Episode # 301 – The holy “CHAAR-DHAAM” Yatra – Why is it important in India?


The previous episode was completely dedicated to witness the significance of “Dwaaraka”, one of India’s important “Punya-Kshetras”. We’ve witnessed that Bhagawan Krishna had established His dwelling place amidst the sea, wherein “Samudra-Raja” had gifted a portion of it for building the grand palace. Even today, we’re getting archaeological information that there is a presence of a massive structure under the sea, off the Gujarat coastline. There are several artifacts that have been recovered from under the seabed, which clearly indicates that there was a huge palace-like structure once upon a time. We’ve to note that Bhagawan Krishna had established Dwaaraka some five-thousand-odd years ago. Thus, after Bhagawan Krishna departed to Vaikunta, the sea took over the vast sheath of land upon which Dwaaraka had been established.

Thus, such is the significance of “Dwaaraka”. In fact, the “Punya-Kshetra” called “Dwaraka” doesn’t end only in this one place. It is actually a conglomerate of five different places situated in five different locations around the Indian states of Gujarat and Rajasthan. We should make it a point to visit these “Punya-Kshetras” and this would help us in understanding and relating whatever we’re discussing here in a better manner. Of course, we can read through lot of material from books, from archaeological studies, from Vedas, Upanishads, listen to discourses, etc. and gain knowledge about all this. However, only if we visit things in real, we would be able to experience the real knowledge that we’ve gained. Bookish knowledge has its own limits, isn’t it? 😊 Hence, it is not enough if we read through all of these. We’ll get to understand the real significance of the place only if we’re there in person. For instance, we’ve written and read so much about Gokula, Mathura, Vrindavan, Govardhana, etc. wherein Little Krishna spent most of His childhood days. While we read through, of course we would have enjoyed doing so for the past 30-odd-episodes here. However, if only we’re visiting these places in real, we would be able to enjoy the real experience of Bhagawan Krishna’s divine presence in all these places even today. Thus, there should always be a blend between bookish knowledge and real experience.

Moving on thus, we’re now going to witness Bhagawan Krishna establishing the Dwaaraka city. We’ve witnessed five different places in this isn’t it? They are “Daakur Dwaaraka”, “Bet Dwaaraka”, “Gomati Dwaaraka”, “Moola Dwaaraka” and “Shreenaatha Dwaaraka”. However, the main place amongst all these five “Dwaarakas”, which was sung in praise by all the “Aalwars” and “Aachaaryas” is the “Gomati Dwaaraka”. It is this “Gomati Dwaaraka” which is in the edge of Gujarat’s western coastline, and wherein Samudra Raja had gifted the “reclaimed land” to Bhagawan Krishna. So we’ve to understand here that we’ve been talking all the while about this “Gomati Dwaraka” and it is to this place, did Bhagawan Krishna run all the way from Mathura! Thus, this “Gomati Dwaraka” is extremely significant in this way.

Similarly, if we look at India’s eastern coastline, we have a very famous “Punya-Kshetra” called “Puri”, which is in the Indian state of Odisha. This is a place that touches the coastline in the eastern side. If we look at the northern part of India, we have an important place amidst the snow-covered peaks of the great Himalaya mountains – Badrinath. This is a very important “Punya-Kshetra” in India, which is famously known as “Badreekaashrama”. In similar lines, if we’re looking at the southern part of India, we have either Srirangam or Rameshwaram. We’ve already witnessed that it is the home for the famous and historic “Ram-Sethu” bridge. Thus, Dwaaraka in the west, Puri in the east, Badrinath in the north and Rameshwaram / Srirangam in the south of India are collectively known as “Chaardhaam”. This is a common “pilgrimage trip” that thousands of people from across India make – “Chaardhaam Yatra”, wherein they cover these four important places.

Another significance of the “Chaardhaam” is that, just like how we get up every morning and have a shower, Bhagawan Vishnu also wakes up every morning and does the same. But where does He do that? He does that at Badrinath – Amidst the pure and fast-flowing River Ganges! Next, after taking a shower, He has to dress Himself up beautifully, isn’t it? We call it as “Alankaara”, wherein Bhagawan is adorned with various ornaments, dresses, beads, etc. He does all of it at Dwaaraka. Even today, if we go and worship Bhagawan Krishna at Dwaarakapuri, we would find that He’s adorned with all possible expensive jewellery and clothing that we might not even be able to think of! This is because, Bhagawan Krishna is the king od Dwaaraka, (“Dwaaraka-Deesha”) isn’t it? We should give Him the respect that a king gets, isn’t it? Hence it is that way at Dwaaraka! Next, just like how we have three meals a day – Breakfast, lunch and dinner, Bhagawan Vishnu also has to do the same, isn’t it? Thus, for food and meals, He comes to the eastern shore wherein Puri Jagannatha Kshetra is located. Even today, Puri Jagannatha Kshetra is known for it’s delicious “Prasadha”. In fact, it would be surprising for us to know that in Puri, almost 2-lakh tonnes of “Prasadha” is prepared every single day and distributed to the devotees.

Thus, after a sumptuous breakfast, lunch and dinner, what else is left to be done? It’s only to have a sound sleep, isn’t it? 😊 This is when, Bhagawan Vishnu comes to Sriranga Kshetra in the South-Indian State of Tamil Nadu and rests. This is where we worship Bhagawan Vishnu in the reclining position. We’ve witnessed the significance of Srirangam in our previous episodes, however, I shall re-elaborate it in our next episode. So for today, let us understand the significance of the holy “Chaardhaam” and let us appreciate it. As mentioned above, it is not just enough if we read and appreciate all this on the computer. Real appreciation is possible only if we visit these places in person. With this message, we shall wait till the next episode, for a brief re-description of the Sriranga-Kshetra as we move forward with Bhagawan Krishna’s Dwaaraka! Stay tuned! 😊

Published by Dr. Jeayaram

Holds a PhD in Management Psychology from Universite Paris Saclay, Paris, France. Also an Asst. Professor of Human Resources management at Amrita Vishwa Vidyapeetham in Kerala, India. A professional South Indian classical musician (singer) performing concerts. Through this blog, I'm trying to bring out the richness of Indian culture & values and I request your support and feedbacks in making this humble effort a success!!

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