*Garhwal Himalayas from Joshimath by Mamta Panwar
Joshimath is a small town in the Chamoli district of Uttarakhand India. It lies in the Garhwal Himalayas, 60kms on the way to Badrinath.
The beautiful town is surrounded with coniferous and oak forests, and also offers a fantastic view of mountain peaks of Nanda Devi, Dunagiri, Beethartoli, Neelkanth, Hathi Parbat and Kamet.
Joshimath is the hindi name from sanskrit Jyoti - eyes and math - home' meaning home of Lord Shiva's eyes. It is believed that this place is Lord Vishu's ( Badrinath ) resting place for the winters.
The town is also well known for its Narsingh Temple and Garuda Temple. The Narsing temple is dedicated to Lord Vishnu. When the Badrinath temple remains closed during the winter, the idol of Lord Badrinath is then transferred to the Narsingh temple and worshiped here for six months and later transferred back to Badrinath.
The Amar Kalp tree in Joshimath is one of the oldest tree in India and is said to be almost 2500 yrs old. It is located 20 metres from the market near Shankaracharya Matt.
Badrinath is around 70 kms away from Joshimath. It is one of the Char dhams and dedicated to Lord Vishnu. Around 5 lakhs people visit Badrinath every year.
It is a must visit and highly recommended.
Auli is one the top skiing hill station in India. People all over the world come to visit Auli during the winters. It also provides one of the best views of the region.
Auli is around 16 kms from Joshimath.
HemkundSahib is a memorial to Guru Gobind Singh and a holy place for the Sikh community. HemkundSahib is visited by lakhs of people every year.
It usually opens around the last week of May and closes around 10 - 15 days before Badrinath.
It is a tough trek but worth the efforts. Recommeded.
Valley of Flowers National Park is a World Heritage Site by UNESCO. It is a 3 day tour from Joshimath. You can take the 38kms round trek either by foot or by a pony.The last part of the trek has to be made by foot.
It is best to visit during the rainy season when the flowers are in full bloom. The valley has around 300 different varities of flowers.Recommeded for visit.
Joshimath Uttarakhand is a part of Garhwal tourism, and the local languages spoken are Gadhwali and Hindi. The best time to visit Joshimath dham would be from February - May and August - October.
Be careful of slippery roads if you are driving to Joshimath.
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Image courtesy - Mamta Panwar