The Char Dham
With the natural backdrop having grandiose and mystifying Himalayas as the backdrop, the four most holy pilgrimages of India never cease to amaze travelers and visitors. Char Dham, or the four pilgrimage centers, comprising of Badrinath, Kedarnath, Gangotri and Yamunotri are frequented by the religious minded as well as those intrigued by the remnants of bygone years. The holy river Ganges, and her streams flow buoyantly in Char Dhams. According to the holy books, Goddess Ganga came down on the Earth in the form of a river to help the suffering humanity.
As the Earth would be unable to endure the force of her descent, the holy Ganges was split into channels, each of which also came to be considered as sacred. Four of these channels flow past the char dham, known as Bhagirathi (in Gangotri), Mandakini (in Kedarnath), Alaknanda (in Badrinath) and Yamuna (in Yamunotri). The four Dhams are blessed with amazing scenic beauty and also associated with a long history. This has contributed ancient temples to the panorama of these holy lands.
Sited in Haridwar, is one of the most sacred ghats in India. According to legends Vikramaditya built this ghat in memory of his brother Bhartrihari. The ghat is also known as Brahmakund. In the evening a Maha Aarti is performed on this ghat. It is an event, which must not be missed by any visitor. The floral diyas, which float on the Ganga in the twilight, creates an impression of stars being brought in the river water.
The Cultural and natural heritage
Culturally, Uttaranchal has a rich and vibrant heritage. There are several local fairs and festivals like Surkanda Devi Mela, Magh Mela, Jhanda Mela, Nanda Devi Mela, Piran Kaliyar Mela, Chaiti Mela, Purnagiri Mela, Joljivi Mela and Uttarayani Mela, indicative of the immense possibilities for culturaltourism in Uttaranchal. The holy river Ganga and Yamuna have their sources in the hills within this State. The rich cultural traditions, the rare natural beauty and the cool and invigorating climate of this land of origin of the holy Ganga and Yamuna Rivers have been its main attractions. Uttaranchal is the source of spiritual accomplishment and self-realization and Moksha becomes an inherent virtue dawn upon the pilgrims. Uttaranchal has that galaxy of peaks and glaciers, that vastness of meadows and jungles and that wealth of colourful jungles and valleys and dales, which have no parallel on earth.