Char Dham or Sidheshwar Dham was built by Sikkim government to promote religious tourism. It threw its doors open to the public on November 2011. Char Dham temple complex is on Solophok Hill, 5 km from Namchi in Sikkim. You can reach Namchi in 3 hours 25 minutes from Bagdogra airport.
Massive Sculpture of Lord Shiva
A striking feature of the temple complex is the towering statue of Lord Shiva. The 87 feet tall statue is top of Solophok hill.
Entry fee is Rs 50 per person. There is a parking area and a parking fee of Rs. 30 per car is levied.
Parking Facilities in Char Dham
Ample parking space is available in front of the reception area. Visitors must climb a few flights of stairs to get to the main Shiva temple on top of the hill. Around the Shiva temple are replicas of twelve Jyotirlangas.
Char Dham Pilgrimage Sites
Char Dham as represented in modern times are the four pilgrimage sites in India: Badrinath, Dwarka, Puri and Rameswaram. Hindus consider it holy to visit Char Dham during one’s lifetime.
Architects have created mirror images in the temple complex of the char dhams. These are Badrinath Dham, Jagannath Dham and Dwarka Dham which are dedicated to Lord Vishnu. The fourth is Rameshwar Dham where the principal deity is Lord Shiva.
In front of the Shiva temple is a 16.5 feet tall statue of Kirateshwar who is an incarnation of Lord Shiva. The locals worship Kirateshwar and believe that with his help one can get peace and prosperity.
A huge Nandi Bull sits facing the main Shiva temple. Below the main temple is the Sai Mandir. The complex is spread over 29 hectares. You will need around two hours to go through it. A fair amount of walking is called for. Please see the route map for directions.
As you enter the main Shiva temple, you will see the Shiva lingam. Devotees may get an opportunity to perform dhara worship on the lingam. Then you go on to a huge hall with a stage at the centre. Religious programs take place here from time to time. There are many murals on the walls depicting the legends of Shiva.
Yatri Nivas is a hotel within the temple complex. It has 96 rooms. Some rooms face the Shiva statue while the others have a view of Mount Kanchenjunga. The restaurant serves vegetarian food.
The gardens have beautiful flowers which thrive in the mountain air.
The complex is open twelve hours daily. The morning hymns on loudspeakers start at 9 am. You can carry cameras and camcorders. But photography is prohibited inside any dham or temple.