Babaji sharing his travel experiences of pilgrimages in the Himalayas, the Char Dham Yatra from Rishikesh, Yamunotri, Gangotri, Bhadrinath, Kedarnath and the important places in between. Languages: Hindi, English and Spanish
Char Dham Yatra – Pilgrimage to the Himalayas– Days 1 to 4
Om Namah Shivaya. I am very happy that we all as a group have got this opportunity to listen to the narration of the Chaar Dhaam Yatra – a journey to the four holy abodes. Our nation Bharat is full of supernatural powers and religious places; where the bliss of worship with lamps and a holy flame can be seen flowing through every street, every nook & corner and every grain or particle. From amongst all these, I shall describe to you all, the bliss and glory of the four sacred abodes nestled in the Himalayas. I along with all of you and you all along with me, together we will partake of the bliss of this narrative. I will tell you about some of the important places forming a part of this yatra pilgrimage. It is my wish that you all enjoy thoroughly, the bliss of this sacred journey. This pilgrimage will be completed in about 15-20 days. I shall write just a little about each place, everyday, so that your patience and joy remain intact. As we journey along, please feel free to ask any questions that you may have pertaining to this pilgrimage, without any hesitation whatsoever. Come on then, let us embark now on this spiritual trip.
Hail Bhole Baba – Lord Shiva! Hail Jagadambe Mata – Universal Mother!
Char Dham Yatra – Pilgrimage to the Himalayas, Day 5
Having spent time in Rishikesh with Mother Ganga, various ashrams, yoga, river rafting, darshan of temples, prayers etc., let us now journey forward to Chamba, a small and beautiful village nestled in Himalayas. Winding roads marked by landslides here and there, lined with Pine trees and many other species of tall, huge trees, interspersed with signboards wishing all travelers a safe journey and promoting conservation of the forests; the entire road to Chamba is wrapped by the beauty of nature all around and reminders at regular intervals, of our responsibility as tourists: to follow the discipline of not dirtying the environment by throwing any waste or disposables out in the open no matter where we may go – be it the hills or any other surroundings outside of our homes, for that matter. Despite a plastic ban in all the hilly regions and mountains, tourists still don’t seem to heed the ban seriously.
Char Dham Yatra – Pilgrimage to the Himalayas Day 6 – From Rishikesh, Towards Yamunotri
As such, it is not necessary to go to Chamba when traveling from Rishikesh to Yamunotri. There are other routes one can take from Rishikesh to Yamunotri. One of them is via Mussourie but, while we were on the Yatra, I thought that I should let you enjoy a visit to this beautiful place Chamba also. Bageshwar temple is not situated in Chamba. It is located in Kumaon Garhwal region of Uttarakhand, which is a different side of Uttara Khand. However, in order that you know of the glory of this temple and experience the joy of having visited it, I described these two places also. I’m sure all of you enjoyed reading about these two places. For us to go to Yamunotri, there is no need to go to either of these two places. Nevertheless, we could derive the joy of these two places also, from this narrative of the pilgrimage. To summarise and recap, yesterday we traveled from Rishikesh to Chamba. While in Chamba we got to know of the Bageshwar Mahadev temple and its history. You will all secure the Darshan of this pilgrimage center also. Let us now return to Rishikesh from Chamba and let us begin our travel from Rishikesh to Mother Yamuna today. We will travel from Rishikesh to Mussourie via Dehra Dun.
Char Dham Yatra – Pilgrimage to the Himalayas Day 7 – Towards Yamunotri
Having had the Darshan of Shiv Mandir and the historical Cave of Maa Bhavani in Lakhamandal, let us journey ahead with zest, reciting Bhole Baba’s name in our hearts and enjoying the beauty of Nature all around. From Lakhamandal, we have now reached another beautiful village in the Himalayas called Badkot. Come, let us get to know of some of the special aspects of this village.
Having enjoyed the thrill & beauty of the mountainous route and having known the importance of each and every prominent place along the way, we arrived into Janki Chatti yesterday. This is the place from where travelers undertake the remaining 6 kms journey on foot because no vehicles can go beyond this point. One has to, if so necessitated, engage a horse or a Palki (palanquin) or a Peethu (a person who carries you on his back – who does this for a living) for the road ahead, which is both enjoyable and tiring too.
Yesterday we had the Darshan of Mother Yamuna. Having redeemed ourselves from all our sins committed knowingly or unknowingly, by bathing in the Mother’s holy stream, we shall now proceed to Gangotri. Mother Ganga, the bestower of liberation, frees every devotee who goes to her, of every sin of theirs.
Come on, let us go now to have the Darshan of Mother Ganga. Hail Mother Ganga! Jai …
Absolutely pure, adorable & delectable, where Bhagirathi flows along with her sweet babble, where the reverberating sounds of bells and sacred chants can be heard emanating from the temple; you are all most welcome to this beautiful town of Uttarkashi. Today we shall listen to the greatness and glory of this beautiful destination. After the day long journey yesterday and a good rest overnight, we have all woken up early this morning. In this Kashi that is full of temples, we shall have Darshan of the Uttarkashi Vishwanath temple today. So, having had our breakfast, let us all congregate at one spot and Hail Viahwanath ji with our reverent shouts of Jaikar! Come on, let us proceed forward. Bhole Baba ki Jai! Mahashakti Mata ki Jai!
We had Darshan of Lord Vishwanath and Mother Shakti temples in Uttarkashi and we also got to know of some Puranic events pertaining to them. We shall now proceed further ahead.
You can call it Heaven on Earth. It is so very beautiful a place. That place where perhaps we can get a glimpse of what Heaven looks like. So come, today we shall go to that village called Harsil, located before Gangotri.
That place which has been accorded the status of verily a Heaven on Earth; where mountains, rivers & canals abound and the mountain peaks touch the skies, where there are lush green forests all around and there is only word that echoes in the mind – Beauty! To such a beautiful place called Harsil, we came yesterday. All of you have drowned yourselves in the magnificence and beauty of Nature all around.
Yesterday, we returned from Mukba while it was light still. Having spent time in Harsil and having absorbed its heavenly beauty within, we shall proceed towards Gangotri Dham today. The beauty of Nature here is such that nobody wants to leave and move forward. The simple life that the locals lead in these mountains, by the riverside and in the villages, has captured & captivated our hearts. As such there are a lot of trekking options also nearby and people can spend a lot of time on trekking, in these areas. However, we have to move forward as time is passing. Everyone has fallen madly in love with Harsil, after having spent 2 days in its scenic surroundings. Now, be seated in your respective vehicles, quickly! We will have Gangotri Darshan today. With shouts of victory (Jaikar), let us move forward.
We arrived into Gangotri yesterday. Let us learn more about this place. Today we will have Darshan of Gangotri temple situated on the banks of the sacred and purifying Bhagirathi, that flows with chants of ‘Har Har’ emanating from its gushing waters. We will also get to know of the traditions of this temple. So, let us begin now ..
Having learnt of the celestial traditions of the temple, we shall partake of Mother’s Darshan today. The pilgrims are all waiting in the Darshan queue, after having listened to the story of the temple. The scorching sun is protecting us from the freezing chill drifting in from the mountains, even as the devotees, all queued up in lines, are hailing Mother Ganga all the while with resounding Jaikars. The devotees move ahead with faith & conviction, despite the huge crowd. The grand temple ahead and seated inside the Sanctum Sanctorum is the Queen Ganga, the One who washes away all the sins of Her devotees. With Her grace, all problems and disasters are averted. Whosoever approach Mother Ganga – the Liberator, with a pure heart, they are freed from the consequences of any bad deeds but, it is very important that they go to Her with true intent and the feeling of complete surrender to Her. Human beings are ready to give up on someone for the smallest of mistakes. They even criticize and abuse that person who has committed a mistake because, the truth is that they do not have any belief in themselves. Mother Ganga however receives and embraces anyone and everyone who come to her, whether good or bad and purifies them. The devout shouts of Jaikar from the devotees and the ‘Har Har’ chant from the gushing waters of the Ganga along its banks, Her fast and forceful flow, even as She remains seated inside the temple in the form of an idol. Her mere Darshan itself is an out of the world experience and our eyes turn moist, beholding Her beautiful form. That the Mother may please forgive every sin of ours, is the prayer echoing in everyone’s heart. Having had Mother’s Darshan in the temple, let us now proceed to the steps on the river bank.
Everyone’s life has been sanctified and fulfilled after Darshan of the Mother’s sacred abode. Today we shall learn about Gomukh, the point from where Mother Bhagirathi flows incessantly as a stream, for the welfare of the world. It is not easy for every one of the faithful or the devout to come up to this point because, the climb from Gangotree to Gomukh is too steep, almost vertical. Therefore, very few people go up to Gomukh.
Mostly, those coming to Gangotri offer their salutations to the Mother at Gangotri itself and return home from there. Several years ago, the route to Gomukh was open to every one. Over the years though, as the number of pilgrims and tourists rose drastically, the Gomukh glacier began to melt and so, only 15 – 20 people per day are now permitted to go to Gomukh. Come, let us know more and and have the Darshan of some other places too.
Our lives have been blessed with Darshan, all the way from Gangotri to Gomukh. Gomukh is that place from where Ganga the liberator flows incessantly, for the welfare of the world. The pilgrimage does not end here though. Ahead of Gomukh is a very beautiful & ethereal place regarded as Heaven, called Tapovan. The soil of Tapovan is home to tremendous spiritual powers and scores of unseen sages living in isolation, engaged in deep penance. The meaning of Tapovan is, ‘the soil or land of penance’. It is that place where even an hour spent sitting in deep meditation with eyes closed, can lead to the fulfillment and realization of many births. While there are many such charming locations on earth, there are very few such beautiful places specially chosen by saints and sages for pursuing their penance and other spiritual practices. Such a place from where Mother Ganga – the liberator, flows incessantly for the sake of the world’s welfare, cannot be just another ordinary place.