In simple terms, Char Dham conveys the presence of four sacred abodes. But it has a got a great significance in Hindu religion. Char Dham originally used to refer to a pilgrimage circuit encompassing four holiest sites which were located at four directions of India - Badrinath, Puri, Rameshwaram and Dwarka. They were established by Adi Shankaracharya in the 8th century AD. A relatively smaller circuit of Hindu pilgrimage is formed by the four hallowed places of Indian Himalayas, which are also known as Chota Char Dham. 'Chota' means small in Hindi.
Alternately called Char Dham of Himalayas or Char Dham of Uttarakhand, the revered group possesses four sacred sites - Badrinath, Kedarnath, Gangotri and Yamnotri.