The divine Chardham Yatra is well known for its religious values that take the pilgrims across the holy shrines of Kedarnath, Badrinath, Gangotri, and Yamunotri. Each of these abodes of gods holds a lot of importance in the hearts of Hindus. People from across the globe make it a point to have this spiritual journey which opens up for a limited duration of 6 months. Completing this circuit is believed to grant moksha or salvation.
Being a very old tradition there a lot of things still hidden about these ancient temples visited during this holy pilgrimage. Here are the 10 top interesting facts about Chardham which you should know:
1. Original Location of Badrivishal
The temple where the idol of Lord Badri is placed was not originally where it was found or placed. According to some texts Adi Shankaracharya is said to have retrieved the idol of the lord from Alaknanda river (which flows in its vicinity) and placed it inside the Garud Cave with hot springs currently known as ‘Tapt Kund’ and built a small temple there. Several ages later, the king of Garhwal moved it to its current location along with building a newer and bigger temple.
2. Resting Place of Adi Shankaracharya
Kedarnath Dham is the resting place of one of the most prominent names in the revival of Hinduism in India, Adi Shankaracharya. He died at a very young age of 32 after traveling all over the Indian sub-continent on foot to spread the word of Advaita. A small temple dedicated to him has been built on the other side of the temple and people visit it to pay their respect to the great sage, saint and philosopher who established Mutths, temples, and shrines with an aim of reviving the population about the relevance of Hinduism.
3. Inaccessible Source of River Yamuna
The source of Yamuna River can be traced back to the Champasar Glacier which is located at a distance of 1 km from Yamunotri Dham. That route is completely inaccessible due to its narrowness and rock-strewn paths. The temple marks the first accessible point of Yamuna river and the presiding deity here is worshipped in the form of Yamuna Maa. Nobody till date has reached the Champasar glacier and due to its ecology and geographical features continues to remain a mystery.
4. What Is Bhagirathi Shila?
This rock structure is situated right behind the temple and as per the name it is dedicated to king Bhagirath. He is said to have come here to perform his penance asking Ganga Maa to descend from her heavenly realm to the earthly realm so that the souls of his ancestors achieve moksha. It is situated right next to the gushing river of Alaknanda where people to this day also visit here to perform Pind Daan for their deceased ancestors. This is one of the most sacred and holy act anybody is expected to do for their bygone relatives.
5. Smart The architecture of Kedarnath Dham
The structure of Kedarnath is built using large mountain rocks and are placed in a very strong manner which has over time proved its strength. During the time when the entire region of Rudraprayag including the temple was buried under snow for 400 long years in a mini ice age, the temple structure was not compromised in any way. Not a single crack was observed and this has also helped researchers in dating the temple. Also when Uttarakhand was hit with the devastating 2013 cloudburst flood, everything was destroyed, except the temple. People call it a miracle while others call it smart and thoughtful architecture.
6. Conch Blowing Is Prohibited In Badrinath
There are several legends as well as scientific evidence behind the reason as to why conch is now blown in Badrinath. One of the most popular and traditional reason is that a demon called Vatapi had taken refuge inside the conch in an attempt to save his life from the demon killer in Kedarnath, Agastya. It is believed that if once blows a conch here Vatapi demon would be released from the conch. Also due to its location, the conch would disturb the ecology and the balance of nature due to its vibrations which may prove to be fatal.
7. Is Gangotri Dham White?
If you have visited Gangotri or have seen pictures and are familiar with the temple you see a stark white temple. But on closer look Researches have found that it has hues of royal pink in it. Its story goes back to the builder of Gangotri Dham Amar Singh Thapa and the time he had come to the foothills of Himalayas during the war with the Punjabi ruler of Chand Katoch. He then got the temple built using this unique and rare marble containing pink pigments. This fact only adds to the beauty of this already stunning temple.
8. Freedom from the Fear of Death in Yamunotri
According to Hindu legends and myths the Yamuna is the daughter of Surya Dev or god of a son and goddess Saranyu, therefore, this holy river which makes its way from the side of the temple holds immense religious significance. People take a holy dip in its water since it is believed that not only do they get the blessings of Goddess Yamuna but it also liberates the devotee from the fear of death by the grace of yam Dev, her brother.
9. Residence of Pandav Is Gangotri
The Pandav brothers along with Draupadi are said to have crossed Gangotri on their way to Kailash Parvat. They are believed to have rested for a few days and meditated here before heading on to their journey. Pandav Gufa marks their residence place for that period of time during their stay in Gangotri. It is located close to Suraj Kund and is currently resided by a sadhu who has decorated the walls inside this cave in pictures of various gods and goddesses. Although the cave entry is extremely tiny the inside is liveable and large in dimensions which could have been used as a rest stop.
10. The Mysterious Akhand Jyoti
According to traditions when the idol of the presiding gods and goddesses are transferred to their winter home for a duration of 6 months, the Kapat is locked and the entire region falls into silence and snow. However, the inside of these temples remains lighted up for the duration of time the temple is closed. It is said that a special oil is used which is made by only 11-year-old girls according to tradition and utilize the materials which have been listed by Adi Shankara while he was establishing the Shrines. This oil does not require oxygen for the burning of the flame which enables it to remain Burning.