Spiritual Places of Uttaranchal

Uttranchal is always named as the land of Hindu gods and goddesses. The temples, the old shrines and the tranquility and peace that resides make the travelers to unveil their inner self.Uttaranchal and its pilgrimage spots like Cham Dhams, Badrinath, Yamunotri and Gangotri are regarded as the dwelling places of serenity. Most of the Hindu followers take Haridwar as the 'gateway of Land of Gods' and the temples with the echoing bells of temples, chanting of mantras by the sages can take you away from this material world.

Badrinath Temple

Location: Badrinath town, Chamoli District, Uttarakhand
Dedicated To: Lord Vishnu
Built In: 8th century
Build By: Shankaracharya
Best time to visit: May to October (except monsoons)
Get there: The nearest airport to Badrinath is Jolly Grant in Dehradun which is 317 kms from here. The nearest railheads from Badrinath are at Rishikesh and Kotdwar. Regular buses are available for Badrinath from Rishikesh, Haridwar, Dehradun and other important Kumaon regions.

It is the most important Dham of all the four dhams in India. The town of Badrinath stays between Nar and Naryana mountain ranges and in the shadow of Nilkantha peak, 301 km north of Rishikesh. It is dedicated to Lord Vishnu and is also a holy shrine of Vaishnavities. The place derives its name from the word ‘badri’, meaning berries that once grew here. This temple is situated on the confluence of the Alaknanda and the Rishi Ganga. The Badrinath temple has three sections, a Garbha Griha or the sanctum sanctorium where the main deity rests, a Darshan Mandap for puja and a Sabha Mandap for devotees to assemble. The main idol in the temple is that of Lord Vishnu in the form of a black stone.

Baleshwar Temple

Location: Champawat, Uttaranchal.
Dedicated To: Lord Shiva
Built In: between 10 - 12 century A.D.
Build By: Built by the rulers of Chand Dynasty Raja Somchand.
Best time to Visit: All year round
Festival: Shivratri
Get there: Nearest Airport is Pant Nagar and nearest Railway head is Tanakpur.

There are two other temples in the compound of Baleshwar, one dedicated to Ratneshwar and other to Champawati Durga. The temple is built on South Indian Architecture with magnificent Stone Carving works.Baleshwar temples at Champawat have been declared as a National Heritage Monument and are looked after by Archological Survey of India (ASI) since 1952. These temples have great interest to a casual tourist from the point of view of design, landscape around and several other features unique to them.

Gangotri Temple

Location: Uttarakshi, uttaranchal
Dedicated To: Goddess Ganga
Built In: Early 18th century
Build By: Amar Singh Thapa
Best time to Visit: April-October.
Get there: The nearest airport is Jolly Grant in Dehradun, situated about 226 kms from Gangotri. The nearest railway station is located in Rishikesh, about 249 kms.Gangotri is well connected by road to Rishikesh, Dehra Dun, Haridwar and Delhi.

Gangotri is the highest and the most important temple of Goddess Ganga. The place gains great importance amongst Hindus. The temple is made of white granite, the twenty feet tall temple stands beautifully reflecting in the sunshine and snow peaks in the backdrop. This Temple is known as 'Bhaigirath shila'. This is believed to be the place where Bhagiratha meditated for penance and Ganga first touched earth here. This temple is build in early 18th century by Amar Singh Thapda .According to legend it is said that when Ganga came in the earth in very first time then its flow was so high then Bhagirath who pray for Ganga to come to the earth, pray to the Lord shiva to control the flow of the Ganga and then Shiva control the flow of Ganga.

Kedarnath Temple

Location: Rudraprayag district,Uttranchal
Dedicated To: Lord Shiva
Built In: 8th century A.D
Build By: Adi Shankaracharya
Best time to Visit: May and October.
Festival: Badri-Kedar Utsav, Shravani Annakoot Mela, Samadhi Puja
Get there: The nearest airport is Jolly Grant in Dehradun, about 251 kms from Kedarnath.The nearest railway station is located in Rishikesh, about 234 kms Kedarnath is well approachable by foot or ponies from Gaurikund, which is situated about 14 kms. Gaurikund is connected by road to Rishikesh, Dehradun, Kotdwar, Haridwar and other important hill stations of Garhwal and Kumaon.

This temple is one of the Char Dhams located in the Himalayas at a height of 3584m above sea level near the head of Mandakini River. The temple is believed to be more then 1000 years old. The architecture of the temple is exquisite; the walls are embellished with scenes from mythological stories and images of deities. The temple has a Garbha Griha for assemblies and a Mandap for gatherings. Kedarnath is also one of the most important temples in the Himalayas, amongst the major Shiva temples of the country.The statue of Nandi, the divine bull of Shiva, stands at the entrance of the temple. The wall inside the temple is exquisitely carved with images.

Mansa Devi Temple

Location: Bilwa Parvat, in Haridwar.
Dedicated To: Goddess Mansa Devi
Best time to Visit: Whole year
Festival: Navratras
Get there: Nearest airport is the Chandigarh airport which is at a distance of about 14 kilometers away from the Bilwa Parvat in Haridwar Nearest railway station is the Chandigarh station which is at a distance of about 14 kilometers away from the Mansa Devi temple.There are state transport and luxury buses available from Panchkula bus station. People can reach the temple by local buses or by auto-rickshaws.

The word Mansa means 'wish'. It is also said that wishes of people who visit this place with strong faith and belief are fulfilled here. Mansa Devi along with the other two the Chandi Devi and Maya Devi grant all the wishes of the people and fulfill it through the love and believe. Mansa Devi is approximately 2.5 km from the main township of Haridwar.The temple Mansa Deviis known for being the holy abode of Goddess Mansa, the wife of Nag Vasuki and the brainchild of Saint Kashyap. This temple is one of the most prominent temples of North India. Mansa Devi is one of the famous Siddh Peethas in Haridwar.

Chandi Devi temple

Location: At the top of Neel Parvat, Haridwar
Dedicated To: Chandi Devi
Built In: 1929 A.D
Build By: Suchat Singh
Best time to Visit: October and March
Festival: Chandi Chaudas and Navratra
Get there: One can easily reach Chandi Devi Temple by taking local Buses, Rickshaws, Tongas or by hiring Taxis from Haridwar.

This temple is considered as to be one of the Shaktipeeths of North India; this place is of great religious significance. It is said to have the power to fulfill the wishes of devotees.According to legend associated with the temple, Goddess Chandika Devi rested on at Neel Parvat, for a short while, after slayings Demon kings Shumbh and Nishumbha. It is also called siddhapitha. .With the passage of time, a ropeway has been made for the convenience of the pilgrims. This ropeway takes around 20-25 minutes to reach the temple complex. In this manner, people can also enjoy the panoramic view of the natural beauty. Every year, this temple receives millions of people from far and near. Pilgrims come to this holy shrine to seek blessings from the Goddess.

Yamunotri Temple

Location: Uttarkashi,Uttranchal.
Dedicated To: Goddess Yamuna
Built In: 1839
Build By: Tehri Naresh Sudarshan Shah.
Best time to Visit: May to October
Festival: Akshay Tritiya, Janmashtami, Diwali, Bhai-Dooj Get there:Nearest airport is Jolly Grant near Dehradun. The nearest railway station to reach Yamunotri Temple is at Dehradun (172 km) and Rishikesh (250 km). Bus services are available up to Hanuman Chatti, 13 km away from Yamunotri Temple.

Yamunotri Temple is located at an altitude of 3235 meters and lies in the western part of Garhwal Himalayas. Goddess Yamuna, the river goddess, is worshipped in this temple. Yamunotri has special significance in Hindu scriptures. The deity is of black marble. The river Yamuna originates from the Yamunotri glacier.Goddess Yamuna the river goddess is worshipped here and has special significance in Hindu scriptures. The idol is made of black marble. A hot sulphur spring pond is situated at Yamunotri close to the temple. Devotees cook potato and rice at this pond and offer to the Goddess.
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