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01 AUGUST, 2022
July is the time when a lot of places in India experience incessant rains, a bountiful gift of God. Everyone enjoys this season in their own favourite way, whether that’s with extra cups of piping hot tea, or sleeping in or planning a vacation to a hill station and taking in the lushness of nature. Another monsoon favourite for some is going on a pilgrimage. If you are among the latter group, then it is time you get started on all the planning and preparation required. Just like with a trip, you need to take into consideration several essential things when planning a pilgrimage to ensure that it is a safe, smooth, and pleasant experience.
The first step is deciding your budget. This will allow you to plan your pilgrimage in a way that does not derail you from your long-term financial plans. In case your savings end up falling short, you don’t have to delay your pilgrimage. Timing is everything when it comes to going on such a spiritual journey and so you can consider financing options such as a personal loan or a travel loan. For a hassle-free application process online and quick disbursal, you can apply for a personal loan with Kotak. The documents required for a personal loan are minimal and the personal loan eligibility is basic. Thus, you don’t have to face any delays or hiccups in your planning.
Once you have the budget sorted for your pilgrimage, the next step is to chalk out the logistics. This includes everything from the purpose of undertaking the pilgrimage and what to pack to the weather conditions and COVID-19 protocols. The specifics would depend on the pilgrimage you will undertake. So, let’s look at some of the pilgrimages to go on this monsoon.
Pilgrimages to undertake this monsoon
1. Amarnath Yatra
Every year, thousands of devotees of Lord Shiva undertake the Amarnath Yatra to the Amarnath Cave in Kashmir located at an altitude of 3,888 metres. This year, it commenced on June 30th and will end on August 11th. There are two routes for this yatra - a trek via Baltal, which takes about one day each way, and the other via Pahalgam, which takes about 3 to 4 days each way. You can register by filling out the form that is available through 556 designated bank branches across the country. You can also opt to undertake the yatra via a helicopter, for which bookings will have to be made separately. A Compulsory Health Certificate (CHC) is required that is issued after a health check by authorised health institutions.
2. Puri Rath Yatra
Puri Rath Yatra, or the Chariot festival, to the iconic Puri temple in Odisha is dedicated to Lord Jagannath and his siblings. Three giant chariots made of wood are specially designed every year for the carrying the idols of these three deities from the Puri temple to the Gundicha shrine and then back. This year the festival started on 1st July and ended on 12th July.
3. Char Dham Yatra
One of the most holy pilgrimages for Hindus, the Char Dham Yatra is open until October this year. Since all the four dhams – Badrinath, Kedarnath, Gangotri, and Yamunotri – are nestled in the Himalayas, this yatra is closed during the winter months due to harsh weather conditions. Hence, now is the best time to embark on the Char Dham Yatra if you have always wanted to experience it. There are several different tour packages you can book online to make your yatra convenient and comfortable. These packages will take care of your accommodation and travel over the span of the 11 to 12 days you will take to complete it.
4. Haj Yatra
For this holy pilgrimage to Mecca in Saudi Arabia, you need to apply online with the Haj committee in India. The final departure flight for 2022 is in July and this year there are 10 embarkation points – Mumbai, Delhi, Srinagar, Ahmedabad, Bengaluru, Hyderabad, Cochin, Kolkata, Lucknow, and Guwahati. The Haj journey lasts between 36 and 42 days and this year, the cost of the Haj package has been increased to about Rs 3,99,500 through the Haj committee while private packages cost almost double.
5. Kanwar Yatra
Here’s another yatra for the devotees of Lord Shiva that involves a journey to fetch Ganga water in Haridwar, Gaumukh, and Gangotri in Uttarakhand to then offer it to the Shiv lingams around the country. This year, the Kanwar Yatra is commencing on July 14th and will end on July 26th. A Kanwar mela and market along with special trains for the Yatra are being arranged by the government in Uttarakhand.
6. Hemis Festival
This Buddhist festival, also known as Tsechu or the mask dance festival, is celebrated annually in Ladakh to celebrate the birth anniversary of Guru Padmasambhava. This year, it was celebrated on July 8th and 9th. As part of this festival, you get to experience a mix of Buddhist and Tibetan cultures.
Everyone has a personal reason to go on a pilgrimage and whether yours is religious, spiritual, or simply to immerse yourself in a rich and enlightening experience, now is a great time to take the leap. And in moments like these, the lack of funds really should not be a constraint. Moreover, most of these pilgrimages are being held after two years due to the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic and so the preparations and festive spirits for each are even higher this time around. Hence, you should consider taking a personal loan to meet this goal of yours this year itself.
A personal loan is also called a travel loan because the funds can be used for travel purposes and there are no restrictions in that aspect. It’s also an unsecured loan which means no collateral is required. You can use Kotak’s online personal loan EMI calculator to determine how much this loan would cost you per month in terms of the Equated Monthly Instalments (EMI) you would have to pay. While using this tool, you can also check your personal loan eligibility on Kotak’s website. Once you have the financial and logistics part down, all that’s left to do is venture out and have a fulfilling pilgrimage. So, get started on charting your plans and finances today!
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