Char Dham (The four abodes/seats of lord) is four pilgim centers widely revered by Hindus and must visit during one’s lifetime
The Char Dham defined by Adi Shankaracharya consists of three Vaishnavite (Badrinath, Dwarka, Puri) and one Shaivite (Rameswaram) pilgrimages.
Badrinath became prominent when Vishnu did Tapasya which was filled with Berry (Badri) trees. Large Berry tree (Goddess Lakshmi) formed covering Vishnu to save him from rain and sun. People will always take her name before his name, hence Hindus always refer “Lakshmi-Narayan ” unlike “Shiva-Parvati” . It was therefore called Badri-Nath i.e. the Lord of Berry forest. This all happened in the Sat-Yuga. So the Badrinath came to be known the first Dham.
The second place, the Rameshwram got its importance in the Treta-Yug when Lord Rama built a Shiv-ling here and worshiped 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.
The third Dhaam 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 Four Shankaracharya Peeth (Seats) at the Chaar Dham school of Hinduism, created at least four Hindu monastic institutions. He organised the Hindu monks under four Maṭhas (monasteries), with the headquarters at Dwārakā in the West, Jagannatha Puri in the East, Sringeri Sharada Peetham in the South and Badrikashrama in the North.
Puri – Jagannath – 4th one
The table below gives an overview of the four Amnaya Mathas founded by Adi Shankara, and their details.
|Shishya (lineage)||Direction -Maṭha||Mahāvākya||Veda||Sampradaya|
|Padmapāda||East -Govardhana Pīṭhaṃ||Prajñānam brahma (Consciousness is Brahman)||Rig Veda||Bhogavala|
|Sureśvara||South – Sringeri Śārada Pīṭhaṃ||Aham brahmāsmi (I am Brahman)||Yajur Veda||Bhūrivala|
|Hastāmalakācārya||West – Dwāraka Pīṭhaṃ||Tattvamasi (That thou art)||Sama Veda||Kitavala|
|Toṭakācārya||North – Jyotirmaṭha Pīṭhaṃ||Ayamātmā brahma (This Atman is Brahman)||Atharva Veda||Nandavala|
Wherever Lord Vishnu resides, Lord Shiva also resides nearby.
- Kedarnath (Shiva) is the pair of Badrinath (Vishnu)
- Rangnath Swami (Vishnu) is the pair of Rameshwaram (Shiva).
- Somnath (Shiva) is the pair of Dwarka (Vishnu).
- Bhubaneswar (Shiva – Lingarj) is the pair of Puri (Vishnu)
Chota Char Dham yatra comprises Yamunotri, Gangotri, Badrinath & Kedarnath.
Traditionally, the Chardham yatra is undertaken from the west to the east. Thus, the yatra starts from Yamunotri, then proceeding to Gangotri and finally to Kedarnath and Badrinath.
- Yamunotri and Gangotri are dedicated to goddesses Yamuna and Ganga respectively.
- People also visit Hemkund Sahib in the vicinity, which is one of the highest located religious sites in the country.
- Char dham yatra is done in aspiration of washing away their sins and to attain salvation, by the blessings of the Lord.
The picturesque surroundings of the mountainous region are simply enthralling, giving the visitors a perfect opportunity to unwind themselves by filling their lungs with fresh air. Moreover, these otherwise silent and tranquil locales resound with the names of the Lord as the pilgrims advance towards their destination.
Visit Char dham and get blessed