सनातन धर्म भूमिका

Meaning of "Tirthayatra"







In General

Tirthayatra or Visiting of holy places is an integral part of religious life. Tirthayatra very often associate with vritas (religious vows); most of the Tirthayatra require vritas for a number of days. The Pilgrim places are spread all over India and this has actually integrated India in the minds of common man.

Most of the holy places are associated with rivers and temples and a dip at the holy water make most important part of the activity. Many of these places can be found narrated in Puranas and this mark their antiquity. Krtya kalpataru of Lakshmidhara, Tirthacintamani of Vachaspati, caturvargacintamani of Hemandri, Tristhalisethu of Narayanabhatta are some of the texts exclusively deal with Tirthayatra.

The religious merit of pilgrimage is performing last rites of parents, purification of mind, destroying the acquired sin, attaining immortality. Pilgrimage inevitable create a religious mood and inspire one to so spiritual sadana. A married person should compulsorily take his wife with him during pilgrimage to get full benefit of it; but some pilgrim centers like Sabarimala are an exception. During pilgrimage devotees are advised to have simple life like an ascetic. During the ancient and medieval period people underwent lot of hardship to reach the distance places, but safe passage, some free amenities like food and accomodation was available even during those days. The Ghats in Kasi on the bank of river Ganga still murmur the stories of its visitors.

Before starting the pilgrim it is advice to take blessing of family deity and elders and giving gift to poor and needy. Doing vrita and fasting, avoiding luxury while traveling are also recommended.

The important pilgrim centers are : Shakti peethas, Jyothinlinga temples, Chturdham(Badarinath, Kedarnath, Gangotri, Yamunotri), Kumbh Mela, Puranic holy places like Prabhasa, Kurukshetra, Madhura, Ayodhya, Gaya, Prayag, Kasi, etc. , holy rivers and other important temples.

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Word Sanskrit IAST In General Veda Purana