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Char Dham Yatra in India
Charm dham yatra in India is considered very holy and auspicious that wash away all sins committed by the person. There are several theories related to the origin of char dham yatra. However it is believed that Adi Shankracharaya, the spiritual guru of Hindus started the trend of char dham yatra. The char dham refers to 4 pilgrim places that are located on the four corners of India.
The char dham yatra should begin from the East coast of India. This makes Puri, a coastal city in Orissa, the first stop of char dham yatra. Lord Jagannath Puri temple makes Puri part of the char dham yatra. The temple is easily more than 1500 years old. It is dedicated to Lord Krishna, Balram and Subhardra.
Apart from the main temple complex, there are several other shrines inside the entire Jagannath Puri temple complex. The temple remains crowded throughout the year however during the annual rath yatra in June/July more than 1 million devotees travel to Puri. The rath yatra is one of the biggest religious event that takes place in India. It marks a very special event in Hindu mythology. To celebrate the event, idols of all three gods are carried to another temple of 3 huge chariots.
After east, clockwise you should visit the Southern coast for the next destination. Rameshwaram, located on the southern coast of India in Tamil Nadu is the second char dham destination. Rameshwaram temple is the main pilgrim site here. Significantly, Rameshwaram temple is not dedicated to Lord Vishnu, as all other 3 temples that are part of char dham yatra. Rameshwaram temple is dedicated to Lord Shiva. However Lord Rama, the incarnation of Lord Vishnu has a very important role in this temple. I am sure you are aware of Ramayana. Lord Rama made a bridge from Rameshwaram to present day Sri Lanka, in order to fight demon king Ravana and rescue his wife Sita. On returning from successfully killing Ravana, Lord Rama decided to worship Lord Shiva to expiate the sin of Brahmahatya. At that time, Sita, wife of Lord Ram made a small Shiva Lingam of sand. It is believed that the temple today stands at very same site.
Next you will have to travel western coast of India and visit Dwarka, the legendary city in Gujarat. Dwarka is the city that was built by the Lord Krishna after he left Mathura, tired of countless war he had to face. Lord Krishna spent greater part of his life in Dwarka. Today Dwarkadheesh temple is the adobe of Lord Krishna in the city. The temple is believed to be built by great grandson of Lord Krishna that was further renovated by the following rulers in the region.
The last and the most important of four stop in Badrinath. Unlike other places, it is not located near the sea but in the giant Himalayan mountains. Badrinath was not a popular pilgrimage destination until Adi Shankracharaya found idol of Lord Badrinarayan in the Alaknanada river. It is believed that Adi Shankaracharaya had a dream in which he saw the idol inside the river. He installed the idol in the nearby caves and gave Badrinath, an important place in the pilgrimage map of India. The same idol was later established in a huge temple called Badrinath temple. Despite being located in Himalayan region of Uttarakhand, reaching Badrinath is quite easy thanks to good road transportation.
Surprised to see the name of Pushkar here? Well Pushkar is not exactly part of the Char Dham yatra, however it is believed that you must pay visit here after completing the yatra otherwise it is considered incomplete.
Pushkar is a small town in Rajasthan. You can reach it through Ajmer. The Pushkar Lake here is considered very holy which can wash away all your sins. The importance of the Pushkar lake is no less than the Holy River Ganga.
The town is also famous for the Lord Brahma temple. Brahma is one of the tridev who is given credit for creating universe. There are very few temples of Lord Bhrahma in India.