The Badrinath Temple also known as the Badrinarayan Temple, located in Uttarakhand's Badrinath town, is considered as the most holy among the char dhams. It is among the 108 Divya Desams dedicated to Lord Vishnu, who is worshipped in this temple as Shri Badrinath.
The temple stands tall at a height of 50 ft, has a colorful main entrance also known as the Singhdwar. It is known to have three sections; the Garbhagriha, the Darshan Mandap, and the Sabha Mandap. The idols of Lord Badri Narayan, along with other God's statues are situated in the Garbhagriha or the Sanctum. The Sabha Mandap is the spot where all the pilgrims gather to offer their prayers.
The statue of Lord Vishnu or Badrinarayan is around 3.3 ft tall and is made of black stone (Saligram stone), which is worshipped by pilgrims as one of the eight forms of Lord Vishnu. The image is believed to have Vishnu in a dual form of Nara and Narayana.
Location of Badrinath
The Badrinath temple is situated along the River Alaknanda banks in the hills in the Chamoli district of Uttarakhand. It stands tall at a height of 3,133 m, and is among some of the most visited pilgrimages in India. The temple is surrounded by the Nar and Narayan mountains, which lies 9 km east of the Nilkantha peak. Badrinath lies north of Rishikesh and 62 km northwest from Nanda Devi mountain peak.
History of Badrinath
The existence of the temple can be dated back to the Vedic period, and is known to have been turned from a Buddhist shrine into a Hindu temple by Adi Shankara. The current structure of the temple, dedicated to Lord Vishnu, was created by the King of Garhwal, known as the place where Lord Vishnu performed his penance. And, in order to provide him shelter, Goddess Mahalaxmi took the form of a Badri tree, giving the name Badarinarayan.
Various other legends are attached to the town, one of which speaks that the Pandavas crossed the town of Badrinath, on the way to heaven passing through the Mana village, also known as the last Indian town near the Tibetan border. A cave in the village named as the Vyasa cave, named after the Saint Vyasa, who is known to have authored the Mahabharata in the cave.
Badrinath is the only sacred place which is a part of the chota char dham as well as the char dham yatra. The char dham yatra holds an important significance in the Hindu religion. Pilgrims visiting only the Badrinath Temple go on the Ek Dham yatra. This holy trip or the dham yatra is considered as the most auspicious religious activity. There is a common belief that those who go on the char dham yatra would have the gates of heaven opened for them. The same can be achieved by ek dham yatra or the Badrinath Yatra.
Best Time for Badrinath Yatra
The period between May until October is the most ideal to visit the Badrinath Temple, and is also the peak season for tourists. The monsoon months must be avoided as the region is prone to landslides. Tourists are advised not to visit during winters as the region sees heavy snowfall and harsh cold conditions. The temple is closed from October to November, and is reopened around April.
How to Reach Badrinath?
- By Air
The nearest airport to Badrinath is the Jolly Grant Airport in Dehradun. From Dehradun there are taxis and buses that can be hired to reach the destination. Badrinath lies at a distance of 331 km from Dehradun.
- By Train
The nearest railway stations to Badrinath are at Rishikesh, Kotdwara and Haridwar. The first two are small stations and are not connected by fast trains. However, Haridwar is connected via the Indian Railway network to major cities in India.
- By Road
Badrinath can be reached via National highway 58 which connects the town to Delhi and other major cities of India. Buses from Delhi to Badrinath via Haridwar and Rishikesh are available throughout the year, bus and taxi services are increased during the summer season when the pilgrims travel for their Char Dham Yatra. Buses and taxis are available from Rishikesh and Haridwar too.
Places to Visit in Badrinath
Other than the famous Badrinath Temple, the town has many other must-visit tourist spots. Some of them include:
- Tapt Kund
- Brahma Kapal
- Neelkanth Peak
- Mata Murti Temple
- Narad Kund
- Mana village
- Vyas Cave
- Ganesha Cave
- Panch Dharas and Panch Shilas
Travel Tips during Badrinath yatra
Here are a few handy travel tips:
- Ensure you consume bottled water, to avoid falling sick while travelling.
- It's advisable to carry woolens as the mountains can be unpredictable, along with comfortable shoes for walking.
- The rainy season is very harsh, so you must carry protective clothing, and avoid travelling during monsoons.
- Avoid falling prey to false tourist guides, and check their ID and confirm properly.
Last Updated on : November 25, 2014