Char Dham – Four Major Pilgrimage Centers of Hinduism
Char Dham, चार धाम is the most revered pilgrimage site in India. The journey of Char Dham has great importance in the life of every human from the point of view of Hindu civilization. It is believed that a person traveling to the Char Dhams attains salvation. And all sins committed in his life are washed away.
But how were these four dhams born and what is the history that gave them the highest position in Hindu civilization. People from all over the world come here to see God and pray.
The char dhams mainly include Badrinath, Dwarka, Jagannath Puri, and Rameswaram. Here are some important and mysterious historical things related to Char Dham.
Some important and mysterious history related to Char Dham
Char Dham is the four places of Lord Vishnu to which the legend of one form or the other is attached. However, very few people know that the four big temples of Lord Shiva are also associated with these four dhams, which is also very important to visit.
For example, Char Dham is associated with Badrinath of Uttarakhand, Kedarnath with Dwarka, Somnath Temple with Dwarka, Jagannath Puri with Lingaraj, and Rameswaram with Ranganath Swamy. The Hindu saint Shankaracharya is believed to have founded the monasteries on these four dhams and with this, his successors were also declared.
Of which the monastery at Badrinath is called Jyotirmath, the monastery at Rameswaram, Vedanta Gyanamath, the monastery at Jagannath Puri is known as Sharda Math and the Daraka Dham monastery is known as Govardhan Math. Any person in the Hindu community takes sanyas under these monasteries.
In these four monasteries, one of the four important Vedas of the Hindu community – Veda is taught. Such as Arthaveda in Jyotirmath, Yajurveda in Vedanta Gyanamath, Rigveda in Govardhana Math, and Samaveda in Sharda Math.
On December 23, 2016, the Prime Minister of India, Narendra Modi, also inaugurated the Chardham Mahamarg Development Project to enhance the connectivity of these four dhams.
1. Jagannath Puri:
Jagannath Puri is located to the east of the state of Odisha. It is one of the oldest cities in the eastern part of the country. The city is situated on the banks of the Bay of Bengal. The main deity of the temple is Sri Krishna, also known as Lord Jagannath. This is the only place where Goddess Subhadra, sister of Lord Jagannath and Lord Balabhadra is worshiped.
It is believed that the statue of Lord Jagannath was first seen by the King of Malwa in his dream. After which he meditated and Lord Vishnu showed him the way to make the idol. It is believed that Lord Vishnu himself came with Vishwakarma to make the idol.
And had kept a condition with the king to lock him in a room where nobody would bother him for a month. But even before the 30th day of the month was over, the king’s eagerness forced him to go there. The artisan came out and said that the hands are not ready yet.
The king regrets his mistake. Then the artisans told the king that all this is divine, so these idols will be installed in the temple like this.
This temple was built by Raja Chhoda Ganga Dev and King III Ananga Bhima Dev 1000 years ago, in which we find a fine example of ancient workmanship. The group of four monasteries founded by Adishankaracharya, Govardhan Math is also included in the whole.
Here, we can worship Brahma, Vishnu, and Maheshwar all the three deities together. In Kalyug, deities are worshiped here in the Jagannath temple. Here deities in the form of Jagannath-Vishnu, Balabhadra-Maheshwar, and Subhadra-Brahma are worshiped. People of Odia religion organize a huge Rath Yatra here every year.
Badrinath is one of the four dhams located in Garhwal, Uttarakhand. The city is situated on the banks of the Alaknanda River in the Garhwal Hills. Badrinath is the form of Lord Vishnu. It is believed that this place once belonged to Lord Shiva. Lord Vishnu sought from Lord Shiva and did penance.
During this penance, Lord Vishnu’s wife saved Lord Vishnu from snow in the form of a plum. Hence Lord Vishnu is worshiped here as Badrinath.
Rameswaram is made in the southern state of Tamil Nadu, India. It is situated on the top of the Gulf of Mannar on the Indian peninsula. According to legends, Lord Rama along with his brother Lakshman and devotee Hanuman built a bridge (Ram Sethu) at this place. He built this bridge in Sri Lanka to rescue his wife Sita from the clutches of Ravana.
Ramanathaswamy temple dedicated to Lord Shiva has surrounded most of the area of Rameshwaram. This temple was built by Shri Ram Chandra. Rameswaram is named after the Rama avatar of Lord Vishnu. Shivling was established by Lord Vishnu at Rameswaram. And worshiped Lord Shiva. Since then, this place is known as Rameswaram. And it has the status of one Dham from the four Dhams.
According to Hinduism, the journey of Benares (Varanasi) would not have been complete without seeing Rameshwaram. The main deity here is worshiped as Shivalinga, who is named Ramanathaswamy. Also, this temple is also one of the 12 Jyotirlingas of Lord Shiva.
Dwarka is located in the western state of India, Gujarat. The name of this city originated from the word ‘Dwara’ which means door in the Sanskrit language.
It is situated at the place where the Gomti River meets the Arabian Sea. The city is located in the western part of India.
The city of Dwarka was the abode of Lord Krishna. It is said that due to the damage caused by the sea, the city of Dwarka was rebuilt many times and many improvements were also made in the city. More than 7 times this city was completely submerged.
Apart from these four dhams, there are also four small dhams which are located in Uttarakhand called Chota Char Dham. The Char Dham has so much importance in the Hindu community because it connects the Hindu community with their original culture.