“ सर्वमङ्गलमाङ्गल्ये शिवे सर्वार्थसाधिके । शरण्ये त्र्यम्बके गौरि नारायणि नमोऽस्तु ते ॥

Char Dham Yatra

Dham means an abode, a home, one where the Lord himself resides. There are 4 such dhams in India situated at all the 4 borders - Badrinath in the north, Rameshwaram in the south, Jagannathpuri in the east and Dwarika in the west. A normal devotee on visiting these dhams finds himself very close to the Lord. This gives him not only spiritual bliss but also mental peace.

The establishment of the different dhams in India has various dimensions:

In the Hindu ideology, Vishnu is the caretaker and sustainer of the universe who takes a human form. In this form, these 4 abodes of Vishnu can also be considered as his 4 centres of activity. He Rules from Dwarika, worships in Rameshwaram, enjoys worldly pleasures in Puri, and rests in Badrinath.

In the Hindu philosophy of time, there are said to be 4 Yugas and Lord appeared on Earth in all these 4 yugas. The 4 dhams have been considered as an abode of the Lord in each of the 4 yugas. The Lord resides in Badrinath in Satyug, Rameshwaram in Tretayug, Dwarika in Dwapar and Puri in Kaliyug.

During the development over the ages, several sects and faiths were formed within Hinduism which was detrimental to the religion. These dhams have had a critical role in bringing together these separatist elements because each of these dhams is considered as a centre of other Gods and Goddesses as well. They not only have the Jyotirlings of Shiv, and the Shakti peeths but also have the idols of Surya, Brahma, and Ganesh installed.

Efforts have been made to integrate the Indian culture using Dhams as a medium. This was much needed and was even felt by Aadi Guru Shankaracharya. In this sense, while the dhams have been created at the 4 borders, care has been taken to also bring them together. For instance, the visit to Badrinath is not considered as complete until the ocean sand from Rameshwaram is added to the Ganga waters in Badrinath. similarly until the Ganga water is offered, the visit to Rameshwaram is incomplete. Likewise, the belief about the origin of the idols in Puri is that when the navel region of Shri Krishna did not burn completely in Dwarika, it reached Puri as Darukashth (a floating log) which was used by King Indradyumn to create the idols.
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