Char Dham Helicopter Yatra - A Complete Guide

The Char Dham Yatra' literally translates to 'a journey through the four abodes or seats'. This includes visiting four of the most religious destinations in India, revered by Hindus. Some even call it a pilgrimage that every Hindu must undertake at least once in their life. Three of the spots are important to Shaivite and one to Vaishnavite history. The Chardham Yatra includes Badrinath, Dwarka, Rameshwaram and Puri. They are located in four distinct parts of the country so as to traverse the entirety of the nation, in spiritual pursuit. the summer months see the minimum amount of activity at these spots. Each spot rose to prominence in a different period of history, none less pious than the other. There's also a smaller circuit in Uttarakhand of four religious places (Yamunotri, Gangotri, Kedarnath and Badrinath) to visit known as the Chota Char Dham which is very popular among religious tourists.

Char Dham Yatra Dates:

TempleOpening DatesClosing Dates (Dates May Vary)
Yamunotri Temple07 May 201927 Oct 2019
Gangotri Temple07 May 201927 Oct 2019
Kedarnath Temple09 May 201927 Oct 2019
Badrinath Temple10 May 201909 Nov 2019

Char Dham Yatra Average Trip Duration (with a helicopter): 2 Days/ 1 Night, 5 Days/ 5 Nights.

Char Dham Yatra by Helicopter

Char Dham Yatra by Helicopter
(Source)


Experiencing Char Dham yatra by helicopter is the fastest, most convenient way to complete the entire pilgrimage in a short time. If you are a religious devout who wants to visit the sacred quadrilogy of pilgrim spots but are on short of time, getting around on a helicopter is the ideal way of doing that. Even for regular who wish to experience the incredible and unparalleled beauty of the mountains within a compact time schedule, a helicopter journey is a way to go about it. Even though it costs a lot more than regular commute options, it is well worth the money spent in terms of both time and energy saved. While a 2 Day tour will be quick paced, packing a visit to all destinations within 2 days. The 6 Day tour will offer a leisurely journey covering all four pilgrim spots at a luxurious pace. 

Starting Point: Sahastradhara helipad in Dehradun
Starting Time: Helicopters start at 7:00 AM (It is recommended to reach the helipad an hour before your scheduled time)
Where To Book: Yatra.com, Chardham Tour
Char Dham Tour Packages By Helicopters Starting Price: INR 1.3 Lakh to 1.6 Lakh Per Person (for both 2 days and 6-day packages)

Chota Char Dham Yatra (Uttarakhand Circuit)

The Chota Char Dham route covers the span of Yamunotri-Gangotri-Kedarnath-Badrinath. If you wish to undertake a road trip to the holy sites, then a route map from Delhi will follow the course of Delhi-Haridwar-Barkot-Yamunotri-Uttarkashi-Gangotri-Guptakashi-Kedarnath-Badrinath-Rishikesh-Delhi.

Kedarnath by Helicopter

Kedarnath by Helicopter
(Source)

There is no road access available to the temple and it can only be reached through a tough, uphill 18 km long trek which starts from Gaurikund. Kedarnath is one of the holiest Hindu pilgrim sites and earlier completing a journey to the sacred temple was considered no less than an accomplishment for the religiously inclined.

However, the tough journey is now much simpler because of the daily helicopter service which plies from the helipad in Phata village in Kedarnath. Some operators also offer a helicopter service from the town of Agustmuni in Rudraprayag.

Devotees can visit Kedarnath temple and return the same day as helicopter service plies at regular intervals from Phata and Agustmuni helipads. 5-seater helicopters are operated by different tour companies.

Timings
The last helicopter back to Phata leaves at 11:10 AM and those who wish to have an overnight stay at Kedarnath can choose to take this flight the next day. Even with a same day return flight, devotees get around 1:30 hours for darshan in the temple.

Accommodation options are available at both Phata and Kedarnath.

Cost for a round trip from Phata-Kedarnath-Phata comes to INR 6500 per person with extra applicable taxes. One way helicopter rides can also be booked subject to seat availability. A one-way ticket costs between INR 3,000 to INR 3,500 with applicable taxes.

Passenger Guidelines

  • Only 5 kg of luggage is allowed on helicopters. Pack necessities only, preferably in a handbag as the helicopter might not have space for larger containers. Weighing is usually done by the pilot before take-off to ensure safe flying.
  • Ensure that you carry a medical kit as you will be travelling at high altitudes.
  • The locations are cold throughout the year. So, woollen clothes and all kinds of winterwear should be carried along with you without fail.
  • Carrying identification is absolutely necessary for all passengers. Aadhar Cards for Indians and passports if you’re a foreign national.
  • You are required to provide the service provider with medical fitness certificates to travel to high altitude areas to avoid serious medical emergencies.
  • Bad weather conditions, Indian Air Force valley flying, VVIP movements, helicopter technical snags, delay in clearance from Air Force and Civil Aviation can lead to no or postponed to flying.
  • In case of overstaying outside of days mentioned in packages, expenses should be borne by you.
  • Make sure you go through the terms and conditions, cancellation policies of the service provider before you choose the travel package.
  • 5 nights/6 days packages are usually recommended for senior citizens and differently abled passengers as there will be an ample amount of time for Darshan.
  • All helicopter departure timing: 7:00 AM from Sahasthradhara Helipad, Dehradun. So, make sure you reach early to avoid issues.
  • Food is usually provided with the travel packages except for one-day packages. Street food is also available at certain places on the way.

Terms and Conditions

  • The timings of flight are subject to change according to weather conditions and matters out of human control.
  • The full amount of the trip has to be deposited about a month prior to the journey usually split into two parts, 50% in advance for booking and the rest later.
  • Complimentary food might be provided accordingly with your selected travel package.
  • Your selected package might not have GST included in the prices, so make sure to clarify the same.
  • Children above the ages of 2 will require a full ticket.
  • There are no special provisions for children, senior citizens and the differently abled as such. But if needed, make sure to mention it well in advance in order to make the necessary arrangements.

Cancellation Policies

Cancellation policies depend on the service provider, for example, the aforementioned yatra.com will not refund your money if you cancel less than 30 days before departure and Chardham Tour has a no refund policy if you cancel less than 10 days before departure. Make sure you read up on the particular company policies.

Chota Char Dham Yatra - Temples

Chota Charm Dham Yatra
(Source)
Yamunotri Temple at Western Garhwal Himalaya, Uttarkashi, Uttarakhand.
Timings: 6:00 AM to 8:00 PM
How to reach: The nearest airport is Jolly Grant in Dehradun about 200 km away and Dehradun Railway Station is around 185 km away from Yamunotri after which you will have to hire taxis. Yamunotri town is well connected by roads public transport is available till Hanuman Chatti, 14 km away from Yamunotri Temple.

Gangotri Temple at Gangotri, Uttarkashi, Uttarakhand
Timings: 6:15 AM to 9:30 PM
How to reach: Jolly Grant Airport and Dehradun Railway Station are the nearest hubs at 270 km and 245 km away respectively from Gangotri. Gangotri town is well connected by roads and public transport is readily available at transport hubs Rishikesh, Dehradun, and Uttarkashi.

Kedarnath Temple at Kedarnath, Rudraprayag, Uttarakhand
Timings: 4:00 AM to 9:00 PM
How to reach: Jolly Grant Airport and Rishikesh Railway Station are the nearest hubs at 240 km and 220 km respectively away from Kedarnath. Gaurikund has the nearest motorable roads with public transport from Rishikesh, Delhi, Haryana, Srinagar and more.

Badrinath Temple at Badrinath, Chamoli, Uttarakhand
Timings: 4:30 AM to 9:30 PM
How to Reach: 315 km away from Badrinath is Jolly Grant Airport and at a distance of 320 km is Haridwar Railway Station. Badrinath is connected by good enough motorable roads and has buses running from Delhi, Haryana, Chandigarh, Haridwar and more.

One-day trip packages are available between Yamunotri and Gangotri, the Do Dham Yatra at around INR 80,000 per person. The packages will usually include VIP Darshan passes, car services and guides but exclude food.
A normal itinerary of this package would look like,
Dehradun: Sahasthradhara Helipad to Kharsali(Helicopter) - Kharsali to Yamunotri Temple(Trek or Pony) - Return - Kharsali to Harsil(Helicopter) - Harsil to Gangotri(Car) - Return(Helicopter)
 
Do Dham Yatra between Kedarnath and Badrinath in one-day is also provided by different service providers which come around to INR 90,000 per person. The packages usually include VIP Darshan passes, car services and guides but exclude food.
The itinerary for this package would look like,
Dehradun: Sahastradhara Helipad to Guptkashi(Helicopter) - Guptkashi Helipad to Kedarnath(Helicopter) - Kedarnath to Kedarnath Temple(10-minute trek) - Kedarnath to Badrinath(Helicopter) - Badrinath to Badrinath Temple(Car or trek) - Return(Helicopter)

Chota Char Dham Yatra - Helicopter Packages

Chota Char Dham Yatra - Helicopter Package
(Source)


Sacred Yatra - INR 169000 per person for 5 days/4 nights which will include Hotel accommodations for 4 nights with all meals, VIP Darshan and transport for local sightseeing. The prices are subject to change, in order to get correct prices, contact service providers directly.
Uttarakhand Tourism - INR 160000 per person for 6 days/5 nights which will include Hotel accommodations for 5 nights with all meals, VIP Darshan, local transport for sightseeing and Maha Abhishek Puja at Badrinath.

Sample Itinerary

Day 1: Dehradun to Kharsali(Helicopter) - Kharsali to Yamunotri Temple - Overnight stay at Kharsali.
Day 2: Kharsali to Harsil(Helicopter) - Harsil to Gangotri Temple(Car) - Overnight stay at Harsil or Gangotri.
Day 3: Harsil to Guptkashi(Helicopter) - Guptkashi to Kedarnath(Helicopter) - Overnight stay at Guptkashi
Day 4: Guptkashi to Badrinath(Helicopter) - Overnight stay at Badrinath.
Day 5: Return to Dehradun.

Char Dham Yatra Registration

The Uttarakhand Government made it mandatory for pilgrims and devotees to register themselves by way of biometric registration. After the process is complete, biometric cards are issued to them. The process is really easy and devotees can register themselves at one of the centres on the Char Dham Yatra route. This allows the government to track them and ensure safety for all. The card also gives pilgrims the opportunity to use the card for special facilities like food and accommodation.

You can register online at http://onlinechardhamyatra.in/frmUserRegistration.aspx. Or go to one of the 50 offline facilities around Uttarakhand with your identification documents.

This post was published by Muhammed Salih

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