Char Dham Yatra
When one start’s thinking about his death. The all deeds of his life whether good or bad comes in front
of him in just a glance or a sight. If the deeds are good, what else can be more assuaging and fruitful
But the actual trail by ordeal starts when the deeds done the humans are bad. And they count the days
of their life that how can they get salvation from their sins. Because if we talk religiously, this has been
stated in every religion that after the death of a person he or she is will be given the place of hell or
heaven according to their deeds in their life.
The beauty of heaven is explained in every book and is known by every human being. And the curse of
hell is even much more elaborated and explained. But it’s on ones hand who themselves choose the
place of their own with their karma.
But in life, if there is a problem then also has it’s solution. If there is sickness then has it’s cure. That is
the ultimate practice of life. Nothing in the world stands alone.
Mistakes are a part of being human. But even these mistakes also have a solution by the Creator itself.
The God has made few solutions to sanctify the evil deeds.
Chaar Dham Yartra is the ultimate solution to all the earnings of human beings according to Hinduism
and Hindu Culutre.
According to Hinduism Char Dam are the names of four pilgrimage sites in India. Char Dham actually
comprises Badrinath, Dwarka, Puri and Rameshwaram. The other pilgrimage sites are in the Indian State.of Uttarakhand. These are the four most holy sites of Uttrakhand. Badrinath, Kedarnath, Gangotri and Yamunotri. They were earlier known as Chota Char Dham, to differentiate them from the bigger circuit of Charm Dham sites, after the mid-20 th century they have been also reffered as the Char Dham. To visit these highly holy places one’s in a life time is considered really sacred. The Char Dham is defined by Adi Shankaracharya consists of four Vaishnavite pilgrimages. But when and how these places got linked in a pilgrimage circuit together is not known. Each place has its own legendary story and history.
Owing to the significance of this religious circuit, devotees from all over the world, come here to
experience the eternal bliss. Char Dham is filled with commotion and activity with great hurly-burly
during the season of summer in months of end of the April and starting of May. After 6 months of
Prayers and worship they close the Valve of the Temple in the second month of November. The
picturesque surroundings of the mountainous region are simply enthralling, giving all the devotees a
great opportunity to unwind themselves by filling their lungs with fresh and religious air.
Amongst the four Charm Dhams, Badrinath is dedicated to Lord Vishnu, Kedarnath is dedicated to Lord Shiva, Yamunotri to goddess Yamuna and Gangotri to goddess Ganga.
Badrinath is considered one of the most holy places in Hindu religion. Adi Shankaracharya found the idol of Lord Badri in Alaknanda River and put it up in a cave near Tapt Kund. In the 16 th century, a Garhwal King got the temple erected, which has been renovated may times because of the results of Natural calamities.
According to the Hindu Mythology, The indulgent lifestyle of Lord Vishnu was once criticized by the sage Naarad Muni. He made comment on how Lord Vishnu always need to be served by Goddess Lakshmi.
Listening to this Lord Vishnu left his place and went to the forest of Himalayas. At that time that place
was filled with Berry trees. In Sanskrit language they are called Badri, So the place was named Badrika –
Van i.e. The forest of Berry. He went to that place and started doing Tapasya there as an act of penance.
Goddess Lakshmi has no knowledge about the incident. So when she did not found Lord Vishnu at their
place. She went in search of him. And after a lot of search she finally reached The forest of Himalayas
where she found Lord Vishnu meditating. Looking at all this Goddess Lakshmi (his wife) became a berry
tree to shade him from the sun and other harsh elements of nature. Post Tapasya, Narayan (other name
of Lord Vishnu) said, people will always take her name before his name, hence Hindus always refer
‘’Lakshmi-Narayan’’ unlike ‘’Shiva-Parvati’’. IT was therefore called Badri-Nath i.e the Lord of Berry
forest. All this happened in the Sat – Yuga. So the Badrinath came to be known the first Dham.
There is another divine tale of Badrinath. It states that Badrinath used to be the realm of Shiva. Vishnu
tricked Shiva into leaving the site and established himself instead.
This was a place where Lord Shiva and Goddess Parvati lived. It was a magnificent place at around
10,000 feet in the Himalayas. One day when Shiva and Parvati went for a walk. When they came back,
they found a baby crying at the entrance of their home. Looking at the little baby crying Parvati couldn’t
stop her maternal feelings those were overflowing. She wants to hold that baby and stop him from
crying. But Shiva asked ‘‘Not to touch that baby’’. Parvati said ‘‘How can you be so cruel’’.
Shiva said ‘‘This is not a good baby’’. How can he come here by himself. who can leave him here when
there is not footsteps of any persons in the snow. But Parvati was still on her decisions that ‘‘Whatever it might be, this is a small baby and I can’t resist until I hold him up and make him stop crying. She left that baby up. Made him stop crying and fed him. The baby was really comfortable in her hands and was looking gleefully at Lord Shiva. After that Shiva and Parvati went to take bath on the hot springs. When they came back they found the door their house locked. She was aghast. ‘‘Who closed that door’’. Shiva said ‘‘ I have asked you not to touch that baby. You brought that baby in the house and now he has locked that door.
Parvati said, ‘’What shall we do now?’’
Shiva had only two options with him. Either burn everything infront of him or find somewhere else to
live. He said ‘‘ It’s your beloved baby. I cannot touch it’’. And left the place. This is how Shiva and Parvati
lost their own house and walked around in search of an ideal place to live. They finally settled down in
Kedarnath is a Hindu Temple dedicated to Lord Shiva. Lord Shiva is worshipped as Kedarnath, the ‘Lord of Kedar Khand’, the historical name of the region.It is situated in the Rudraprayag district of
Uttrakhand, Kedarnath is the most remote pilgrimage spot in the yatra. About Kedarnath it is believed
that the temple of Kedarnath is built by Pandavas. And Adi Shankaracharya got the present structure
constructed in the 8 th century adjacent to the old temple site. This temple, over a thousand years old
built of massive stone slabs over a large rectangular forms. It is one of the 275 Paadal Petra Thalamus.
There are many legends regarding Kedarnath
Legend 1 – According to the Hindu Mythology, Nara and Narayana – the two incarnations of Lord Vishnu performed severe penance in Badrikashraya of Bharat Khand, in front of Shivalingam. They wanted to please Lord Shiva with their devotion. With their utter devotion and worships Shiva got pleased and appeared infront of them and asked them to wish whatever they want to ask for. Nar and Narayana requested Shiva to take up a permanent abode as a Jyotirlingam at Kedarnath so that all people who worship Shiva shall be freed their miseries. The lingam at Kedarnath, unlike its usual form, is pyramidal and is regarded as one of the 12 Jyotirlings. Kedarnath is highest among the 12 Jyotirlingas.
Legend 2- Another history realted to the Kedarnath Temple is that Goddess Parvati worshipped
Kedareshwar to unite with Shiva as Ardhanareeswarar.
Bhairon Temple- A liitle away from Kedarnath is a temple dedicated to Bhaironathji who is worshipped
at the openings and closings of Kedarnath. The belief is that Bhairavnathji protects this land from evil
during the time when the Temple of Kedarnath is closed.
Legend 3 – According to the history of Hindu mythology, During the Mahabharatha war, the Pandavas
killed their realtives. Pandavas were searching for Lord Shiva to absolve themselves from their sins
committed at the battlefield of Mahabharata. The Pandavas undertook a pilgrimage. Lord Shiva was
away in Kailasa in the Himalayas. On learning this, Pandavas left Kashi. They reached the Himalayas via Kashi. They saw Lord Shankar from far away. Lord Shiva was in no mood to forgive them so easily. So he hid from them and converted himself into a bull and went to Garhwal side of Uttrakhand. Then
Dharmaraj said: ‘‘Oh, Lord, You have hidden from us because we have committed a sin. But our sins will get washed away only when we will get your darshan and whatever would happen we will seek you
anyhow. This place where you have hidden yourself will be known as Guptakashi and become a famous shrine.’’
After Guptkashi the Pandavas went ahead and while they were wandering in search of Lord Shiva. Nakul and Sahdev found a bull which was unique to look at. Then Bheem went after the bull with his mace. But was not able to catch him. Bheem started to pull it by its tail. In this tug of war, the face of the buffalo went straight to Nepal, leaving its hind part in Kedar.
On this hind part of Shiva, a JyotirLinga appeared and Lord Shiva appeared from this light. By getting the Darshan of Lord Shankar, the Pandavas were absolved of their sins. Then Shiva told the Pandavas,‘
From now on, I will remain here as a triangular shaped JyotirLinga. By taking a Darshan of Keadrnath,
devotees would attain piety.
It is situated in the Uttarkashi district of Uttrakhand, the original temple of Gangotri was built by Amar
Singh Thapa, a Gurkha general, in the early 19th century. Gangotri Dham is dedicated to Goddess Ganga,
who is said to have descended on earth to absolve the sins of human kind. The river originates at
Gaumukh from the Gangotri glacier which is some 19 km from the town of Gangotri. The river is called
‘‘Bhagirathi’’ at the source and acquires the name Ganga from Devprayag onwards where it meets the
Alaknanda. The origin of the holy river is at Gaumukh, set in the Gangotri Glacier. It is preched at a
height of 3042mts.
There are also many legends about the Gangotri according to Hinduism.
According to the Hindu Mythology, King Sagar after slaying the demons on earth decided to stage an
Ashwamedha Yajna as a proclamation of his supremacy. The horse which was taken on an uninterrupted journey around the earth was to be accompanied by 60,000 sons born to Queen Sumati and one son Asamanja born of the second queen Kesani. The horse was lost, tracing the horse to the sage Kapil muni’s ashram, the 60,000 sons stormed the ashram and disturbed sage who was in deep meditation.
Engraed Kapila opened his fiery eyes that turned all 60,000 sons into ashes. Bhagiratha, the grandson of
King Sagar, is believed to have meditated to please the Goddess Ganga to cleanse the ashes of his
ancestors, and grant salvation to them. Lord Shiva tied Ganga and distributed its water in a number of
strams to save the earth from its mighty force.
Legend 2- Ganga came down to the earth in a human form and married King Shantanu – an ancestor of
the Pandavas of the Mahabarat, yielded seven children, all of whom were thrown back into the river by
her in an unexplained manner. The eighth – Bheeshma – was spared, thanks to King Shantanu’s
Yamunotri is the second most holy river of India, The River Yamuna, takes birth. It is situated in the
western region of Garhwal Himalayas at an altitude of 3,291 metres (10,797ft) in Uttarkashi district of
Uttrakhand, Yamunotri Dham is the first stop in the pilgrimage. It is believed that bathing in its water
cleanses all sins and protects from untimely and painful death. The shrine of Yamunotri is believed to be
built by the King of Tehri, Naresh Sudarshan Shah, in 1839. There are many hot water springs near the temple, Surya Kund is the most important among them. Devotees boil rice and potatoes in the kund and accept it as a Prasad of the devi.
The Goddess Yamuna is believed to be Sun’s daughter and twin sister of Yamraj who according to the
Hindu scripture is the God of Death.
Yamuna is known for her frivolousness, a traut that she developed because, according to a common
story, Yamuna’s mother could never make eye contact with her dazzling husband.
It is said that sage Asit Muni lived here and bathed in both Ganga and Yamuna. In his old age, when he
was unable to go to Gangotri, a stream of Ganga started to flow across the steam of Yamuna.
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