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Location : Right Bank River Alaknanda
Altitude : 3,133 mt. above Sea-Level
Dedicated To : Lord Vishnu
Built In : 8th Century A.D
The holy city of the Hindus Badrinath is situated in Uttarakhand. Located in Chamori district, Badrinath is considered as the most important religious center among the Char Dham in Uttarakhand. The town is amidst the verdant surroundings of Garhwal Hills. The view of Alakananda River flowing beside the hills is a soul capturing one as one sets off for the virtuous land of Badrinath.
Prime Tourist Attractions :
Badrinath Temple : The temple of Badrinath is perched at a lofty height of 3133 m above sea level and thus reaching this place is an adventurous journey. The temple is dedicated to Lord Vishnu and the shape of the Temple displays a quaint shape of a cone. The cone shaped structure consists of a cupola of gilded bull and spire.
The legendary temple of Badrinath was founded by Shankaracharya, a well known Hindu reformist during the 8th century. Since its establishment, the temple has been damaged several times by avalanches and thus has gone through renovation work many times. The present look of the temple with a Singh Dwara or Main entrance looks very different from the original construction of Badrinath temple.
The temple can be divided into three distinct parts namely, the inner sanctum or Garbha Griha, the platform where pujas are held or Darshan Mandap and an open area for the devotees to assemble. The complex of temples within Badrinath has 15 idols all carved neatly in black stone. The main idol of Vishnu is a meter high.
Oral History explains that the idol of Badrinath was thrown into the water of Alakananda River during the Buddhist era and later it was retrieved by the famous reformist Shankaracharya and then it was reinstalled in the temple of Badrinath.
Although the temple is basically for Hindu devotees to offer their oblations, yet, surprisingly the temple attracts visitors of all sects and religion.
The temple of Badrtinath becomes an intriguing issue for the spectators as the temple is surrounded by several interesting places all of which has a history.
Tapt Kund :
Tapt Kund is a hot spring located in the banks of river Alakananda. It is mandatory for the devotees who have come to visit to Badrinath temple to take a bath in this stream before entering the temple.
Narad Kund :
This is a small recess of Alakananda river, which forms a small pool. The image of Lord Badrinath was recovered from this place.
Brahma kamal :
This is an even platform beside the river where Hindus perform the last rites of their deceased relatives.
Just one and a half kilometers away from Badrinath temple, the impression of Sheshnag can be seen on a boulder. The impression is known as the legendary snake’s eye or “Sheshnag ki Anshu”.
Legends say that this place was once visited by Lord Vishnu. Impressions on rocks at Charanpaduka are supposed to be the foot prints of Lord Vishnu.
This is the most vibrant scene that fascinates the visitors of Badrinath temple. Neelkantha is commonly referred as Garhwal Queen and looks dramatic as the pyramid shaped hill is graced with sunlight in the morning.
The city of Badrinath might be a major place to attract most of the tourists and devotees. But the city has more places to see apart from Badrinath. A detour to these places on your way back from Badrinath can make your journey an excellent tour.
Other places in Badrinath :
Yogadhyan Badri :
This temple is not as much celebrated as the temple of Badrinath. However, this place which lies on the Rishikesh-Badrinath highway has an interesting myth. It is believed that the Pandavas of Mahabharata handed the charge of their kingdom Hastinapur to King Parikshit and retired from their duties.
Bhavishya Badri :
This temple has been placed strategically at an altitude of 2,744 mt. and it is surrounded by thick forests. The temple can be accessed through the route of Joshimath-Lata-Malari and pilgrims need to trek the route in order to reach this temple. While trekking the route the breathtaking view of the Tapovan valley invariably makes trekkers wait for a while and the pleasure in watching the valley. There is a traditional belief among the people of Badrinath that has led to the naming of this temple. It is assumed that a time will come in future when the route to Badrinath temple cannot be accessed. During then, worshipping Badrinath will be continued in the Bhavishya Badri temple. Hence the name the future of Badri or Bhavishya Badri has been given to the temple.
Bridha Badri :
This temple lies on the route that leads from Rishikesh to Badrinath. It is believed that Lord Vishnu was worshipped in this temple before finally being enshrined in Badrinath temple. This holy place stays open round the year giving pilgrims the scope to see the past adobe of Lord Vishnu. A short journey of 7 kms from Joshimata can lead you to this temple.
Adibadri is located in a place somewhat distant from the group of other four badris. This temple can be reached from karanprayag easily through the wide road that leads to Ranikhet city. The place has a huge cluster of temple that make a total of 16 temples. Among all these temples 7 have been assigned to Adi Shankaracharya which are characterized by flat roofs and believed to have been built during late Gupta period. The prime temple of Adibadri can be distinguished easily as it is placed atop a raised platform in pyramidal form. The idol of Lord Vishnu enshrined within the main temple is a meter long and is carved in black stone.
Excursion in Badrinath City :
The exotic land of Badrinath city opens avenues for the tourist to explore many eye catching places. Brief excursions to these places can make your Badrinath visit a memorable one.
Valley of flowers :
Lying to the east of Badrinath is an aesthetic valley teeming with flowers. The shape of the valley is conical and River Pushpawati flows through it. This naturally picturesque valley was discovered by Holdsworth and Frank Smith while they were returning from their expedition from Kamat. The beauty of the place is now restored by the State government and any kind of amusement like camping, picnic, cooking etc is prohibited in this valley which is now a National Park.
Mana Village :
This village is inhabited by Indo-Mongolian people and it is the last village within the frontiers of India, after which Tibet starts. The village has some distinguished caves that have been dedicated to some Hindu deities such as Ganesh Gufa, Vyas Gufa etc. Bhim Pul and Vasundhara Falls are two more features of Mana Village that attracts tourists.
Alka Puri :
You just need to travel 15 kms more from Mana village to explore the source of Alakananda River. The glaciers snout from where the river originates and can be seen clearly at Alka Puri. Native people assumes that the site was once home to Yakshas , Kuber and Gandharva.
Sato Panth :
The trek to the lake of Sato Panth is quite hazardous and trekkers are advised to take the help pf guides. The dramatic views on the way to the lake are plenty. The lake is peculiarly three cornered and it is named after the Hindu deities Brahma, Vishnu and Mahshwara. It is believed that the three deities reside at the three corners of the lake.
Hemkund Sahib :
This lake is situated beside the valley of flowers and is locked by seven snowcapped mountain peaks. The lake’s water is furnished by the glaciers of Hathi Parvat and Sapt Rishi and a small stream named Himganga. The wonderful trek to this exotic land is worth availing to make a splendid journey.
This meadow is located just 15 km from Joshimath. It is perched at an extraordinary height of 2,500 - 3050 mt. During summers, Auli Bugyal invites several tourists for its clement weather. The place is an ultimate station for winter sports. At Auli, tourists enjoy regular skiing courses of different durations by trained coaches. Equipments for skiing, boarding and lodging facilities are readily provided by Garhwal Mandal Vikas Nigam.