Dham – The seat of God is one of the most popular words which kids in India often hear from their Grand Parents. The Abode or Seat of God is known as Dham and every year millions of devotee visit to their Seat of God. One such popular dham is Char Dham of Uttarakhand which comprises Yamunotri, Gangotri, Kedarnath and Badrinath. Though this is Chota Char Dham but still it holds a lot of importance for the pilgrims. The temples at the Char Dham is accessible during the summers and remains closed during the winters as the area is completely covered with snow.
Akshaya Tritiya, which is approximately 23 days from Ram Navami marks the opening of Yamunotri & Gangotri temple located on the foothills of the valley. The origin of river Yamuna is little ahead of the temple at the top of the peak. In order to reach the temple one has to trek the picturesque valley from Hanuman Chatti or Janki Chatti. Pony and Palanquins are available for the people if they do not wish to trek. There are two ways, the one through the right bank where famous saint Markandey wrote Markandeya Purana while the other is through the left bank which is approximately 6-7 hours of hiking. Surya Kund and Gauri kund are the two hot springs present over there. The boiling water of Surya Kund is used to cook rice which is offered as Prasada while the Gauri Kund is suitable for bathing. The shrine is being taken care by the Uniyal family.
Gangotri, the origin of River Ganga is one of the most sacred places in the Char Dham yatra. If legends are to be believed, then the King Bhagiratha meditated for a long time to bring Ganges on the earth so as to cleanse the ashes of his ancestor and liberate their souls for salvation. Even till today, it is considered holy to submerge the ashes in River Ganga. The origin of the river is at Gaumukh which is about 20 kms trek from the Gangotri temple. Usually pilgrimage visit till Gangotri temple as going upward is strenuous and mainly suited for hikers and trekkers. There are other stories too behind the origin of Gangotri but the most famous one is that of Bhagirath due to which river was named as Bhagirathi at the place of origin and later at Devprayag when it meets Alaknanda then becomes Ganga. Uttarkashi is the base for accommodation to visit Gangotri.
These two source of rivers are not only sacred but also the lifeline for majority of the population living here in India. Recently a judgement of Supreme court confirms Ganga and Yamuna as a living entity because of its life saving capacity. Though pilgrims are visiting and offering their prayers at the temple but for youngsters and others it is very important to understand the importance of these life saving rivers and work on keeping it clean. There has been a lot of actions being taken by many successive governments but it is not the government which can solve the problem instead its us, the citizens of India can do it by raising awareness to the people as well as to ourselves.