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Interesting facts about the Four famous Dhams of India

Char Dham opens up for visitors after 6 months of winter shutdown

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Kedarnath Temple night view Image: Wikimedia Commons
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The annual char(four) dham pilgrimage is opened for its pilgrims from Monday onwards. The two important shrine Gangotri and Yamunotri shrines are opened on the the auspicious ‘Akshay Tritiya‘. The pilgrimage spans for a period of six months after remaining closed for six months in the winters. Religious sites like Yamunotri, Gangotri, Kedarnath, Badrinath are parts of the chota Char Dham.

NewsGram decodes the significance of these four Char Dhams in Hindu Mythology:

Yamunotri

Yamunotri temple and Ashram Source: Wikimedia Commons
Yamunotri temple and Ashram
Source: Wikimedia Commons

This is the first stopover of the char dham yatra. Yamunotri, the source of the Yamuna River and the seat of the goddess Yamuna. It is famous for its thermal springs and glaciers is a part of famous Char Dham Yatra. Yamunotri is the source of Yamuna river. According to a legend, Asit Muni, a revered sage, used to reside here. The actual source is a frozen lake of ice & glacier (Champasar glacier also known as Yamunotri Glacier) located on the Kalindi mountain at the height of 4421 m above sea level, about 1 km further up, is not frequented generally as it is not accessible and hence the shrine has been located on the foot of the hill. The approach is extremely difficult and pilgrims therefore offer pooja at the temple itself.

Gangotri

Gangotri Temple, Uttarakhand
Gangotri Temple, Uttarakhand Source: Wikimedia Commons

The picturesque pilgrimage in the hinterlands of the Himalayas is the most sacred spot where Ganga, the stream of life, touched earth for the first time. According to Hindu mythology, Goddess Ganga took the form of a river to absolve the sins of King Bhagiratha’s predecessors, following his severe penance of several centuries. Lord Shiva received into his matted locks to minimize the immense impact of her fall. She came to be called Bhagirathi at her legendary source.

Kedarnath

Kedarnath Temple Source: Wikimedia Commons
Kedarnath Temple
Source: Wikimedia Commons

The lingam at Kedarnath, unlike its usual form, is pyramidal and is regarded as one of the 12 Jyotirlings. Lord Shiva manifested in the form of Jyotirlingam or the cosmic light. Kedarnath is highest among the 12 Jyotirlingas. This ancient and magnificient temple is located in the Rudra Himalaya range. This temple, over a thousand years old is built of massive stone slabs over a large rectangular platform. It is endowed with utter scenic beauty and lies at an altitude of 3.581 meters.

Badrinath

Badhrinath Badhrivishal Temple Source: Wikimedia Commons
Badhrinath Badhrivishal Temple
Source: Wikimedia Commons

The name of the pilgrimage originates from the local word badri which is a type of a wild berry. It is said that when Lord Vishnu sat in penance in these mountains, his consort Goddess Laxmi took the form of a berry tree and shaded Him from the harsh sun. It is not only the dwelling place of the Lord Himself but also home to countless pilgrims, saints and sages, who meditate here in search of enlightenment.

 

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  • Pragya Jha

    These are also called ‘small circuit of four abodes’.

  • Pashchiema Bhatia

    Almost every Hindu wants to participate in this pilgrimage at least once in his lifetime

  • Vrushali Mahajan

    This is like a bench mark for every hindu. Just like how Varanasi yatra is considered one of the holy places to visit once in a lifetime, the chaar dhaam is visited by hindus in great great numbers

  • Pragya Jha

    These are also called ‘small circuit of four abodes’.

  • Pashchiema Bhatia

    Almost every Hindu wants to participate in this pilgrimage at least once in his lifetime

  • Vrushali Mahajan

    This is like a bench mark for every hindu. Just like how Varanasi yatra is considered one of the holy places to visit once in a lifetime, the chaar dhaam is visited by hindus in great great numbers

Next Story

Government ends Haj subsidy as part of a new policy

Announcing the decision, Minority Affairs Minister Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi said it was in line with the government's agenda to empower minorities without appeasing them.

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A total of 1.75 lakh Indian Muslims can go for Haj this year. Wikimedia Commons
A total of 1.75 lakh Indian Muslims can go for Haj this year. Wikimedia Commons
  • The government had drafted the policy after the Supreme Court asked it in 2012 to withdraw it gradually by 2022
  • The government would utilise the funds saved from withdrawing the subsidy for the education of minorities, particularly girls
  • This year, the highest number of Indian pilgrims are likely to go for the pilgrimage

The central government on Tuesday said it has decided to withdraw subsidy given to hundreds and thousands of Muslims for the annual Haj pilgrimage.

Announcing the decision, Minority Affairs Minister Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi said it was in line with the government’s agenda to empower minorities without appeasing them.

“This is part of our policy to empower minorities with dignity and without appeasement,” Naqvi told reporters here.

He said the government would utilise the funds saved from withdrawing the subsidy for the education of minorities, particularly girls.

Also Read: Muslim women can now travel to Haj without Mahram

The government had drafted the policy to abolish the Haj subsidy in a phased manner after the Supreme Court asked it in 2012 to withdraw it gradually by 2022.

This year, the highest number of Indian pilgrims are likely to go for the pilgrimage after Saudi Arabia increased India’s quota by 5,000.

A total of 1.75 lakh Indian Muslims can go for Haj this year. IANS