One of the most important “Char Dhams” and the most celebrated pilgrims in India is Badrinath. The famous temple of Badrinath is located in the Chamoli district of Uttarakhand India. Sandwiched between the Nar and Narayan mountain ranges the lies the town at the bank of Alaknanda river.
The name Badrinath comes from ‘Badri’ which means “Berries” and ‘Nath’ mean “Lord of.” Here you can find berries grow in abundance. The route to Badrinath is one of most fascinating as it lies between the highest peaks, which remains snow covered during the season and the views from the path is filled with enchanting views.
Some of the other places which make Badrinath special is the Tap Kund is a hot water spring in the bank of Alaknanda. A bath in the spring is refreshing to the travelers. And it is also believed that the spring has medicinal properties. At background likes Neelkanth A peak which indeed resembles a shape which was taught to us in the art classes while drawing a scenery. This is the conical shaped mountain called as the Neelkanth which is the snow peak and also known as the “Garhwal Queen.”
According to the legend, Badrinath was established by the Shri Adi Shankaracharya. Since then it has been renovated many times.
Badrinath is also one of the Panch Badris – Yogadhyan Badri, Brida (Old) Badri, Bhavishya Badri and Adi Badri. Badrinath is sung in mythical folklore. There are different mythologies that surround its existence. Some of them are mentioned below-
There are many legends about this place; the most prominent one goes like that it was the Lord Vishnu who came to Badri Van to meditate. When Mahalakhsmi saw Lord Vishnu lost meditation, in such harsh weather conditions, she transformed herself into a badri Tree hence to provide shelter to Vishnu and protect him form sun rays and harsh weather conditions. Pleased Lord Vishnu decided to name the place after the goddess. Hence the temple was called Badrinath.
In another story, Pandavas took their life in peaks nearby Badrinath. It is called Swargarohini. They walked to the Swarg (Heaven). There is the Mana village which is the last Indian Town near Tibetan border. Mana village is famous for the cave named as Vyasa Gufa, and it is believed that Saint Vyas wrote Mahabharata in this very cave.
In another story, When Ganga Mata was requested to come to Earth and reduce the human suffering, the earth was not able to withstand the force of the mighty Ganga. So the Ganga split into twelve rivers one of which came to be known as Alaknanda.
Badrinath Temple and Attractions
The main attraction of the place is, of course, the Badrinath Temple or Badrinarayan itself. Dedicated to Lord Shiva, the Badrinath Temple is 5m high and cone shaped which was build two centuries ago by Garhwal Kings. It has a roof made up of gilt of gold. The architecture of the temple resembles the Buddhist temples. The stairs of the temple are broad and lead to the main entrance.
The front face of the temple is made of the stone having arched windows. Inside there is a hall which is beautifully decorated with the pillar. The walls and pillars are covered with intricate carvings. There are 15 idols in the temple each of which is made of black stone. Also, Lord Vishnu is represented here in the meditative posture. The temple has three parts –
1. Garbha Grih
2. Darshan Mandap (for pooja)
3. Sabha Mandap (for devotees to assemble).
Also read: Patal Bhuvaneshwar Travel Guide
Places Near Badrinath to visit
Neelkanth is the peak named after Lord Shiva and is situated above good imagination then you can imagine as Shiv himself sitting there. Due to the altitude of the Peak, the rays of the sun first kisses Neelkanth and then reaches to mortals. On the foot of Neelkanth, you can find brahma kamal.
2. Tapt Kund:
It is natural hot spring in Badrinath. The temperature of the spring remains approximately 55 degrees throughout the year, and the temperature of Badrinath may drop 10 to 0-degree Celsius. It is mandatory to take a dip in the hot spring before visiting the temple. It is also said that the spring has significant healing properties which include cure of allergies for those who take a dip.
It is the starting point of a route which descends to the foot of Neelkanth in where the Charanpaduka lies. It lies 3 km beneath the Badrinath Temple. You can see a fascinating field of grassland covered with wildflowers in the summer.
There is also a boulder having the footprints of Lord Vishnu which is termed as “Charanpaduka”. The legend says that when Lord Vishnu moved from Vaikunth, it is believed that he stepped in this boulder leaving the impression of his foot. The nearby area has various caves and rocks on the way for those who can climb.
4. Brahma Kapal:
It is the flat place on the bank of river Alaknanda. Where most of the Pandit sit with their “Pooja Samagri.” Hindu over here does the pooja for their dead ones. Here pooja is done so that the soul of their ancestors rests in peace.
5. Bheem Pul:
The Bheem Pul is the big stone that makes the bridge across the Saraswati river. Saraswati river flows between the two mountains and joins Alaknanda. The story goes that Bhem, one of the five Pandavas, threw a huge rock across the mountain to build a bridge so that Draupadi could walk over it.
6. Panch Shilas:
As the name suggest Panch means “Five” and Shilas mean “Stone”, so panch shilas include Narad, Narsimha, Barah, Garur and Markandeya Shilas. Barah Shila is the representation of a boar(Eurasian wild pig). Barah is believed as the incarnation of Lord Vishnu. It is said that Narad gave advice to Markendeya to meditate in
7. Vyas Cave:
This is the cave where Rishi Vyas written the Mahabharata epic with the help of Lord Ganesha, as per Hindu mythology. It is just few km away from Badrinath.
Later on his advice, Markendeya left Mathura and meditated doing so he attained peace. The stone which he sat to meditate is now called as Markendeya Shila.
9. Narad Kund:
This is the second attraction point of Badrinath. This place is believed that Narad Muni wrote Narad bhakti Sutra in this place.
10. Panch Dharas:
Panch means “Five” and Dhara means “Stream”. So Panch Dhara is the group of five streams that emerge from the town of Badripuri. These five streams are named as Prahlad, Kurma, Bhrigu, Urvashi, and Indira. Indira one of the striking streams whereas the water of Kurma is cold and that of Prahlad is luke warm.
11. Sheshnetra :
“Shesh” means “Sheshnag” and “Netra” means “Eye”.On the back of the Alaknanda and in the foot of the Nar parvat. there are two seasonal lakes between these lakes is the boulder. This boulder has the image of the legendary snake which was called Sheshnag. This spot represents Seshnag’s eye. This impression is made naturally.
12. Vasundhara Falls:
It is the most famous waterfall in the Mana Village. The water flows down from the 400ft height. It is believed that the water doesn’t fall or turns away from the people who are impure or not pure from a heart.
When to Visit Badrinath?
Badrinath has cold and chilly climate almost in all the seasons, so the best time to visit Badrinath is in summers from May to June.
Winters: – It is believed winters are not the perfect time to visit Badrinath. Winters sees heavy snowfall, and the tourist may face harsh cold conditions.
Summers: – Summers is the best time and ideal for sightseeing with moderately cold and pleasant. The temperature may go to 18c.
Monsoon: – Monsoons are accompanied by the regular rainfall, and the temperature may also drop. And the time is not considered ideal as there are chances of landslides.
How to reach Badrinath:
Badrinath has been well connected with wide roads. Buses and taxis are easily available to reach the destination from places in Uttarakhand, Ghaziabad, and Srinagar.
Grant Airport in Dehradun is the nearest domestic airport, located 317 km away. Nearest international airport is New Delhi.
The nearest railway station is Dehradun Junction. One can always opt for a taxi or another public means to reach the destination.