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Char Dham Yatra: Know why they are called char dhams...

Updated: Sep 27, 2021

Badrinath, Kedarnath, Yamunotri and Gangotri are said to be the most sacred pilgrimage sites in Hinduism. It is said that travelling here not only liberates sins but also takes us beyond the cycle of birth and death.

Due to the presence of all these pilgrimage places in the lap of the Himalayan mountain range, their importance also increases greatly from the point of view of religious tourism.

Yamunotri is the first place to visit in Char Dham Yatra and it is located in Uttarkashi district in the west part of Garhwal Himalayas.

On religious grounds, first, you visit Yamunotri, then Gangotri, then Kedarnath and finally Badrinath.

These are not Char Dhams, they are only Ek Dham, know why they are called four dhams.

While travelling to the Char Dham, it may be that most of the people do not know where are these four Dhams and what is the importance of their visit.

In Uttarakhand, the journey of Gangotri, Yamunotri, Kedarnath and Badrinath is considered to be the journey of Char Dham, whereas the journey of these four is called a journey of "Ek Dham". These are called Chota Char Dham.

Chota Char Dham:

Due to the high number of pilgrims in Badrinath and its being in North India, the people here give more importance to this visit, hence it is also called Chota Char Dham. Apart from Badrinath, this Chota Char Dham includes Kedarnath (Shiva Jyotirling), Yamunotri (the origin of Yamuna) and Gangotri (the origin of the Ganges).

Why Chota Char Dham is important: The above four places are considered to be the abode of divine souls. It is considered a very holy place. While Kedarnath is considered to be the resting place of Lord Shankar, Badrinath is said to be the eighth Vaikunth of the universe, where Lord Vishnu sleeps for 6 months and remains awake for 6 months. Here the idol of Badrinath, made of Shalagramshila, is in quadrangular meditation posture. Here the Nar-Narayan Deity is worshipped and the Akhand lamp is lit, which is a symbol of immovable enlightenment.

There are two mountains in the Kedar valley - Nar and Narayan mountains. This is the Tapo Bhoomi of Nar and Narayan Rishi, one of the 24 incarnations of Vishnu. Pleased with his tenacity, Shiva appeared in Kedarnath. On the other side is Badrinath Dham where Lord Vishnu rests. It is said that in Satyug, Badrinath Dham was established by Narayan. After the darshan of Lord Kedareshwar Jyotirlinga, seeing Lord Nar-Narayan in the Badri region destroys all the sins of a human being and he also gets liberation in life. The same effect has also been expressed in the Koti Rudra Samhita of Shiva Purana.

Yamunotri Temple
Yamunotri Temple

Gangotri Temple
Gangotri Temple

Kedarnath Temple
Kedarnath Temple

Badrinath Temple
Badrinath Temple

Below is the information of the main Char Dhams

Char Dham Yatra

1. Badrinath Dham

Situated on the top of the Himalayas, the Badrinath temple is a great centre of faith for Hindus. It is one of the four Dhams. Badrinath Temple is situated on the banks of the Alaknanda River in the state of Uttarakhand. This temple is dedicated to Badrinath in the form of Lord Vishnu. Badrinath temple is established from time immemorial and is considered to be the holy abode of Satyug. It was founded by Maryada Purushottam Shri Ram. Before visiting Badrinath, it is considered great to visit Kedarnath.

There is a saying about Badrinath, one of the Char Dham, that 'Jo Jaaye Badri, Woh Na Aaye Odri'. That is, the person who has seen Badrinath, does not have to come again in the womb. That means you don't have to be born a second time. According to the scriptures, a person must visit Badrinath at least twice in his life.

2. Jagannath Puri:

Jagannath Puri, one of the four dhams situated on the banks of the sea in the state of Odisha, India. It is also included in the seven holy puris. The word 'Jagannath' means the lord of the world. It is a Vaishnavite temple dedicated to Lord Krishna, an incarnation of Lord Vishnu.

The annual Rath Yatra festival of this temple is famous. In this, the three main deities of the temple, Lord Jagannath, his elder brother Balabhadra and sister Subhadra, all three, seated in three different grand and well-equipped chariots, set out on a journey to the city.

3. Rameshwaram:

Rameswaram, the third abode of Hindus, is situated on the banks of the sea in Ramanathapuram district of Tamil Nadu, India. It is a beautiful conch shaped island surrounded by the Indian Ocean and the Bay of Bengal. The Shivling established in Rameshwaram is considered to be one of the twelve Jyotirlingas.

The belief of Kedarnath and Kashi in the north of India is the same as that of Rameshwaram in the south. According to the belief, Lord Rama had established Rameshwaram Shivling. Here Ram had also built a stone bridge before climbing Lanka, on which the monkey army reached Lanka. Later on the request of Vibhishana, Rama broke this bridge at a place called Dhanushkoti.

4. Dwarka:

One of the four Dhams and one of the seven holy puris is Puri - Dwarka, situated on the western tip of the state of Gujarat on the seashore. It is believed that Dwarka was settled by Shri Krishna and brought Yaduvanshis from Mathura and made this prosperous city their capital.

It is said that the original Dwarka was submerged in the sea but as its remains today there are two places named Bet Dwarka and Gomti Dwarka. To the south of Dwarka, there is a long pond, it is called Gomti Talab. Dwarka is called Gomti Dwarka after its name. There are nine ghats above the Gomti Talab. Among these, there is a pool near the government ghat, whose name is Nishpaap Kund. It is filled with Gomti water.

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