Yamunotri Trek, Uttarkhand Bloggers Bus

Yamunotri Trek

Uttarakhand Bloggers Bus

Also see: Uttarakhand Bloggers Bus FAM

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Yamunotri Temple, Uttarakhand, Bloggers Bus

“side, side – single line” More than 7000 pilgrims and tourist visit Yamunotri every day along a 5 km long two meter broad walk way and “side, side – single line” is the only instruction that keeps them moving.

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Yamunotri Trek starts from Kharshali, Uttarakhand

Char Dham is a Hindu pilgrimage connecting the pilgrimages of Dwarka (West), Badrinath (North), Puri (East) and Rameswaram (south). On the other hand the Chota Chardham Yatra in Uttarakhand connects the pilgrimage of Yamunotri, Gangotri, Kedarnath and Badrinath.

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Bird’s eye view of Janki Chatti

The first edition of the Blogger’s Bus, a concept of Uttarakhand Tourism, is a 5 day (15 May – 21 May 2018) bus trip of selected travel bloggers.

The trip would take the bloggers across the state of Uttarakhand introducing them to the known and unknown tourist destinations of the state.

I was lucky to be among the selected bloggers and the trip included Yamunotri and Gangotri, two of the four Chardhams of Uttarakhand.

The second night halt of the Bloggers Bus was at Sayana Chatti and the third day started with a morning walk with my fellow blogger Swati. The walk also included a breakfast from the road side stall and unknown to both of us the breakfast would turn out to be a blessing in the later part of the day.

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On the way to Yamunotri. Fellow bloggers Amrita (L) and Swati (R) with Prakash (M) DTO Uttarkashi

On returning to the Tourist Rest House (TRH) at Sayana Chatti for the official breakfast, only to know that that we would skip breakfast and drive to Janki Chatti and further trek 5 km to Yamunotri and have breakfast.

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Trail to Yamunotri

We started at 6:30 am and it was estimated that the drive would take about 15 minutes and the 5 km trek would take about an hour.

So we would be reaching Yamunotri at about 8:00 am offer puja and then have breakfast, latest by 9:00 am

But “man proposes god disposes” and an Indian pilgrimage is the most likely place to happen.

The trek to Yamunotri strats from Janki Chatti but we decided to start the trek from Kharshali, on the other bank of Yamuna. This was done to avoid the traffic congestion in Jank Chatti.

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The trek from Janki Chatti to Yamunotri is along a two meter broad paved path way, most of which is hanging from the mountain side.

Most of the cliff side of the pathway is provided with railings thus keeping it safe fro pilgrims.

The distance of the Yamunotri Temple from the Janki Chatti Tourist Rest House is 5 km. The Janki Chatti Bus Stand, from where most pilgrims and trekkers, is further 1 km away.

We started our trek from Kharshali, which is further half a km away, thus for us the one way trek involved a distance of 6.5 km and not 5 km.

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Across a bridge, trail to Yumanotri, Uttarakhand, Bloggers Bus

The trek is easy along paved pathways. There are ascents via a number of hair pin bends. But what makes the trek difficult is the sheer number of people.

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Snow on nearby hills, en route Yamunotri

According to official estimates more than 7000 people visit Yamumotri during the peak seasons.

It must be noted that the Yamunotri temple remains open for only seven months of the year. It opens in mid April and closes in mid November.

During the winter months Yamunotri is inaccessible due to heavy snow. The idol of goddess Yamuna is brought down to the village of Kharsali and is worshiped there for the entire winter.

So the entire period of mid April – mid November (excluding the monsoon period) is peak season for the Chota Char Dham Yatra. We were there in mid May, it is the time the when the tourist number reaches the highest point.

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The Yamuna thunders below

Not all the 7000 pilgrims and tourist who visit Yamunotri trek to their destination. There are ponies, dandis and kandis.

According to official figures there are 2000 ponies operating along the Yamunotri trail. They charge Rs 1200 for a one way trip.

Dandis, is a short of palanquin and carried by four men. It accommodates one person and the charges are Rs 2000 for a one way trip.

On the other hand Kandis can be described as a large wicker basket, they are carried on the back of a single person. They only accommodate  one person and is generally meant for kids and old age people.

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The first views of the Yamunotri Temple, Uttarakhand Bloggers Bus

The pony, dandi and kandi wallas are given serial numbers and they start accordingly. After taking there clients to Yamunotri they come down half way to pick up tired pilgrims, who are too tired to walk. This provides them with an extra source of income.

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A crowded Yamunotri trail on the way down. Uttarakhand Bloggers Bus

Since the pony, dandi and kandi are expensive modes of transportation the large section of the pilgrims prefer to walk. Also a large section prefers to walk simple because of their faith and last of all there are people, like us, who walk simply because of the spirit of adventure.

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A kandi (L) on the Yanumotri trail

Apart from the well paved trail there are frequent rest shades with benches and water points.

Makeshift stall sell light snacks but the thing most in demand are Frooti and Amul Kool.

Although the trail was easy but horses (rather mules), dandis and kandis made the trek extremely difficult. At some bottle necks there were human traffic jams and tempers did flare occasionally but the faith kept the pilgrims on the move.

As we continued on our own pace the group soon got separated. The advance group consisted of Upendra, Prakash (DTO) and the PRs Anurag and Sukanya.

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Fellow Uttarakhand Bloggers Bus participants Anindya and Swati descending the Yamunotri trail

In the middle Amrita was with me and Anindya, Swati, Namita and Subhadip were at the end. It almost took us three hours to complete the trek and as we settled for breakfast Anindya and Swati joined in and soon Namita followed but Subhadip was no where to be found. With no mobile network he remained illusive.

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A pilgrim on a pony, Yamunotri

Left with no options we offered puja at the Yamunotri Temple. The temple houses the idols of Yamuna and Ganga. Apart from it there is a small golden statue of Yamuna, this is shifted to Kharsali during the winter.

After the puja we collected the freezing cold water from the Yamuna River.

The estimated one hour trek took us three hours and this is what you call “man proposes god disposes” and it is nothing uncommon on a Indian pilgrim trail.

It was time to head down and track back Subhadip. The crowd was  thinner during the return journey and we did have a short refreshment break at Janki Cahtti TRH. We finally met Subhadip at Kharshali, he had abandoned the trek mid way and had gone back.

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A dandi carrying a pilgrim passes through a pilgrim shed, Yamunotri, Uttarakhand Bloggers Bus

Note: I was on the Blogger’s bus on the invitation of the Uttarakhand Tourism Development Board (UKDB)

Special Thanks:

  • Prakash Khetri, District Tourist Officer (DTO) Uttarakhand for making all the arrangements during the Bloggers Bus trip
  • PR persons Sukanya and Anurag of Square Group for handling all the logistics
  • My fellow bloggers Amrita (Travel Ideas of March), Subhadip (Indian Vagabond), Anindya (Pikturnama), Upendra (Vagabond Images), Swati (Buoyant Feet) and Namita (Radically Ever After)
  • Our driver Hira ji whose extended overtime shifts along the mountains road help us to reach our destinations safely







  1. June 20, 2018 at 3:26 PM

    yamunotri, is a good place… a lot of people visit there every month….

  2. October 17, 2018 at 8:08 PM

    I too visited the char cham with my friend. Truly an amazing place to visit.

    • October 17, 2018 at 9:18 PM

      Yamunotri was nice but very crowded, I would prefer Uttrakhand beyond pilgrimage

  3. December 13, 2018 at 2:49 PM

    Thanks for sharing such an informative post Mr Rangan. Last year I got the chance to cover Kedarnath and badrinath Dham with my friends and now by next year I am planning to visit yamunotri Dham. Entire Uttrakhand is full of magnetic beauty. I would say that everyone should visit once in their life.

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