Cradled in the Nar-Narayan mountain ranges with the grand Neelkanth peak forming an enchanting backdrop, Badrinath is among the holiest of Hindu pilgrimages. It is located on the left bank of river Alaknanda in Chamoli district of Uttarakhand. Badrinath along with Yamunotri, Gangotri and Kedarnath form the Chota Char Dham, among the important pilgrimages for Hindus.
Though legend dates the Badrinath temple prior to the Vedic age, the present temple is believed to have been established by saint-philosopher Adi Shankaracharya. Chota Char Dham is often confused with the Char Dham (four abodes or centres of pilgrimage) pilgrimage necessary for Hindus to perform in their lifetime. Badrinath temple along with the temples at Puri, Dwarka and Rameshwaram form the Char Dhams. Nowadays, the Himalayan temple circuit is often referred as Char Dham.
Badrinath, at 3133 metres, remains snowbound for over six months. During the period, the temple remains closed and Lord Badrinath is shifted to Joshimath; one of the four “Maths” (monasteries) established by Shankaracharya. Gangotri, Yamunotri and Kedarnath temples also close at the same time.
Though road access to Badrinath has improved, safety is a major concern. Landslides and bus/jeep accidents are a regular occurrence. The road to Badrinath remains crowded as the route is also the way route to Hemkund Sahib, an important Sikh pilgrimage site. All motorized transport from Joshimath is obliged to move in convoys and the road is closed at night. The route to Badarinath is very fascinating with hilly terrain, hairpin bends and scenic Himalyan vistas. Hot water springs are among the natural wonders at Badrinath. Devprayag, Rudraprayag, Karnaprayag, Nandaprayag, Vishnuprayag and Pandukeswar are among the other pilgrimage sites on the route to Badarinath.
In and Around
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 temple and the town is a riot of colours and the colourful ‘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.
Devotees take a holy dip in the natural thermal springs on the banks of the river Alaknanda , before entering the Badrinath Temple. The water of the Kund is believed to have medicinal properties.
A pyramidal-shaped snowy peak towering above Badrinath, Popularly known as the `Garhwal Queen`.
The footprints of Lord Vishnu can be seen on a boulder in this beautiful meadow.
A flat platform on the bank of river Alaknanda where Hindus perform
A boulder having an impression of the legendary serpant- known as Sheshnag’s eye.
Near the Valley of flowers is the holy lake Hemkund- an important pilgrimage of theSikhs 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.
Mata Murti Temple
On the right bank of alaknana stands the temple dedicated to the mother of sri Badrinathji.
Inhabited by Indo-Mangolian tribe, it is considered to be the last indian village before Tibet. On this route, nearby are Vyas Gufa-the rock cave of saint Ved Vyas, the writer of Mahabharata. Bhim Pul- a natural bridge over the Saraswati river and
Vasundhara Falls- a 122 mts. high waterfall – forming an important part of the pilgrimage to Badrinath.
The source of alaknanda river from the glacier snouts of Bhagirath-kharak and satopanth glaciers.
A three cornered lake with a circumference of about 1 km., is situated at an elevation of 4,402 mts. above sea level. It is named after the Hindu triad – Brahma, Vishnu and Mahesh, who are blieved to occupy one corner each of the lake. The trek is hazardous with dramatic lanscapes. An experienced guide is advisable.
The confluence of alaknanda and Lakshman Ganga rivers. It has an imposing Gurudwara named after Guru Gobind singh.
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’s established by adi guru shankaracharya.
An ideal shi resort in theGarhwal Himalayas with its slopes comparable to the best in the world. Perched at an elevation of 2,500 mts, auli not only offers a magnificent view of the Himalaya rqnges but is a delight for winter sports enthusiasts.
Valley of Flowers
An exotice 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 19 kms. trek from govindghat. A must- see for all natural lovers.
A scenic spot amidst snow- clad peaks.
From Gopeshwar to Badrinath highway is the tiny mountain retreat that attracts visitors for its verdant landscap3s and fresh mountain air.
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.
April to November is considered best for Badrinath visit.
How to Reach
Jolly Grant Airport in Dehradun is the nearest domestic airport, located 317 km away. Nearest international airport is New Delhi.
The nearest railway station is Dehradun Junction. One can always opt for a taxi or a other public means to reach the destination.
The roads of Badrinath are decently connected with the neighbouring places. Buses and taxis are easily available to reach the destination from places like Uttarakhand, Gaziabad and Srinagar.
Stay / Eat
Where to Stay
There are several ashrams in Badrinath which offer accomodation. Ashrams are quite cheap and also provide food at minimal costs. Tourists are allowed to pitch their own tents and one can get ready-made tents from local shops. However, it is advisable to stay in hotels that provide easy access to the temple and main parts of the town.
Sarovar Portico Badrinath
Plot No. 834, Chamoli District,
Badrinath, Uttarakhand 246422
Narayan Palace Hotel
Near Bus Stand, Badrinath Dham,
NH-58, Badrinath, Uttarakhand 246422
Where to Eat
Only vegetarian food is availed in this pilgrim destination. There is a permit to serve non-vegetarian food till Rishikesh and after that one will get only vegetarian food. Hotels in Badrinath are decent and one should not expect deluxe hotels. The services of Badrinath are seasonal and so there is hardly anything available off-season.