Abode Of Lord Vishnu
Cradled in the twin mountain ranges of Nar and Narayan is the holiest of the
four main shrines, Badrinath along the left bank river Alaknanda. With the
splendid Neelkanth mountains as the backdrop, it is an important destination
on the scared itinerary of every devour Hindu. Once the spot was carpeted
with 'badris' or wild berries and hence was famous as 'Badri Van'.
Badrinath is considered the
holiest of the four important shrines in Garhwal. The town is at an altitude
of 3,133 m. above sea level, situated on the left bank of river Alaknanda
and exactly between the two mountains Nara and Narayan. The shrine is
dedicated to Vishnu, the preserver and falls in the religious itinerary of
every devout Hindu.
The present temple was built about two centuries ago by Garhwal Kings. It is
a conical structure, 15 m. tall and has small cupola of a gilt bull and
spire. There are 15 idols in the temple complex, each sculpted in black
stone. The principal idol represents Vishnu in a meditative posture and is
flanked by Nara-Narayan. Legend dates it prior to the Vedic age though it is
believed to have been re-established by Adi Shankaracharya, an important
Hindu saint in 8th century A.D. Some of the other images include Laxmi
(Vishnu's consort), Garud (Vishnu's mount), Shiva & Parvati and Ganesha.
The temple has been renovated several times due to damages by avalanches. It
looks fairly modern now due to the colourful "Singh Dwara" or the main
entrance gate. It has three parts- Garbha Griha (the sanctum sanctorum),
Darshan Mandap (for pujas) and Shobha Mandap (for devotees to assemble). The
revered shrine is still alive with myriad legends from mythology. Its
sanctity is emphasised in the ancient scriptures as "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".
Mythological Legend of Badrinath
Legend has it, when the Ganga was requested to descend to earth to help
suffering humanity, the earth was unable to withstand the force of its
descent. Therefore the mighty Ganaga was split into twelve holy channels.
Alaknanda was one of them that later became the abode of Lord Vishnu or
The temple of Shri Badrinathji on the banks of the Alaknanda river, dates
back to the vedic times. Situated at an altitude of 3,133 mts., the present
temple is believed to have been built by Adi Guru Shankaracharya- an 8th
century's philosopher-saint, who also established a 'math' here. Also known
as 'Vishal Badri', Badrinath is one of the Panch Badris
Panch Badris or Five
Besides the main temple of Badrinath there are four other smaller badri
temples. These are collectively called the panch badris or five badris. Very
few pilgrims however, visit the other four Badri temples.
- Yogadhyan Badri (1920 m.)
Closest to the main temple of Badrinath lies this tiny, sleepy hamlet
which remains unnoticed by most pilgrims and is the winter home for the
idol at Badrinath. Pandukeshwar is also an important archaeological site.
Some years ago, four ancient metal foils engraved with a description of
several kings in the region were discovered here. Believed to be over 1500
years old, these foils are kept at Joshimath, 30 km downstream.
- Bhavishya Badri (2,744 m.)
The bhavishya or future badri is situated at Subain near Tapovan, about 17
km east of Joshimath. According to Hindu belief, 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. This
would also mark the end of the present world and the beginning of a new
one. Lord Badrinath will then appear at the Bhavishya Badri temple and be
worshipped here instead of at the present one.
- Bridha Badri or the 'Old Badri'
Bridha Badri or the 'old Badri' is the third temple about 7 kms short of
Joshimath, on the main Rishikesh-Badrinath motor road at Animath. It is
believed that Badrinath was worshipped here before its enshrinement by
Shankaracharya at the main Badrinath seat. The temple of Bridha Badri is
open throughout the year.
- Adi Badri
Adi Badri is the farthest from the other four badris. It is approachable
from Karnaprayag by a motorable road enroute Ranikhet. The temple complex
has 16 small temples with intricate carvings.
Seven of these temples belong to the late Gupta period. Local tradition
assigns these buildings to Shankaracharya. The main temple is
distinguished by a pyramid shaped raised platform, with a black stone idol
General Information :-
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to closing, generally from April to November.
garments required through out.
Attractions of Badrinath
On the right bank of Alaknanda lies the sacred spot perched at an altitude
of 3,133 metres above the sea level. Encircled by a beautiful valley, the
15mtrs. High temple is dedicated to Lord Vishnu, it is built in the form
of a cone with a small cupola of gilt bull and spire. Built by Adi Guru
Shankaracharya - the philosopher-saint of the 8th century, the temple has
been renovated several times due to damage by avalanches. Its colourful
'Singh Dwara' or the main entrance gate gives it a new, modern look.
The temple divided into three parts - the 'garbha griba' or sanctum
sanctorum, the 'darshan mandap' where the rituals are conducted and the 'sabha
mandap'where devotees assemble.The complex has 15 idols. Especially
attractive is the one metre high image of Badrinath, finely sculpted in
black stone. It represents Lord Vishnu seated in meditative pose.
Devotees take a holy dip in the natural thermal springs on the banks of
the river Alaknanda, before entering the Badrinath Temple. The water of
the kund is believed to have medicinal properties.
Hemkund Sahib (43 kms.)
Near the Valley of Flowers is the holy lake Hemkund- an important
pilgrimage of the Sikhs and Hindus. Along its shores is the sacred Sikh
Shrine where Guru Gobind Singh, the tenth Guru unified with God after
prolonged mediation in his previous birth.
Nearby is the Lakshman Temple where Lakshman - the brother of Lord Rama
performed his penance. The reflection of surrounding snow-clad peaks in
its placid waters offers a scenic sight.
A flat platform on the bank of river Alaknanda where Hindus perform
propitiating rites for their deceased ancestors.
A Pyramidical-shaped snowy peak towering above Badrinath, popularly known
as the 'Garhwal Queen'.
Mana Village (4 kms.)
Inhabited by Indo-Mangolian tribe, it is considered to be the last Indian
village before Tibet on this route. Nearby are Vyas Gufa- the rock cave of
saint Ved Vyas, the writer of Mahabharata; Bhim Pul- a natural bridge over
the Saraswati river and Vasundhara Falls- a 122 mts. high waterfall- all
forming and important part of the pilgrimage to Badrinath.
Mata Murti Temple (3
On the right bank of Alaknanda stands the temple dedicated to the mother
of Sri Badrinathji.
Alka Puri (15 kms.)
The source of Alaknanda river from the glacier snouts of Bhagirath- Kharak
and Satopanth glaciers.
Satopanth (25 kms.)
A three cornered lake with a circumference of about 1 km., situated at an
elevation of 4,402 mts. above sea level. It is named ater the Hindu triad-
Brahma, Vishnu and Mahesh, who are believed to occupy one corner each of
the lake. The trek is hazardous with dramatic landscapes. An experienced
guide is advisable. Govindghat (25 kms.)
The confluence of Alaknanda and Lakshman Ganga rivers. It has an imposing
Gurudwara named after Guru Gobind Singh.
Joshimath (44 kms.)
The winter home of Shri Badrinathji is situated on the slopes above the
confluence of Alaknanda and Dhauliganga. It is one of the four 'maths'
established by Adi Guru Shankaracharya.
The five important confluences- Deoprayag, Nandprayag, Rudraprayag,
Karnaprayag and Vishuprayag, form the Panch Prayag.
The confluence of Alaknanda and Bhagirathi rivers. Ancient stone
scriptures are found here. Important pilgrim spots are Shiv Temple and
The confluence of Alaknanda and Mandakini rivers. The temples of Rudranath
and Chamunda Devi are noteworthy.
The confluence of Alaknanda and Mandakini rivers. The Gopalji Temple is
worth a visit.
The confluence of Alaknanda and Pindar rivers with temples of Uma and
The confluence of Alaknanda and Dhauliganga rivers. An ancient temple of
Lord Vishnu stands here by a pool called Vishnu Kund.
The old capital of Garhwal, it is an important cultural and educational
centre. Places to visit include Kamleshwar and Kilkeshwar temples and the
Tapt kund - Badrinath
How to Reach Badrinath:
Jolly Grant (317 kms.)
Rishikesh (300 kms.), Kotdwar (327 kms.)
Well connected to Rishikesh, Haridwar, Dehradun, Kotdwar and other hill
stations of Garhwal and Kumaon region.
Tourist Information Centre for Badrinath
Tourist Office, Bus Station,
Yatra Office : Yatra Office, GMVN Ltd., AGM (Tourism), Modern
(Advance Reservation Centre) Shail Vihar, Haridwar Bye Pass Road,
Rishikesh - 249201.
Tel.: 0135-2431793, 2432648, 2430799, 2430357(R).
Email: firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com