Safety Precautions and Tips for Char Dham:
The Char Dham Yatra is a sacred and adventurous journey that requires proper planning and preparation. It is important to follow some safety precautions and tips to ensure a smooth and enjoyable experience. Here are some of the safety precautions and tips to follow during the yatra:
- Dress modestly and respectfully while visiting these holy places. Avoid wearing leather, shorts, or revealing clothes.
- Follow the instructions and guidance of the priests and local authorities while performing these rituals and ceremonies. Do not touch or disturb any idols, symbols, or objects without permission.
- Respect the sentiments and beliefs of other pilgrims and locals. Do not argue or criticize anyone’s faith or practices.
- Carry some cash, flowers, fruits, or sweets for offering at these temples. You can also buy these items from nearby shops or stalls.
- Be prepared for long queues, crowds, and waiting times at these temples. Be patient and calm while waiting for your turn.
- Keep yourself hydrated and nourished during these rituals and ceremonies. Carry some water bottles, snacks, or energy bars with you.
- Be aware of your surroundings and belongings while performing these rituals and ceremonies. Beware of pickpockets, fraudsters, or touts who may try to cheat or harass you.
- Enjoy these rituals and ceremonies as a part of your spiritual journey. Feel the divine presence and grace of these deities in your heart and soul.
- Plan ahead: The Char Dham Yatra is a popular pilgrimage, so make sure to book your accommodations and transportation well in advance. It is also important to get your permits and make any necessary arrangements for porter services or pony rentals.
- Get in shape: The Char Dham Yatra involves a lot of walking and climbing, so it’s important to be in good physical shape before embarking on the journey. It is advisable to start a regular exercise regimen several months before your trip to prepare your body.
- Pack wisely: The weather in the Himalayas can be unpredictable, so pack warm clothing and rain gear. It is also important to bring sturdy footwear and a good backpack. It is also advisable to carry a good first aid kit, a torch, and a water bottle. Pack light and only carry essential items.
- Be prepared for altitude: The Char Dham Yatra takes place at high altitude, so it’s important to be aware of the symptoms of altitude sickness, such as headache, nausea, and shortness of breath. It is advisable to acclimatize yourself before embarking on the journey.
- Respect the culture: The Char Dham Yatra is a sacred pilgrimage, so it’s important to show respect for the local culture and customs. This includes dressing modestly, removing shoes before entering temples, and not littering. Respect the sentiments and beliefs of other pilgrims and locals.
- Hire a local guide: A local guide can help you navigate the often-difficult terrain and offer valuable insight into the culture and history of the area. They can also help with any language barriers.
- Be flexible: The Char Dham Yatra is a long and challenging journey, and things may not always go as planned. It is important to be flexible and go with the flow, rather than getting frustrated or upset when things don’t go as expected.
- Stay hydrated: It is very important to stay hydrated while on the journey. It is advisable to drink water regularly and avoid alcohol.
- Stay healthy: It is important to take care of yourself while on the journey. This includes getting enough rest, eating well, and avoiding risky behavior. Keep basic medicines with you and seek medical help if needed.
- Have travel insurance: Travel insurance is very important while travelling to any remote area. It will help you in case of any emergency.
- Avoid peak season: The peak season for the Char Dham Yatra is from May to June and September to October. During these months, the temples and routes are more crowded, accommodations are more expensive and it may be difficult to get permits. It is advisable to plan your trip for the shoulder season.
- Do not forget to carry your ID: Always carry a valid ID proof with you. It is mandatory to carry a valid ID proof with you while visiting the temple.
- Be aware of your surroundings: Be aware of your surroundings at all times and take necessary precautions to ensure your safety. Beware of pickpockets, fraudsters, or touts who may try to cheat or harass you. Do not venture into restricted areas, avoid late-night travel, do not cross river streams during heavy rainfall, and adhere to safety instructions given by authorities and locals.
For Foreign Clients:
Before you visit India, Make sure you have travel information. From money to local customs, passenger safety to insurance, our India Travel Guide will give you all the tips you need to know.
Costs and money
India’s unit of currency is the rupee, divided into paper notes of 5, 10, 20, 50, 100, 500 and 1000. Coins are 1, 2, 5 and 10. The most important thing about Indian rupees is that it is technically illegal to carry them in and out of the country. ATMs can be found in the main banks of India in all major cities, towns and tourist areas.
Travel safety in India
Travel in India is usually safe for visitors. As expected anywhere, a tourist may be more susceptible to slight theft and scams, but common sense and some precautions go much further. Crowded places – including public transport – is first and foremost where you should keep your awareness sharp, as this is where pickpockets are most likely to operate.
While staying in hostel rooms, make sure to lock your luggage with a padlock, and take care of any of your belongings that you store on top of the bus and protect it well. If you go swimming, do not leave your belongings unclaimed. It’s also worth mentioning that not all crimes are committed by humans: monkeys in India have been known to steal belongings not only on the street but even from hotel rooms with open windows or straight from your shoulder.
Always remember that destinations and routes popular with tourists are also popular with thieves. Although it’s not common, refuse food and drink from strangers and fellow passengers, as it can be an attempt to drug and steal, too. In saying this, you shouldn’t be paranoid when travelling in India; crime rates are below many western countries and staying relaxed is the best way to experience the country. As with anywhere, just keep your wits about you.
LGBT issues in India
The LGBTQ movement in India had a big win in 2018 when homosexuality was made legal again, having been made illegal by the conservative Modi government in 2013. However, homosexuality is not hugely open or widely accepted in India and prejudice is still ingrained, especially in conservative areas such as Rajasthan.
Female travellers in India
Whilst things are changing, India still has a long way to go in its treatment of women. Travelling India is relatively easy for women on their own and has been happening regularly for years, but female travellers should still expect to be hassled to some extent during your trip.
Women travelling on their own should exercise caution when visiting rural areas and remain alert when out and about at night time.
Travellers with special needs
Because disabilities are fairly common in India (sadly due to lack of treatment available), travellers with special needs are not looked upon unfavourably or inciting an embarrassed expression. However, you’d still be unlikely to find state of the art wheelchair or disabled facilities in the country, and streets are hard to navigate.