Char Dham yatra or Four revered places journey plays an important role in Hindu culture just as four Vedas, four Varnas, and four directions. In the holy land of India, Jagannathpuri is located on the east side, Dwarika on the west side, Badrinath on the north side, and Rameswaram on the south side.
These four CharDham of India are considered the most sacred place and dedicated to Lord Vishnu Ji. The description of these Dham is found in Indian religious texts and in ancient books and these four Dhams are from the incarnations of Lord Vishnu.
Today you all will know about the four shrines of India. Why are they popular and where are they located?
Shree Badrinath or Badrinarayan Temple:
■ The Badrinath temple is situated in the middle of the Himalayan layers of Uttarakhand and a great center of faith for Hindus. This magnificent temple is situated on the banks of the Alaknanda River and Rishi Ganga. This temple is dedicated to Lord Vishnu Ji and the Idol of Vishnu is made up of Shaligram marble.
■ This modern Badrinath temple was founded by Adi Guru Shankaracharya in the 9th century. The mention of this Dham is also found in many ancient texts and Puranas. Due to this, the importance of this temple increases more. And every year, lakhs of devotees come to this temple to worship. However, this temple is not open in this area for all 12 months due to weather issues. Therefore, this temple can be seen only for 6 months and it stops for the remaining 6 months. The doors of this temple are opened till the last week of April month and close in November.
■ Mahabharat, Skand Puran, and other Puran also mentioned the beauty of this temple. According to history, Adi Guru Shankaracharya received this idol from a pond. In Mahabharat, for crossing the Alaknanda river, Pandavas installed a rock, which is known as Bheem Shila.
■ According to major texts, this place is known as Badrinath, because Laxmi Ji helped her husband Vishnu Ji in meditation and wait for him outside the cave. So, Vishnu Ji titled this place on her wife name Badri. Because Lakshmi is also known as Badri Devi. Also, here is a cave, where Rishi Vyas wrote some ancient texts like Vedas.
The Shree Jagannath Temple:
■ Jagannathan temple is one of the four Dhams, located in the state of Odisha, India. This is a huge and unique temple. Jagannath means Lord of the world, so this temple is dedicated to Lord Krishna, an incarnation of Lord Vishnu. A Grand Rath Yatra is organized every year in this Mandir. In which the journey is consumed by decorating the chariots of Lord Jagannath, his elder brother Balarama, and his sister Subhadra. To see this Rath Yatra, devotees gather here from every corner of the country.
■ It is believed that Lord Krishna spent a few moments of his life here. The idols in this temple are made of Neem. It is believed that the main idol was installed by Lord Brahma and Brahma himself bought it alive.
■ Also, it is believed that there is also a bone marrow in this idol of Shree Krishan, which is changed every 12 years and installed in the new idol. It is said that these bone marrow’s relics belong to Lord Krishna in reality.
■ The fourth Dham of India is located on the shores of the sea in the Ramanathapuram district of Tamil Nadu. This is the third holiest shrine of Hindus. And Shiva Linga established in Rameswaram is one of the 12 Jyotirlingas. It is believed that in the north of India, the recognition of Kedarnath and Kashi is the same of Rameswaram in South India.
■ According to the belief, Lord Rama worshiped Lord Shiva here and established Rameshwaram Shivling here after bathing. Here Bhagwan Ram also built the bridge of stones before climbing in Lanka, which complete source can be seen even today. Later Bhagwan Ram broke this pool at a place called Dhanushkot on Bibhishan’s request. In the Dhanushkot temple, Lord Ram, Laxman, Sita, and Hanuman idols are installed here.
■ The corridor of this temple is considered to be the largest of all temples in India and This temple is rich in architectural patterns. According to Skanda Puran, this shrine is very important because of the bridge, built by Lord Ram.
The Dwarkadhish temple/ Dwarka Puri Dham:
■ Dwarka is a religious, historical, and mythological place. Dwarka Dham, situated on the shores of the sea and the last pilgrimage site of Hindus in the state of Gujarat. It is said that after leaving Mathura, Shri Krishna came to Dwarka with his brother Balaram and the people, and made this thriving city his new capital.
■ Shree Krishan lived in Dwarka with his wife Rukmini. It is said that Dwarka was dissolved in the sea, but its remains can be seen here today. There are two places named Bhet Dwarka and Gomati Dwarka. To the south of Dwarka is a long pond called Gomati Pond, so Dwarka is called Gomati Darika.
■ In the 8th century, Adi Guru Shankaracharya established Dwarkapith for the propagation of Sanatan Dharma. The Harigraha of Dwarka was built by Vajranabh, son of Anirudh, in memory of his Baba Krishna. A statue of Lord Krishna is installed in the Harigruha of the temple. Here the palace of Rukmini, the wife of Krishna, is a unique example of architecture. According to the Skandha Purana, here all types get freedom from sins.
The journey of these four Dhams in India is called Char Dham Yatra or Badi Yatra. And the Char Dham Yatra in Uttarakhand is called Chhoti Char Dham Yatra. All the temples of Char Dham are temples dedicated to Lord Vishnu. While Badrinath is associated with Lord Vishnu in the small Char Dham Yatra temples in Uttarakhand, Kedarnath is associated with Lord Shiva, Yamunotri is related to Mother Yamuna, and Gangotri is related to Mother Ganga.