During winters since the Chardham destinations of Badrinath, Kedarnath, Gangotri and Yamunotri become inaccessible due to snow, some symbols of the Gods and goddesses are moved to nearby temples at Ukhimath, Joshimath, Mukhba and Kharsali. This is done to ensure that their worship goes unhindered and that the devotees get their darshan throughout the year. The gods and goddesses reside in these temples for six months before heading back to their abode in the summers. The Uttrakhand government and tourism department has decided to promote Winter CharDhams Yatra to ensure that the Chardham Yatra continues to be a year-long affair and to make up for the loss of tourism during the year.
- Ukhimath: a small village located some 41 kms from Rudraprayag at an elevation of 1311 meters, Ukhimath is famous as winter seat of Lord Kedarnath. During winter the Utsav Doli of Lord Kedarnath is brought from Kedarnath to this place and is housed at the Omkareshwar Temple. Winter puja of Lord Kedarnath and year-round puja of Lord Omkareshwar is performed here. The Doli is placed in Omkareshwar Temple of Ukhimath. Ukhimath can be used as center destination for visiting nearby locations like Madhmaheshwar (Second kedar), Tungnath (Third kedar) ,Guptakashi and Deoria Tal (a natural fresh water lake) and many other picturesque places such as Chopta .One can also get panoramic views of the Kedarnath and Neelkanth peaks from Ukhimath.Nearest Railway station is Rishikesh (180 kms) and Nearest Railway station is Dehradun.
- Joshimath also known as Jyotirmath is the winter home of Lord Badrinath who is housed at Vasudev Temple. Joshimath is also the seat of one of the four maths established by Adi Shankaracharya in 8th century. A temple dedicated to Narsimbha, the lion incarnation of Lord Vishnu is also located here as is the 1200 year Kalpvriksha. The hill town of Joshimath also acts as a gateway to Auli, Valley of flowers as well as to numerous trekking and camping trails . Nearest Railway station is Rishikesh (250 kms) and Nearest Railway station is at Dehradun (272 kms)
- Mukhba is small village located on the Banks of River Bhagirathi . During winters, the village 20ft high white granite Mukhimath Temple in Mukhba acts as the home Goddess Ganga. The goddess is bought down to her winter home after Diwali . One has to trek down for about 1-2 km from Dharail to reach Mukhba. 01 Kms from the village is Harsil – a picturesque town famed for its snowcapped mountains, dense deodar and coniferous forests and apple orchards.Nearest Railway station: Dehradun (242 kms) & Nearest Railway station is Dehradun
- Kharsali: Located at an altitude of 2675 mts above the sea level in the Uttarkashi district is Kharsali- the winter abode seat of Goddess Yamuna (Yamunotri Temple). At Kharsali, the goddess is housed in one of the oldest Shani Dev Temple of India. A temple dedicated to Shiva in the Someshwar form is also located here. Besides temples, this quaint little village is also known for its scenic beauty. Undulating meadows, oaks & conifer forest with sparkling waterfalls & thermal springs are the other key highlights of the area. Do note that There is no motorable road to Kharsali and one has to trek about 1 km distance from Janki Chatti to reach here. Nearest Railway station: Dehradun (169 kms) & Nearest Railway station is Dehradun
Visitors keen to visit these sites please note that accommodation in these areas are limited. A few standard to budget category hotels are possible, though in few destinations a few 3 star hotels and home stays are available.
Check out the itinerary to book the Winter Chardham Tour.