Badrinath


It is one of the four destinations that constitute the chardham, a sacred pilgrimage for every devout Hindu. Located in the Chamoli district of Uttarakhand in northern India, Badrinath also happens to be the most revered of the four sacred shrines in Garhwal, the other three being Yamunotri, Gangotri and Kedarnathji. The Himalayan town occupies a place on the banks of the River Alaknanda and is located at an altitude of 3,133 m above sea level. The Badrinath shrine is dedicated to Lord Vishnu, considered to be the preserver of the universe in the Hindu mythology. The original structure of the temple was destroyed many times due to avalanches. The structure was restored in the 19th century by the royal houses of Scindia & Holkar. The temple complex at Badrinath 15 idols, wonderfully carved out of black stone.

General Information
Altitude: 3,133 mts
Climate: Summer: Cool during the day and cold at night.
Winter: Snow-bound touching sub-zero.
Clothing: Summer-Light woollens, Winter- Heavy woollens.
Languages: Hindi, Garhwali, English.

How to Reach
Air: Nearest Airport is Jolly Grant, around 300 kms.
Rail: NearestNearest Railway Station is Rishikesh, around 297 kms., Haridwar 317 kms.
Road: Taxi: Private taxies are also available between Haridwar and Badrinath on hire. Bus: GMVN operates daily bus services.

Places to see in Badrinath :
The pilgrimage centre boasts of two natural hot water springs Tapt Kund and Surya Kund. The sulphurous waters have a temperature of 55 oC. A bath in these springs is believed to purify the body and soul and is done before visiting the temple.

Panch (Five) Badris :
The five Badris are five different sites in Badrinath. At all these places, Lord Vishnu is worshipped in five different forms and under five different names. The eternal search of the man has never come to an end and never will. As travellers visit these Panch Badris in Badrinath, they will come to learn how Lord Vishnu, the preserver of the universe, is glorified in five different forms.

Vishal Badri :
It is the main shrine of Lord Badrinath. Also known as Badrinathji, the Badrinath shrine attracts around six lakhs pilgrims every year. The Badrinath temple is located in the middle of two mountain ranges - Nar and Narayan. Badrinath was anciently known as Badrivan, due to the abundance of wild 'berries' or badris here.

Yogdhyan Badri :
The Badri has immense importance. The Yogdhyan Badri is at an altitude of 1,920 m in Pndukeshwar. According to the Hindu mythology, it is here that the Pandavas, after gaining victory against the Kauravas, handed over Hastinapur to Raja Parikshit. The place Pandukeshwar, where Yogdhyan Badri is located, takes its name from Pandu, who is beleived to have meditated at the place.

Bhawishya Badri :
At this Badri is enshrined the lion-headed idol of Narsingh. Perched at an elevation of 2,744 m, it is located in the midst of thick forests. To reach Bhavishya Badri, tourists and pilgrims need to get to Joshimath, the entry point to this Badri. While pilgrims reach the place, they also pass through Tapovan, popular with tourists for its hot water springs.

Bridha Badri :
Also spelt Vridha Badhri, Bridha Badri means Old Badri. The place is situated at a distance of 7 km from the pilgrimage town of Joshimath. Before the advent of Shankaracharya, the idol of Badrinath was worshipped here for many centuries. Owing to its long age, the idol enshrined here is known as Vridha Badri or the First Badri.

Adi Badri :
The sacred site is located at a distance of 17 km from Karanprayag. At the place, you will find a group of sixteen Gupta-period temples. Hindus believe that these temples were founded by Adi Guru Shankaracharya. Visitors can easily distinguish the main Narayan temple, as it is built on an elevated platform.

Village Mana - Vyas Gufa >>
This village, located at a distance of 3 kms from Badri is the last Indian Village situated in the Indo-China Border and has gained historical importance on account of Vyas Caves. This village, located on the banks of River Saraswati (only place where this river can be seen) is very beautiful. Vyas Maharishi (Sage), author of Mahabharat is believed to have lived in the caves. These are named after him. It was in these caves, Vyas Maharishi composed the Mahabharata. This was done at the orders of his mentor Kalpatru Maharishi who appeared in his dream. Mahabharata depicts the history of Pandavs, Kauravs including Kurukshetra War and most importantly Bhagawad Gita authored by Krishna (reincarnation of Vishnu). Ganesh, the son of Shiv & Parvati, is said to have helped Vyas Maharishi in putting this epic in the written form, the beginning of education in written form. In addition to Mahabharat, Vyas Maharishi composed 18 puranas (legendary stories), Brahma Sutras and classified the Hindu Vedas into 4 parts Rig, Yajur, Sama and Atharva. It is only in this cave that Adi Shankara is believed to have met Vyas Maharishi and discussed his Bhashyam (explanatory notes) for Brahma Sutras.

Rock formation inside the Vyas Gufa appears to resemble the orderly stacking of palm leave manuscripts oldest writing material and is worshipped as Vyas Pusthak. Vyas Maharishi is also considered, by some, as reincarnation of Vishnu.

Another Cave called as Ganesh Guha (cave) is also located in this village.

Valley of Flowers >>
One of the most idyllic valleys in the world, was discoverd by Frank S. Smythe, in 1931. The valley is profuse with a plethora of vibrant flowers, hence the name. Nearby, flows the river Pushpavati, while the massive Rataban peak forms a splendid backdrop.

Govindghat >>
Situated between Joshimath and Badrinath, Gobindghat is the starting point for the trek to the valley.

Lok-Pal Hemkund >>
One of the most famous Gurudwaras in India, Hemkund Sahib is located here, at an altitude of 4320 metres above sea level. Nearby, is the Lok-Pal Hemkund lake, with its crystal clear waters, and four peaks surrounding it.

Mata Murti Mandir >>
About 3 km from Badrinath, on the right bank of the Alaknanda stands this temple, dedicated to the mother of Shri Badrinath.

Joshimath >>
The first mutt established by Shri Adi Sankara, is located at a distance of 14 kms from Helang enroute to Badri. Adi Sankara is believed to have got enlightenment here and authored Sri Sankara Bhashyam. This located at a height of 6150 ft above sea level. Here, there are separate temples for Lord Narasimha and Lord Vasudev (different forms of Lord Vishnu). This is one of the 108 Divya Desams (sung by Sacred Vaishnavaite Saints).

In the temple for Lord Narasimha, separate statues of Badri narayan, Uthavar, Kuber, Chandikadevi, Ram, Lakshman, Sita and Garud can be seen together in the sanctum sanctorum. Outside the temple separate statues of Brahma, Krishana, Lakshmi & Anjaneya can be seen. Vyas Maharishi is believed to have worshipped Goddess Lakshmi here. The presiding deity Lord Narasimha is believed to have been established by Adi Sankara. It is widely believed that one hand of the presiding deity is getting weakened and the day it disjoints, the way to Badri will get eternally blocked and Lord Badri Narayan will thereafter give darshan only from either Bhavishya Badri or Adi Badri (part of Panch Badris).

The temple of Lord Vasudev houses Lord Vasudev in the sanctum sanctorum as well as Sridevi, Bhoodevi, Leela devi, Oorvasi devi & Balram in the outer praharam. Further separate structures are available for Vinayaka, Brahma, Indira, Chandran(Moon), Navadurgas & Gauri Shankar.

Pandukeshwar >>
This place is believed to have been established by King Pandu, father of Pandavas. It is situated at 4kms from Govind Ghat, 219 kms from Kedarnath and 24 kms from Badrinath. There are two temples one for Lord Yogabadri Narayan and the other for Lord Vasudev. During winter, Lord Vasudev temple will function as the abode for Lord Badri Narayan and all the daily rituals connected with worship are performed here. Both the temples are quite old.

The temple remains closed from October to April due to severe winter conditions. During this period the idols of Utsavo murti are taken to Pandukeshwar.

Best Time To Visit :
Ideal time for visiting the shrine will be between May to November. One should,carry Sweaters, woolen clothing, Umbrella and required medicines during the trip. Minimum luggage should be preferred. Non-vegetarian food and alcoholic drinks are strictly prohibited in this place.

Distance from the Major Cities :

Cities Distance
Rishikesh: 297 kms
Joshimath : 42 kms
Haridwar : 321 kms
Karnaprayag : 123 kms
Rudraprayag : 155 kms
Deoprayag : 225 kms
Dehradun : 343 kms

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