The Chaar Dham of four Abodes is a set of four pilgrimage spots in India. These Abodes hold a very important place in Vaishnavite Dharma as it is believed that by visiting these four holy places you can attain Moksha (salvation). The four holy abodes consist of Badrinath, Dwarka, Puri, and Rameshwaram.
It is believed that every Hindu ought to visit these places during their life span. Guru Adi Shankaracharya who was the founder of Advaita Vedanta observed these four places as pilgrimages and founded his four Mathas (schools of philosophy) in each of these four abodes.
In the ancient Scriptures (Puranas), Lord Vishnu and Lord Shiva (Hari-Hara) are eternal beings. They are best friends. One maintains the law and order and other remove the evils from the world; the Keeper and Destroyer. The Chaar Dhaams is also dedicated to these lords.
Badrinath is located in Uttarakhand, the northern part of India. It is situated in the lap of Garhwal hills. The banks of the Alaknanda River touch its feet. The heavenly abode is situated in the Nar and Narayana mountain ranges with Nilkanatha Peak giving its alluring beauty as an offering to the place. Out of the four Mathas founded by Adi Shankaracharya, Joshimath is situated there. This Dhaam or abode is only open for pilgrims from April till October. The other months it is covered with snow.
Dwarka is located in Gujrat, the western part of India. The place is also significant as Gomti River meets the Arabian Sea in this place. The name means “Dvar” which literally signifies Door or Gate. Legends say that the real Dwarka has been submerged due to a curse but still you will see the remains of the city there. Lord Krishna is being worshipped here. Kalika Matha is sited here.
Puri is located in Odisha, the eastern part of India. The city is situated on the coast of the Bay of Bengal. Here you will get to see Lord Krishna as Lord Jagannatha. The place is slightly different as it is the only pilgrimage where Subhadra, the sister of Lord Jagganatha and lord Balabhadra is worshipped along with her brothers. Govardhana Matha is situated here.
Rameswaram is located in Tamil Nadu, the southern part of India. The pilgrimage is situated in the Gulf of Mannar. It is said that Lord Rama along with his brother Lord Lakshmana and Hanuman built Ram Setu (a bridge) to rescue her wife Sita who was captured by Ravana in Sri Lanka. Ramanatha Swami temple is dedicated to Lord Shiva here. It is one of the jyotirlingas among the other 12 lingas.
Have you ever wondered what these char dhamas (four abodes) are located in such a splendid way? On observing, you will notice that all these abodes are binding India in one frame. All the places cover each direction from North (Badrinath), West (Dwarka), East (Puri) and South (Rameswaram). Guru Adi Shankaracharya is the one who did this miracle. He situated four Mathas (philosophical schools) to unite the people of the nation. It is said that if you want to attain param Moksha (salvation); you must visit these holy places in your life span. By doing this, people from the north will go to east, west, and south and likewise, people from a particular area will go to other parts of India. It promotes cultural exchange, business, and development. India is a huge country and within every ten kilometers, the culture changes.
By doing this, many things improved and the best part is the united India. Every one start to know others culture and development was on the go. Yes indeed, these places are our roots, we get peace and satisfaction by visiting and bowing our heads there but also the scientific reason behind these chaar dhaams confirms that, Indian religion, and beliefs also carry va trail of reason.
Indian philosophy is one of the oldest philosophies and this religion is almost 5000 years old. No wonder Hinduism is the oldest religion.