The Chardham Yatra of India involves visiting four religious places in India, which are revered by Hindus. Some people also call it a pilgrimage which every Hindu must do at least once in his life. Three places are important for Shaivas and one is important for Vaishnava history. The Chardham Yatra includes Badrinath, Puri, Rameshwaram, and Dwarka.
These are located in four different parts of the country. During the summer months, these places become overcrowded. Each place is prominent at different times in history, none less sacred than the other. Apart from this, Uttarakhand has its own Char Dham, which includes Gangotri, Yamunotri, Badrinath, and Kedarnath and they are also known as Chhota Char Dham which is very popular among religious tourists. Today we talk about Rameshwaram Dham and Jagannath Dham –
1. Rameshwaram Dham –
Rameshwaram is considered one of the holiest places in India for Hindus and is part of the Char Dham pilgrimage. It is located in the state of Tamil Nadu, India. Ramanatha Swamy Temple dedicated to Lord Shiva is situated in a prominent area of Rameswaram. It is believed that this temple was consecrated by Shri Ram Chandra. The presiding deity here is in the form of a linga named Sri Ramanatha Swamy, also one of the twelve Jyotirlingas. Before entering the temple devotees take a bath in the sea which is called Agni Teertham.
History says that Lord Rama took a holy bath here to get rid of “Brahma Dosha” at the behest of great sages after the battle with Ravana. The waters of this place are considered sacred and pilgrims also perform pujas in honor of their ancestors at this beach. The temple has 22 holy wells which are said to contain holy water from different places. You need to shower at each place sequentially. After taking bath the devotees change their clothes and enter the temple to have the darshan of Sri Ramanathaswamy temple. It is famous for its magnificent corridors with massive sculpted pillars on either side.
Ramanathaswamy Temple in Rameswaram is dedicated to Lord Shiva and has a Lingam form of Shiva. Ramanathaswamy means Guru of Rama and the temple got its name because it is here that Lord Rama prayed to Lord Shiva to be freed from the sin of killing Ravana, a Brahmin. There are two Lingas in the temple. A bigger linga was brought from Kailash by Lord Hanuman and a smaller one was made by Goddess Sita Bali in the sanctum sanctorum when there was a delay in bringing the linga for worship to Lord Hanuman.
2. Jagannath Dham (Puri) –
Jagannath Dham located in the east of India is considered one of the four Vaishnava Dhams and is one of the Char Dhams of India as defined by Adi Guru Shankaracharya that every Hindu should visit in their lifetime. It is said that it helps Hindus to attain salvation.
The Shri Jagannath Temple has four entrances in four directions, the Singh Dwar/Moksha Dwar in the east, the Horse Dwar/Kama Dwar in the south, the Vyaghara Dwar/Dharma Dwar in the west, and the Hathi Dwar/Karma Dwar in the north. The Arun Pillar brought from the Konark Sun Temple has been installed at the lion gate of the temple and Lord Surya Dev, the main deity of the Konark temple, has also been installed here. The Jagannath Temple in Puri is named after Jagat Nath, which means the Lord of the Universe. There are idols of Jagannath, Balabhadra and Subhadra made from the wood of sacred trees and changed every twelve years. Every year these idols are taken out for procession in the famous chariot procession.
The architecture of the temple
There is a small temple of Hanuman Ji along with the horse gate in the temple, in which the huge deity of Shri Hanumant Lal is seated. The architecture of the temple is made of limestone in the Kalinga style. In order to preserve this temple, the Archaeological Department of India has started applying white rust-resistant coating on the outer walls of the temple. According to the Hindu calendar, Ekadashi Darshan has special significance in the temple.
According to Hindu beliefs, both Hari and Hara are considered to be eternal friends. Therefore, wherever Hari resides, there is a definite abode of Har near Him. Under such a coincidence, the Lingaraj temple of Bhubaneswar has been considered a partner of Puri Jagannath Dham.
Apart from this you can also stay in Joshimath, and explore one of the best Chamoli homestays. In Joshimath, Chamoli homestay has its charges based on hospitality, food, and amenities. The cost of one person per night for a homestay in Joshimath, Chamoli ranges approximately from Rs. 700 to Rs. 2,500.