All religions have their pilgrimages. Going to these pilgrimages make people closer to their religion. In Hindu religion one must visit at least four spots of religious importance to get moksha. There are many Dhams or places that are considered as pilgrimage in India. We will discuss about the Char Dham Yatra in this article. This will help you to select the four closest to you and ensure that you get moksha. The most prominent ones are Badrinath, Puri, Dwarka, and Rameshwaram.
The Concept of Char Dham Yatra in India
The concept of char dham was started by Adi Shankaracharya. Every Hindu must visit these places of religious significance at least once in a lifetime. All the four char dhams are located in the four corners of India. They are Badrinath in the North, Dwarka in the west and Rameshwaram in the south and the Jaganath Puri in the East. These make a perfect square as interestingly Dwarka and Puri fall on the same latitude where as Badrinath and Rameshwaram fall in the same longitude. The journey of char dham should ideally start from Puri then move to Badrinath. The next move to Dwarka and at the end is completed in Rameshwaram. If a Hindu can see all the four Dhams and offer prayers then they will attain moksha and also divine happiness.
Let us now discuss each Dham one by one. The first one is the most important of all the Badrinath at the north. It is located in the state of Uttarkahand. The legends say that Shankara discovered a black coloured stone on the river bed one day while taking bath. It was image of lord Badrinarayan made of a rare stone called Saligram. After he found this in the river Alakhnanda he thought he should place it in a safe and secured place. He found a cave near the hot water springs of Tapt kund. After this the king of Gharwal in the sixteenth century moved it to the temple where it is now. The temple is a very popular destination where a lot of tourists visit every year. Although the terrain is a difficult one yet many people ensure that they visit it every year. There are some small dhams around it they are called chota dham. They are namely the Kedarnath, Gangotri and yamunotri. These places also must be visited along with Badrinath to get a complete experience. These too have huge religious importance. Gangotri and yamunotri are points from where the river Ganga and Yamuna originates. Kedarnath is the same place where Pandavas were meditating to please Lord Shiva. So in case you are visiting Badrinath do ensure that you visit these spots of utmost religious importance too.
The next in the list of discussion is the Dham that is in the East coast of the country the Jaganath Puri. It is one of the oldest cities in the country. Lord Krishna is worshiped here for ages. This is the only temple in the country where lord Krishna is worshipped with his brother Balram and sister Subhadra. The temple is about one thousand year old. Puri also has the Govardhan matha that was originally started by Shankaracharya. Every year a chariot festival is organised here. On this day the gods are taken on chariots around the temple. A huge number of devotees come on that day. This temple is belived to be worshiping Brahma, Vishnu and Mahesh at the same time. Jaganath is Vishnu, Balram is Mahesh and Subhadra is Brahma. This is a very popular religious place people from all over the country and the world visits this temple every year.
The third Dham that we are going to talk about is the Dwarka. It means gate in Sanskrit. It was the capital city of lord Krishna. It is located in Gujarat. The original Dwarka was submerged in the water the present day city is a replica of the original city. The city was drowned as it was cursed. The modern archaeological survey has helped the people to find the old city of Dwarka that had vanished. They have found a whole city that is resting at the bed of the sea. Some sculptures that were found can be seen in the local museums. The spot where the city had drowned has a temple called byet Dwarka. The main Dwarka temple or the Dwarksdeesh temple is in the main city of Dwarka. There is also a Rupkini mata’s Mandir. She was lord Krishna’s wife. She was cursed by Rishi Durbhasha that she will be separated from lord Krishna for twelve years. These twelve years she spent in the same spot where the temple is today. The locals say that your Dwarka darshan is not complete if you don’t visit this temple.
The last and the most prominent of the char dham is the Rameshwaram in the south coast of Indian sub-continent. It is located in Tamil nadu. This is exactly where lord Rama had built the ram setu to reach Lanka. The temple is dedicated to lord Shiva. It is also belived that lord Rama himself had built the main temple. The temple is also a Jyotirlingam. This too worships all the three supreme powers that are namely Brahma, Vishnu and Mahesh. They are namely Rama as Vishnu, Lakshman as Brahma and Hanuman as Mahesh. Anyone who is said to have visited Banaras must visit Rameshwaram else his journey will be incomplete.
These are the four abodes of gods and where they reside on earth. Anyone who visits these places can get divine peace and find the way to Moksha. It is not possible to complete all the four at the same time now. However, you can do one by one in your lifetime to ensure that all your sins are washed and you gain divine blessings. These places continue to hold a lot of religious importance and as a result people do visit them even today. So when are you going on your Char Dham yatra. Many travel agencies have special packages for the char dham yatra. Every year many people avail these packaged tours. You too can contact them and go for this yatra else you can plan it on your own.