On the confluence of Rishi Ganga and Alaknanda river lies Badrinath,one of the four Dhams founded by Adi Shankaracharaya.Badrinath is situated at a distance of about 296kms from Rishikesh.The ancient Hindu scriptures declare in no uncertain terms that no pilgrimage is complete without a visit to the sacred shrine of Badrinath.Badrinath which houses many shrines and hills of religious importance is also referred by the name Vishal Badri and is situated at an altitude of about 3,133 metres.This is one of the most famous and largest of the Vishnu pilgrimages among the five Badris.It is geographically flanked by two mountain ranges 'Nar' and 'Narayan' with the Neelkanth peak forming its backdrop. It is a must to visit place in the itinerary of every Hindu devotee to seek the blessings of Lord Vishnu and to attain salvation. The place is filled with pilgrims during the months of summer for in winter the temple remains closed due to snowfalls.
The name Badrinath is derived from the word "badhri" or the wild berries which are seen in plenty here. The main legend behind this place is that Lord Vishnu came to Badrivan for self-mortification after he was reproved severely by narad for indulging in worldly pleasures. The deity worshipped here is a meditating Vishnu. There is also another legend associated with Badrinath when goddess Ganga was requested to descend on earth, her flow was so strong that earth could not with stand it and hence to reduce the flow it passed through the locks of Lord Shiva and was divided into many streams, River Alaknanda is one of the streams on the banks of which later Lord Vishnu came to meditate.
Badrinath is located on the right bank of the river Alaknanda in the district of Chamoli in the Garhwal region of Uttaranchal. Badrinath is surrounded by the two mountain ranges of Nar and Narayan on its two sides with the Neelkanth peak on the background.
The ideal time to visit this temple is between the months of May to October.
FAIRS AND FESTIVALS
MATA MURTI KA MELA
Every year in the month of September a big fair is organized in honor of the mother of Lord Badrinath called Mata Murti Ka Mela.
BADRI KEDAR FESTIVALS
This festival is held in the month of June in the shrines of both Badrinath and Kedarnath. The festival lasts for 8 days.
According to history this temple is present since the vedic times which were mainly established by Adi Shankaracharya in the 8th century. However the present structure of the temple was built by the Garhwal kings three centuries ago. The presiding deity of this temple is Lord Vishnu. The features of the temple are that it is built like a cone with a small cupola of gilt bull and spire. The complex of the temple goes upto a height of about five metres.The temple houses nearly 15 idols like the idols of Lakshmi, Vishnu's wife, Garud, his mount and Lord Shiva, his wife Parvati and son Ganesha.The main idol of Lord Vishnu here takes the pose of meditation. The temple is sectioned into three areas which include the Garbha Griha for the main deity, a Darshan Mandap for puja and a Sabha Mandap for devotees to assemble. The main gate at the entrance additionally lends beauty to the temple. The temple is open only during the summers.
Brahma Kapal Ghat is situated towards north of the Badrinath temple at a distance of about just 100mts.The Brahma Kapal is a flat platform on the banks of the Alakananda River, where Lord Brahma is believed to reside. It is here where Lord Shiva was relieved from his curse of killing Brahma and also Brahma�s head fell from Shiva�s trident at Brahma Kapal.It is customary for the devotees to offer sraddha to ancestors and pay homage and rituals to the departed souls.
This is a beautiful rock at a height of 3380 feet from the ground level which gives you a feeling of clearness and calmness. The most important feature of this rock is that it holds the foot prints of Lord Vishnu. Though the path leading to Charanpaduka is quite risky it is worth taking up for it is believed that the darshan of the Lord footprints would help the devotees come out of all the ailments and difficulties in life.
Narad Kund is one of the popular tourist and religious spot in Badrinath which is thronged by pilgrims to take a holy dip in the kund before they go for the darshan.It is said that there is a hot spring which makes the water in the Narad Kund hot. History also says that it is from here where Adi Sankara recovered the idol of lord Vishnu. The Narad Kund is by default surrounded by a rock with projecting angles which breaks the flow of the water current and provides a nice atmosphere for a bath.
The Neelkanth peak is in the shape of a pyramid and is at an altitude of about 6,597 meter which attracts a number of tourists for its splendorous natural vistas. Nature is designed in such a way that this peak overlooks the Badrinath shrine and open up to the snow clad peaks. The Neelkanth peak is fondly renowned as the queen of Gharwal, which is apt for the enthralling beauty of the scenic spot.
This is one of the most remarkable visiting spot in Badrinath for it is believed that Lord Vishnu takes his asylum on a snake by name Anantha Shesha.This place is marked by a large stone, snake Sheshnetra with one eye. The most interesting feature of this place is the imprints on the rock which is very realistic. It is a beautiful environment with the majestic river Alakananda on the Sheshnetra's backdrop giving a soothing feeling with serenity. It is also said that Sheshnetra guards the holy shrine of lord Badrinath.
Tapt Kund, a natural spring situated above the riverbank is supposed to be the holy abode of Lord Agni.The temperature of the water is always quite hot and a holy dip in this helps the devotees to come out of their sin and imparts a new life and energy. Apart from its therapeutic beneficial this hot water spring in the midst of snowy peaks of Himalayas is quite a wonderful.
The main temple of Badrinath along with four other temples or Badris forms Panch Badri, Panch meaning five. The temples of these other badris are located within few kilometres of the temple of Badrinath. Yog Dhyan Badri is located 24 kms from here at Padukashwar(1920 mts). Pandavas handed over their empire to King Parikshit here before retiring. The second Badri is Bhavishtya Badri at Subain near Tapovan. Bhavishya Badri means future badri. It is believed that a time will come in history when the present route to Badrinath will become inaccessible and then Bhavishya Badri will be worshipped instead. Adi Badri is the remains of 16 temples, it can be reached from Karnprayag. And lastly Vriddha Badri, situated 7 kms from Joshimath, is believed to be here several years before the existence of Adi Shankarcharya, idol of Badrinath was enshrined and worshipped here.
SHOPPING IN BADRINATH
The main shopping item in Badrinath is the trinkets and other small souvenirs which includes the miniature �Salgram Silas� or the sacred stone of the presiding deity of Badrinath, Lord Vishnu.Apart from this the shops here sell woolens.
Plot No 834, Badrinath, India
The nearest airport to the holy town of Badrinath is the Jolly grant airport at Dehradun, the Capital city of Uttaranchal, which is around 317 kms away from the pilgrimage center of Badrinath.
The nearest railheads to the holy town of Badrinath are at Rishikesh and Kotdwar which are located around 297 and 327 kms away from Badrinath respectively.
Well- maintained, metallic roads lead to this holy city, which is well-connected to a number of the other cities of Uttaranchal and its neighboring provinces. The city is well connected to almost all the cities of the region by an efficient and regular network of transportation.