Tuesday, 25 April 2017

Dev Bhumi ~ Himalayan Shrines




The Hindus consider the Himalayas as 'Dev Bhoomi' or the 'Abode of the Gods'. The Himalayas are so strikingly beautiful and difficult to conquer that a human mind can only perceive it as God's home.
Every year thousands and thousands of pilgrims go to the Himalayas to meet God in God's own home. Some of the very popular 'jatras' or pilgrimages are 'Char Dham' ,'Panch Badri','Panch Kedar' and 'Panch Prayag'. Though ardous but undertaking any of the yatras will surely reward the pilgrim/traveller with a new perspective of life and with a bountiful of nature.

Below are some of the yatras that I am listing for reference. I would love to hear from you if you have been to any of these.

CHAR  DHAM

According to Hindus,the CHAR DHAM are the houses of four Gods. Each Dham is presided by a ruling deity.

1. Kedarnath (3584m)
2. Badrinath (3096m)
3. Gangotri (3048m)
4. Yamunotri (3185m)

Kedarnath is dedicated to Lord Shiva , Badrinath is dedicated to Lord Vishnu. Yamunotri and Gangotri are dedicated to Goddess Ganga and Yamuna rivers respectively.

PANCH BADRI

The five Badries are considered as the main places of worship of Lord Vishnu.

According to mythology,this place originally belonged to Shiva but Vishnu just like any other Hindu god came here to offer penance. He loved the place so much that he plotted to unseat Shiva from his meditation here. He took on the form of a beautiful child and began to wail. Shiva's wife, Parvati picked him up but could not calm the child.

Since his wailing continued to disturb Shiva, Shiva shifted to Kedarnath in exasperation, leaving the spot free for Vishnu to occupy.

1. Badri Vishal - Sri Badrinath (3584m)
2. Yogdhyan Badri (1920m)
3. Bhavishya Badri (1380m)
4. Vridha Badri (1380m)
5. Adi Badri (1630m)

PANCH KEDAR

The Panch Kedars are places of worship all dedicated to Lord Shiva. As per folk-lore, it was the Pandavas who went to the Garhwal Himalayas in search for Shiva. Bhima or the second of the five Pandava brothers spotted a beautiful bull and immediately understood it as Shiva in disguise.

Bhima caught the bull, but it disappeared from his grip although it appeared again as a gigantic one with the hump raising in Kedarnath, the arms in Tunganath, the nabhi (navel) and stomach  in Madhyamaheshwar, the face at Rudranath and the hair and the head appearing in Kalpeshwar. The Pandavas pleased with this reappearance in five different forms, built temples at the five places for venerating and worshipping Shiva.

1. Madhmaheshwar (3490m)
2. Tungnath (3680m)
3. Rudranath (2286m)
4. Kalpnath (2134m)
5. Kedarnath (3584m)

PANCH PRAYAG

Prayag meaning "confluence" in Sanskrit, constitutes a group of five sacred river confluences in the Garhwal Himalayas in the state of Uttarakhand, India.

According to the Hindu Mythology, King Bhagirath prayed day and night for Ganga to descent on Earth.When Goddess Ganga started descending to earth,Earth was not able to face the force which Ganga came down. To lessen her force, Lord Shiva allowed Ganga to first fall on the cusp of hair on his head.After falling on Shiva's head, Ganga was splitted into 12 channels. These channels or flows again gets united into single stream after Devaprayag. These five prayags are the places where the confluences occur.

1. Vishnuprayag (1372m)
2. Nandaprayag (914m)
3. Karnaprayag (832m)
4. Rudraprayag (610m)
5. Devprayag (813m)

DEVI DARSHAN

There are almost 50 Devi temples in Uttarkhand. Out of them the most popular four are

1. Kunjapuri (1665m)
2. Surkanda Devi (3030m)
3. Chandrabadni (2278m)
4. Anusuya Devi (2000m)




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