India Pilgrimages
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Situated in the high and mighty peaks of the Himalayas, are the four most holy pilgrimage sites in India-Gangotri, Yamunotri, Sri Badrinathji and Sri Kedarnathji. Together, they are referred to as the Char Dham or the four Hindu pilgrimage sites. Known as "Kedarkhand" in ancient Hindu scriptures, for centuries, saints and pilgrims have walked through these holy valleys in search of the divine.

The Char Dham in India is the most sacred of pilgrimage tour of the Hindus among the North Indian pilgrimages. The Char Dhar consists of tours to the Gangotri, Yamunotri, Badrinath and Kedarnath. The sources of two rivers - Gangotri and Yamunotri are linked to the female deities Ganga and Yamuna. Along with Badrinath and Kedarnath, they form the Char Dham of Garhwal. They are the four most hallowed shrines of the Himalayas.

Gangotri Yamunotri

BadrinathKedarnath

Ganga, is the one of the places of worship in India, and is visited by the devout pilgrims to wash off all their sins. Linked to legends, hopes, fears, songs of triumph and victories and defeats against the evil, Ganga is the symbol of India's rich culture and tradition. Civilizations have taken turns as the mighty Ganga stood by the ravages of time to see them pass by.

Ganga was known by different names in ancient history. Among them is Loknadi or the river of the world. The mythological story linked to Ganga, is that she was the first to have descended from heaven to Earth. Lord Shiva received her into his matted hair to handle the strong impact of her fall. From there, the river that descended from Yamunotri was called Yamuna, from Gangotri-Baghirathi, from Kedarnath-Mandakini and the one from Badrinath was called Alaknanda.

According to scriptures of the Hindu religion, the Char Dham, meaning the four sacred spots, is the most revered and sacred of all pilgrimages. A pilgrimage to Ganga, Yamuna, Kedarnath and Badrinath will wash off one's sins and also ensure release from the cycle of birth and death. That is the honor; these four places have in the Hindu religion.

The Char Dham lie in the snow peak Garhwal ranges and is, thus considered the most sacred of all the Himalayan ranges. Heaven and the Earth is said to unite in these holy spots. Those who are born or die here are said to be very fortunate. The Char Dham should be visited from left to right beginning from Yamunotri, going to Gangotri, Kedarnath and finally Badrinath. This route follows the Hindu tradition of Parikrama or clockwise circumambulation.

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Hindu Pilgrimage   Hindu Pilgrimage

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