Why Char Dham Yatra is significant for Hindus
The “Char Dham Yatra” happens to be one of the most famous Hindu pilgrimages in the world, attracting more than 2 million visitors to the state of Uttarakhand in Northern India every year. However, what is so special about this Char Dham Yatra that Hindus, inside the country and out, opt for a Char Dham Yatra package in order to visit these places at least once in their lifetime?
According to Hindu mythology, an ancient Hindu philosopher called Sri Adi Shankaracharya coined the word “Char Dham” to signify the four Holy destinations of God. These destinations include Gangotri, Yamunotri, Sri Badrinath and Sri Kedarnath. These four Holy abodes are located in Uttarakhand, which is rightly called God’s home. These destinations sit amidst the stunning backdrop of snow covered Himalayan mountain range that makes them all the more serene and pure.
It is said that undertaking the Char Dham Yatra would help wash away one’s sins and open the doors for Moksha (released from the cycle of rebirth). All four of these shrines hold great importance in the Hindu mythology.
Accordingly, a Char Dham Yatra package would take Hindus to these four shrines. The Yamunotri Dham would take one to Yamunotri, which happens to be the source of the sacred river Yamuna. It is believed that those who take a dip in the sacred river would not be taken to Yamlok (Hell) and would attain salvation.
The Char Dham Yatra would also include GangotriDham, which would take one to Gomukh, the place where the Holy River Ganges originates. According to mythology, the Ganges River was formed due to King Bhagirath’s religious meditation. As a result, the Ganges is considered extremely pure and sacred. Taking a dip in these waters is said to wash away one’s sins and make him/her pure.
The Shri Kedarnath Dham is a prominent part of the Char Dham Yatra package and houses one among the twelve Jyotirlingas of the God of Destruction, Lord Shiva. This pilgrimage would take one to visit the PanchKedar, which consists of the Kedarnath, Tungnath, Kalpeshwar, Rudranath and Madhmaheshwar shrines. According to Hindu mythology, Adi Shankaracharya restored the Kedarnath Temple.
A Char Dham Yatra package would not be complete without visiting the most sacred of all four shrines, the Shri Badrinath Dham. The shrine is situated on the left bank of the Alaknanda River and is said to be the abode of Lord Vishnu who is the preserver and protector of Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva (considered the divine Hindu trinity). Shri Badrinath Dham also happens to be the place where Adi Shankaracharya was liberated from the cycle of reincarnation.
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