Yatra Chardham – Hardwar

Yatra Chardham pilgrimage in Gharwal Himalayas Uttrakhand is a devout wish of a Sanatan Hindu since 8th century the establishment of temples or Dhams by the Adi Shankarcharya to make the Sanatan Dharma more strong which was loosing its prominence because of influence from the Jainism and Buddhism which originated from India and had patronage from many kingdoms in the Indian sub continent also because of the strict disciplined form of Sanatan Dharma described by the Brahamins, all these places were rediscovered and reconstructed  by him  which we see as on today, one wonders as to how a man could have reached here and these temples were constructed at  the places with limited resources and the area which are accessible only for about 5 months in a year . Most of the pilgrims visits the main shrines and ignore the other places which are equally important and part of our Purans and Mythology, I will be introducing my readers to these places and associated legends with it.

Hardwar – Har Ki Pauri

Hardwar Har-ki Pauri

This is the place visited by all the pilgrims , a holy dip in the river Ganges here is considered to be absolving of all the sins, legend is, as a result of Churning of Sea by the Asuras and Devs, the Amrit ( Ambrosia) came out and there was a dispute as to who should have it, in between the Garuda took the urn  from the battle field and flew away, the four drops fell on earth at places Ujjain, Nasik, Prayag (Allahabad) and Hardwar , it is at this place in Hardwar the devotes take a bath on the banks of holy river Ma Ganga.

Chandi Devi Temple

It is the most ancient temple of India didicated to Chandi or Chandika , it is said that Ma Parvati assumed the  form of Chandi as a attractive beautiful women to attract the Demon brothers Shumbh and Nishumbh who wanted to marry her, she had to kill the demon chieftains Chanda and Munda before killing the two brothers, after the battle was over the Ma Chandi took rest at this place known as Neel Parvat , near by there are two peaks known as the Demons Shumbha and Nishumbha peaks, here  is another  temple dedicated to Ma Anjana mother of lord Hanuman .

Mansa Devi Temple

It is said that Chandi Devi and Mansa Devi are two forms of Ma Parvati and the temples didicated to each one is always be in close vicinity . The Mansa Devi ( Wish) temple is across the river Ganga on a Bilwa Parvat , Mansa Devi is sister of Nag devta Vasuki and it is a form of Shakti emerged out of the Muni (Sage) Kashapya. It is a Sidh Peeth and people tie a thread to get their wishes fulfilled and return to untie it .

Maya Devi Temple

The ancient name of Hardwar is Mayapuri , the Maya Devi is the Adhisthatri deity of Hardwar , it is said that the Naval and heart of godess Sati fell here and it is a Shakti peeth. It is one of the oldest temple built about one thousand years ago, The goddes Maya with three heads and four arms is in the center the other deites are Ma Kamakhya on the right and Ma Kali on the left .

Saptrishi Ashram

It is said that seven Rishis (sages)  Kashyapa, Vashisht, Atri, Vishwamitra, Jamadagi, Bharadwaja and Gautam. meditated here , the river Ganga never wanted to distrub the meditating Rishis thus splited into seven streams .

It is from here the Yatra Chardham starts with a holy dip at river Ma Ganga and ends with the Aarti at Har Ki Pauri.

 

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Yatra Chardham – Sri Badrinath

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Sri Badrinath Dham is situated at a height of 3415 meters from the sea level on the right banks of river Alaknanda between Nar and Narayan mountains , in the back drop is the Neelkanth peak , this place was re established by Adi Shankarcharya in Eight Centenary , legend is that the black Shaligram stone idol was lying in the bed of Alaknanda river and was taken out by the Shankaracharya to establish it in the cave near the Tapt Kund .

Main Entrance Sri Badrinath Temple

The present temple  was built by King of Garhwal afterwards there were changes and renovations done because of the earthquake and rebuilt in the year 1803, it is a 50 ft tall stone structure with top covered with gold gilt roof , there is a tall arched gate after the flights of stairs the walls are painted blue, red and yellow giving a view of a Buddhist Mut , the Garbha griha is having the main idol of Lord Badrinath sitting in a Padmasan mudra under a gold canopy Badri tree , surrounded by the idols of Nar and Narayan, Narad , Ganesha, Udhava, Narsimaha ( the forth incarnation of lord Vishnu) Ma Lakshmi , Kuber and Garuda Nav Durga ( nine incarnations of Ma Durga ) , before entering the temple pilgrims consider to have bath in the Tapt Kund just next to the main entrance .

Legend

When Lord Badri was meditating here the Ma Lakshmi was standing next to him sheltering the Lord from the harsh weather and turned into a Badri tree .

It is said once Lord Shiva and Ma Parvati were in deep meditation here , a small child came crying disturbing the  Lord , Ma Parvati asked the child what he wanted , the child replied that he wanted the Badrinath for meditation, they discovered that this child was none other than Lord Narayan they left the place and moved to Kedarnath.

In Bhagvat Puran it is said that Lord Vishnu in his incarnation as Rishi Nar and Narayan are in deep meditation for the welfare of all the living beings , according to Skandha Puran there is no better palace in this universe than Badrinath , according to Padma Puran this place is full of unlimited spiritual treasures.

 

It is also said that the person born with Birth Sun Sign ( Rashi ) Sagittarius ( Dhanu), Leo (Shimha) and Taurus (Maesh) must pay a visit once in their life time at Sri Badrinath Dham.

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