A dream of every devout Hindu is undertaking Yatras and visit as many Teertha Kshetra as possible in a lifetime to fulfil the aspirations of spirituality. One such Yatra on the ‘To Do list’ is ‘Char Dham Yatra’.
What is Chardham Yatra?
Chardham has been derived from the Sanskrit word – Chaturdham, meaning four sacred destinations. Yamunotri, Gangotri, Badrinath and Kedarnath are the four sacred places that comprises of Chardham Yatra. Yamunotri is the origin of River Yamuna. Gangotri is the origin of River Ganga or Gange. Badrinath is an important Teertha Kshetra dedicated to Lord Vishnu with Badri Narayan Temple. Kedarnath is the important Teertha Kshetra dedicated to Lord Shiva with Kedareshwar or Kedarnath Temple.
Why should I take up Chardham Yatra?
The region of Uttarakhand has been called ‘Dev Bhumi’ meaning the ‘Land of Gods’. All the four above mentioned Teertha-Kshetras are within the region of Dev-Bhumi. The importance of these holy places takes us back to the age of ‘Satya Yug’, ‘Treta Yug’ and ‘Dwapar Yug’.
What is the significance of Chardham Yatra?
Uttarakhand being called the ‘Land of Gods’, has many temples and Kshetras in the valleys of Garhwal Himalayas. Alakananda, Gaurikund, Gupta Kashi, Hardwar, Mandakini, Gangotri, Yamunotri, Mayapuri, Rishikesh, Kedarnath, Badrinath, Ramzhula, Lakshmanzhula, Uttarakashi and many more are the significant places. All these places form the part of Char Dham Yatra.
Gangotri – Chardham Yatra:
Gangotri is the origin for River Ganga, came into existence during the time of King Bhagirath. An event that took place in Treta Yug when King Sagar lost his sixty thousand sons.
Yamunotri – Chardham Yatra:
Yamunotri is another saga. River Yamuna begins her journey in Himalayas at the altitude of about 3000 metres, in the region known as Champasar. Hundreds of thousands of pilgrims begin Chardham Yatra from here. A legend claims Yamuna was born from the tears of Lord Vishnu when he was resting. These tears fell on the Kalind Mountain and formed a lake. Puranas state that, Yamuna was the daughter of Lord Surya. Importance of Yamuna has been mentioned in Skanda Purana. A dip in the waters of Yamuna helps get rid of all sins. A dip on the day of solar-eclipse is said to give manifold benefits lasting for several births. Yama the Death-Lord is said to not torment anyone who has taken a holy dip in Yamuna water.
Badrinath – Chardham Yatra:
Badrinath dates back to the times of Lord Vishnu taking the forms of Nar-Narayan. They undertake penance in a region now known as Badarikashram. Goddess Lakshmi takes the form of Badri tree (Ber tree) and provides shade and protection to sages Nar-Narayan. Even now, the badri tree is revered as Lakshmi. The name Badrinath therefore implies Lakshmi-Narayan.
Kedarnath – Chardham Yatra:
Kedarnath refres to five regions where shrines dedicated to Lord Shiva exist. Kedar means grassfields. Lord Shiva is called Kedarnath. The region gained its sanctity, when Pandavas went in search of Lord Shiva towards the end of Dwapar Yug. Pandavas were trying to absolve themselves of the sin of killing Kauravas. Lord Shiva who did not want to forgive them vacated Varanasi. Pandavas did not give up and continued their search. Shiva took the form of a bull and mingled into a group of cattle. Bheema grew up in size and stood with his legs spread. When all the cattle except this bull passed through, he tried to capture the bull. The bull jumped down into the valley and spread over five regions. These are popular as ‘Pancha Kedaras’. The region with bull’s hind parts is the location of Kedarnath Temple.
When is the best time for Char Dham Yatra?
The season of Chardham Yatra begins with Vaishakhamaas (April-May) and continues till the end of June. Shravanmaas (August-September) to Karteekmaas (October-November) is another season for taking up Chardham Yatra. The month of June with pleasant weather is usually the pick of the traveller.
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