Haridwar, also known as the “Gateway to The Gods” or the Abode of the Gods is derived from the words Hari meaning “God” and Dwar meaning “Gate”. Haridwar lies in the Shivalik range amidst Bilva and Neel mountains in the state of Uttarakhand and is situated on the right side of the banks of the river Ganga.
Chardham yatra of Uttarakhand consists of the four major pilgrimage destinations which are the Yamunotri, Gangotri, Kedarnath and Badrinath. The temples in these places are dedicated to Goddess Yamuna, Goddess Ganga, Lord Shiva and Lord Vishnu respectively. Here is a brief introduction of the char holy dhams:-
Yamunotri Temple: This temple is one amongst the four sacred shrines of the Chardham Yatra. The temple is dedicated to Goddess Yamuna. It is situated at an altitude of 10,800 feet, in the western region of the Garhwal Himalayas approximately 30 kilometres north of Uttarkashi in the state of Uttarakhand. The deity here is a black marble idol of Goddess Yamuna. It is believed to be built by Maharaja Pratap Shah of Tehri Garhwal in 18th-19th Century.
Gangotri Temple: The Gangotri temple is located in the Himalayan Range at the Uttarkashi District of Uttarakhand, approximately at a height of 3100m. It was built in the 18th century by the Nepalese General Amar Singh Thapa. The Temple is dedicated to Goddess Ganga who descended here when Lord Shiva released the mighty river from the locks of his hair. This temple is built near the river Bhagirathi. The time taken from Uttarkashi to visit Gangotri temple is about 4 hours by road.
Badrinath Temple: Badrinath Temple is dedicated to Lord Vishnu. The temple is one of the pilgrimage sites of the Chardham Yatra. It is also one of the 108 Divya Desams dedicated to Lord Vishnu. Badrinath got its name from the Sanskrit words Badri meaning “berries” and Natha meaning “lord“. This temple is located alongside the Alaknanda River at an elevation of 10,300 feet on Garhwal Hill tracks in Chamoli District in the state of Uttarakhand. The presiding deity is a 1m tall, black stone statue of Lord Vishnu. This temple was built around the 7th Century.
Kedarnath Temple: Kedarnath Temple is dedicated to Lord Shiva, who is also called “Lord Of The Kedar Khand” and is one of the Dhams of the Chardham. It is located in the Himalayas about 12000 ft. approximately above the sea level near the Chorabari Glacier which is the head of the river Mandakini. Due to extreme weather conditions, this temple is open to the pilgrims from April to November. During the winters, the deities from Kedarnath temple are brought to Ukhimath and are worshipped there for six months. This temple is said to be the highest among the 12 Jyotirlingas.
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