Char Dham of Hindus, A journey to redemption
In the Hindu religion to redeem salvation, it’s believed to venture 4 dham yatra. Indian philosopher Adi Shankaracharya named them ‘Char Dham’ in the 8th century. The set of 4 Dham includes Badrinath, Rameswaram, Dwaraka and Puri. Last year 29lakh pilgrims visited Char Dham and the year before that the number was 27lakh. These 4 dham temples are one of the most important out of all.
What is the religious Importance of Char Dham & 4 dham yatra?
According to the Hindu religion, ideal human life consists of Dharma(Duty), Artha(Money), Kama(Desire) and Moksha(Freedom). As the age of Kalyug dawned, to wash away all the sins Hindus visited Char Dham as 4 dham yatra. 4 Dham are scattered in four different directions in India: Badrinath in the North, Rameswaram in the South, Dwaraka in the West, Puri in the east. They are typically four abodes of God and each place among 4 dham holds their own significance and identification. Hence, the title ‘4 Dham’. Char Dham takes the highest place among all pious places in Hinduism. Yatra of 4 Dham gives you a unique spiritual experience in the presence of God. This plays as the key reason for Hindus to visit Char Dham once in a lifetime. Many pilgrims also visit holy places like 4 Dham to revive the meaning of life. Once you finish Char Dham Yatra which is elusive, God grants your soul mercy which is the basic belief. Every year the number of pilgrims keeps increasing to 4 Dham. One cannot complete Char Dham yatra without missing even one among the 4 Dhamf.
BADRINATH DHAM OF CHAR DHAM:
Badrinath temple is one of the most influential pilgrimages and one among the 4 Dham. Badrinath is a small town in Uttarakhand, on the banks of Alaknanda river in North India.
Badrinath is the unification of nature and god. Badri stands for ‘Berry’ and Nath means ‘God’. Once upon a time, the area was plentifully filled with wild berries so it was called ‘Badri-Van’ (Berry forest). Legend says, once while lord Vishnu was meditating his wife goddess Laxmi to comfort him covered him in a form of berry trees and turned the land into the green.
Adi Sankaracharya found lord Badrinath’s stone from Alaknanda River which he placed near Tapt Kund in a cave. King of Garhwal replaced the idol during the 16th century to its present place, inside the Badrinath temple, one among the 4 dham. Tapt Kund has surprisingly hot water whereas the water in the river is too cold.
Badrinath was developed in Satyug which makes it such a religious and pure place for pilgrims among the 4 dham. Ved Vyasa, a legendary historic Indian writer was born here.
Badrinath temple, one among the char dham lies between mountains Nar and Narayana that were named after Lord Vishnu’s sons. One among 4 dham, the Badrinath temple looks a lot like a Buddhist temple. Temple is divided into 2 parts, the primary part has idols of the goddess Laxmi, Hanuman and Garuda. The main part of the Badrinath temple, one among 4 dham has Badrinarayan (Lord Vishnu) idol which is a black stone with a big diamond on the forehead. In the same room, there are few others of Nar and Narayana, god Kubera, Uddhav and Narada. Because of the rich history, Badrinath is added to the 4 Dham yatra.
RAMESWARAM DHAM OF CHAR DHAM:
Rameswaram, 1 among the char dham is an island which is connected with the land by a bridge, in Tamil Nadu, South India. Rameswaram is a Sanskrit word which means ‘Lord of Rama’. Legend says after Ravana abducted Sita from Rameswaram, 1 among the char dham god Rama tried hard to get Sita back without a fight. But all his efforts failed.
Vanara Sena(Ape-man army) made ‘Rama Setu’, the bridge from Rameswaram to Sri Lanka. Ram Setu is also known as Adam’s bridge. It was broken in 1480 because of a cyclone.
After winning the war by killing Ravana, a ‘Brahmin’ in Sri Lanka Rama felt guilty. As penance Rama with the advice of sages decided to build Rameswaram temple, one among 4 dham for Lord Vishnu at Rameswaram. This is the main reason why Rameswaram dham is one of the 4 dham.
As Hanuman couldn’t reach on time with the lingam from Himalaya, Sita made a lingam out of sand from the shores and Rama placed it in the main temple on time. After Hanuman reached the bigger lingam, that was also placed in the Rameswaram temple, one among 4 dham near the smaller one.
Rameshwaram temple is also called Ramnath temple, one among 4 dham. Rameswaram temple, 1 among the char dham has the longest corridors among all Hindu temples. Rameswaram is one of the 4 dham because of the great history connected to God Rama.
DWARKA DHAM OF CHAR DHAM:
Dwaraka is located on the banks of Gomti river in Gujarat, west India. The name is derived from the Sanskrit word ‘Dvar’ which means door. Dwaraka was the first capital city of Gujarat, 1 among the char dham. Lord Krishna ruled in Dwaraka according to history and took place as 4 dham. Dwaraka temple was built before 2500 years and is very important among the 4 dham. The temple is also called ‘Jagat Mandir’, one among 4 dham pilgrimages. The temple was made for Krishna due to which he is also known as Dwarkadeesh.
Legend says , when Durvasa visited them he asked them to take him to their palace in Dwarka, 1 among the char dham. As they were on their way to the palace, Rukmani felt thirsty because she was tired and requested water. Krishna fabricated a pond that brought Ganga water and gave her. Upon seeing this Durvasa was enraged and cursed Rukmani to remain there. Temple has Rukmani’s shrine and it is believed that that is the exact place where she stood at this dham among the char dham. Both the temples are 2km away from each other at this dham among the char dham.
In 1473, Gujarat sultan Mahmud Begada attacked the city and destroyed the temple, a part of 4 dham. Dwarika has a wealthy ancient history alongside God Krishna and that’s why it’s of the 4 Dham.
PURI DHAM OF CHAR DHAM:
Puri is in Odisha, eastern India and is situated on the Bay of Bengal and is among the char dham. This dham among the char dham was formed in 1948 after the division from Bihar in 1936. Puri dham among the char dham has been called by many names until now. One among 4 dham Puri’s economy mainly depends on the temple which celebrates 24 festivals.
Puri, a city among the 4 dham is also known for its annual ‘Rath Yatra’ which takes place in June-July. This is also a big source of income for the city. Every year millions of people come to witness the event. The city is one out of 4 dham, is also the reason for a lot of visitors to the city. Puri was invaded 18 times by Mughal rulers with the sole purpose of looting Puri temple from the 4th to early 19th century. Puri temple is known as ‘Jagannath temple’, and is dedicated to Lord Vishnu.
This is the only temple where Subhadra is worshipped along with her brothers, Jagannath(Krishna) and Balabhadra(Balaram). Puri city holds the most mysteries out of the 4 dham.
The flag on top of the temple always floats in the opposite direction of the wind. Also, the Chakra on top irrespective of your direction always faces you. In the temple, prasadam is cooked in 7 clay pots placed on top of each with fire. But, intriguingly the top pot gets cooked first followed by the bottom one. None of the prasadam gets wasted. Jagannath temple has 2,000 to 20,000 visitors each day.
Puri city and Jangannath temple’s brief history lets it be part of the 4 Dham.
According to the Hindu religion, the soul that resides inside of the body never dies and only replaces the body. The concept is famous as ‘The circle of life and death’. Once you visit the Char Dham, God frees your soul from this cycle. So the 4 dham yatra, once in a lifetime journey provides you solitude with almighty himself. Thus, the visit of Char Dham is very important in the Hindu religion.
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