Char Dahm is a set of four pilgrimage sites in India. Hindus believe that visiting all four during one’s lifetime helps achieve salvation. The Char Dahm was defined by Adi Shandara (686-717 AD).
The pilgrimage sites are considered the four abodes of God. They are located in the four corners of India: Badrinath in the North, Puri in the East, Rameswaram in the South, and Dwarka in the West.
Badrinath Temple is dedicated to Lord Vishnu. Legend says that he did penance in this location for a year and was unaware of the cold weather. Goddess Lakshmi protected him with a Badri tree. Due to its high elevation, the temple is only open from the end of April to early November each year.
Puri Temple is dedicated to Lord Jagannath, revered as a form of Lord Krishna. Three deities reside here. The famous festival of Rath Yatra is celebrated at Puri each year. Non-Hindus are not permitted in the temple.
Rameswaram Temple is dedicated to Lord Shiva. The iconic temple has 64 holy water bodies around it, and bathing in these waters is a critical aspect of the pilgrimage.
Dwarka Temple is believed to have been built by Lord Krishna, so it is quite ancient. The temple is five stories high, built atop 72 pillars.
A thriving tourist business is built around Char Dahm, with various agencies offering a wide range of trip packages. Tradition dictates that one should complete the Char Dahm in a clockwise direction. Most devotees try to visit the four temples over a two-year period.