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Badrinath - The Abode of Lord Vishnu

There are many stories associated with Badrinath. According to a legend, when the Ganga was requested to descend on earth to help suffering humanity, the earth was unable to withstand the force of its descent. Therefore the mighty Ganga was split into twelve holy channels. Alaknanda was one of them that later became the abode of Lord Vishnu or Badrinath.
Badrinath Temple dedicated to Lord Vishnu dates back to the Vedic times. The present temple story traces its origin to the Adi Guru Shankaracharya - a philosopher-saint, who established the temple in Badrinath.
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There are many sacred spots of pilgrimage in the heavens, earth and the nether world, but there has been none equal to Badri, nor shall there be, this sums up why Badrinath is such a revered site by the Hindus. It is among the Char Dhams or the four holy shrines in Uttarakhand. The other three dhams in Uttarakhand are Gangotri, Yamunotri and Kedarnath.

Badrinath is also one of the four sacred shrines (Char Dhams established by Adi Shankaracharya) of pilgrimage for Hindus. The other three dhams are Dwarka in the West, Rameswaram in South and Puri in the East. The holy temple at Badrinath is dedicated to Lord Vishnu. Badrinath Temple is situated on the bank of the Alaknanda in the middle of two mountain ranges called Nar and Narayan. The place was known as Badrivan during Puranic times because it was found carpeted by wild Berries or 'Badri' and thus Badrivan.

Badrinath is situated at a height of 3,133 m above sea level. The temple is built in a conical shape, 15 m. tall and has small cupola of a gilt bull and spire. The principal idol in the temple represents Vishnu in a meditative posture and is flanked by Nara-Narayan. The idol dates back to the Vedic age though it is believed to have been re-established by Adi Shankaracharya in the 9th century A.D. Some of the other images include Laxmi (Vishnu's consort), Garud (Vishnu's mount), Shiva & Parvati and Ganesha.

Places of Interest
Badrinath Temple, Uttarakhand

Badrinath Temple: The principal attraction is the temple, located on the right bank of the Alaknanda River. The temple flanked by the two mountains Nar and Narayan is dedicated to Lord Vishnu. The temple is built in the form of a cone with a small cupola of gilt bull and spire. Badrinath Temple is divided into three parts - the 'garbha griha' or sanctum sanctorum, the 'darshan mandap' where the rituals are conducted and the 'sabha mandap, 'where devotees assemble. The temple complex has 15 idols, the highlight being the one meter high image of Badrinath, finely sculpted in black stone. It represents Lord Vishnu seated in meditative pose.

Tapt Kund: Devotees take a dip in the hot water natural thermal springs located at the base of the temple before paying their respects to Shri Badrinathji. The water of the kund is believed to have medicinal properties.

Places Nearby

Manna Village: The last Indian village on Indo-Tibet border is 5 km away from Badrinath. The village is inhabited by an Indo-Mongolian tribe. As you pass through the village you may see the local people busy in their household work. You may come across women weaving shawls and children playing. Not too far from the village is the Vyas Gufa - the rock cave of saint Ved Vyas, who wrote the Mahabharata; and Bhim Pul - a natural bridge over the Saraswati river, and Vasundhara Falls - a 122 m are located near by.

Joshimath, Uttarakhand

Joshimath: Joshimath is essentially a base for pilgrims to Badrinath and most pilgrims break their journey at Joshimath. Established by Adi Shankaracharaya in the 9th century, Joshimath is located on the confluence of the Alaknanda and the Dhauliganga River. Places of interest in Joshimath are the Shankaracharaya Temple and the temple of Ugra Narasimha.

Auli: A picturesque ski resort located 9,000 feet above sea level, excellent for winter sports and views of the Himalayas is just 8 km from Joshimath. An interesting way to reach Auli is to take the cable ropeway.

Valley of flowers, Uttarakhand

Valley of Flowers & Hemkund Sahib: Just 20 km from Joshimath on way to Badrinath, the 13 km trek to Ghangaria (base camp for the Valley of Flowers and Hemkund Sahib) starts at Govindghat. Valley of Flowers is further 9 km up from Ghangaria while the popular Sikh pilgrimage Hemkund Sahib is 6 km from Ghangaria. Read more on Hemkund Sahib

Panch Badris or Five Badris
Besides the Badrinath Temple there are four other smaller Badri Temples, which are collectively called the Panch Badris or Five Badris.

Yogadhyan Badri: The temple at a height of 1920 m is located at Pandukeshwar 24 km short of Badrinath on Joshimath – Badrinath Highway. It is sleepy hamlet which remains unnoticed by most pilgrims.

Bhavishya Badri, Uttarakhand

Bhavishya Badri: Surrounded by dense forests, the temple of Bhavishya Badri or Future Badri Temple is situated at Subain near Tapovan, about 17 km east of Joshimath on Joshimath – Lata Malari route. According to a legend, when evil is on the rise in this world, the two mountains Nara and Narayan at Badrinath will close up on each other and destroy the route to the present Badrinath. Lord Badrinath will then appear at the Bhavishya Badri Temple and be worshipped here instead of at the present one.

Vriddha Badri or the 'Old Badri':  It is the place where several centuries before the coming of the Adi Guru Shankaracharya, the idol of Badrinath was enshrined and worshipped.  The temple is about 7 km short of Joshimath, on the main Rishikesh-Badrinath motor road at Animath.

Stay Options

Both Badrinath and Joshimath have a number of hotels and guest houses for tourists. Besides the GMVN tourist rest houses at Joshimath and Badrinath, which can be booked online, there are a good number of hotels in Badrinath and Joshimath. Check more hotels in Badrinath.

How to reach

By Air: Jolly Grant Airport at Dehradun, 317 km from Badrinath is the nearest airport.

By Rail: Rishikesh Railway Station at 300 km away from Badrinath is nearest railhead. Haridwar and Kotdwar are other near by railway stations.

By Road: Badrinath is approximately 300 km from Rishikesh, the nearest railhead.

Best Time to Visit
Though the temple remains open from May to November (depending on weather), the best time to visit is May-June and September-November.

About Badrinath: Badrinath Information & Fact File
Altitude 3133 meters
Summer 22 (Max) & 6(Min) Degrees Celsius
Winter 8 (Max) & -6 (Min) Degrees Celsius
Best time to Go May – September
Monsoon July – August
Summer May - September
Snowfall October - March
Clothes Very heavy woolens in winter and moderate woolens in summer
Nearest Airport Jolly Grant, 317 km
Nearest Railway Station Rishikesh, 300 km
Bus Station Badrinath – direct buses from Rishikesh, Dehradun
Hospital & Doctor

The District Hospital at Chamoli (116 km) is fairly well equipped to handle emergencies

Places to see Badrinath Temple, Tapt Kund, Manna Village, Joshimath, Auli, Valley of Flowers and Hemkund Sahib….
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