

  • The opening hours of the temple are from 9:30 am to 5:30 pm during the months of October to March. In the rest of the months the timings are from 9:30 am to 7 pm.
  • The temple remains CLOSED for the common public on Monday of every week.
  • Another exciting thing there is a religious short film of about 20 minutes, shown from 10:30 am to 5:30 pm in repetitions.
  • Prayer is also done inside the temple at different times of the day for 5 minutes spans and is dedicated to different religions.

Entry Fee-

No Entry Fee is charged to the visitors i.e. the Entry is totally FREE of Cost.

There are no Extra Camera charges but special permission is required for having photographs in the premises of the main temple.

Travel Tip-

The place is best suitable to go with family and click some awesome photographs with the ponds, gardens, lakes, flowers and the White Lotus Petals of the Temple. The average time to visit the place is around 1 hour, as on a normal day. So, this place shall be covered by the tourists along with other nearby tourist spots and markets that consume comparatively less time to visit. Some tourist attractions in close vicinity are Kailash Shiv Mandir, Bhairon Mandir, Kalkaji Mandir, District Park, and ISCON Temple. The evening view of the temple is very charming when the marble and water of nine ponds shine in the presence of lights. The place should be visited in the winter months of October to March to avoid exhaustion due to humidity in exploring the place. 

night view of lotus temple

An evening view of the temple. Image Source- Wikimedia Commons

Location on Map-


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