The Candid Eye

September 11, 2009

Wisdom of Sages – 1. Chardham Yatra

In India, Language and taste of water changes every 20 km. India is a rich country of diverse culture and practices. It also invites lots of differences because of this diversity. What we talk of national integration today, was already achieved in 8th Century by Adi Shankaracharya!! The great 8th century reformer and Sage, Adi Shankaracharya was prominently involved in reviving the Hindu Dharma in India.Adi_Shankara_recoloured He traveled throughout the country and grouped the four sacred places Badrinath, Rameshwaram, Puri and Dwarka as the Char Dham which are dedicated to the Vishnu Avatars (incarnations). Geographically spealking the char dham make a perfect square with Badrinath and Rameswaram falling on same longitude and Dwarka(old) and Puri on same latitude, representing the farthest north east west and south points of India( at that time, before coastlines changed).

char-dham

So, when people from south travel to north, and east to west, they get to know their country, the people of their country, the diversity of culture and so many differences fizzle out. India is a country of unity in diversity, and its origins lie in this great work of Sages.

Badrinath Temple is located in the North Indian state of Uttarkhand. It is in the Garhwal hills, on the banks of the Alaknanda River. The town lies between the Nar and Narayana mountain ranges and in the shadow of Nilkantha peak (6,560m).Badrinath_temple

Badri refers to a berry that was said to grow abundantly in the area, and nath refers to Vishnu. The legend Shankara discovered a black stone image of Lord Badrinarayan made of Saligram stone in the Alaknanda river. He originally enshrined it in a cave near the Tapt Kund hot springs. In the sixteenth century, the King of Garhwal moved the murti to the present temple.

Dwarka located in the West is in the state of Gujarat, India. The city derives its name from word dvar meaning door or gate in the Sanskrit language. It is located close to where the Gomti River merges into the Gulf of Kutch. The city lies in the westernmost part of India.Dwarkadheesh_temple

The legendary city of Dwaraka was the dwelling place of Lord Krishna. It is believed that due to damage and destruction by the sea, Dwaraka has submerged six times and modern day Dwarka is the 7th such city to be built in the area.

Puri located in the East is located in the state of Orissa, India. Puri is one of the oldest cities in the eastern part of the country. It is situated on the coast of the Bay of Bengal.Temple-Jagannath

It is the only shrine in India, where Goddess Radha also referred to as Durga, Sati, Parvati, Shakti abode here with Lord Krishna who is Jagannatha. Puri is the site of the Govardhana matha, one of the four cardinal institutions established by Adi Shankaracharya.

Rameswaram located in the South is in the Indian state of Tamil Nadu. It is situated in the Gulf of Mannar at the very tip of the Indian peninsula. According to legends, this is the place from where Lord Rama, built a bridge Ram Setu(also known as Adam’s Bridge). The Ramanatha Swamy Temple occupies major area of Rameshwaram.

Rameswaram_Gopuram

Rameshwaram is significant for the Hindus as a pilgrimage to Benaras is incomplete without a pilgrimage to Rameswaram. The presiding deity here is in the form of a Linga with the name Sri Ramanatha Swamy, it also is one of the twelve Jyotirlingas.

Source:- Wikipedia, 1st PUC History Textbook in Karnataka.

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