Char Dham Yatra set of four pilgrimage sites comprises of Badrinath, Dwarka, Puri and Rameswaram, achieve ‘Moksha’(salvation) or in simple words, liberation from the cycle of birth and death by doing Char Dham Yatra.
Char Dham translates to four abodes. It is a set of four pilgrimage sites in India. It comprises of Badrinath, Dwarka, Puri and Rameswaram. According to Hindu mythology every Hindu must visit the ‘Char Dham’ once in their lifetime.
Vaishnavite Hindus believe that visiting these can help them achieve ‘Moksha’(salvation) or in simple words, liberation from the cycle of birth and death. There also exists another circuit of four ancient pilgrimage sites in the state of Uttarakhand. These are referred to as the ‘Chota Char Dham’. It comprises of Yamunotri, Gangotri, Kedarnath and Badrinath. Due to extreme climatic conditions these sites remain closed during winters and welcomes pilgrims with the advent of summer. Pilgrims of all ages and groups come to worship and dwell in the humble abode of Lord Shiva (12 Jyotirlinga page). These are considered as Vaishnavite pilgrimage sites.
It is one of the major traditions of Hinduism. Its followers are called Vaishnavas and they consider ‘Vishnu’ as their supreme God. They believe in the concept of reincarnation. The tradition is known for the loving devotion to an avatar of Vishnu (Krishna).
The tradition has traceable roots to the first millennium BCE as Bhagavatism, also called Krishnaism.
With changing times, ideologies also change. Today the holy pilgrimage of Char Dham is not just limited to the Vaishanavas but people all over the country come to visit these places. They enjoy essence of spirituality and absorb the loveliness of these beautiful places.
Evolution of the concept of pilgrimage
It is well known that we are an agricultural society. In earlier times the major occupation of the Indian population was agriculture. So, it was next to impossible for us to go out, visit places and explore. Our learned saints were well aware of the perks of going to new places. Travelling isn’t just a mere change of place but a wholesome experience. We get to know different people, enjoy different delicacies and think out of the box. This broadens our horizon and makes us more knowledgeable and practical. Our wise saints realized this and thus came up with the concept of pilgrimage.
Geographical location and significance of Char Dham
The geographical allocation of these four sites is very interesting. They make a picture perfect square on the Indian map with Badrinath and Rameswaram falling on the same longitude and Dwarka and Purl falling on the same latitude. They represent the farthest north, east, west and south points of India before the coastlines changed.
The geographical beauty of these sites gives the visitor an overall experience of the entire country.
The call of the divine is an irreversible call and we Hindus get drawn to it from different parts of the country. Having a sound spiritual history we Hindus are very sensitive about the spiritual and mythological aspects of life. Apart from the divine touch this voyage to the four different corners of the country has various scientific aspects too. The difficult trek a person’s comfort zone. The mountains teach us to be disciplined and helps us to learn how to adapt to different conditions. The fresh air rejuvenates our senses. It helps us to check our limits both physically and mentally.
It is situated in Uttarakhand and is one of the most important sites of the Char Dham pilgrimage. It gets its name from the Badrinath temple situated there. Badri is a berry which used to grow a lot in that area and nath is Lord as per context in which it is referred. It was established as a major pilgrimage site by Adi Shankaracharya in the 7th century.
It is situated on the banks of the Alaknanda River.
This temple is dedicated to Lord Vishnu. It is open for six months in year from the end of April to the beginning of November.
The temple is a host to many festivals. Being in the temple during festivals is a plus for tourists.
There is this one beautiful and picturesque place one must always visit while taking a pilgrimage to Badrinath. It is the Vasudhara Falls situated near Badrinath located on Alaknanda. It is at a distance of 6km from Mana Village, a pebble trial and has a gentle decline. The fall is simply amazing and worth one’s efforts to reach there. One will definitely get mesmerized by the beauty of Himalayan walk and the splendid waters of the fall. The waters of the serene fall create rainbow colours when sunlight falls on them.
Dwarka is an ancient city and a municipality in the state of Gujarat. It is one of the Sapta Puri, the seven most religious cites in the country. It sometimes identified as the Dwarka kingdom, the ancient kingdom of Krishna and is believed to have been the first capital of Gujarat. The city’s name literally means ‘gateway to heaven’. According to beliefs Krishna had settled in here after defeating his uncle in Mathura.
Dwarka is a hub of tourist spots. The ancient city has everything that a travel enthusiast craves for from beautiful beaches to magnificent temples. Best known as Lord Krishna’s home, the will enchant you with the holiness it carries here in its air. This place attracts quite a large number of pilgrims every year.
Places to visit in Dwarka
It is also known as the Jagat Temple and showcases Chalukya styled architecture, dedicated to Lord Krishna. The five storied main shrine is a marvelous sight to the eyes. Roaming around the temple is an awesome experience in itself. The black idol of Lord Krishna is so appealing that it appers as if the Lord is present there. One can feelthe holiness in the air of this place.
Nageshwar Jyotirlinga Temple
One of the 12 jyotirlinga temples houses the giant and artistic statue of Lord Shiva. This mesmerizes tourists with its aesthetic appeal. It is a hub of festivals during Shivratri when devotees turn up in large numbers.
It is situated on the coastline of the Arabian Sea and it a favourite destination for tourists to relax. Walking along the beach one can enjoy the view of the sea and have some ‘me’ time. The cool and gentle breeze in this place has the ability to sweep away very tension and worry from one’s head.
It is a major tourist destination located around 30km away from the main town of Dwarka. It is a small island bestowed with temples, white sand beaches and coral reefs. One can always grab a picnic bag and enjoy here. It is also famous for its marine life and sea excursions and camping. This place particularly attracts tourists of all ages unlike the main temple city of Dwarka. Youngsters come to camp and enjoy the serenity of the island.
Puri a city situated in the state of Odisha and is one of the most sought after tourist destinations in India. It is a city vibrant and enticing in its own manner. The city is a home to grand temples, beautiful beaches and the host of 24 annual festivals. Tourists from different parts of India as well as foreigners dwell in the joyous and picturesque beauty of the city throughout their stay.
About the City
It is also known as Sri Jagannath Dhama and is one of the Char Dhama pilgrimage sites for Hindus. It is situated on the Bay of Bengal. The place his both culturally and traditionally sound. The love their culture and tradition can be seen in the eyes of the locals of the place.
The city has many Hindu religious mathas or monasteries. Puri has been chosen as one of the heritage sites for Heritage City Development and Augmentation Yojana by the Government of India. The city is also famous for its art and craft. They have a characteristic style of embroidery which they do on umbrellas, lamps and clothes. The evening fairs along the beachside sell some very beautiful jewelry made out of pearls and sea shells.
Jagganath Temple is the main tourist destination in the city of Puri. It is one of the celebrated chaar Char Dhamas. Lord Jagannath is worshiped in this pious temple. The idol of the Lord is make out of wood unlike other temples in India. The festival of Rath Yatra is celebrated with great pomp and show here.
Being a part of this festival is a once in a lifetime experience for a pilgrim or a tourist. One gets to experience the fathomless love and devotion of the devotees and this lights mixed feelings of awe and joy in the hearts of the visitors.
Beaches in Puri
Puri is famous for its beaches. Puri beach, Swargdwar and Golden beach are some of the famous beaches in Puri and attract a large number of tourists from all over the country. Brisk walks on the beach amidst the dazzling spree of shops and food corners make a perfect evening for tourists there.
It is a town in the south Indian state of Tamil Nadu. It is on Pamban Island separated from mainland India by Pamban Channel. It is in the Gulf of Mannar, at the tip of Indian peninsula. It is the southern part of the Char Dham pilgrimage.
It is said that Lord Rama built a bridge from here to rescue his beloved wife, Sita who had been abducted by Ravana.
It is known for its picture-perfect landscape and religious significance. It is a must go for tourists. Rameswaram houses the famous Ramanathaswamy temple which one of the 12 jyotirlingas dedicated to Lord Shiva. It houses the longest temple corridor in the world, which is 197m long and 133m broad and stands with 1200 massive granite columns. The feel of the temple is enticing to the mind, body and soul. Walking down the corridor makes one wonder about the architectural excellence and the fine details of the structure in totality.
A visit to these beautiful and culturally rich destinations is a must for everyone, be it a religious or a non-religious person. The essence of spirituality mixed with such picture-perfect landscapes make a beautiful lifetime experience.
So, take a voyage and visit the four different corners of India in the name of spirituality, fun and adventure. Char Dham gives one a taste of all of India.