We travel our entire lives in search of bliss. Gods and seers who follow have for ages settled in the lap of nature amidst mountains and meadows making these blissful places vibrate with higher vibrations. Badrinath Temple occupies a space very high in the hierarchical order of the most sacred shrines.
A Vivid Tale
This is the abode of BadriNarayan- Lord Vishnu’s dual form of Nar and Narayan. This ancient temple has stunning architecture and its sacredness make it a visually as well as emotionally overwhelming experience. It is timeless and majestic.
The Name- Badrinath
This temple is situated in the town by the same name- Badrinath. This name probably comes from the forest of berries that grew here in abundance, called Badri Van and Lord Badri choosing it as his abode.
This town is situated at an altitude of 3,133 metres in Chamoli district of beautiful Uttarakhand. This temple is also part of the main Char Dham Yatra and this is amongst the holiest of Vishnu temples.
This temple is located amongst peaks which are called Nar and Narayan. You can see the connection here. Pilgrimage starts and ends in a clockwise direction ending with Badrinath.
Other sacred sites in Char Dham Yatra are Yamunotri, Gangotri- two sites dedicated to Goddess, and Kedarnath- dedicated to Lord Shiva. Reaching this beautiful and spiritually charged temple is easy with good roads and a simple walk.
Badrinath Dham and Near By
If one is prepared to travel a little further, you will be able to visit spectacularly beautiful village Mana. It is one of the last villages along the border of India after which begins Tibet. It is three Kms from Badrinath and definitely deserves a visit.
This is a place where virgin nature is at its splendid best. A place like this calms our senses and heightens awareness. The Char Dham Yatra holds supreme importance in any spiritual journey because places like these have high spiritual energies which might help any practitioner.
Badrinath is full of such places. Take in the view of the mighty Neelkanth peak which attracts all those who come to the land it adorns and protects.
Every land has its legends and history. Badrinath has many legends as well as a history that makes it so important for Hindu pilgrims as well as all those who love to travel and wish to soak in spirituality. Alaknanda river flows at its own pace in this beautiful land carrying stories and sounds of centuries. Let this be a journey that transforms you within and without.
History of Badrinath Dham
Our history teaches deepest philosophy with ease. Beautiful legends and history are intertwined together to lead us to the spiritual path. Such history is also associated with this sacred shrine. Each one is as significant as the other.
Lord Vishnu liked this place so much that he decided that this would be the place where he will meditate. Ignorant about the climate and unconcerned about the harsh weather, he went deep into meditation.
Seeing the strong sun and wanting to shade her Lord from it, Goddess Lakshmi took the form of Badri Tree and spread herself to let the Lord meditate in peace. This overwhelmed Lord Vishnu and he named this place Badrikaashram dedicated to Goddess Lakshmi’s devotion. This place used to be covered with berry trees. These are just some of the tales associated with this divine abode.
Nar and Narayan- an amusing and beautiful tale
According to Hindu belief, Dharma had two sons Nar and Narayan. These religious sons wished to set up a hermitage in the land of Himalayas and thus they wanted to extend their base.
This quest led them to discover four sites amongst Panch Kedars. When they came to Badrinath, they saw beautiful cold as well as hot springs in a spot behind mighty Alaknanda river. This delighted them leading them to name this place as Badri Vishal.
Other four sites of Panch Badri are Dhyan Badri, Yog Badri, Bridha Badri, and Bhavishya Badri. This quest of Nar and Narayan led to Badrinath coming to being.
Lord Narayan’s wish to meditate here
Lord Shiva along with his wife Goddess Parvati were doing Tapasya in this beautiful place. Lord Narayan wanted to meditate here as well. Disguised as a child he cried and disrupted Tapasya of Lord Shiva and Goddess Parvati.
On being asked by Goddess Parvati about the reason for his distress, he told her he wished to meditate there. It was then that they realised it was Lord Narayan himself in the guise of a child. So they left the place for Lord Narayan to meditate there.
Ascent to heaven: Pandavas last journey
It is believed that Pandavas followed the path to Swargarohini, crossed Mana, and Dharmaraja Yudhishthir reached Heaven. It is believed that Veda Vyas also compiled and wrote Mahabharata in Mana, along with organising Vedas.
Thus Badrinath and the whole adjoining area have a lot of significance and sanctity around it.
Alaknanda and Ganga
This land is also associated with origin of Alaknanda which is one of the divisions of the most holy Ganga. Ganga came to earth to grant Bhagirath’s wish to absolve the sins of human race. Holiest of Holy River, Ganga relieves sins of those who come to it with a pure heart and clear intentions.
But had Ganga descended on earth with its mighty force, it would have destroyed the earth. Lord Shiva bore Ganga in his tresses to decrease the force dividing Ganga into twelve holy rivers. Alaknanda which flows gloriously through Badrinath is one of those twelve holy rivers.
Places to visit in Badrinath
This place has a sacredness and beauty that is found at every step. It could be the sheer beauty and peace of these mountain landscapes or the energy of this place, but it never stops mesmerising whoever comes.
There are many important places to visit here. And some places around this shrine too. Once you enter this Char Dham circuit, the place will captivate you with its energy and aura. You will be in bliss like state throughout the journey.
Badrinath Temple/Badrinath Dham
This shrine is amongst the holiest, especially for Hindus. Ancient texts and seers consider it the holiest of holy shrines and the abode of Lord Vishnu which is superior to any in this universe.
Situated along the banks of pristine Alaknanda River, it is at a height of 3,133 metres. It stands in all magnificence against a captivating background, a picture that spells beauty and sacredness loudly.
It was Adi Shankaracharya who found Lord Badri in the form of a Saligram idol in the Alaknanda river. Adi Shankaracharya installed this idol in a cave near Tapt Kund and this is how earliest Badrinath Shrine got established.
Present shrine that we all visit today was built by the king of Garhwal in 16th century to house the idol of Lord Badri. This place has been a witness to so many natural calamities like Avalanches and earthquakes.
The Temple has undergone repairs and restorations and this present structure is a result of all that. Idol of Lord Vishnu sits in a meditative pose while other Gods surround him in idol form.
Along with Lord Badri, you can see and worship Nar, Narayana, Narad, Kuber, Ganesha, and Garud. Doors close during winters as with other Dhams in Char Dham Yatra. During that period, idol of Lord is shifted to and housed in Yogadhyan Badri which is in Chamoli district.
As the name suggests, it is a hot (tapt kund) spring that lies just below the temple. This natural spring is believed to have therapeutic properties and many pilgrims are said to have experienced the healing effects.
Before visiting Badrinath Temple, devotees must take a dip in this spring. It rejuvenates and energises. You will see five boulders near Tapt Kund. These are Narad, Narsingh, Varah, Garur, and Markanday as per Hindu belief.
If you move 100 metres north of the main shrine, you will see a flat platform along the banks of Alaknanda river. This is Brahma Kapal where people come to perform atonement rites of deceased family members.
This is said to free people from the cycle of life and death thus giving them Moksha.
This peak stands tall at an awesome inspiring height of 6,597 metres. One gazes lost in its beauty at this ‘queen of Garhwal’. This is the backdrop to the ancient Badrinath Temple.
Neelkanth peak is named after Lord Shiva who we all know is called by this name. When the first rays of Sun hit this peak, one can see its dazzling snow covered peaks.
Every sight, every moment in this land is full of magic, beauty, and mystery.
Mata Murti Mandir
This is another place of devotion. Mata Murti is said to have prayed relentlessly to Lord Vishnu. She prayed for him to take birth in human form from her womb. Persuaded by her devotion and prayers, Lord Vishnu took birth as Nar and Narayan- twin brother incarnation.
This temple is located around three Kms from Badrinath Temple on the banks of Alaknanda river. A fair is held in the month of September when pilgrims come here in huge numbers.
To reach this place, one has to brave a steep climb of three kilometres from the town of Badrinath. The path is strewn with caves and boulders. When Lord Vishnu descended on earth from Vaikunth, he stepped here making imprints on this rock.
Thus Charanpaduka is believed to have Lord Vishnu’s footprints and pilgrims come here to bow and pray.
Named after gigantic snake Ananta Shesha, this is a beautiful place to visit. Lord Vishnu is believed to have taken retreat on Ananta Shesha. It is people’s faith that Sheshnetra still guards the temple of Badrinath. The rock has an eye like mark giving the impression of Shesh Nag’s eye.
These beautiful falls on Alaknanda river are at a distance of 9kms from Badrinath. With a drive possible till Mana village and then a trek from there, you can reach this beautiful site. Start early and come back by evening.
How do you reach Badrinath Dham?
From Delhi to Badrinath- 536 kms
From Rishikesh to Badrinath- 298 Kms
From Dehradun to Badrinath- 335 Kms
*These are approximate distances
Reaching by Air
One can reach Jolly Grant Airport located in Dehradun. From here you can get taxis on hire or buses which run frequently.
Dehradun is a beautiful city with rail connectivity from most of the major cities. Regular trains are available to Haridwar and Dehradun throughout the year. From here one can choose to hire a taxi or take a bus. Nearest railhead is Rishikesh and one can come via that route too.
Buses run from all major destinations of Uttarakhand to nearest point in Badrinath. And buses to Uttarakhand run frequently from places like Delhi, Chandigarh, etc.
Best time to visit this shrine
We know that winters are harsh on this side with freezing temperatures not allowing pilgrimage. Doors to the shrines of Char Dham also closed during winters. Monsoons again come with problems like landslides, risks of floods, and other issues.
Plan your visit between April/May to June and from September to October/November for best traveling experience.
This Yatra is an experience of a lifetime which brings you closer to nature, to the first gods, to the purest form of existence. You are welcome to Join the coming Yatra and visit Badrinath Dham.
There is nothing like the beauty of the mountains and the peace that they bring to your life. Once you have felt it, there is nothing that can match it.
Badrinath Yatra in 2020 could be the time for you to visit and fulfil your destiny of feeling the divinity within you. You can join the Char Dham Yatra in 2020 and visit Badrinath as a part of it.
May blessings of lord Badri Vishal be with you.
Jai Badri Vishal!