Dham) Yatra : Popular Himalayan Hindu Pilgrimage
Amongst the most revered
pilgrimages for Hindus is the Chardham (Char Dham). Every
year, thousands and thousands of devotees set out on this sacred
pilgrimage also referred to as the Chardham Yatra in the Himalayas.
Char Dham (four
pilgrimage centres of India) are considered to be four of the
holiest abodes for all Hindus. In fact, Hindus all over the world
believe that a visit to the Char Dham atleast once in a lifetime
is an absolute must to cleanse the body of all bad Karma.
Pilgrimage Centres: The
Chardham, sometimes referred to as the Chota Char Dham located in
the mighty Himalayas include Badrinath,
Well connected by air, rail and road, each of these holy sites has
their own special significance and faith associated with them.
Letís take a look
at each one of them -
Situated in the state
of Uttarakhand, India, on the right bank of the Alaknanda river,
at a height of 3133 metres above sea level, Badrinath is a holy
religious centre also known as Lord Vishnuís abode. Located in the
Garhwal hills, Badrinath is a picturesque spot what with the majestic
hills and the meandering river.
It is believed that
at one point of time, this region was abundant with wild berries
(badris) that grew all over the place. The term "nath"
refers to Lord Vishnu who is worshipped here. Originally built by
Adi Guru Shankaracharya, almost two centuries ago, the Garhwal ruler
rebuilt the Badrinath Shrine, that houses an idol of Lord
Vishnu in black stone. Till date, people of all ages and castes
visit Badrinath with complete faith and humility.
By Air - Jolly Grant Airport (316 kms), By Rail - Railhead Rishikesh
(294 kms) bus & taxi services available from here, By Road -
Rishikesh, Haridwar, Joshimanth.
to See in and around Badrinath
as the "Garhwal Queen", the Neelkanth Peak is shaped
in the form of a pyramid and towers above Badrinath. This natural
beauty is definitely worth seeing.
Mata Murti Temple:
Dedicated to the mother of Shri Badrinath, this temple is located
on the bank of river Alaknanda.
The name simply translates into a boulder that has the impression
of the eyes of the serpent, the legendary shesh nag.
This is the site where the Alaknanda River and the Lakshman Ganga
rivers meet. A Gurudwara after Guru Gobind Singh can be found here.
About 42 kms from Badrinath
and situated close to the Valley of flowers is the holy lake Hemkund
Sahab. Frequently visited by Sikhs and Hindus alike, the shrine
here holds special importance to the Sikh followers of Guru Gobind
Singh as this is where the guru after continued meditation met God.
Devotees take a dip in the waters of the Alaknanda before
visiting the temple. It is believed that the water of the
Kund has miraculous medicinal properties.
of Flowers: If you love to admire nature in all
its glory, you must visit the Valley of Flowers, a national
park located at a distance of 42 kms east of Badrinath. Here
you will find beautiful flowers that make the area look breathtaking.
Similar to the Sheshnetra, the
Charanpaduka is the impression of Lord Vishnu's feet.
other attractions include Pipalkoti (80 kms), Chamoli (10 kms),
Mana Village (3 kms), Alka Puri (15 kms) and Joshimath (45 kms),
about 3580 metres above sea level on the banks of the River Mandakini
is the holy city of Kedarnath, dedicated to Lord Shiva. The famous
Kedarnath Shrine is one of the 12 Jyotirlingas of Lord Shiva
or Kedar. In this temple, Lord Shiva is worshipped as a conical
shaped protrusion. According to legend, this protrusion was left
behind when Lord Shiva took the form of a bull while eluding the
Pandavas who seeked redemption and his blessings. As he went into
the ground, this hump was all that was left behind.
forms a part of the Panch Kedar along with Tungnath, Rudranath,
Madmaheshwar and Kalpeshwar.
By Air - Jolly Grant Airport (250 kms), By Rail - Railhead Rishikesh
(234 kms), By Road - by foot from Gaurikund, connected to Haridwar,
Dehradun and Kotdwar.
to See in and around Kedarnath
temple is believed to be more than 1000 years old, built by Adi
Guru Shankaracharya in 8th century A.D. Inside the temple, on the
walls you will find beautiful mythological scenes and images of
dieties. Every year, large crowds of pilgrims come here to worship
Lord Shiva and the statue of the Nandi Bull.
This is a beautiful lake that is truly a sight for sore eyes.
About 4132 metres above sea level, all around the lake you
will find awe inspiring mountains that make the scene wonderfully
Some 30 kms from Kedarnath is the place which is believed
to be the venue of Lord Shiva and Goddess Parvati's wedding.
An eternal flame burns here believed to be the witness of
this sacred marriage - definitely a must-see for everyone.
Samadhi: As is evident from
the name itself, this is the place where Adi Guru Shankaracharya
took his samadhi. It is located just bejind the Kedarnath Temple.
Other places to see in Kedarnath include Gandhisarovar and Sonprayag.
By: Team of Travel Writers, contentwriter.in
Other Holy sites in India - Bodh
Gaya, Bihar | Siddheshwar
Temple, Solapur Maharashtra | Discover
Indian Pilgrimage - Lake Mansarovar & Kailash Parbat
for Research Based Travel Writing Services, India