Chardham Yatra

The Chardham Yatra can be easily called as one of the most popular pilgrimage circuits of India. Every year, around the same time, the routes to the Chardham, the four most sacred places of the Indian Himalayas, are opened for the pilgrims to trek to. 

The Char Dham (“four abodes”) are four places which the Hindus believed will help them achieve Moksha. Char Dham are the names of four pilgrimage sites in India that are widely revered by Hindus. It comprises BadrinathDwarkaPuri and Rameswaram. It is considered highly sacred by Hindus and one must have a visit to ‘char dham during one’s lifetime. The Char Dham defined by Adi Shankaracharya consists of four Vaishnavite pilgrimages.[1]

The ancient pilgrimages sites in the Indian state of Uttarakhand   viz.  Yamunotri,  GangotriKedarnath, and Badrinath were known as Chota Char Dham to differentiate them from the bigger circuit of Char Dham sites. Chota Chardhams shrines get closed for winters due to heavy snowfall and reopen for pilgrims in advent of summer.[2][3][4][5]

According to Hindu Dharma, Badrinath became prominent when Nar-Narayan, an avatar of Vishnu, did Tapasya there. At that time that place was filled with berry trees. In Sanskrit language berries are called “badri”, so the place was named Badrika-Van, i.e. the forest of berries. The particular spot where the Nar-Narayan did Tapasya, a large berry tree formed covering Him to save Him from the rain and the sun. Local people believe that Mata Lakshmi became the berry tree to save Lord Narayan. Post-Tapasya, Narayan said, people will always take Her Name before His Name, hence Hindus always refer “Lakshmi-Narayan “. It was therefore called Badri-Nath i.e. the Lord of Berry forest. This all happened in the Sathya/Sath-Yuga. So Badrinath came to be known as the first Dham.

The second place, Rameswaram got its importance in the Tretha-Yuga when Lord Rama built a Shiva-Lingam here and worshiped it to get the blessings of Lord Shiva. The Name Rameswaram means “Rama’s Lord”.

The third Dhaam Dwarka got its importance in the Dwapara Yuga when Lord Krishna made Dwarka His residence instead of Mathura, His birthplace.[7]

The Four Shankaracharya Peeth (Seats) at the Chaar Dham school of Hinduism, created at least four Hindu monastic institutions. He organised the Hindu practitioners under four Maṭhas (Sanskrit: मठ) (institutions/monasteries), with the headquarters at Dvārakā in the West, Jagannatha Puri in the East, Sringeri Sharada Peetham in the South and Badrikashrama in the North.[8]

In the Puranas, Hari (Vishnu) and Hara (Shiv) are referred as eternal friends. It is said wherever Lord Vishnu resides, Lord Shiva resides nearby. The Chaar Dhaams follow this rule. So Kedarnath is considered as the pair of Badrinath, Rangnath Swami is considered the pair of Rameswaram. Somnath is considered as the pair of Dwarka. However one thing is also to be noted here that according to some traditions the Char Dham are Badrinath, Rangnath-Swami, Dwarka and Jagannath-Puri all the four of which are Vaishnav sites and their associated places are KedarnathRameswaramSomnath and Lingaraja Temple, Bhubaneswar (or maybe Gupteshwar) respectively.

 

Researchers Find 6000 Years old Rama and Hanuman carvings in Silemania, Iraq

One of the major triumphs of modern archaeology was the hair-raising discoveries of Sir Leonard Woolley at Ur. Amidst the ruins of Ur, he unearthed a Ram-chapel but totally missed its relevance in world history. This crucial finding not only bridges the wide gaps between Indian tradition and archaeology but also unfolds the historic bonds that once united ancient India, Iran and Sumer.

Ram-Sin of (Larsa) to whose memory this chapel was dedicated must have been Rama of Valmiki. The name Ararama of Larsa may be an echo of Rama. This Ram-Chapel of Ur is the earliest known memorial to the great Rama and may have been erected by Dilmun merchants who resided nearby. Dilmun was always mentioned in the Sumerian texts together with Magan and Melukkha and it is possible that these three states were somehow allied to each other.

[Click here to read more ….]

Wealth of Heritage – A special volume on Padmanabhaswamy Temple

The Hindu newspaper brings out a special volume (its ninth in a series on southern Indian religious centers). Titled ‘Wealth of Heritage’, the special volume has articles, accompanied by an array of pictures, on the traditions associated with the temple, its rich history, its amazing architectural splendor and the many rituals and festivities associated with it.

Padmanabhaswamy Temple is located in ThiruvananthapuramKeralaIndia. The temple is built in an intricate fusion of the indigenous Kerala style and the Tamil style(kovil) of architecture associated with the temples located in the neighbouring state of Tamil Nadu, featuring high walls, and a 16th-century Gopuram.

According to the Bhagvatgeeta, Lord Balarama visited Phalgunam (more commonly known as Thiruvananthapuram), took bath in Panchapsaras (Padmateertham) and made a gift of ten thousand cows to holy men. Though the sannidhyam of Lord Padmanabha has always been present in the holy land of Thiruvananthapuram making it a pilgrim spot even during the time of Balarama, the Temple for the Lord came up much later. The Temple has been referred to in the (only recorded) Sangam Period of literature between 500 B.C and 300 A.D several times. Both the Temple and the entire city are often eulogized even as being made of gold, and the Temple as Heaven.

Among the reported wealth of the temple, are a three-and-a-half feet tall solid pure golden idol of Mahavishnu, studded with hundreds of diamonds and rubies and other precious stones. Also found were an 18-foot-long pure gold chain, a gold sheaf weighing 500 kg (1,100 lb), a 36 kg (79 lb) golden veil, 1200 ‘Sarappalli’ gold coin-chains that are encrusted with precious stones, and several sacks filled with golden artifacts, necklaces, diadems, diamonds, rubies, sapphires, emeralds, gemstones, and objects made of other precious metals. (Source Wikipedia)

[Click here to know more about the temple …]

[Click here to read more about the volume …]

Pad Yatra A pilgrimage walk to temples in NSW Australia

By Sai Pravastu

Paada.yatra, pilgrimage to the temple by foot has started this time on auspicious #Chaitra #Purnima (full moon day), also known as Chait Purnima, its the Purnima in the #Hindu month of Chaitra. Chaitra Purnima is the first Purnima of the new year after #Ugadi, #Yugadi #GudiPadwa. This day is dedicated to Lord #Chitragupt, the assistant of #Yamaraj, who maintains the records of births and deaths of the whole world.Yatris (walkers) started turning up to Sydney Murugan Temple as early as 5:00 AM and took the #darsana of the deities and offering their prayers in the temple before commencing on the yatra (walk), we begun the yatra at 6:15 AM. brisky #walkers passed through the quite streets of City of Parramatta, Auburn, New South Wales, Homebush, New South Wales, Australia to Strathfield, New South Wales Sai Mandir Sydney. We joined the #Aarthi to #SaiBaba , had a scrumptious breakfast made by Sujatha Koneru and Ravi Bale family. From here a group of 50+ walkers soldiered on towards Sri Venkateswara Temple, Helensburgh, NSW, many of us had the good fortune of participating in the #SriSaiChitraYatra before continuing the walk / before dispersed back home.

We had walkers joining from interstate as usual (1 each from Canberra and Melbourne) It was quite a hot day , as temperatures soared to 35 degrees , but that could not slow down anyone in their pilgrimage , #yatris reached the #como park on banks of King George River around 2PM for lunch , were we had been served a home cooked lunch prepared by Uma Devi Abbineni garu and her friends and some back up provided by Raja Shekar Reddy his famous veggie biryani, after a tough walk , we rested and filled up ourselves and continued the walk towards Heathcote, New South Wales, Australia. #Weather has affected a few walkers who could not complete a portion of the walk in the afternoon and were looked after by our volunteer crew.

Sujatha garu, Santosh Vanka and their family has looked after the yatris with scrumptious dinner which made us all forget the challenges of the walk and sleep well. Sujatha garu and their family has been looking after the dietary needs of this #April PAADA YATRA – walking group since it has begun in April 2011. As a matter of fact , Uma Devi Abbineni garu, Shakunthala gar and their group of #sakis (sorry for not being able to name them all here) but they are always ready for the task to cook #breakfast for hundreds of us coming to Sri Sai Mandir in the morning. They cater for all who come to the temple, Raja Shekar Reddy as always preparing backup food whenever we are short of , at a short notice. blessed are these selfless volunteers without whom we would stumble in the whole process, we would like to addresses these people #Annapuranas and we thank them from the bottom of our hearts on behalf of all. That brings me to the next important group of volunteers who are always around us during every step of the walk, hydrating, energizing, nursing and motivating all along the way. Pavan Joshi lead the group in the morning, supported by Narasimha Rao Yerramsetty for the first leg of the walk, the experience of Bimal H Joshi, Nehru and Ravin Reddy has made sure they have motivated every new walker in finishing the #yatra to Sai Mandir Sydney. The afternoon charge was lead by Nehru and Ravinder. They distributed over 700 bottles of water , 200 packs of coconut water and one kind walker has sponsored mango lassi and salted lassi (yougurt drink) and another volunteer provide. We are blessed to have such a wonderful team with us who not only support in this initiative, but help it to grow stronger each year, and passing it on to the younger generations.

Another Successful Event… We couldn’t have done it without you #yatris. Despite being a long weekend, early start on a hot day, we had a good strength of #yatris, many new faces young and old. We are growing in numbers year after year, this walk was named as #WalkforEquality and #WomensDay and this year it also covered Sri Sai Chitra Yatra 100th year #Shathabdi of Sai Baba’s #Mahasamadhi. Rao Abbineni and Murali Krishna Koneru have organised a #Chitra #Yatra starting last year on #Vijayadashami (Dussehra) and will be completing this year on #Vijayadasham i.e. in October

Letsgive Hope organises this #walk with all formalities, under the auspice of Hindu Council Australia We would like to thank event registration team at NSW Premier’s department, RMS for Road Occupancy, Approval’s from various Councils, and NSW Police.

Samir Vyas Sanjeev Bhakri ISKCON Temple, North Sydney Minto Temple Hindu Swayamsevak Sangh-Sydney Shoba Deshikan Ramyavaran Vasu Manju Mittal Sameer Pandey Neelima Paravastu Sri Karphaga Vinayakar Temple Sri Mandir Jay Raman Renga Rajan Jyothi Reddy Arshanapalli Susai Benjamin Indu Harikrishna Anagan Babu Ramia Janardhanan Jyothi Ma Little Musicians Australia Paul McKenzie Akila Ramarathinam Aruna Chandrala
We hope to see you all again in our next walk!
Team @ paada yatra

Paad Yatra – A Pilgrimage Temple Walk in Sydney

Paada Yatra is on this Friday , 30th March and as always have 3 walks (short and full)
 
1. Sydney Murugan Temple, Mays Hill to Shrdi Sai Mandir, Strathfield 
2. Shirdi Sai Mandir Sydney to Sri Venkateswara Temple, Helensburgh
3. Full walk from Sydney Murugan Temple, Mays Hill to Sri Venkateshwara Temple, Helensburgh
 
Please pass the information among your family and friends.
 
Best wishes 
Team @Walk to Temple
 
Note – LETS GIVE HOPE has been organising this walk to the temple event called PAADA YATRA, with approvals from relevant authorities and local councils. This is strictly a devotional, non-profit, endeavor to promote tradition and pass on the legacy to our future generations. It is a FREE event open to all the members of community in general to participate and enjoy walk with friends and family.
 
To register for the walk, please click on the link below.