Where divinity meets the serenity of nature in the picturesque town of Badrinath. Located at a height of 3,133 meters in the Chamoli district of Uttarakhand, Lord Vishnu’s pre-eminent home is one of the holiest of the Char Dham pilgrimage holy shrines in India. Dwarka, Puri, and Rameswaram are additional Char Dham sites.
The pious land of Vishnu is also situated between Nar and Narayan peaks and belongs to the Chota Char Dham Yatra in Uttarakhand. Badrinath is the last and most celebrated stop on the pilgrimage tour of the Garhwal Himalayas, beginning with Yamunotri, Gangotri, and Kedarnath. Badrinath Dham is easily reached by motor roads, and a simple trek can be reached by walking to the Badrinath temple. The village of Mana, which is one of the last villages before the Indian border ends and that of Tibet starts, is approximately 3 km from Badrinath. The Neelkanth peak stands high, spreading its powerful aura to both pilgrims and travelers alike.
Badrinath is a land with countless stories, each of which only adds to this place’s glory. The snowy mountain tops, the gracefully flowing Alaknanda River, and incredible landscapes, along with these legends, establish the perfect context to encourage a spiritual connexion.
Badrinath Temple, Uttarakhand – Temple Facts
- In the Vedas, the Badrinath Temple is mentioned. Therefore, to any Hindu, it can be seen how old and how sacred this shrine is.
- This temple in that area is one of the ‘dhams’ of the Char Dham and is, thus, very sacred.
|Location||Chamoli district, Uttarakhand|
|Best time to visit||May-June and September-October.|
|Monday to Sunday04:30 am – 01:00 pm04:00 pm – 09:00 pm|
|Festivals||Janmashtami and Badri-Kedar festival|
Legend Behind The Badrinath Dham
One of the most legendary temples in Badrinath, with various mythical tales associated with it. Lord Vishnu performed robust atonement at this spot, according to one mythological story. He was unaware of the serious environmental conditions during his deep meditation. His spouse, Goddess Lakshmi, took the form of a Badri tree and stretched it over him to shield him from the scorching heat of the sun. Lord Vishnu was delighted with her dedication when he observed this and thus called the place after her as Badrikashram.
LORD NARAYANA’S DESIRE TO MEDITATE IN BADRINATH
Another tradition claims that Tapasya was once done in Badrinath by Lord Shiva and Goddess Parvati. It was then that Lord Vishnu arrived in disguise as a little boy and, weeping loudly, frightened them. Upon hearing the Goddesses Parvati asked him the explanation behind his mournful conduct, to which he replied that in Badrinath he wanted to meditate. On finding Lord Narayan in disguise, Shiva and Parvati left Badrinath and moved to Kedarnath.
TALE OF NAR AND NARAYANA
Badrinath Dham is also linked to the story of the two Dharma sons, Nar and Narayana, who wished to establish their hermitage amid the pious Himalayas and extend their religious base. Going by the stories, they led to the chance discovery of the four sites of Panch Badri, namely Dhyan Badri, Yog Badri, Bridha Badri, and Bhavishya Badri, during their journey to find a suitable location for their hermitage. Finally, behind the River Alaknanda, they came across a place blessed with two interesting cold and hot springs. They were incredibly delighted to discover this place and hence called this place as Badri Vishal, which is how Badrinath came into being.
PANDAVA’S ASCENT TO SWARGAROHINI VIA BADRINATH
It is also said that the Pandavas of the holy epic Mahabharata climbed north of Badrinath when on their way to heaven through ‘Swargarohini, popularly known as the ascent to heaven, and Mana city.
THE ORIGIN OF RIVER ALAKNANDA
Another great legendary story, which is synonymous with Badrinath, is last but not least. Legends claim that the Ganges River, the most sacred and curse reliever, had accepted Bhagiratha ‘s plea to rid mankind of the curse of suffering and sins. The power of the Ganges River was such that it may have engulfed the entire world under its waters as it ascended to the world. Lord Shiva bore it on his tresses to free the world from such intolerable effects, and finally, the river Ganges was split into twelve holy rivers and one of them was the river Alaknanda, which flows past the holiest temple of Badrinath.
History and Architecture of Badrinath
It is commonly believed that in the 9th century, Adi Shankara, a respected Indian scholar and saint who resurrected Hinduism by consolidating its principles into a doctrine known as Advaita Vedanta, founded the Badrinath temple. Some may claim that, because of its strikingly Buddhist architecture and brightly-colored facade, the temple already existed as a Buddhist temple.
It is however accepted that in the Alaknanda Dam, Adi Shankara found the temple’s fossilized black stone idol of Lord Vishnu (in the shape of Lord Badrinarayan). The idol is considered to be one of Lord Vishnu’s eight significant Svayam Vyakta Kshetras-idols that manifested on their own accord and was not created by anyone in India.
From 814 to 820, Adi Shankara resided at Badrinath temple. A Nambudiri Brahmin chief priest was also appointed there, from Kerala in South India, where he was born. Today, while the temple is in North India, the practice of bringing such a priest from Kerala continues. The priest, known as a Rawal, is selected by Garhwal and Travancore, the former rulers.
Since the 9th century, Badrinath temple has undergone various renovations and restorations, with its inner sanctum potentially being the only remaining original portion. In the 17th century, the kings of Garhwal enlarged the temple, giving it its present form. In the 18th century, Maratha queen Ahilyabai Holkar of Indore plated the spire in gold. The temple was destroyed by a major earthquake in the early 19th century and later restored by the royal family of Jaipur.
Timings of Badrinath temple
The Badrinath Temple hours are from 4:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. and every day from 4:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. Owing to harsh weather conditions, the temple is open for just 6 months a year. On the day of Akshaya Tritiya in May, the temple opens. It closes in November on the eve of Vijayadashami.
Here are the darshan timings and pooja timings for the Badrinath temple:
|Timings||4:30 am to 1:00 pm (Morning Darshan)4:00 pm to 9:00 pm (Evening Darshan)|
|Abhishekam||7:30 am to 12:00 pm|
|Shayana Aarti||10:30 pm to 11:00 pm|
|Poojas||Ved Path, Geeta Path, Akhand Jyoti|
Sevas and Poojas at Badrinath Temple
The self-manifested statue of Lord Vishnu is spiritually venerated. Twice a day, poojas and sevas are done at the temple. Here are the various kinds of sevas and poojas taking place inside the temple of Badrinath:
- Shrimad Bhagwat Saptah Path – It is a separate pooja which is done on request by the temple. This pooja has been going on for seven days and is in Lord Krishna’s name. In the Shrimad Bhagwat Katha, there are 18000 mantras. On the last day of the Pooja, a Yagya is done. Pooja gets rid of fear and misfortune in life by doing this.
- Vishnu Sahasranamam – It is a prayer that consists of Lord Vishnu’s 1000 names. Each name denotes Lord Vishnu’s numerous qualities.
- Ved Path – A recitation of verses from the four Vedas – Rig, Sam, Yajur, and Atharva.
- Geeta Path – The whole Shrimad Bhagavad Geeta is chanted in front of the deity.
- Akhand Jyoti – The temple is not for Vijaya Dasami pilgrims. The priests light a lamp on the last day, with special ghee brought from the village of Mana. This lamp will continue to glow for six months.
People will have darshan at the temple of Badrinath free of charge. A few special poojas or aartis can also be performed by devotees.
What are the festivals celebrated here?
Some of the festivals celebrated at Badrinath temple are:
- Badri-Kedar festival – Usually, the festival happens in June. To showcase their musical talent, artists from all over Uttarakhand assemble. They dedicate it to Vishnu the Lord and Shiva the Lord. For 8 days, this festival continues.
- Mata Murti Mela – Every September, Badrinath temple organizes a big fair. This day is a remembrance of the return of the River Ganga to the world. The day is in honor of Mata Murti, Nar & Narayana’s mother. Devotees also assume that the Ganga river was broken into 12 channels by her.
- Janmashtami – This festival is a celebration of Lord Krishna’s (Vishnu’s 8th avatar) birth. It occurs in September or August. On this day, devotees arrange many processions for Lord Krishna.
What are some of the temples nearby?
Some of the temples near Badrinath temple are:
- Adi Badri: It is the second one of the temples of ‘Sapt Badri.’ When the temple of Badrinath closes in winter, devotees worship Lord Vishnu in the temple of Adi Badri. The temple sanctum has an idol of Lord Vishnu that is 1 meter high. It was made from black marble.
- Vridha Badri: Among the ‘Sapt Badri’ temples, this is the seventh. The devotees claimed that before bringing him to the main temple, Adi Shankaracharya worshipped Badrinath here. Vridha Badri is a year-round temple that is open to pilgrims.
- Bhavishya Badri: Among the ‘Sapt Badri’ temples, this is the 4th. Lord Badri, it is said, would take up residency at the end of Kaliyuga in Bhavishya Badri. ‘Future Badri’ means the name of the house, meaning that it will be Lord Badri’s future home.
- Yogadhyan Badri: Among the ‘Sapt Badri’ temples, this is the sixth. The Pandavas were born here, as per legend, and Pandu attained moksha here. Yogadhyan Badri has an image of Lord Vishnu in bronze. Devotees claim this icon was installed by Pandu. The image depicts the meditation (dhyana) of Badri. Thus, the name of the sanctuary is known as ‘Yoga-dhyan’ Badri.
- Dhyan Badri: Among the ‘Sapt Badri’ temples, this is the sixth. It has an image that Urvashi founded by Lord Vishnu. This image of Vishnu, made of black stone, has four sides. It is in a meditative pose as well.
- Ardha Badri: Among the ‘Sapt Badri’ temples, this is the seventh. The statue of Lord Vishnu is smaller here in comparison to other temples.