On the western side of Garhwal Himalayas, in the Uttarkashi district of Uttarakhand, lies the holy place of Yamunotri. About 3,293 metres above the sea level, Yamunotri stands proudly with its enormous mountain peaks, glaciers and gushing waters of Yamuna. River Yamuna, the second most sacred river of India, originates in Yamunotri, making it one of the pilgrimage sites in the Chota Char Dham Yatra in Uttarakhand.
Gangotri is the place high in the Garhwal Himalayas from where the holy Ganges originates. According to the legend, it was here the Ganga descended on the earth, when Lord Shiva released the mighty river from the locks of his hair. The temple of Gangotri, dedicated to Goddess Ganga stands on the bank of the river.
The holiest of Shiva’s shrines is likened to gold among base metals so that every pilgrim finds peace here, and it is said that devotees who die here become one with Shiva himself. The temple of Kedarnath, located at a height of 3,581 mts, stand at the head of the Mandakini river, with Kedarnath peak keeping vigil above it. The temple is dedicated to the Sadasiva or invisible form of Shiva, and is represented by a natural rock formation.
Also known as Vishal Badri, this temple located at the height of 3,133 mts. is the largest Himalayas and most popular of Vishnu pilgrimages among the five Badries. The original temple here is believed to be built by King Pururava and the icon of the lord carved by Vishwakarma, the creator of the gods. The idol was recovered by Adi Shankaracharya from the waters of the nearby Naradkund and consecrated once more in the temple, restored in the 19th century by the royal houses of Scindia & Holker.
Haridwar (also known as Haridwar) is a holy city in the state of Uttarakhand in northern India. Known as the Gateway to the Gods, Haridwar is considered one of the seven holiest places according to Hindus, as the devas are said to have left their footprints there. Here pilgrims float diyas on the Ganges, to commemorate their deceased ancestors. The city also stands as a gateway to three other important pilgrimage destinations: Rishikesh, Badrinath, and Kedarnath. In Haridwar you will see a great statue of Shiva at the fork of the river. If you are there for a short visit, it is definitely worth to visit the temple on top of the mountain, with a wonderful view.
Rishikesh is yet another centre of pilgrimage and tourist attraction for Indians as well as foreigners. Rishikesh is popularly known as the Yoga Capital of the World. Rishikesh is 28 kms from Haridwar on way to Badrinath and is situated at the foothills on either side of holy river Ganga and is surrounded by Shivalik ranges from three sides.