Tuesday, 29 March 2016

Chardhams-Abode of Gods

Chardham Yatra of Uttarakhand undertaken by thousands of pious Hindus every year is one of the holiest pilgrimage journeys that a devoted religious Hindu longs to embark on at least once in his or her life time. The CharDhams of Uttarakhand popularly called the Chota Chardhams is actually a replica circuit of the greater Chardhams on the four corners of our country, the foundation of which was laid by Adi Guru Shankaracharya. If you find it difficult to go on a tour of the greater Char Dham Circuit, the spiritual tour of this Chota Char Dhams of Uttarakhand too is believed to bring you the same magnitude of soul purification and sin ablution. The Chardhams of Uttarakhand nestled in the lap of the majestic sky towering Garhwal Himalayas is often regarded as the ‘Daivya Bhumi’ or ‘Abode of Gods’ and rightly so because it is seat to four major Dhams, starting with Yamunotri, then Gangotri, then Kedarnath and finally the Badrinath Dham.


The path to Char Dhams is rugged; there are steep slopes and often the weather is unsuitable for traveling with it being too cold or breezy. But still huge crowds gather on all the four Dhams each day to offer their tribute to the deities. It’s their intense desire to free themselves from the sins of the mortal world and attend moksha or liberation from the cycle of birth and rebirth that pulls them to this Abode of Gods, in spite of all the hardships of the route.

The Yamunotri Dham is the abode of Goddess Yamuna and her beautiful silver deity is housed gloriously in the temple of Yamunotri. Yamunotri perched in the midst snow-capped Garhwal hills and surrounded by many thermal springs is also the originating point of the Sacred Yamuna River. Myths hold that holy dip into the Yamuna river can free one from the mortal fear of dying or a painful death because by doing so one pleases Goddess Yamuna and by that way her brother Yama, who according to Hindu mythology is God of Death.

The Gangotri Dham is the abode of Goddess Ganga who according to myths descended on Earth in response to Raja Bhagirath’s penance. If you wish to explore the vast world of spirituality, visiting the Gangotri dham is a must. Myths also declare that though the Goddess was ready to descend on earth in response to the king’s prayer, yet the force with which she came down could have destroyed the earth and thus to save mankind, Lord Shiva held the Goddess into his locks. Gangotri Temple, Jalmagna Shivling are the chief religious sites which you should visit to experience the true religious fervor of Gangotri dham.

The Kedarnath Dham is the Abode of Lord Shiva and myths hold that the temple of Kedarnath was originally constructed by Pandavas who after emerging victorious from the Mahabharata battle started suffering from guilt of having killed own brothers. To ask mercy, they came in quest of Lord Shiva who took the guise of a bull. At last Bhima recognized the Lord who escaped shedding his hind portion. The temple falls among the Twelve Jyotirlingas of Lord Shiva and once you are at Kedarnath Dham, after covering the most difficult path of your Char Dham Yatra, you can indeed feel a divine peace within you. 

The last and final Dham is the Badrinath Dham and it’s the Abode of Lord Vishnu also known here by the name of Badrinarayan. According to myths the lord performed penance here and Goddess Lakshmi, his consort offered shade to him from the scorching rays of the sun by assuming the form of shady Badri Plant. At Badrinath Dham, your char Dham Yatra completes and you come to feel that your soul has united with Almighty. It’s a feeling of inexplicable eternal bliss and explains why pilgrims travel to the Chardhams- the true Abode of Gods, ignoring all the hardships of Yatra.