Badrinath is situated in the beautiful Chamoli district of Uttarakhand India. The holy town is situated near the Alaknanda river in the Gadhwal Himalayas at an elevation of 3133 metres above sea-level..
Badrinath is one of the most important pilgrim centres of Uttarakhand and is a part of the Char Dham Yatra with around 6 lakhs pilgrims visiting here every year.
The Badrinath town is home to the Holy temple of Badrinath. The temple was built during the rule of King AjayPal and later rebuilt and completed by the Katyuri Clan.
The temple was later re-established by Shri Adhishankaracharya
Badrinath spreads over an area of 3 sq km surrounded by Nar and Narayana mountain also known as Kuber Khand. The majestic mountains peaks of Neelkanth named after Lord shiva is visible form here.
The population of Badrinath is not fixed as people from nearby such as Joshimath, Chamoli come here and stay for 6months during the summer. Most of the people staying here are Badrinath Temple priest, merchants, shopkeepers and people who work in hotels and restaurants here.
The people leave Badrinath during the winters for their villages as it is covered by a snow blanket for nearly 6months during which the idol of Badrinath is shifted to its winter residence in Joshimath.
Hindus form the majority of people in Badrinath and Hindi and Garhwali and the major languages spoken by the people. Other languages spoken in the region are Kumaoni and English.
Badrinath is around 320 km from Haridwar, 296 km from Rishikesh and 350 kms from Dehradun city. The holy town is divided into 3 small sub areas such as The Market, Temple Area and Mana.
Badrinath has a cold climate so summers are cool and winters colder. Badrinath is covered with snow during the winter months during the months between November and April. Badrinath can be visited during the summer months and rainy seasons should be avoided..
Legends believe that Badrinath is the place where Lord Vishnu meditated in the form of the Nar and Narayan mountains.
Once Lord Vishnu was disturbed by the sun so to prevent him from getting disturbed further goddess Lakshmi turned herself into Badri fruits and covered the whole of the mountains thus the name came to be Badrinath.
The town got it name from the Badri ( Berry type fruits from the Jujube trees ).
Legends also say when the Pandavas left the earth to go to heaven, they passed through Badrinath and the town of Mana. The Pandavas expired on their way on the Swargarohini mountains and were made to stay in hell for sometime for some of their evil deeds on the earth.
The Tapt Kund is a pond of hot sulphur springs of temperature of around 50 °CC just below the temple. The sulphur hot spring pond is considered to be of medicinal value.
Legends belief that Lord Vishnu blessed Lord of Fire Agni and made him reside in the form of this kund here and burn away the sins of all those who come here to Badrinath. The bath in the pond is very refreshing and removes all the tiredness.
The Narad Kund and Surya Kund are also two thermal spring hot water pond is a pond of hot sulphur springs of temperature of around 50 °CC just below the temple on the bank of the river Alaknanda.
It is customary to bathe in these kunds before entering the Badrinath temple and the bath is also very refreshing and removes all the tiredness of the travel.
The Brahama Kapal is a flat platform on the bank of river Alaknanda. The pilgrims from all over the world come here in Badrinath to perform shraddha of their ancestors and dead parents. It is believed that if a person performs the shraddha rites for their deceased ancestors here it relieves them of their sins and grants them nirvana.
The Sheshnetra Temple is around 1kms from the main temple. The is an impression of the Cobra snake which resembles Sheshnag. According to hindu legends Sheshnag is a large King Cobra snake who is the resting bed of Lord Vishnu.
Mata Murty Temple is a temple dedicated to the mother of Lord Badrinath.
Other important temples such as Urvashi Temple are also a place to see during your visit to Badrinath.
The Charanpaduka Temple is a small rock temple in a beautiful small meadow almost 3kms from the main Badrinath temple.
Here we can see the footprints of Lord Vishnu on a small rock.
KeshavPrayag is the confluence of the river Saraswati and Alaknanda 2kms on the way to Mana.
The Mana Village is a small beautiful village is an epitome of natural beauty.
It is inhabited by an Indo-Mongolian tribe, it is the last Indian village before Tibet..
The Vyas Gufa (cave) On reaching Mana Village, there is a small rock cave which legends belief is the place where Ved Vyas is believed to have composed the Mahabharata and the other pauranic verses.
Nearby the Vyas Gufa are also the Skandgupt gufa, Muchkund gufa, Garudshila gufa, Ram Gufa, and the Ganesh gufa
They are also some of the important place of visit while in Badrinath
The Bhim Pul is a natural rock bridge, that lies over the roaring Saraswati river. Legends believe that the rock bridge was placed there by Bhim one of the Pandava brothers while going towards Swargarohini Parvats.
It is also believed that the rock will stay there till Dharma or Truth and Righteousness is there on the earth.
Badrinath has an average temperature of 15°CC - 16°CC during the summers and around 5°CC - 6°CC during the winter months of September - October - November.
Heavy snowfall during winters and landslides during rainy season can disrupt your visit to this shrines so the summer season from May to June and September - October - November is the best time to visit Badrinath.
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The Badrinath Temple is one of the most important pilgrim centres of Uttarakhand. The holy Badrinath temple is dedicated to Lord Vishnu and is a part of the Char dham Yatra with lakhs of pilgrims visiting the holy temple every year.
The holy temple is located on the right banks of the river Alaknanda. The Badrinath temple is surrounded by the Nana Parvat also known as Kuber Khand or the Treasure house of the Lord of Wealth. It is approximately 50 ft (15.25 mts) tall with a small cupola on top, covered with a gold gilt roof is situated on the right banks of the Ganga
The Badrinath temple is divided into three parts the Garbha, the Singha and the Mandal. The temple is dedicated to Lord Vishnu and the black meditating idol of Lord Vishnu is the main idol of the temple. Just behind the idol of Lord Vishnu are the idols of Nar and Narayan , to the right is the God Kuber ( God of Wealth ) and left is the idol of Lord Narada.
There are many more beautiful idols inside the temple some of them are the Nara & Narayana, Narasimha (the fourth incarnation of Vishnu), Lakshmi, Narada, Ganesha, Uddhava, Kubera, Garuda (the vehicle of Lord Narayan), and Navadurga.
There are a five small rivulet around the Badrinath temple named the Panch Dhara. They are the Kumbha Dhara, Pralhad Dhara, Indu, Urvashi and Braghu Dhara.
The Panch Shila or five stones named as the Narad, Narsingh, Barah, Garur and Markandey are of mythological importance to the hindu pilgrims.
There are 5 kunds ( holy hot water spring ) located nearby the temple on the banks of the Alaknanda river. They are the Tapt Kund, Narada Kund, Sathyapath Kund, Trikon Kund and the Manushi Kund. A holy dip in these Kunds are a must during your visit to Badrinath.
The Badrinath temple opens every year in the month of April - May. The aarti in the temple starts at around 6.30 am sharp till 1 pm and again starts at around 4 pm till 9 pm everyday. After the poojas sugar candy, Tulsi, and dry fruits are offered as prasad at the holy temple. The Badrinath temple is closed in the third week of November.
The Neelkanth Peaks on the background of the temple are an awesome sight and also a trekking delight for the adventure tourists.
The trek to the Satopanth lake starts from Mana village and is 24 kilometres from the border of India and Tibet/China. Legends believe that on the day of Ekadashi, Lord Vishnu , Lord Brahama and Lord Shiva all bathe here in the lake later followed up by the rest of the gods.
The Satopanth Trek is a difficult trek and should be accompanied with experienced guide and porters.
Vasudhara is a huge magnificent water fall 5 kms from Mana Village and 8kms from Badrinath. The trek from Mana village is a steep stone pebbled path. The view is quite scenic and fabulous. Vasudhara fall drops from a height of 125 meters so due to the height, the water reaches us like a shower of droplets. Legends believe that on the water only falls on the one who is pure in the heart.
Lakshmi Van is located 3 kms ahead of Vasudhara falls. It is a small Bhojpatra forest with amidst miles of barren rocky land is an amazing experience.
The Panch Badris or 5 temples of Lord Vishnu are the Badrinath Temple, Yog Dhyan Badri, Bhavishya Badri, Adi Badri and the Vriddha Badri. They are all 5 badris or Panch Badri and a must visit when in Badrinath.
If you would like to carry home some sovereigns for your loved once from Badrinath then you can find them nearby the temple. The market has a lot of religious items which one can buy. The village in Mana sells woollen items such as shawls and sweater. Sweet old ladies can be seen selling these stuff here. Bargain Bargain and Bargain is only word for you.
Badrinath has a lot of hotel and restaurants which serve good Indian foods. They will definitely fulfil you fooding requirements.
Image courtesy - Raghuveer, Bipin Negi , Manish Topwal