Cradled in the twin mountain ranges of Nar and Narayan is the holiest of the four main shrines, Badrinath along the left bank of river Alaknanda. With the splendid Neelkanth mountains as the backdrop, it is an important destination on the sacred itinerary of every devout Hindu. Once the spot was carpeted with ‘badris’ or wild berries and hence was famous as ‘Badri Van’.The revered shrine is still alive with myriad legends from mythology. Its sanctity is emphasised in the ancient scriptures as " There are many sacred spots of pilgrimage in the heavens, earth and the nether world, but there has been none equal to Badri, nor shall there be".Legend has it, when the Ganga was requested to descend to earth to help suffering humanity, the earth was unable to withstand the force of its descent. Therefore the mighty Ganga was split into twelve holy channels. Alaknanda was one of them that later became the abode of Lord Vishnu or Badrinath.The temple of Shri Badrinathji on the banks of the Alaknanda river, dates back to the vedic times. Situated at an altitude of 3,133 mts., the present temple is believed to have been built by Adi Guru Shankaracharya - an 8th century’s philosopher-saint, who also established a ‘math’ here. Also known as ‘Vishal Badri’, Badrinath is one of the Panch Badris.The temple remains closed during the winter season and is open from April-May to October- November.
Guarded on either side by the two mountains Nar and Narayan, the Neelkanth Peak provides a splendid backdrop to Badrinath, one of the ‘Four Dhams’. One of the most celebrated pilgrim spots in the country, it plays host to the famous Badrinath Temple. Legend has it that Lord Vishnu came to the area, called ‘Badri Van’, or the berry garden, to meditate after Narad rebuked the Lord for being immersed in worldly pleasures. The main deity is a meditating Lord Vishnu.
Facing the temple at the bank of Alaknanda River is a hot water spring known as "Tapt Kund", a bath in which is very refreshing to all travellers. Dedicated to Lord Vishnu, the temple of Shri Badrinathji, is 5 m high, built in the form of a cone with a small cupola of a gilt bull and spire. The temple opens every year in the month of April-May and closes for winters in the third week of November. Even though legend dates the temple back to the Vedic age, Guru Adi Shankaracharya has established the present temple. The temple has three parts - Garbha Grih (The Sanctum Sanctorum), Darshan Mandap (for pujas) and Sabha Mandap (for devotees to assemble).
Sandwiched between Nar and Narayan mountain ranges, Badrinath in the Chamoli district of Uttarakhand is naturally bestowed with pristine surroundings. One among the most sought after pilgrim centres in the Indian subcontinent, Badrinath is beautifully set in the backdrop of the colossal Neelkanth mountain peak. The term Badrinath is a derivative of badri, which means the place where beries grow abundantly. A place, which holds so many myths and legends, Badrinath acquires predominance in the travel itinerary of a pilgrim. The popular belief is that Badarinath was the domain of Lord Shiva, and Lord Vishnu managed to unseat Shiva from here to Kedarnath. Another belief is that when Ganga made her descend to earth she split up in to twelve streams and one among the channels, Alakananda felt on Kedarnath. Sanctity and holiness of Badrinath festooned it with accolades since from the Vedic ages. This sacred abode of Nara-Narayana sages had been a revered seat and the Vedas like Srimad Bhagavatam, gave testimony to its devoutness.
It is not just shrines and pilgrimage that Badrinath offers. It proffers the awesome beauty of the snow clad mountain peaks and the surging landscapes of the Garhwal region. It is a scenic place with picture book sceneries, undulating peaks, sacred ponds and water bodies, Badrinath makes the visitor spellbound with its unparalleled gorgeousness. This majestic look of Badrinath is attributed much by the presence of the magnificent rivers Rishi Ganga and Alaknanda. Apart from the natural beauty, Badrinath presents excellent opportunity for those who love escapades and recreational activities.
By Air : Jolly Grant Airport is the nearest Airport to Badrinath situated at a distance of 314kms. Jolly Grant Airport is well connected to Delhi with daily flights. Badrinath is well connected by motorable roads with Jolly Grant Airport. Taxis are available from Jolly Grant Airport to Badrinath.
By Rail : The nearest railway station to Badrinath is Rishikesh. Rishikesh railway station is situated 295kms before Badrinath on NH58. Rishikesh is well connected by railway networks with major destinations of India. Trains to Rishikesh are frequent. Badrinath is well connected by motorable roads with Rishikesh. Taxis and buses are available from Rishikesh, Srinagar, Rudraprayag, Chamoli, Joshimath and many other destinations to Badrinath.
By Road : Badrinath is well connected by motorable roads with major destinations of Uttarakhand state. Buses to Haridwar, Rishikesh and Srinagar are available from ISBT Kashmiri Gate. Buses and Taxis to Badrinath are easily available from major destinations of Uttarakhand state like Dehradun, Haridwar, Rishikesh, Pauri, Rudraprayag, Karnaprayag, Ukhimath, Srinagar, Chamoli etc. Badrinath is connected with Ghaziabad by National Highway 58.
Badrinath Temple : Badrinath is the most sacred Dham of India. It is located at an elevation of 3,133mts above sea level in the Chamoli district of Uttarakhand state. This Dham was established by Adi Shankaracharya in the 9th century. The deity of Badrinath temple is Lord Vishnu. The temple is situated on the right bank of the holy Alaknanda River. The colorful ‘Singh-Dwara’ at the entrance is very artistic creation. Every year millions of tourists and devotees visit this sacred place from May to October month. The temple remains closed during winter months as the region is prone to heavy snowfall.
TaptKund : Tapt Kund is a natural thermal spring where the devotees take a holy dip as it is very important to take a bath before visiting a temple. 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 together with unknown people. The people may be unknown to each other but their purpose of visit is same, i.e. to worship in the sacred Badrinath Dham.
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. You can see several pundits sitting with ‘pooja samagri’.
Neelkanth : Situated above the Badrinath Temple, Neelkanth peak is named after Lord Shiva. The cliff of the peak is the first place where the sun castes its crimson rays. 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. Numerous Brahmakal can be seen at the foot of Neelkanth Peak and the trekking route of 6km can be achieved easily.
Mata Murti Temple : Situated 3kms from Badrinath, Mata Murti Temple is dedicated to the mother of Lord Narayan. 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. Every year a fair is held in the month of August at Mata Murti Temple.
Charanpaduka : Situated 3km above Badrinath Temple lies a beautiful meadow carpeted with wild flowers in the summers. A boulder bearing the footprints of Lord Vishnu is located here known as Charanpaduka. It is said that when Lord Vishnu descended from Vaikunth he stepped on this boulder. The area is a steep climb from the town and is full of caves & boulders. This path leads you to the foot of Neelkanth peak where you can find several Brahmakamals.
Narad Kund : Located near Tapt Kund, this kund is believed to be the recovery source of the Badarinath idol. The hot water springs comes out from beneath the Garur Shila and falls into a tank. Darshan of Badarinath is always preceded by a holy dip in this kund. Apart from that there are many other hot water springs. Devotees take a dip in them for their religious and medicinal value.
Mana : Mana is very close to Tibet border and it is one of the last villages of India. Most of the tourists who visit Badrinath also come to see the end of the road at Mana. Mana is inhabited by Indo-Mongolian tribes often called as bhotias. Mana is situated 3kms from Badrinath.
Bheem Pul : Bheem Pul is an enthralling and adventurous place with 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. Saraswati River is coming from between the mountain with immense force to merge with the water of Alanknanda River.
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. Ved Vyas also meditated in this cave
Ganesha Cave : Ganesha Cave is the natural cave where he wrote Mahabharata as dictated by Ved Vyas from Vyas Gufa.
Sheshnetre : On the opposite bank of the river Alaknanda, in the lap of Nar Parvat, there are two small seasonal lakes. Between these lakes is a boulder having an impression of the legendary snake, Sheshnag. The formation of eye on the boulder is natural.
Panch Dharas & Panch Shilas : The Panch Dharas (five streams) which are famous in Badaripuri are Prahlad, Kurma, Bhrigu, Urvashi & Indira dhara. The most striking of these is the Indira dhara, about 1.5 km north of the town Badaripuri. Around the Tapt Kund there are five blocks of mythological importance called Narad, Narsimh, Barah, Garur & Markandeya Shilas (stone)
Alka Puri (15 kms.) : The source of Alaknanda river from the glacier snouts of Bhagirath - Kharak and Satopanth glaciers.
Valley of Flowers (42 kms.) : An exotic valley in a conical shape lies to the east of Badrinath with river Pushpawati flowing through it. The valley that is presently a national park, is 19kms. trek from Govindghat. A must-see for all nature lovers.
Hemkund Sahib ( 43 kms.) : Near the Valley of Flowers is the holy lake Hemkund - an important pilgrimage of the Sikhs and Hindus. Along its shores is the sacred Sikh Shrine where Guru Gobind Singh, the tenth Guru unified with God after prolonged meditation in his previous birth.Nearby is the Lakshman Temple where Lakshman - the brother of Lord Rama performed his penance.The reflection of surrounding snow-clad peaks in its placid waters offers a scenic sight.
Satopanth ( 25 kms.) : A three cornered lake with a circumference of about 1 km, situated at an elevation of 4,402 mts. above sea level. It is named after the Hindu triad - Brahma, Vishnu and Mahesh, who are believed to occupy one corner each of the lake. The trek is hazardous with dramatic landscapes. An experienced guide is advisable.
Govindghat ( 25 kms.) : The confluence of Alaknanda and Lakshman Ganga rivers. It has an imposing Gurudwara named after Guru Gobind Singh.
Joshimath ( 44 km.) : The winter home of Shri Badrinathji is situated on the slopes above the confluence of Alaknanda and Dhauliganga. It is one of the four ‘maths’ established by Adi Guru Shankaracharya.
Auli ( 57 kms.) : An ideal Aki resort in the Garhwal Himalayas with its slopes comparable to the best in the world. Perched at an elevation of 2,500-3,050 mts, Auli not only offers a magnificent view of the Himalayan ranges but is a delight for winter sports enthusiasts.
Pipalkoti ( 80 kms.) ; A scenic spot amidst snow-clad peaks.
Chamoli ( 10 kms.) : From Gopeshwar on Badrinath highway is the tiny mountain retreat that attracts visitors for its verdant landscapes and fresh mountain air.
Panch Prayag : The five important confluences - Deoprayag, Nandprayag, Rudraprayag, Karnaprayag and Vishnuprayag, form the Panch Prayag .
Deoprayag : The confluence of Alaknanda and Bhagirathi rivers. Ancient stone scriptures are found here. Important pilgrim spots are Shiv Temple and Raghunath Temple.
Rudraprayag : The confluence of Alaknanda and Mandakini rivers. The temples of Rudranath and Chamunda Devi are noteworthy.
Nandprayag : The confluence of Alaknanda and Mandakini rivers. The Gopalji Temple is worth a visit.
Karnaprayag : The confluence of Alaknanda and Pindar rivers with temples of Uma and Karna .
Vishnuprayag : The confluence of Alaknanda and Dhauliganga rivers. An ancient temple of Lord Vishnu stands here by a pool called Vishnu Kund.
Srinagar ( 192 kms.) : The old capital of Garhwal, it is an important cultural and educational centre. Places to visit include Kamleshwar and Kilkileshwar temples and the Shankar Math.
Panch Badris : Badrinath, Yogadhyan Badri, Bhavishya Badri, Bridha Badri, Adi Badri form the panch badris, situated in the valleys along the Alaknanda river.
Yogadhyan Badri ( 24 kms.) : Located at Pandukeshwar on Rishikesh-Badrinath highway. The image here in a meditative posture, is worshipped at Badrinath. According to the myth, the Pandavas handed over Hastinapur to King Parikshit and retired here.
Bhavishya Badri ( 69 kms.) : Located at an elevation of 2,744 mts., the temple is surrounded by dense forests. Nearby is the picturesque Tapovan valley famous for sulphurous hot springs. Traditionally it is believed that a day will come when the present route to Badrinath will be inaccessible and Lord Badrinath will be worshipped here and hence the name Bhavishya Badri meaning Badri of the future.
Bridha Badri ( 52 kms.) : 7 kms. from Joshimath is Animath. It is believed that Badrinath or Lord Vishnu was worshipped here before the enshrinement of Badrinath by Adi Guru Shankaracharya. The temple is open throughout the year.
Adi Badri ( 146 kms.) : 17 kms. from Karnaprayag on the Karnaprayag-Ranikhet road, Adi Badri has 16 small temples. Seven of them, having flat roofs, belong to the Gupta period. In the main temple of Narayan, a 1 metre high idol of Lord Vishnu in black stone is enshrined on a raised platform in pyramidal form.