ABOUT CHARDHAM

BADRINATH
It is one of the four destinations that constitute the Chardham, a sacred pilgrimage for every devout Hindu. Located in the Chamoli district of Uttarakhand in northern India, Badrinath also happens to be the most revered of the four sacred shrines in Garhwal, the other three being Yamunotri, Gangotri and Kedarnathji. The Himalayan town occupies a place on the banks of the River Alaknanda and is located at an altitude of 3,133 m above sea level. The Badrinath shrine is dedicated to Lord Vishnu, considered to be the preserver of the universe in the Hindu mythology. The original structure of the temple was destroyed many times due to avalanches. The structure was restored in the 19th century by the royal houses of Scindia & Holkar. The temple complex at Badrinath 15 idols, wonderfully carved out of black stone.

History of Badrinath
As to the age, there are no historical records are available of this holy temple, however reference to the Lord Badri Nath has been made in Vedas, the holy book of the Hindus. The temple is situated on the banks of the Alaknanda River in the lap at the Narain Parvat, near a hot water spring-the Tapta Kund. The temple was worshipped as a Buddhist temple, when King Ashoka was the ruler of India, but according to Skand Puran the idol of Lord Badrinath was recovered by Adiguru Shankaracharya from Narad Kund and was re-enshrined in the 8th century A.D. in this temple. The idol of Lord Vishnu (Badri Nath) is made of black stone (Shaligram) and seated in a Padmasan Posture. Devotees can see the idol of Lord Badri Nath as Brahma, Vishnu, Mahesh, Hanuman, Kali or Guru, in what so ever form they wish to see the almighty, all pervading and all in one.

The temple is divided into three parts. The garbh griha in which the idol of Lord Badrinath is seated in the inner part of this place and canopy covered with gold sheet. Second part is known as Darshan Mandap in which puja ceremonies are performed. Third part is the Sabha Mandap, which is an outer hall, where devotees wait for darshan of Lord Badrinath. Darshan of Lord Badrinath is available in Sabha Mandap at 6:30 A.M. to 13:00 Noon and 4:00 P.M. to 9:00 P.M.

The chanting of Vedic Hymns together with the chiming of bells creates a heavenly atmosphere in the temple. Pilgrims can join the puja ceremony after a dip in the Tapta Kund. Some of the morning pujas are - Mahabhishek, Adhishek, Gitapath and Bhagwat Path, while the evening pujas are Geet Govind and Aarti.

KEDARNATH
Kedarnath, the famous holy town of Lord Shiva has been situated at the height of 3583 m above sea-level on a marshy plain, on the slope of Himalyas. Kedarnath is the place where Lord Shiva Lingam has been installed in the beautiful temple where the perpetual snow clad exists on the Himalayas and down to the flower-decked Mandakini Valley.

The ancient temple of Kedamath was constructed by Pandavas. This is one among Dwadasha Jyotirlinga. In outer area of temple, the statues of Godess Parvati, Pandva, Godess Lakshmi etc are situated. Hanskund is situated near to Kedarnth temple where Shradha-Tarpan is use to perform for Moksha of Pitra (the ancestors). Amritkund is situated behind the Kedarnath temple and Retas kund is situated at little distance from temple. The lake of cold water (ice) is located very near to temple which is the origin of river Mandakini. Uddandkund is situated at a few distances from temple which has a great importance in history.

History of Kedarnath
After the war of Kurukshetra, the Pandvas set out on a yatra to Varanasi in order to be blessed by Lord Shiva and be absolved from the sin of killing their own brothers-the kauravas. Lord Shiva, unwilling to give darshan to the Pandvas, fled from Kashi to Uttrakhand and lived in Guptakashi.

On being detected by the Pandvas, Shiva went ot Kedarnath, but the Pandavas followed him. He assumed the form of a bull and started grazing amongst the cattle, but even then could not escape detection by the Pandavas, At dust, when it was time for the cattle to return home, Bhim (of gigantic stature, great courage and strength) stretched his legs across the mountains (standing on either side of the Kedamath Valley) in order to identify Shiva. All the cattle passed under his legs except Shiva, whom Bhim noticed. As Bhim bent down to catch hold of him, Shiva sank into the earth and only his back portion (the hump) was taken in Bhim's hand. Shiva being pleased with the determination of the Pandavas, exonerated them from their sin, gave them darshan and requested them to worship his hump. It is from that date the hump of Shiva worshipped in the Temple of Sri Kedarnath-in the conical Shiva pinda form.

GANGOTRI
It is the place from where originates the Ganges, one of the most sacred rivers of the Hindus. Tucked away in the Garhwal hills, Gangotri shrine draws in lakhs of tourists from all parts of the world every year. One of the chardham destinations, Gangotri lies at an elevation of 3,048 m above sea level. Apart from devotees, the tourist spot is also visited by a good number of adventurers from around the world.

Gangotri is located at a distance of 300 km from Dehradun in the state of Uttarakhand. The ideal time to pay a visit here is between the months of April and November while the temple remains open for devotees between May and November. Summers are cool and winters are freezing cold. If you are travelling here in winter, do remember to be equipped with necessary clothings. It is advisable not to travel to Gangotri during monsoon months to avoid landslides.

History of Gangotri
The great task of bringing the Ganga on earth started. Anshuman failed and so did his son Dilip, but the grandson Bhagirath was very determined who meditated at Gangotri. After several years of intense meditation, the Ganga descended from Heaven and remained in suspense in the coils of Shiva's hair. Now king Bhagirath meditated to propitiate Shiva. Shiva being pleased released the Ganga as three streams-one of which came of earth in the form of the Bhagirathi, The Ganga's waters touched the ashes of the 60,000 sons and they rose to their eternal rest. The slab of stone on which King Bhagirath in believed to have meditated is called the Bhagirath Shila and is located near the temple of Ganga.

YAMUNOTRI
A must on every Hindu pilgrim's itinerary, Yamunotri is an highly significant destination among the four Hindu shrines that constitute the Chardham Yatra in the state of Uttarakhand. It is the source of the holy river Yamuna and can be reached from popular towns like Rishikesh, Haridwar or Dehradun. The temple at Yamunotri is at a distance of 6 km from Hanuman Chatti, a small town in the Garhwal Himalayas. Visitors can cover this stretch either by taking a pony/ horse ride or by hiring palanquins. The Yamunotri shrine is also quite close to the Indo-Chinese border.Yamunotri Temple

Between the months of May and October, Yamunotri invites hordes of tourists as well as pilgrims from across the globe. The sacred place finds its mention and has an important place in the Hindu mythology. Hindus believe that it is the site where resided the ancient sage named Asit Muni. Hot springs closely located from Yamunotri are a must-see for every visitor. The hot water of the springs is also used by devotees to prepare rice and potatoes to be offered at the Yamunotri shrine.

History of Yamunotri
According to the legend ancient sage Asit Muni had his hermitage here. All his life, he bathed daily both in Ganga and Yamuna. Unable to go to Gangotri during his old age, a stream of Ganga appeared opposite Yamunotri for him.

The temple and the place opens every year on the auspicious day of the akshya-tritya, which generally falls during the last week of April, or the first week of May. The temple always closes on the sacred day of Diwali mid- Oct. - 1st week of Nov., with a brief ceremony, the temple staff return to their villages and for the rest of the time the valley is gripped in no man silence and covered with white sheet of snow. With melting of snow next summer, temple re-opens to blissful happiness of thousands of visitors again.

"The daughter of the Sun god, Surya and consciousness, Sangya the birth place of the Yamuna is the Champasar Glacier (4421 m) just below the Banderpoonch mountain. The mountain adjacent to the river source is dedicated to her father, and is called Kalinda Parvat. Kalinda being another name of Surya. Yamuna is known for her frivolousness, a trait that she developed because as per a common story - Yamuna's mother could never make eye contact with her dazzling husband.

 
 

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