Chamoli, the abode of gods, is famous for its shrines and temples. Chamoli is situated near the river Alaknanda on the way to Badrinath. The enchanting land in the lap of the majestic Himalayas seems to be especially blessed by the mother nature. The district is studded with major pilgrim centres like Badrinath, Joshimath, Tungnath and Hemkund Sahib, snow-clad peaks and exceptional natural beauty. I
n the arms of the heavenly Himalayas
lies the enchanting land of Chamoli
, which seems to be a benediction of earth. These mountain ranges, rivers and valleys are associated with several Gods & Goddesses.
Chamoli is the birth place of 'Chipko Movement ' with its strategic significance is one of the hill district of Uttarakhand, India. Chamoli proved itself " the most spectacular in its natural assets ; be it maintain scenery , valley aspects, water-edges, floristic varieties, dramatic landform or the climatic cardinalities "
Today, this snow clad peaks which are a delight for adventure loving tourists. Gopeshwar is the district headquarter of Chamoli and is situated at a height of 1308 mts.
Chamoli Facts & Figures :
Hemkund Sahib :
District Headquarters: Gopeshwar
Area: 7951 sq km
Total Population: 370,359
Places to Visit in Chamoli :
Badrinath : Badrinath, one of the most important pilgrim centre of Hindus in our country is a part of sacred 'Chardhams'. It is flanked by Nar and Narayan mountains, while the Neelkanth Peak forms a splendid backdrop.
The Shri Badrinathji temple dedicated to Lord Vishnu was established by Adi Shankaracharya and later built by the rulers of Garhwal about two centuries ago. It can be divided into three partsthe Garbha, the Darshan Mandap and Sabha Mandap. The principal idol carved out of black stone represents meditating Lord Vishnu.
"Tapt Kund", the holy hot water spring is located in front of the temple at the bank of Alaknanda River. A dip in the hot waters is a must before entering the shrine. The temple opens every year in the month of Apr. - May and closes for winters in the third week of Nov. Besides Badrinath there are four subsidiary badris, which cbmprise the sacred 'Panch Badri'. The other four badris are - Yog Dhyan Badri, Bhavishya Badri, Adi Badri and Vriddha Badri.
Hemkund or the 'Snow Lake' nestles at a height of 4329 m. amidst seven snow-covered mountains, which are collectively called Hemkund Parvat. The sacred star shaped gurudwara near the lake is one of the most important Sikh pilgrim centre and is visited by large number of Sikhs and Hindus from all over the world.
It is believed that Guru Govind Singh ji, the tenth Guru of the Sikhs meditated over here. Saints like Rishi Medhasa of the Markandeya Purana and legendary Lakshman, the brother of Lord Ram also performed penance here. A temple dedicated to Lord Lakshman is located near the gurudwara. The 15 kms trek from Govindghat to Hemkund is very popular, with breathtaking views. The best time to come here is from July - Oct.
Ghangharia (5 kms):
It serves as the base for visiting Hemkund Sahib and is the last inhabited part of the valley.
Govind Ghat (15 kms) :
It is set on the confluence of the Alaknanda and Bhyundar or Lakshman Ganga. There is a big gurudwara here.
The picturesque town of Gopehswar has some good temples in and around the city. The main attractions are the ancient temple of Lord Shiva, Vaitarni Kund, a group of temples without idols and Oak View etc.
The Panch Prayag :
'Panch prayag' or the five most sacred river confluences of the Garhwal Himalayas are of immense religious importance. The five prayags are VishnuPrayag, NandPrayag, KarnaPrayag, RudraPrayag and DevPrayag, of which three are in Chamoli district.
It is the confluence of river Alaknanda and Bhagirathi and is famous for temples and river GHATS. It is believed that it was at DevPrayag where lord Vishnu begged for 3 steps of land from King Bali. Fairs are held on the occasion of Ramnavmi, Dussherra and Basant Panchami.
It is the confluence of Alaknanda and Dhauli Ganga Rivers at 6000 feet above sea level. Joshimath is just 12 kms from Vishnuprayag.
It is the confluence of Alaknanda and Mandakini rivers, about 21 kms from Karnaprayag, on the main route to Badrinath. The famous Gopalji temple is situated here. NandaPrayag hosts fair on the occasion of Baisakhi and Janmasthami.
It is situated on the sacred confluence of Alaknanda and Pindari rivers and is known for the Karna Temple and the Uma Devi Temple. It is believed that Lord Surya gifted Kavatch, Kundal and Tuneer to Karna at KarnaPrayag. KarnaPrayag hosts several temples groups- KaalBhairov temple dedicated to Kaleshwar in the North, Jaleshwar temple in the South and Chandika temple & Narayan temple in the East.
It is the confluence of Alaknanda and Mandakini rivers and is well known for LaxmiNarayan and Durga temples. In the north of RudraPrayag is Koteshwar where millions of Shivlings are believed to exist. Huge fair is hosted every year on the day on Mahashivratri. RudraPrayag is 32 kms from KarnaPrayag.
This important temple town is an important halt enroute to Badrinath and base for trekkers to the famous Valley of Flowers. It is said that Adi Shankaracharya gained enlightment here. Main attractions are - Narsingh and Garuda temple, the Shankracharya Math and amar kalp tree. During winters the head priest of Badrinath reside and carry on their pujas here.
This world-class winter games resort is 16 kms from Joshimath. The winter resort is run efficiently by Garhwal Mandai Vikas Nigam (GMVN), which provides equipm~nts as well as training to skiiers. The 3 kms long slope ranging from a height of 2519 mts. to 3049 mts. is a major attraction. There is a 500 mts. long ski-lift which carries skiiers back to the slope top. The best season is from last week of Dec. to Mar.
Valley of Flowers :
This 'paradise' of nature lovers was discovered by Frank Smythe along with R. L. Holdsworth in the 1930s. It lies 6 kms from Bhyundar village and covers an area of 87.5 kms, exceptionally rich in floral wealth. In fact the valley has the largest collection of wild flower species. According to mythological legends, Lord Hanuman visited the valley to collect 'Sanjeevani' herb to save the life of Lakshman, the brother of Lord Rama.
The Pushpawati river flows through the verdant valley surrounded by mountains on all sides. The snow melts from May onwards and the entire
valley blooms with exotic flowers till September. There are over 521 species of flowering plants and the area was declared a national park in 1982 to preserve the bio-diversity of the valley. The park is also inhabiting by animals like' Himalayan black bears, musk deer, brown bears, snow leopards, tahr, bharal, serow and rich variety of butterflies.
How to Reach Chamoli
Nearest airport for Chamoli is Jolly Grant (221 kms)
Nearest rail head: Rishikesh (202 kms)
Well connected by road, with important towns of the State.