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| Last Updated:: 17/10/2018










Situated on the right banks of the river Alakananda in the northern province of  Uttarakhand, Badrinath town is couched within the two mountain ranges of Nar and Narayan, with the Neelkanth peak on the background. This breathtaking sight is itself an enchantment for tourists and is called the "Garhwal Queen." It is located in the northern district of Chamoli and the nearest cities are Rishikesh, Mussourie and Dehradun. The town gets its name from the temple of Badrinath. 



The etymological root for the name of the town goes to the Badri Van, where the lush green Badri trees grow. According to a local myth, the word badri is derived from the wild berry that Lord Vishnu survived on during his reparation at Badri Van. 



It is one of the holy shrines of Char Dham pilgrimage in India. Other Char Dham sites include Dwarka, Puri and Rameswaram. It also belongs to the Chota Char Dham Yatra in Uttarakhand. Starting with Yamunotri, Gangotri and Kedarnath, Badrinath is the last and most celebrated stop in the pilgrimage tour of Garhwal Himalayas. 



Badrinath was re-established as a major pilgrimage site by Adi Shankara in the 7th century. In earlier days, pilgrims used to walk hundreds of miles to visit Badrinath temple. 








Badrinath being one of the most legendary Temples, it has numerous mythical tales associated with it. 



According to one mythological tale, Lord Vishnu had performed rigorous atonement at this place. During his intense meditation, he was unaware about the severe weather conditions. To protect him from the scorching heat of the sun, his spouse Goddess Lakshmi acquired the shape of Badri tree and spread over him. Witnessing this, Lord Vishnu was pleased by her devotion and hence he named the spot after her as Badrikashram. 



Badrinath Dham is also related to the tale of the two sons of Dharma, Nar and Narayana who wished to setup their hermitage and expand their religious base amidst the pious Himalayas. Going by the legends, during their quest to find a suitable place for their hermitage they led to a chanced discovery of the four sites of Panch Badri, namely Dhyan Badri, Yog Badri , Bridha Badri and Bhavishya Badri. Finally they came across a spot which was blessed with two fascinating cold and hot springs behind river Alaknanda. They were extremely overjoyed on finding this place and thus they named this place as Badri Vishal, this is how Badrinath came into being. 



Last but not the least, there is another great legendary tale, which is associated to Badrinath. Legends state that the holiest and curse reliever, river Ganges had granted the request of Bhagiratha, for relieving the humanity from the curse of sufferings and sins. While ascending to earth, the intensity of river Ganges was such that it could have immersed the entire earth under its waters. To release the earth from such unbearable consequences, Lord Shiva bore her onto his tresses and ultimately, the river Ganges got divided into twelve holy rivers and river Alaknanda, which flows past the sacred Badrinath Temple, was one of them. 



The mountains around Badrinath are mentioned in the Mahabharata, when the Pandavas were said to have expired one by one, when ascending the slopes of a peak in western Garhwal called Swargarohini. (literal meaning - the 'Ascent to Heaven'). The Pandavas passed through Badrinath and the town of Mana, on their way to Svarga (heaven). There is also a cave in Mana where Vyasa, according to legend, wrote the Mahabharata. 



This place is also considered holy in Jainism as well. 








The Badrinath temple is the main attraction in the town. According to legend Adi Shankara discovered a black stone image of Lord Badrinarayan made of Saligram stone in the Alaknanda River. He originally enshrined it in a cave near the Tapt Kund hot springs. In the sixteenth century, the King of Garhwal moved the murti to the present temple. 



The temple is approximately 50 ft (15 m) tall with a small cupola on top, covered with a gold gilt roof. The facade is built of stone, with arched windows. A broad stairway leads up to a tall arched gateway, which is the main entrance. The architecture resembles a Buddhist vihara (temple), with the brightly painted facade also more typical of Buddhist temples. Just inside is the mandapa, a large pillared hall that leads to the garbha griha, or main shrine area. The walls and pillars of the mandapa are covered with intricate carving. 



The temple is dedicated to Lord Vishnu of the Hindu trinity of Gods, who is seen in a meditative pose, surrounded by idols of other gods like Nar, Narayana, Narad, Ganesha, Garud and Kuber. In the winter season, the idol of Lord Badri is shifted to Yogadhyan Badri in Pandukeshwar (Chamoli district). 




Tapt Kund 




Just below the temple, there is a natural thermal spring which is believed to be infused with therapeutic properties. A dip in the holy and hot waters of the Kund is necessary before a devotee visits the sacred shrine of Badrinath. Near the Tapt Kund also lie five boulders which are, as per mythology, Narad, Narsingh, Varah, Garur and Markanday. 








Between two seasonal lakes, on the opposite bank of Alaknanda, there exists a big rock which gives the impression of Shesh Nag, the legendary snake of Lord Vishnu. The Sheshnetra has a natural mark which looks like an eye of the Shesh Nag. Located 1.5 km from the temple, the serpent is believed to be guarding the sacred shrine of Badrinath. 




Fairs & Festivals 




In the month of April is celebrated a traditional festival called Rali. There is a story behind the festival, which tells one of the supreme sacrifices by a girl called Rali who jumped into the river as she was married to a boy child, years younger to her. Today, of course, the festival is hosted by young girls and boys to 'obtain suitable husbands and wives'. It comprises of a series of fascinating rites such as dressing up of images of Rali and her child groom in bridal finery.