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Badrinath

This shrine stands on the banks of the Alaknanda River, in the Garhwal Mountains. Behind the shrine the Nar and Narayan Mountain Ranges rise majestically in the shadow of the magnificent Nilkantha Peak. Badrinath is one of the holiest Hindu shrines dedicated to Lord Vishnu.

Considered to be one of the most sacred places in India, Badrinath sits in the lap of the Himalayas.  It commands a mesmerizing view of Nilkantha Peak, as it reflects the first rays of the rising sun. The spot was once carpeted with wild berries, giving rise to the name 'Badri Van', meaning 'forest of jujube berries'.

Badrinath shrine, founded in the 9th century by Sri Shankaracharya, is located at a height of 3146 m above sea level in the Tehri-Garwal Hills.  It is mentioned in the Puranas as one of the four holiest sites, along with Rameshwaram, Dwarkapuri and Jagannathpuri.
Numerous pilgrimage sites, such as those at Deo Prayag, Rudraprayag, Karnaprayag, Nandaprayag and Vishnuprayag, appear along the route to Badarinath. The temple at Badrinath draws many pilgrims from all over India, especially from May to October. The temple is closed during the winter months due to heavy snowfall.

Built by Garhwal kings two centuries ago, this temple has been renovated several times afterit was damaged by natural disaster such as avalanches. The temple is topped with a small cupola, which sports a gilt ball and spire, it  is conical in structure and has 15 idols in the temple complex, each carved in black stone.  The colorful ‘Singh-Dwara’ (Lion Gate) looks impressive at the entrance. The main idol represents Vishnu in a meditative posture, and is accompanied by Nara-Narayan. The temple is divided into three important parts: Garbha Griha (sanctum sanctorum), Darshan Mandap (for pujas) and Shobha Mandap (in which devotees can assemble). 

Legends associated with Hindu mythology state that Lord Shiva lived in these mountains before Vishnu came for penance and decided to stay. Disguising himself as a small child, Vishnu began crying and demanded to meditate there.  Shiva understood that the child was Narayana in disguise, and, amused by Narayana’s antics, he left for Kedarnath. Thereafter, Shiva (also known as Badri) remained a powerful presence in the region.  There is legend that on their way to Swarga (heaven), the Pandavas passed through Badrinath and the town of Mana which is 4 km north of Badrinath. The Pandavas ended their lives by ascending the slopes of a peak in Garhwal called Sargarohini. 
It is strongly believed by people that to save humanity from suffering, Ganga was requested by the gods to descend from heaven.  However, the earth was not able to withstand the force; therefore, Ganga was split into 12 holy channels. Alaknanda was one of these and later became Lord Vishnu’s (or Badrinath’s) abode, Badrinath.

Although Badrinath is in the far north of India, the head priest is traditionally a Nambudiri Brahmin from the south Indian state of Kerala. This practice was started by Adi Shankaracharya, who was himself from Kerala.

Tapt Kund
The Tapt Kund is a natural spring with therapeutic characteristics on the banks of the River Alaknand. Before entering the temple, a holy dip in the spring is believed to relieve pilgrims of their sinful deeds. This is a hot spring which has a constant temperature of 45˚C even in the midst of winter and surrounded by snow-capped Himalayas – a true marvel of nature.It is considered the home of Agni, and a dip in the hot spring provides revitalizing vigour and immense energy to many visitors.
Inside Badrinath Temple
The temple is divided into three parts: the 'Garbha Griha' or the sanctum sanctorum, the 'Darshan Mandap' where the rituals are conducted and the 'Sabha Mandap' where devotees assemble. The complex has 15 idols dominated by the one-meter tall image of Lord Badrinath, finely sculpted in black saligram stone. In the Darshan Mandap, Lord Badrinath meditates in padmasana (lotus posture).
Neelkanth
Neelkanth Peak is situated right above Badrinath Temple, at an altitude of 6,560 m above sea level. The peak is named after Lord Shiva. Some believe that the peak resembles Lord Shiva sitting and looking at the sky.
Mata Murti Temple
As the legend goes, the mother of Lord Narayan, Mata Murti, prayed to Lord Vishnu to take his next incarnation by coming out of her womb. He happily agreed to this, and arrived as her twins, Nar and Narayan, incarnated especially in order to defeat a demon. Mata Murti temple is located 3 km from Badrinath. The place is heavily decked up in August for a fair arranged by the authorities at Mata Murti Temple.
Charanpaduka
Many Hindus believe that Lord Vishnu descended from Vaikunth, and left his footprints on the rock here at Badrinath. Located at a distance of 3km above Badrinath Temple lies a breathtaking view of the grazing land, which is full of wild flowers in summer. Lord Vishnu’s footprints, known as Charanpaduka, can be found here. The steep climb from the town is full of caves and boulders. The path leads to Neelkanth Peak, where one can find several Brahmakamals (a species of flowering plant named after Brahma, the Hindu god of creation).
Bheem Pul
This is a natural rock bridge, and the journey to see it is only for the adventuresome. According to legend, Bheem wanted Draupadi to be able to walk easily between the two mountains, so he threw a massive rock into place to make a path joining the two peaks. This is the place from where the Pandavas started their last journey towards Swargarohini.
Mana
Located 3 km from Badrinath, Mana is one of the villages of India which is closest to the Tibet border. Some tourists visit this place to see the end of the ‘Indian’ road at Mana.
Vyas Cave and Ganesha Cave
Vyas Cave The author of the epic Mahabharata, Ved Vyas composed and narrated the entire Mahabharata to Lord Ganesha so that he could transcribe it. Ved Vyas used to meditate in this cave. Ganesha Cave In this cave, Lord Ganesha wrote the Mahabharata, as dictated by Ved Vyas.
Mata Murti Ka Mela at Badrinath is celebrated with rituals and festivities in September.  On this day, the mother of Lord Badrinath is worshipped; hence, the festival is known as Mata Murti Ka Mela.
Held in June, the Kedar-Badri festival lasts for eight days, and presents many cultural and religious celebrations.
In the month of July or August, Janmashtami is celebrated.
Nearby places Train stations Airports
Jolly Grant
DELHI INDIRA GANDHI INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT
Haridwar Junction
Nearby major cities
Name Distance Duration
38 Km 01H 11m
38 Km 01H 11m
Perched at an altitude of 6,000 ft, lying on the mountain slopes above the rivers Alaknanda and Dhauliganga, Joshimath is a hill station famous for one of the four cardinal institutions established by Adi Shankaracharya.
316 Km 10H 20m
Haridwar, located on the banks of the River Ganges, is one of the most revered Hindu pilgrimage destinations. Haridwar is the point where the Ganges descends to the plains; the city is world famous for the celebration Kumbh Mela which takes place every 12 years.
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Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
Best Seasons
Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
Weather
Season Min. Temp. Max. Temp.
Summer 18 °C 30 °C
Winter 4 °C 20 °C
Summer months are pleasant with average maximum temperature around 18°C and average minimum temperature around 4°C. Monsoon brings scanty rains. Badrinath temple is open during May - October period.
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