‘Those who say that heaven lies in the clouds must have not yet visited the Chardham circuit.’
Located in the Garhwal Himalayas, the Chardham circuit is an abode to four Hindu deities – Goddess Yamuna, Goddess Ganga, Lord Shiva and Lord Vishnu. Since ages, devotees from every nook and corner of the globe visit this circuit, to earn the blessings from the supreme power. There is a strong belief that the blessings earned, presents the gift of salvation from the cycle of life and death. Perhaps, that is why even the unfortunate incident of a flash flood in 2013, failed to break the conviction of the true believers. People still have the stomach to go on Chardham pilgrimage with the same faith, devotion and zest.
The darkness of the past and the rising sun of the present
The flash flood of 2013 led to massive destruction in Garhwal, especially in the Chardham region. It seemed as if life has come to an end. Be it a visitor, a devotee, a priest, or a local, everyone suffered from the curse hailed by the nature. When the peace giving, mother-figure holy rivers turned into destroyers, the whole town fell into a ruin.
However, every night comes to an end with a sunrise. Gradually, Garhwal is also recovering from the gashes of the past. New roads are being constructed, new houses are being made and a better town is under construction. Life has begun to breathe again in Chardham.
When will Chardham Yatra 2014 commence?
It is a tradition that pilgrimage to Chardham begins either in the last week of April or the first week of May, on the propitious occasion of Akshaya Tritya. Further, it ends on the day of Diwali poojan, during mid of October or November. And this time also it is no different.
Opening Dates for Chardham Yatra 2014:
• Yamunotri: 2nd May, 2014
• Gangotri: 2nd May, 2014
• Kedarnath: 4th May, 2014
• Badrinath: 5th May, 2014
Chardham Yatra – A journey towards spiritual enlightenment
Yamunotri, Gangotri, Kedarnath and Badrinath, are the four pious destinations, the four holy dhams that the devotees visit during the pilgrimage. Here is a brief on the same.
Yamunotri – The journey has just begun
Yamunotri is the source of the holy River Yamuna and the first destination of this spiritual journey. Devotees come here for paying homage at the main Yamunotri Temple, which was built by Maharani Guleria of Jaipur, in the 19th century. Goddess Yamuna, who is said to be the dear sister of Yam (the death god), is believed to bless the worshipers with the boon of salvation. At the same time, she showers good luck over the pilgrims for a safe and happy pilgrimage.
Gangotri – Get pardon for all your sins
Gangotri is the source of the sacred Bhagirathi River; it is the place where Goddess Ganga in the form of river descended for the very first time. There are many legends associated with this dham, and all of them narrate a same bottom line – Goddess Ganga will wash away all your sins, so just come and surrender yourself to the feet of deity. Thus, people visit the place, take a holy dip in the river and then pray at the Gangotri shrine.
Kedarnath – All that you can hear is ‘Bam Bam Bhole’
Situated at an altitude of 3584 meters, the Kedarnath Dham is famous as an abode of Lord Shiva. The Kedarnath Temple, which is the main shrine of the place, was constructed by Guru Adi Shankaracharya (a great Hindu philosopher). Further, this shrine is counted among the ‘twelve pious jyotirlings’ of India. If you talk about the mythologies related with this dham, then you will have to go back in the era of Mahabharata. This connection signifies the rich history of Kedarnath.
Badrinath – The final stop that takes you to the preserver
Lord Vishnu is regarded as the preserver of the universe, and the Badrinath Dham is devoted to him. Badrinath is the last stop of the holy Chardham yatra. It is believed that Lord Vishnu meditated here for thousands of years, and Goddess Laxmi provided him a shed by taking the form of a Badri tree. Thus, this dham not only provides the devotees with the blessings of the preserver, but also the love of Goddess Laxmi.
With this, the holy Chardham yatra 2014 comes to an end, but the enlightenment attained lasts forever. Everyone must do this pilgrimage once in a lifetime, if not for anything else, then just for gaining a new perspective for leading a peaceful life.
Take a look on the detailed Chardham Yatra route information here: http://www.chardham-tours.com/travel-information-about-chardham-yatra-2014/