We often come across our relatives and family members making religious trips to the “Chaar Dhams” . Some do it for religious reasons, some for mental peace others follow the crowd. Ever wondered what are the dhaams and what significance do they hold?
What is chaardhaam?
The word ‘Chardham’ refers to a pilgrimage journey where a pilgrim travels across and visits auspicious temples or ‘dhams’, four in number dedicated to Gods and Goddesses. The concept of Chardham pilgrimage emerged under the initiative of the great spiritual guru and reformer of Hindu religion Adi Shankaracharya who is said to have laid the foundation stones of the holy Chardhams situated in the four different corners of the India; i.e. Badrinath in North, Rameshwaram in South, Jagannath Puri in East and Dwarka in West.
Char dham was actually a symbol of four acts of four era/yug. Adi Shankaracharya tied them together under a single discipline by the formation of ‘Char Dham’.
In Satya yug, Badri was a sacred place where Nara-Narayana performed tapasya. In Treta, Ram worshipped Shiva at Rameswaram before crossing the sea to Lanka. In Dwapar Krishna migrate from Mathura to Dwarka escaping from Jarasandha. Puri was established in Kali yug.
There is also an another Char Dham which is known as “Chota CharDham” situated in Uttarakhand. Chota char Dham which refers to 4 important Hindu pilgrimage circuit in indian himalayas
Yamunotri, the source of the Yamuna River and the seat of the goddess Yamuna
Gangotri, the source of the Ganges (River Ganga) and seat of the goddess Ganga
Kedarnath, where a form of the Hindu god Shiva is venerated as one of the twelve jyotirlinga (linga of light).
Badrinath, the seat of the Hindu god Vishnu in his aspect of Badrinarayan.
Importance of Chaar dhaam
This pilgrimage journey carries immense importance in the life of a religiously inclined Hindu. In Hinduism, it is believed that by undertaking the Chardham yatra one is freed from the burden of sins not only of the present life but also of the past life. It is believed that this sin ablution frees one from the cycle of Karma and that of birth & rebirth, leading one towards salvation or ‘Moksha’.
It offers them with spiritual solace, purifies their heart & soul, broadens their thinking beyond the mundane, offers them with self-actualization and consolidates their devotion & faith.
Badrinath became prominent when Nar-Narayan, an incarnation of Vishnu did Tapasya there. At that time that place was filled with Plum trees.So the Badrinath came to be known the first Dham. Badrinath dham falls within Uttarakhand’s Chamoli district and amid the mythical Nar-Narayan mountain ranges.
Rameshwram got its importance in the Treta-Yug when Lord Rama built a Shiv-ling here and worshipped it to get the blessings of Lord Shiva. The name Rameshwram means “the God of Lord Rama”. Rama himself is considered an incarnation of Lord Vishnu. Rameshwaram in South Indian state of Tamil Nadu is located in a town named after it and falls within the district of Ramanathapuram.
Dwarka got its importance in Dwapar Yug when Lord Krishna another incarnation of Lord Vishnu, made Dwarka his residence instead of Mathura, his birthplace.The Dwarkha dham is situated on Okhamandal peninsula on its western shore and falls within the state of Gujarat, India.
The temple was built in the 12th century by Raja Anantavarman Chodaganga Dev in dedication to Lord Jagannath or Lord Krishna. Jagannath dham is located in the state of Orissa or Odisha along India’s eastern coast and by the sea shore of Bay of Bengal.
Source : Quora