Joined: 27 June 2011
India is the land of the gods and the many - many shrines dedicated to them. But there are four pilgrimages that are special in the land of a million shrines. All four are located near each other in a region that is traditionally considered the playground of the gods; Uttarakhand. The holiest of holy four pilgrimage sites are jointly called the CHAR DHAM. In an interesting balance while two - BARINATH and KEDARNATH are abodes of male deities, the other two ' GANGOTRI and YAMNOTRI ' are abodes of the sacred feminine. The ideal time or peak season to go for a Char Dham Yatra is from May to October, except monsoons. This is because all the four sacred sites are located rather high in the Garhwal Himalayas, Which experiences heavy snowfall. As a result, all the passage leading to the shrines are blocked during the winter months. During the monsoon season landslides frequently render the roads un-passable. Traditionally, the gates of all four of the temples are also closed for this period of time and the idols are shifted to their traditional winter homes to await the arrival of spring when the pata (gates) open and they return to their homes.
With the beginning of the Yatra season begin the plight of thousands of animals utilized to serve the lakhs of visiting pilgrims. These hapless horses and mules are employed to transport baggage and other requirements of the pilfrims, some of whom also use these animals to cover the Yatras. The treks in the direction of Kailash-Mansarovar, Hemkund, Gangotri, Yamunotri and Kedarnath are chiefly identified for using large number of animals (an estimate states more than 10,000) and completely neglecting their basic are, including food and shelter.
Kedarnath trek starts from Gaurikund and for Hemkund Saheb and Valley of Flowers from Gobindghat. Here a good number of horses and mules are pressed into service. Not only are these animals ill fed and exploited, they are not even given proper medical and other aid. Recurrent rains aggravate the plight of these exploited animals. They are subjected to harsh conditions and are exposed to continuous rain and bitter cold for weeks on end. During the Char Dham Yatra season, animals are also brought in from the neighbouring towns, including Bijnor, Najibabad, Dhampur and Nagina.There are some Popular tourist places in Uttarakhand such as: Nainital, Dehradun , Mussoorie, Ranikhet, Pithoragarh, Tehri, Jageshwar, Bhimtal, Kausani, Chaukori , Bageshwar, Mukteshwar, Hemkund, Chakrata, Purola, Chamba, Gwaldam, Khirsu, Deoprayag, Gangotri,Yamunotri, Kadernath, Badrinath, Haridwar, Pindari, Glacier, Corbet National Park , Rajaji National Park.
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