Badrinath, Kedarnath, Gangotri and Yamunotri
All these sites are in the Himalayas. The Ganges and Yamuna are often considered the two most sacred rivers.
Badrinath is the abode of the Nara-Narayana sages and is one of he eight self-manifested holy tirthas (places), as well as one of the four dhamas. The deity in the Badrinath Temple is a two foot high self-manifested deity of Lord Badrinarayana, installed by Shankaracharya.
Badrinath is 190 miles north of Rishikesh and is at an elevation of 10,244 feet.
Kedarnath is on the bank of the Mandakini River between Gangotri and Badrinath. The Kedarnath Temple is dedicated to Lord Shiva. The temple was originally built by the Pandavas to atone for sins accrued during the Kurukshetra war. The present temple was built by Shankaracharya, who attained samadhi here in about 820 AD.
Kedarnath is 26 miles from Badrinath.
Gangotri is near the source of the River Ganges. At this point the Ganges flows north, giving this village its name “Gangotri”. Lord Krishna says in Bhagavad Gita, ‘Of flowing rivers, I am the Ganges’. The Gangotri temple is dedicated to the Goddess Ganga. King Bhagiratha prayed to Lord Shiva so that he could take Ganga upon his head, when she came to Earth.
Gangotri is 145 miles from Yamunotri and is at an elevation of 10,500 feet.
This is where the holy Yamuna River begins and there is a temple dedicated to the Goddess Yamuna. Yamunotri stands on the western flank of the snow-covered Bandarpoonch Mountain (20,730 feet).
Yamunotri is 145 miles north of Haridwar.