The Vishnu temple of Badrinath is located 298 kms from Rishikesh and 48 km from Joshimath . This holy town nestles at a height of 3,133 metres, at the site where a forest of Badri (berry) trees, known as the mythical Badrivan, once covered the area.
The great Nilkantha peak (6,558 metres) towers over the temple set deep down in the Alaknanda valley. The rulers of Garhwal built the present temple of Badrinarayan some two hundred years ago.
The original Badrinath shrine, built by the 9th century saint Shankara, has been re-built several times over due to damage from avalanches and snowfall. Made of wood, the temple stands 15 metres high, topped with a gilded cupola. The exteriors are painted in bright colours every year before the temple gates open. Standing in sharp contrast to the grey concrete buildings around it and the stark mountain slopes behind, the temple resembles a Tibetan gompa from a distance. The head priest of Badrinath is also that of Kedarnath, hailing from the Namboodiri Brahmin caste of Kerala in southern India. Below the temple are the Tapt Kund and Surya Kund, hot sulphur springs where pilgrims take a ritual dip before entering the temple. The ancient village of Badrinath is to the south of the temple.
24 kms from Badrinath is the famous site of Govindghat, the confluence of the Alaknanda with the Lakshmanganga. This is also the entry point for the mystical Valley of Flowers and the Sikh shrine of Hemkund Sahib. The Vasuki Tal at a height of 4,135 metres is 8 kms from Badrinath. Besides the main shrine of Badrinath, there are four other shrines that together form the Panch Badri or five Badris. Bhavishya Badri is believed to be the future Badrinath shrine, which will be used once the present shrine site is blocked when the twin peaks of Jay and Vijay join together. The other Badris are Yoga Badri at Pandukeshwar where the idol resides in winter, Adi Badri with its ancient Gupta age temples near Karnaprayag and Vridha Badri at Animath near Joshimath where Badrinath was originally worshipped.
All tourists should be careful of cheats in the form of seers and saints. They usually dupe the tourists with both their money and other belongings. One should always keep an eye out for the frauds, who also exploit the religious and spiritual sentiments of the visitors for immoral motives.
When to go
The Badrinath temple opens only from May till October. It closes down for winter in November, when the deity is carried to Pandukeshwar for worship.
Nearby Places of Interest
Kedarnath - Read Details here
Gangotri - Gangotri is an important pilgrim and tourist place. Gangotri is located at 3,048 m above sea level. The Gangotri glacier is the original source of river Ganga. There is a temple dedicated to Goddess Ganga and the sacred stone where King Bhagirath is believed to have worshipped Lord Shiva. There is a natural Shivlinga submerged in the river (It is believed that Lord Shiva received the Ganges here).
Yamunotri -Yamunotri is also an important pilgrim as well as tourist place. The shrine of Yamunotri is located at a height of about 3,235 m and is dedicated to the river Goddess, Yamuna. The main pilgrim place at Yamunotri is the temple of Goddess Yamuna. There are many hot water springs in the vicinity of the temple.
Deva Prayag - is where the tranquil Alaknanda embraces the tempestuous Bhagirathi and it is here that the Ganga is truly born. Devout Hindus consider this prayag second only to the Triveni in Allahabad. The most ancient stone inscriptions found in Uttarakhand are located here. The famous Raghunatha Math, one of the many names for the Rama Temple, is also situated here and it is at Deva Prayag that the priests of Badrinath sojourn in winter. According to an old legend this spot is named after Deva Sharma, a poor Brahmin who performed rigorous austerities at this spot and obtained the favor of Vishnu_s incarnation Rama. The hero of the Ramayana had come here to expiate the sin of brahma hatya (Brahmin-slaughter) after killing the demo-king Ravana. King Dashratha, the father of Lord Rama, is also said to have undergone penance here.
Joshimath - is a well-known hill station as well as a religious center. It is the winter seat of lord Badrinath. Auli, 6 km from Joshimath can be visited for skiing and other winter sports during winters. The Valley of Flower is a place known as Heaven on Earth. There are numerous verities of flowers in the valley, which are rarely found otherwise. You can see flower like Brahma Kamal there in the months of June-August. Hemkund is near the Valley of Flowers. There is beautiful lake, Hemkund and the Gurudwara of Hemkund Sahib. It is the highest gurudwara in India.
Rudranath Temple - Dedicated to Lord shiva, this temple was constructed in 8th Century A.D and is located 23 km from Gopeshwar.
Gorakhnath Temple - An ancient pilgrimage destination, is dedicated to Guru Gorakhnath
Bagnath Temple - Bageshwar gets its name form this ancient temple of Lord Shiva set in the heart of the town. According to popular legend, sage Markandey stayed here and this sacred place was visited by the Hindu deity Lord Shiva in the disguise of a tiger. This sacred shrine was constructed during the reign of the Chand dynasty and according to popular legend absolutely no one could establish the Shivlinga inside the temple sanctum and finally one Manorath Pandey of Palayn village went on penance and succeeded in installing the Shivlinga within the temple sanctum on the festival of Shivratri. Ever since a huge fair is held at this location every year on the festival of Shivratri. Pilgrims from all over the country come to this shrine on temple tours, especially during the festival of Shivratri.
Chandika Temple -This beautiful shrine of Goddess Chandika attracts large number of devotees during the holy Navratras.
Shri Haru Temple -This important shrine lies at a distance of 5 kilometers from Bagheswar in Uttaranchal in North India. It is a popular belief that the temple deity grants wishes to all those who pray to the deity with complete devotion. A huge fair is held here every year on the occasion of Vijaya Dashmi.
Gauri Udiyar -This sacred site is one place that you must visit during your temple tours to Uttaranchal in North India. This temple is located at a distance of 8 kilometers from Bageshwar and is popular for a large cave that enshrines idols of the Hindu deity Lord Shiva.
Getting there and around
By Air - The nearest airport to Badrinath is the Jolly Grant Airport near Dehradun. It is about 317 km from Badrinath.
By Rail - The nearest railway stations to Badrinath are at Rishikesh and Kotdwar, which are at a distance of 297 km and 327 km respectively.
By Road - Baronet is very well connected with the important cities like Rishikesh, Haridwar, Dehradun and the cities of Kumaon.
Accommodation options in Badrinath run the gamut from GMVN and PWD resthouses to dharamshalas, privately owned guest houses and small hotels. None of them are luxurious, and it makes sense to carry bedding and spare blankets, as resources tend to be rather stretched during peak season.
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