Do dham yatra is a pilgrimage to four holy sites in Uttarakhand: Gangotri, Yamunotri, Kedartal and Gaumukh. Every year, thousands of people undertake a gruelling and taxing expedition on foot from one temple to another. For some it’s a way of praying with their bodies; for others it’s just something they do for social status. Yet, it is not simple as you think! There are many different ways to define this practice . Some see it as an escape from the pressures and stressors of city life while others see it through the lens of religious significance.
Here’s everything about the Do Dham Yatra:
Shringvera: The abode of Lord Shiva
Shringvera is the first of the four temples. It is one of the most important temples in Uttarakhand, especially for people from Western India. It is believed that this temple is the oldest one, built by the great king Bhagirath. This temple is situated in the Garhwal region, about 44 Km from Uttarkashi. There are many legends surrounding this temple. The most popular one tells the story of how Bhagirath brought the Ganga River to Earth afters father, who was held in captivity by King Parikshit. This holy place is a symbol of love and devotion. It is believed that a visit to this temple brings relief from the difficulties of married life.
Varun-Dham: The abode of Lord Varuna
Varun-Dham is the second temple on the Do Dham Yatra. It is in the Chamoli district of Uttarakhand. The temple is dedicated to Lord Varuna, the God of water. There are several legends surrounding this temple. One of them tells the story of how Gods created a pot to trap oceans so they could use the water. However, there was one problem: the pot would never be able to contain enough water to satiate the people of Earth. To solve this, the Gods decided to sacrifice Varun, the God of water.
Thus, Varun was offered as a sacrifice and the water was able to flow freely. This is why Varun is also known as the God of sacrifice. It is believed that a visit to this temple brings relief from water-related issues, such as those related to floods, seasonal changes, and droughts.
Yamunotri-Dham: The abode of Goddess Yamuna
Yamunotri-Dham is the third temple on the Do Dham Yatra. It is situated in Uttarakhand, about 50 Km from the town of Yamunotri. This temple is dedicated to Goddess Yamuna, the second daughter of Brahma. It is surrounded by the river Yamuna, which is why it is also known as “Jal-Jagat-Ganga” or the “Goddess of the Water and the World.” The temple represents the divine connection between women and water. It is believed that the river Yamuna was originally a naga or a serpent.
When Goddess Yamuna decided to take human form, she feared she would lose her connection with her element. When she approached Lord Vishnu, he turned her into a river. The river was able to combine the best of both worlds: it is powerful like a serpent but nurturing and life-giving like a goddess. This temple is beautiful, especially during the rainy season.
Kaudiyala-Dham: The abode of Lord Kaudinya and Rohini
Kaudiyala-Dham is the fourth temple on the Do Dham Yatra. It is situated in the Rishikesh district of Uttarakhand. This temple is dedicated to Lord Kaudinya and Goddess Rohini. Kaudinya was one of the Saptarshis or the seven sages who were present during the creation of the universe. He is believed to have created the Nagas or the serpent people. This temple is also significant as it is the only temple that belongs to a combination of two deities. The story behind it is very interesting. Once, Goddess Rohini was bathing in the Ganges when her clothes accidentally fell off, exposing her to the world.
Lord Kaudinya, who was in the river at the time, was unable to look away as he was unable to divert his gaze. When Goddesses Lakshmi and Saraswati saw what was happening, they turned Rohini into a peepal tree so that she would feel comfortable and her modesty would be preserved. Kaudinya was cursed and turned into a snake so that he would never again be distracted from his duties. This temple is built where the peepal tree and the snake are believed to be buried.
Bhimrao Dham: The abode of Lord Bhimrao and Markandeya
Bhimrao Dham is the final and fifth temple on Do Dham Yatra. It is situated in the Rishikesh district of Uttarakhand. This temple is dedicated to Lord Bhimrao and Markandeya. Lord Bhimrao is a manifestation of Lord Shiva. He is also known as Bhim, Bhima, or Bheem.
He is believed to be one of the Pandavas, the five brothers who fought the great war against their cousins, the Kauravas, to reclaim their kingdom. Markandeya is the last of the Saptarishis. He is also believed to be one of the disciples of the sage Bhrigu. According to Hindu mythology, he lived for thousands of years. His long life is attributed to the fact that he was present during the creation of the universe.
The Do Dham Yatra is a pilgrimage that several Hindus undertake every year. The word yatra is Sanskrit for “journey or expedition”. The four destinations are Shringver, Varun, Yamunotri and Kaudiyala. The Dham Yatra is not just about paying respects to the gods. For many people, it is also about being away from the city and experiencing the tranquillity of nature. It is also an opportunity to spend some time with family and friends. The Dham Yatra is not just for Hindus. People of all religions can enjoy this pilgrimage. It is an opportunity to explore new places and learn more about Indian culture and religion.