Badrinath Temple, Uttaranchal
Hindus hold close to their heart their religion. Perhaps no other
religion is so interestingly vast. What amazes one is the sheer faith
they have in their religion. Chardham Yatra is one example of this.
The term Chardham is coined after the four holiest of pilgrimages of
Hindus, Gangotri, Yamunotri, Kedarnath and Badrinath. The former two
are the shrines dedicated to the two holiest rivers of Hindus, river
Ganga and river Yamuna. Kedarnath is the seat of Lord Shiva while
Badrinath is the seat of Lord Vishnu. According to the Puranas, every
Hindu must undertake this journey once in his lifetime; pay a visit to
these holy places to attain salvation. A journey of Chardham will wash
one of all his sins, so is believed. To be born here or dying here is
the fate of only fortunate ones.
Legends go behind all these places, which make them all the more interesting, and at the same time more significant for every devout Hindu. Journey to these shrines is not easy either especially for the elderly, yet people of all age from around the world come to brave these obstacles which come in the path of their journey to god.
The majestic Himalayas, the greatest of all ranges in the world are home to the Chardham. These shrines rest in the Middle Himalayas and are covered under snow for a significant part of the year. However to soothe the pilgrims, the journey though treacherous at times is marked with scenic spots. The views of snow capped mountains, meadows, green landscapes and refreshing springs in between to take a dip. These hot, cold and thermal springs are equally significant in journey of Chardham.
The journey of Chardham begins from the western most shrine of Yamunotri (the western most), then Gangotri, next is Kedarnath and the last one is Badrinath. This way journey follows the rule of following a clockwise direction of parikrama or circumambulation, which is the prescribed Hindu way.
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