Joshimath is one of the four ‘math’ – ‘monastery’ created by Adi Shankaracharya. The roads to Badrinath gets closed in winters and you can only reach upto Joshimath. Joshimath is the home of Shri Badrinath during winters. Joshimath is situated at an elevation of 1890mts above sea level on NH58. Joshimath is connected with a 4km cable car upto Auli making it the longest and highest trolley of Asia. Joshimath is the also the home of the oldest tree of India, Kalpavriksha which is stood at Joshimath from the time of Adi Shankaracharya. Joshimath is also called as Jyotirmath. The average literacy rate of Joshimath is 77% which is way higher than the literacy rate of India. Famous places like Badrinath temple, Hemkund Saheb, Vakkey of Flowers, Auli etc. are not too far from Joshimath. Joshimath is a traveler’s delight and devotees temple as well. The view of the Hathi Parbat (Elephant Mountain) is mystic. Joshimath offers splendors of scenic vistas making it an immortable experience.
Location of Joshimath
Joshimath is situated at an elevation of 1890mts above sea level on NH58 which is connecting Badrinath. Joshimath is located in the Chamoli district of Uttarakhand state. The distance from Delhi to Joshimath is 492kms which can be covered in 15hours drive. Joshimath is 47kms before the sacred Badrinath Temple.
Places to see in Joshimath
Kalpavriksha: It is a forgotten tree which holds unmatchable and uncomparable significance. It is the oldest tree of India with an age of more than 1200 years. The great explorer Adi Shankaracharyaused to meditate in the shades of this beautiful tree and the cave where he lived is also here. The circumference of this mulberry tree is 21.5mts. The tree is now only able to bear flowers and not fruits, but the leaves are still young and fresh of this historic tree. Millions of people visit Badrinath every year unknowingly that the tree they pass through is about the same age as the Badrinath temple is.
Narsingh Temple: Narsingh is one of the avatar’s of Lord Vishnu. There is a temple dedicated to Nasringh Devta at Joshimath which is the home of Shri Badrinathji in winters. The statue of God Narsingh is shrinking day by day and it is said that the day when it will fall, the route to Badrinath will get closed permanently by a major land slide.
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 which commences from Joshimath. Auli is an ideal spot for skiers in winters as the region receives heavy snowfall. Auli will be hosting SAF winter games in 2010. Auli is also connected with motorable roads and it is situated 13kms from Joshimath.
What to do in Joshimath
Enjoy the unforgettable cable car experience from Joshimath to Auli. This Cable Car covers a distance of 4kms making it the highest and longest trolley of Asia. Enhance your photography skills. Travel to nearby pictersque excursions. Visit the ancient temples of the place which holds great religious importance. Visit the oldest tree of India, Kalpavriksha tree which is not given enough importance even after its unmatchable significance. Do not throw plastic bags on the road and do carry rain coats.
Excursions from Joshimath
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.
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 and 50kms from Joshimath
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. This sacred shrine is situated 47kms from Joshimath.
Hemkund Sahib: Hemkund Saheb is the place where Guru Govind Singhji, the tenth Guru of the Sikhs mediated for years. The word Hemkund means 'Lake of snow', the water of this lake is as cold as snow and the water is pristine. Devotees take holy dip in the sacred water of this lake. Hemkund Saheb is nestled at an altitude of 4329mts above sea level amidst several snow clad peaks, which are collectively called Hemkund Parvat. Along with the sacred star shaped gurudwara near the lake, a temple dedicated to Lord Lakshman is also located here. To reach Hemkund Saheb one must complete a trek of 19km starting from from Govindghat. The best time to visit this place is from July to November.
Gopeshwar: The view of Gopeshwar from Chamoli is very picturesque. The town of Gopehswar is the administrative headquarters of the Chamoli district. There are many ancient temples here with great religious importance. The main attractions are the ancient temple of Lord Shiva, Vaitarni Kund and the splendid views of the Himalayas. It is situated 60kms from Joshimath.
Chopta: Chopta is popularly known as Mini Switzerland or the Switzerland of India. The number of tourists visiting Chopta has increased in recent years. Tungnath the highest temple of Lord Shiva is only 3.5kms away from here which should be covered on foot. Chopta is situated 105kms from Joshimath.
Accomodations Hotels in Joshimath
Joshimath is a stopover place to Badrinath and there are many hotels here. Hotel Snow Crest, Dronagiri hotel, GMVN Tourist Bungalow, Hotel Mount View, The CharDham Camp, Kamet Hotel are some places where you can make a comfortable stay with good facilities. Other budget resorts and lodges are also available at Joshimath.
Best time to visit Joshimath
The climate of Joshimath remains cold for most of the year and even in summers. The area receives heavy snowfall during winters and one cannot proceed further from Joshimath during this period. The weather of Joshimath is pleasant and salubrious during summers. Do carry woolens if you are planning a visit to Joshimath during summers and and heavy woolens if you are planning a visit in winters. Avoid this place in monsoons as the weather at such altitudes is quite unpredictable. There are chances of road blocks due to land slides. Even though the greenery of this place is tempting and luring, people usually don’t visit this place during monsoon months.
How to reach Joshimath
By Air: The nearest airport to Joshimath is Jolly Grantis situated in Dehradun district. Jolly Grant is located 272kms from Joshimath. Taxis are easily available from Jolly Grant Airport.
By Rail: The nearest railway stations to Joshimath are Rishikesh and Kotdwar situated at a distance of 250kms and 279kms respectively. Buses and taxis are available to Joshimath or nearby areas from Rishikesh and Kotdwar.
By Road: Joshimath is well connected with motorable roads. The distance from Delhi to Joshimath is 492kms which can be covered in 15 hours of time. Joshimath is situated on NH58 connecting Badrinath. Buses and taxis are available to Joshimath from various destinations of Uttarakhand.