Amazing and interesting facts about Char Dham
The Char Dham Yatra is an annual pilgrimage to India’s 4 holiest Hindu shrines located at the 4 corners of the country. According to Hindu legends, undertaking a journey to the Chardham in Uttarakhand helps one to wash away sins and get Moksha. Below are the 14 secrets of Char Dham we bet most of you didn’t know.
As per the Hindu tradition of parikrama, pilgrims undertake this holy journey from left to right. Pilgrimage to Chardham yatra begins from Yamunotri Temple, the westernmost shrine in the Garhwal dedicated to the Goddess Yamuna, before proceeding to Gangotri Temple which is devoted to Goddess Ganga, and then further moves to Kedarnath temple which stands as one of the 12 ‘Jyotirlingas’ of Lord Shiva and finally concludes at Badrinath temple which is devoted to Lord Vishnu.
Chardham Represents Three Major Sectarians
The sacred sites of the Chardham in Uttarakhand are not allied to any single sect. Rather, it represents three major sectarians with the Vaisnava site at Badrinath, joined by a Saiva site at Kedarnath and two Devi sites at Yamunotri and Gangotri.
Jagannath Temple in Puri
They are a highly revered class of temple servants whose only job is to climb atop the 214 feet high temple at sunset and tie the flags offered by the pilgrims onto the Neela Chakra at the temple apex. This task is usually accomplished within 20 minutes without using any special gear, but with some truly unconventional manoeuvres on their parts. This everyday ritual is a huge crowd puller.
The Original Shrine of Lord Badri
The original shrine of Lord Badrinath was not where it is today. According to history, the original Badrinath idol was discovered by Adi Shankaracharya in the Alaknanda River and the temple of Lord Badrinath was built in the Garud Caves, which are located near the hot springs of Tapt Kund. Many centuries later, the king of Garhwal moved the shrine to its present location.
Ramanathaswamy Temple in Rameswaram
The Ramanathaswamy Temple holds the record of having the longest corridor in the world, measuring more than 1.2 km. The corridor is bracketed by 1200 giant pillars with detailed carvings and sculptures depicting various scenes from Hindu mythology. These pillars are a true testament to the architectural prowess of the Pandya Dynasty as they are built with such precision that not a single one is out of line
Located near Gangotri temple, Jalamagna Shivalinga is a natural rock Shivling which is visible only during the winter, when the level of the water goes down. This site is believed to be the place where Lord Shiva held Ganga in his matted locks.
Another unknown fact about Char Dham shrines is that the Dwarkadhish Temple is covered in daring displays of erotic art throughout its external walls.
Located close to the freezing Yamunotri glacier, Surya Kund is another hot water spring which holds an important religious significance. The water of this spring is so hot that the Prasad is prepared in the water of kund only that too within just a few minutes.
Owing to its conspicuous Buddhist architecture, the current site of the Badrinath Temple is believed to have been a Buddhist shrine before the 8th century.
Story Behind Kedar’s Construction
According to the historical facts, the initial temple of Kedarnath which now stands adjacent to the present temple was built by the Pandavas. After winning the battle of Mahabharata, the Pandavas felt guilty of killing their own brothers and therefore came here in search of Lord Shiva, who kept hiding from the Pandavas. Finally Bhima, one of the Pandava brothers was able to recognize the Lord who was hiding in the guise of a bull. Thereafter, Lord Shiva runaway from that place leaving behind his back part. Even today, the hind part of Shiva is worshipped in Kedarnath
Situated at a height of 6500 feet, Gauri Kund serves as the base camp for the pilgrims on their way to Kedarnath. It comprises a temple and a hot water spring dedicated to Goddess Gauri. According to legends, Gauri Kund is a place where Goddess Gauri, wife of Lord Shiva carried out her yogic practices.
Three Parts of Badrinath
The Shrine of Badrinath is divided into three parts, i.e. the ‘Garbha Griha’ in which the idol of Lord Badrinath is seated and covered with gold sheet, the ‘Darshan Mandap’ in which rituals are performed and the ‘Sabha Mandap’ where devotees gather and wait for darshan of Lord Badrinath.
Located just below the Badrinath temple, Tapt Kund is the holy hot water spring where devotees take bath before visiting the Badrinath temple. The water of the kund is believed to be infused with medicinal properties. The springs of Tapt Kund are known to be the home of Lord Agni, the Hindu God of fire.
Located close to Tapta Kund, Narad kund is believed to be the recovery source of the Badrinath idol. The hot water springs comes out from under the Garur Shila and falls into a tank. Devotees visiting the Badrinath temple take a dip in this kund before heading into the temple.