BADRINATH: Situated in the lap of Nar-Narayan Par vat, with the towering Neelkanth peak (6,597mt) in the background, Badrinath is one of the most revered Hindu Shrines of India.
It has been said that “there were many sacred spots of pilgrimage in the heaven, earth and The other world but neither is there any equal to Badrinath nor shall there be one.”
It is believed that to revive the lost prestige of Hinduism and to unite the country in one bond, Adi Guru Sri Shankaracharya built four pilgrimage centers in Four Corners of India. Among them were Badrikashram in the north, Rameshwaram in the south, dwarkapuri in the west and Jagannath Puri in the east.
Badrinath is situated at an elevation of 3,133mt is considered to be amongst the most pious.
AREA: 3 Sq.Km
Rainfall 1460 mm.
Best Season: May to October every year the temple usually remain open from First week of May to 2nd week of November.
May Heavy Woolens
June – Sept. Light Woolens
Oct. – Nov. Heavy Woolens
HOW TO REACH
RAIL: Nearest railheads are Haridwar 330 km away, which are connected with major cities of North India.
Haridwar is directly connected by rail with How rah, Bombay, New Delhi & Luck now.
There is one Major Routes to Badrinath from Delhi: Delhi, Haridwar, Deoprayag, Srinagar, Rudraprayag, Gauchar, Karnaprayag, Nandprayag, Chamoli, Pipalkoti, He long, Josh math, Vishnuprayag, Govindghat, Hanumanchatti and Badrinath. 550kms.
Road Condition: Medalled with some unmetalled patches.
BADRINATH TEMPLE: Perched at an altitude of 3,133 Mt above sea level, in the middle of a beautiful valley, it is located on the right bank of holy river Alanknanda. Dedicated to Lord Vishnu, the temple of Shri Badrinathji is 15mt in height, built in the form of a cone with a small cupola of a gilt bull and spire.
Legend dates the temple prior to the Vedicage, though the present temple is believed to have been established by Adi Shankaracharya, the 8th century AD, Hindu reformist.
The temple has been renovated several times due to earlier damages by avalanches and looks modern now with a colorful “Singh Dwara” or the main entrance gate. The temple has three parts – Garbha Griha (the sanctum sanctorum), Darshan Mandap (for pujas) and Shobha Mandap (for devotees to assemble).
It is believed that the image of Badrinath had been thrown into the Alaknanda River during the time of the Buddhist era and later retrieved and reinstalled by Shankaracharya during the following Hindu revival.
There are 15 idols in the temple complex. Finely sculpted in black stone, the Badrinath (Vishnu) image is a meter high. Other images include those of Lame (Vishnu’s consort), Garurh (Vishnu’s mount), Shiva, Parvati, and Ganesh etc.
With its great scenic beauty and attractive recreational spots in the vicinity, Badrinath attracts an ever-increasing number of secular visitors each year.
PANCH DHARAS: (a) Prahalad Dhara (b) Kurma Dhara (c) Urbasi Dhara (d) Bhrigu Dhara (e) Indra Dhara.
PANCH SHILAS: (a) Narad Shila (b) Varaha Shila (c) Garurh Shila (d) Markandeya Shila (e) Narsingh Shila.
TAPT KUND: Natural thermal springs on the bank of the river Alaknanda, where it is customary to bathe before entering the Badrinath Temple.
NARAD KUND: A recess in the river, near Tapt Kund, forming a pool from where the Badrinath idol was recovered.
BRAHMA KAPAL: A flat platform on the bank of river Alaknanda. Hindus perform propitiating rites for their deceased ancestors.
SHESHNETRA: 1.5km away is a boulder having an impression of the legendary snake, better known as the Sheshnag’s eye.
CHARANPADUKA: 3km away are a beautiful meadow where the footprint of Lord Vishnu is seen on a boulder.
NEELKANTH: A pyramidal shaped snowy peak (6,597mt) towering over Badrinath, presents a dramatic sight. It is popularly known as the ‘Garhwal Queen’.
Shri Badri-Kedareswaro Vijayate
Darshan in Shri Badrinath & Shri Kedarnath Temples are free for all irrespective of caste creed or status. No fee or any other kind of tax is realized for special Puja / path / Arati or to offer Bhog to the Lord, he should deposit following amount in Temple Treasury for which a receipt is issued by Temple Staff. Material for such Puja / Bhog / Arati arranged by Temple Committee. The money so received is accounted for in Temple Accounts & is utilized for Temple management and pilgrim welfare works. It is misleading that the income of these temple goes to State Government.
OTHER FOUR BADRIS
YOGADYAN BADRI: The temple of Yogadhyan Badri, one of the five Badris, is located at Pandukeshwar (1920mt) just 24km short of Badrinath on Hardiwar – Badrinath highway. The image here in a meditative posture, is worshipped at badrinath. According to the myth, the Pandavas handed over Hastinapur to king Parikshit and retired here.
BHAVISHYA BADRI: The temple of Bhavishya Badri is at an elevation of 2,744mt and is surrounded by dense forests. Located at subain near Tapovan about 17km east of Joshimath on Joshimath – Lata – Malari route. Pilgrims have to trek beyond Tapovan, up the Dhauliganga River.
Tapovan has sulphurous hot spring and the view of the Tapovan valley towards the north is breathtakingly beautiful. Traditionally it is believed that a day will come when the present route to Badrinath will be inaccessible and Lord Badrinath will be worshipped here. Thus the name “Bhavishya Badri” which literally means the Badri of the future.
BRIDHA BADRI: About 7km short of Joshimath, on the main Haridwar – Badrinath motor road is animath. It is believed that Adi Guru Shankaracharya worshipped Badrinath or Lord Vishnu here before the enshrinement of Badrinath. The temple of Bridha Badri is open throughout the year.
ADIBADRI: Adibadri is also one of five Badris and is situated quite far from the cluster of the other four which from the Vishnu – Kshetra. Approachable from Karnaprayag by a motorable road on way to Ranikhet, are remains of 16 small temples. Seven among them are more ancient, with flat roofs belonging to the late Gupta period. Local tradition assigns the building of the temples to Shankaracharya. The main temple of Narain is distinguished by a raised platform in the pyramidal from where the idol is enshrined. Sculpted out of black stone, the idol of Lord Vishnu is a meter high.
MATA MURTI TEMPLE: Devoted to the mother of Sri Badrinathji. Other important temples include Seshnetra Temple, Urvashi Temple and Charanpaduka.
MANA VILLAGE: Inhabited by an Indo-Mongolian tribe, it is considered as the last Indian village before Tibet.
Vyas Gufa, Ganesh Gufa, Bhim Pul, Vasudhara Falls (3.6km) are among the places near Mana Village.
ALKA PURI: 15km from Badrinath via Mana village lies the source of Alaknanda river from the glacier snouts of Bhagirath – Kharak and Sato Panth glaciers. The spot is supposed to be the above of Kuber, Yakshas and Gandharvas.
SATO PANTH: 25km from Badrinath and located at an elevation of 4,402mt above sea level is a three cornered lake of serene water with a circumference of about 1km. The lake is named after the Hindu triad Brahma, Vishnu and Mahesh who are believed to occupy one corner each of this lake. The trek is hazardous and full of dramatic views. An experienced guide is advisable. There is no place to rest except in between caves. Cooked food, stove etc. must be carried from Badrinath itself.
ARWATAL: For the more enterprising, a trek to Arwatal (3,980mt) via – mana, Ghastoli and Arwanala is rewarding. Through hazardous icy and snowy terrain a number of streams have to be crossed. Badrinath to Ghastoli is 17km and Arwatal is approximately another 18km. (Photography is prohibited in this area and a guide is essential.
VYAS GUFA (CAVE): Near Mana village, this is a rock cave where Ved Vyas is believed to have composed the Mahabharat and the pauranic commentaries.
BHIM PUL: On the other side of Mana village, a massive rock forming a natural bridge lies over the roaring Saraswati River. It presents a spectacular view of water thundering down through the narrow passage under the rock and is believed to have been placed there by Bhim, the second eldest among the five Pandava brothers.
VASUDHARA: As the name suggests, Vasudhara is a magnificent waterfall with a height of 122 Mt. This place is 5km from Badrinath out of which 2km are motorable unto Mana, the last village of India on this border.
VALLEY OF FLOWERS: East of Badrinath is the exotic valley of flowers in a conical shape with the river Pushpawati flowing through it. This valley has been declared as a National Park to regulate camping, cooking, grazing etc. which disturb environmental conditions and endangers a number of endemic floras.
The valley is a 19km trek from Govindghat. The base camp being Ghangaria, 14km from Govindghat, where lodging and boarding facilities are available.
It was in 1931 that Frank Smith and Holds worth stumbled into this valley while returning from their successful Kamet expedition. Their subsequent writing on the valley evoked a great deal of interest among people, both at home and abroad.
HEMKUND SAHIB: Situated at a height of 4,329mt, near the valley of flowers, is the holy lake Hemkund, associated with Guru Gobind Singh. Encircled by seven snows clad peaks and their associated glaciers, the crystal clear serene waters of the lake reflect the surroundings enchantingly. The glaciers from Hathi Parvat and Sapt Rishi Peaks feed the lake and a small stream called Himganga flows out of this lake.
According to the holy Granth Saheb, it is believed that Guru Govind Singh, the 10th Guru of the Sikh faith, meditated on the banks of this lake in one of his earlier births. It has not only become a place of pilgrimage for the Sikh community but also for the Hindus and people of other faith. There is a Sikh Gurudwara and a Lakshman temple built on the bank of the lake. According to the legends, Lakshman was brought here after he fell unconscious in the war with Ravana.
Hemkund (Snow Lake) Sahib, as the name itself suggests, is a high-altitude lake (4329 m) surrounded by seven huge now-covered mountains, which are collectively called Hemkund Parvat. Close to the lake is a sacred Gurudwara that is a pilgrimage centre for Sikhs and Hindus from all over the world.
It is said that Shri Guru Govind Singh Ji (the Tenth Guru of the Sikhs) meditated on the very banks of this lake where a number of sages and religious teachers from the Hindu mythology, including Rishi Medhasa of the Markandeya Purana and Lakshman, the brother of Lord Ram performed penance. Besides the Gurudwara, you can also see a temple here. The lake is the source of the Laxman Ganga (alternatively called Hem Ganga) stream that merges with the Pushpawati stream flowing from the Valley of Flowers, at Ghangaria. From this point on, the river is called Laxman Ganga.
A very popular trekking destination, Hemkund is a 15 km trek from Govindghat. The trek takes one through pine forests where rhododendron (burans), wild roses, ferns and alpine flowers abound. With breathtaking views of the surging waters of the Lakshman Ganga, the last five kilometres of the trek entails a steep climb from Ghangharia, which is a base for visiting Hemkund. The lake is about two kilometres in circumference. It has clear, still water mirror images of the Saptashringa peaks (5500 m) that surround it.
So what’s the best season to visit Hemkund? No doubts: it’s between July and October. During these days, you’ll find the water still, has shards of ice floating in it, glinting in the sun with the rock-strewn banks of the lake covered in moss and the flowers in bright bloom.
Gurudwara Hemkund Saheb This imposing star-shaped structure of stone and concrete masonry is on the shores of the lake. An outlet behind the Gurudwara is source of the Lakshman Ganga.
Temple of Lord Lakshman A small temple near by, dedicated to Lord Lakshman.
GOVINDGHAT: Situated at the confluence of Alaknanda and Lakshman Ganga rivers. The road here diverts to Valley of Flowers National Park (26km) and Hemkund Sahib (28km).
JOSHIMATH: 42km from Badrinath. The winter home of Shri Badrinathji, Joshimath is situated on the slopes above the confluence of Alaknanda and Dhauliganga. Of the four “Maths” established by Adi Guru Shankaracharya, Joshimath is in the north.
AULI: Auli 15km from Joshimath at an elevation of about 2,500 – 3050mt. In summers, Auli Bugyal (meadow) is inviting.
The cable car from Joshimath to Gorson via Auli, not only offers a picturesque view of the Himalayan ranges but also make Auli ideal for winter sports. Trained coaches organize regular skiing courses of varying durations. The Shri Raghavendra Tours, Himalayan Tours, Emperor Traveling, provides skiing equipment, as well as boarding, lodging and transport.
PIPALKOTI: 80km from Badrinath. It is an extremely beautiful scenic spot.
CHAMOLI: A scenic spot 10km from Gopeshwar on Badrinath highway.
NANDPRAYAG: Situated at the confluence of Alaknanda and Nandakini rivers.
KARNAPRAYAG: Situated at the confluence of the Pindar and Alaknanda rivers. The road from here Diverts to Ranikhet, Almora and Kausani and Gwaldam and Kund.
RUDRAPRAYAG: Situated at the confluence of the Alaknanda and Mandakini rivers. The road diverts to Kedarnath from here.
SRINAGAR: The old capital of Garhwal, it is also a cultural and educational center.
DEOPRAYAG: Situated at the confluence of Alaknanda and Bhagirathi rivers, it is commonly believed to be the birthplace of Ganga. Important pilgrim spots are Shiva Temple and Raghunath Temple.