India, officially republic is a country in South Asia. It is the 2nd most populated country with 1.2 billion populations and 7th largest country by area. India strengthens with a beautiful combination of landscapes, culture and traditions. Indian culture is about its distinctive qualities that have progressed and subsisted across time. The Indian culture is described by its customs, festivals, music, cuisines etc. India vaunts of strong traditions. These culture and traditions of India have been affecting India from generations to generations and have been deeply entrenched in Indian way of living. Religion in India is categorized by assortment of religious beliefs and practices. India is a birth place of world’s foremost religion namely Hinduism, Sikhism, Jainism and Buddhism. With more than 85% Hindu population, Hinduism is the prominent religion in India and their opinions about God is as strong as there strength. In India it is believed that there are about 33 crore God’s in Hinduism. So when we talk about pilgrimage tour in India, there are lots of sanctified places which we can visit in India, But when it comes about ‘Char Dham Yatra’ , we have only 2 options one is Char Dham in India and the other is Char Dham of Uttarakhand which is also known as ‘Chota Char Dham’.
Char Dham are the names of four abodes in India that are widely revered by Hindu’s. It comprises of Badrinath, Dwarka, Puri and Rameshwaram. The Char Dham defined by Shri Adi Shankaracharya consists of three Vaishnavite and one Shaivite pilgrimage. Char dham bestows to Lord Vishnu or to his Avatars. The Char Dham is positioned in the North, East, south and West of India. The Char Dham at the 4 corners of India Symbolized the essential unity of India’s spiritual traditions and Values. They are arranging as Badrinath in North, Puri to East, Rameshwaram in South and Dwarka is in west.
Badrinath is to be found in North India state of Uttarakhand, in Garhwal Mountains which is a part of greater Himalayas, on the banks of Alaknanda River. The town is flanked by the Nar and narayan mountain ranges and in the shadow of Nilkantha Peak. The Badri refers to Berry which were grown abundantly there and Nath refers to lord Vishnu. Badrinath is the Divinest Shrine of Lord Vishnu. It is also known by the names of Badri-Vishal and Badri-Narayan. The gates of the temple are open only for a phase of 6 months, due to thrilling weather conditions of Himalayas. There are number of hot water pool such as Tapt Kund and Narad Kund etc. These pools are considered to posses medical assets. According to Hindu mythology the legend Shri Shankaracharya discovered black stone image of Lord Badrinarayan made of Saligram stone in Alaknanda River. He originally enshrined it in a cave near the Tapt Kund, which was later moved to the present temple by the King of Garhwal.
The Jagannath temple in Puri is a eminent Hindu Shrine. Puri is a small town of Orrisa positioned on the coastline of Bay of Bengal about 60 km from the capital city bhubneshwar. The temple is abode of Lord Krishna who is known as Lord Jagannath there with his elder brother Blabhadra and his sister subhadra. The particularized moldings and carvings done in this temple are very adequate examples of Orrisa architecture. The main temple is about 1000 year old and is constructed by raja Chodaganga Deva. The temple is an enormous tall edifice which dominates the seaside town. The temple is also famous for the annual Rath Yatra, Chariot festival where huge and elaborated ornamented chariots are used for the parade of 3 main dietys of the temple. According to Hindu mythology it is said that Vishwakarma himself carved the main idols out of wood. It is also said that he ordered the special wood and went into the temple. He also stipulated that he will also close the doors of the temple and remain inside till the idols were ready. Before that no one would enter or open the doors of the temple but the impatient king opened the doors of the temple before Vishwakarma came out. When the king went inside the temple he found that Vishwakarma has carved all the idols of God up to their elbows. He was about to move on, but when he saw the king he got angry and went away from their and was never seen again. So the unfinished idols of God had to be set in the temple and adored. The idols of God were impressed out of Margosa Wood.
Rameshwaram is a town in Ramanathapuram district in the state of Tamil Nadu. It is located on an island which is spread out over 56 km wonderful with calm sand dunes embellished with casuarina trees and stark palms. Rameshwaram temple is a Hindu temple dedicated to God Shiva. Rameshwaram temple also stands as an example of awe-inspiring Hindu architecture. The temple comprises 40ty wells where the taste of water is different in each and every well from one another.The temple has longest corridors among all Hindu temples in India. The temple is also one of 12 jyothilinga temples, where lord Shiva is adored as Ramanathaswamy. According to Ramayana, Lord Rama, the 7th avatar of Lord Vishnu, is believed to have worshiped Lord Shiva here to forgive his sins that he might have committed during the war against the demon king Ravana in Shri Lanka. Lord Rama wanted to have largest Lingam to worship lord Shiva, so he transmitted Lord Hanuman to Varanasi to bring the Lingam from the Kashi temple there. However Lord Hanuman was delayed to bring the Lingam, Goddess Sita, the wife of Lord Rama built a small Lingam and conducted the prayers. When Lord Hanuman returned with the Lingam he was staggered to find that the prayers were completed. To pacify him Goddess Sita also mounted Kashi Lingam and announced that this Lingam should be worshiped before Rama Lingam.
Dwarka is situated on the west coast of Gujrat on the shore of Arabian Sea. The legendary city Dwarka was the dwelling of Lord Krishna after he left Mathura. The city lays in the West most part of India. The Dwarka temple is also known as Jagat Mandir where Lord Krishna is adored by the names of Dwarkadhish or king of Dwarks. This temple is about 2500 years old. It is a 5 storied building, maintained by 72 pillars. The temple was built by the Sambha, who was the grandson of Lord Krishna. There are 2 gates namely Swarg Dwar where pilgrims enter and Moksh Dwar from where the pilgrims exit. The story behind the temple is that one day Durvasa Muni, a sint was invited to Dwarka by Lord Krishna and his wife Rukmani for Dinner. It is said that when a person is invited for the dinner, the host should not eat until the guest is pleased but Rukmani got thirsty and drank the water. As rukmani was drinking the water however Durvasa Muni saw her and became very annoyed. The angry Durvasa Cussed Rukmani to Live apart from Lord Krishna. That is why Lord Krishna temple is in town and Goddess Rukmani’s temple is located outside the town.