Badrinath is one of the most holy places of India and this place holds great importance with Hindus. It is also a nagar panchayat in Chamoli district of Uttarakhand state. Badrinath town is named after the famous Badrinath Temple of Lord Vishnu as it is the most important temple amongst India's Char Dham pilgrimage and also amongst Panch Badri of Lord Vishnu. Badrinath temple was established by Adi Shankara Charya in ninth century. The present sacred temple of Badrinath was built by Garhwal kings about two centuries ago. The temple has been hit by avalanches several times which lead to the renovation of the temple several times. The place was once called ‘Badri Van’ as it was full of berries named Badri. Badrinath is situated in the valley offering enchanting views of the diversified natural beauty. Every month thousands of devotees visit the place to praise Lord Vishnu and wash their sins. Badrinath has been mentioned as a holy place in scriptures and legends for thousands of years. Badrinath is one of the four dhams of Uttarakhand; other three are Kedarnath, Gangotri and Yamunotri.
Location of Badrinath
Badrinath is set at an altitude of 3,133mts above sea level in the Chamoli district of Garhwal region in Uttarakhand state. Badrinath is situated on the banks of the holy Alaknanda River in the valley of twin mountain ranges of Nar and Narayan with the blessing of the invigorating Neelkanth peak in the backdrop. Badrinath is located 301kms from Rishikesh covering an area of 3sq.kms. Badrinath is connected with NH58.
Places to see in Badrinath
Badrinath Temple: The deity of Badrinath temple is Lord Vishnu and the temple was established in the 9th century by Adi Shankaracharya. Badrinath Temple is the main attraction of the town and it is visited by every tourist. The temple has a height of approximately 15mts with the top covered with a gold gilt roof. The temple is situated on the right bank of the sacred Alaknanda River with the colorful ‘Singh-Dwara’ at the entrance. The temple remains closed during winter months as the region is prone to heavy snowfall.
Tapt Kund: It is important to take a bath before visiting a temple. Tapt Kund is a natural thermal spring where the devotees take a holy dip. It is also believed that the kund has medicinal values and can cure allergies of the people. All the devotees take holy dip in the natural hot water with unknown people and unloosening the gap between them.
Brahma Kapal: Brahma Kapal is a place where hindus performs propitiating rites for their deceased ancestors. Brahma Kapal is a flat platform on the bank of river Alaknanda with several pundits sitting.
Neelkanth: Neelkanth peak is dedicated to Lord Shiva situated above the Badrinath Temple. The cliff of the peak is the first places where the sun castes its sunlight in the nearby area. Neelkanth is a Pyramidal-shaped snowy peak and if you carefully observe its cliff then you can see as if Lord Shiva is sitting looking at the sky. Neelkanth peak is situated at an elevation of 6,560mts above sea level.
Mata Murti Temple: Mata Murti Temple is dedicated to the mother of Shri Badrinathji. According to mythology Mata Murti prayed Lord Vishnu to take his next avatar by coming out from her womb. Lord Vishnu then happily agreed and came into world as twins, Nar and Narayan to kill a monster.
Mana: Mana is one of the last villages of India as it is very close to Tibet border. ITBP have set their camp above Mana where you have to go with permission. Most of the tourists who visit Badrinath also come to Mana to see the glimpse of the end of the road. Mana is inhabited by Indo-Mongolian tribes often called as bhotias. Mana is situated 3kms from Badrinath.
Bheem Pul: Bheem Pul is an adventurous place with great mythological importance. This is the place where Bheem threw a big massif rock to make a path joining two mountains so that Draupadi could walk easily on it.
Vyas Cave: Vyas Gufa or Vyas Cave is the place from where Ved Vyas dictated entire Mahabharata to God Ganesha so that he could write.
Ganesha Cave: Ganesha Cave is the natural cave where he wrote Mahabharata as dictated by Ved Vyas from Vyas Gufa.
What to do in Badrinath
Badrinath is a holy town where you could wash your sins by visiting the divine Badrinath Temple of Lord Shiva. You can trek to the foot of Neelkanth, Mana, Bheem Pul. Visit Mata Murti Temple dedicated to the mother of Badrinath. Badrinath is a perfect place where you can show your photography skills. You can enjoy Skiing and paragliding at Auli. Carry raincoats with yourself as the weather is unpredictable there. Do bring back all the polythene bags if you took some of them while trekking as throwing them anywhere would harm the beauty of such a heavenly place.
Excursions from Badrinath
Vasudhara Falls: Vasudhara Falls is a short and easy Trek of four kilometers from Mana Village. Vasudhara falls is 400 feet high and it is set at an elevation of 12,000feet above sea level. It is believed that if the scattered drops of the waterfall don’t falls on the sinners. If you see the waterfall from distance it will look like as if milk is falling from the mountain.
Satopanth: Satopanth is the source of the Alaknanda River situated 25kms from Badrinath. Satopanth is the place which leads the path to Swargarohini peak from where Yudhishthir and the dog were sent to heaven according to the Mahabharata. The trek to Satopanth is moderate and there are no villages and rest houses, people generally sleep in caves and tents here.
Valley of Flowers: Valley of Flowers National Park can be reached by a trek of 16km from Govind Ghat. It is nestled in the west Himalayas covering an area of 87.50sqkms. The valley is entirely covered with the sheets of snow during winters and the flowers bloom here from June to October only. This place is rich in varied and unique flora and fauna. Valley of flowers national park is the home of many endangered animals like brown bear, black Asiatic bear, blue sheep and snow leopard. The valley of flowers was declared as the national park in the year 1982 and it is now a world heritage site. The valley of flowers is situated in the Chamoli district of Uttarakhand state. The virgin beauty of this valley lures the botanists, nature lovers and adventure lovers.
Joshimath: Joshimath is one of the four ‘math’ created by Adi Shankaracharya. Joshimath is the home of Shri Badrinath during winters. Joshimath is connected with a cable car upto Auli and this is the longest and highest trolley of Asia.
Auli: Auli is popular for adventure sports like skiing and paragliding affording splendid scenic vistas of the gigantic Himalayan peaks. Auli is the end point of the Asia’s highest and longest trolley. Auli will be hosting SAF winter games in 2010.
Accomodations Hotels in Badrinath
Park Inn, Sarovar Portico, Hotel Narayan Palace and Camp Ghangharia are good options to stay at Badrinath as they are luxury hotels. GMVN tourist rest house is a government rest house with good facilities. Panchali tourist rest house is a budget hotel. Ashrams are also there in Badrinath.
Best time to visit Badrinath
Badrinath can be best visited anytime from May to October except the monsoon months as the route becomes slippery and there are chances of land sliding. Road to Badrinath is closed during winter months as the area is prone to heavy snowfall. Do carry woolens with you as the place is freezing during night.
How to reach Badrinath
By Road: Badrinath is very well connected with Delhi, Rishikesh, Dehradun, Haridwar and other hill stations of Garhwal making it easy to explore other places as well. Badrinath is connected with NH58. There are regular buses and taxis operating to Badrinath.
By Rail: Nearest Railway stations are Rishikesh and Kotdwar. Where Rishikesh is 300kms away and Kotdwar is 328kms away.
By Air: The nearest Airport is Jolly Grant near Dehradun situated 317kms away.