Dham in Dham – Badrinath Dham
Badrinath Temple is the revered abode of Lord Vishnu, one of the holiest temples among the Char Dham pilgrimage places. Other dhams include Puri, Dwarka and Rameswaram.
Badrinath Temple is also known as Badrinarayan Temple. This holy place is located in Chamoli district of Uttarakhand state of our country (India). This holy place Gangotri, Yamunotri, Kedarnath and Badrinath are one of the four pilgrimage sites. These pilgrimage places are known as Char Dham.
Badrinath temple attracts a large number of pilgrims every year, hence it is considered an important center of religious pilgrimage in northern India.
Badrinath is the most famous and last stop of the pilgrimage to Garhwal Himalayas via Gangotri, Yamunotri and Kedarnath. The road to Badrinath Dham is quite easy and the Badrinath temple can be easily reached by walking. Mana, the last village of India, is situated at a distance of about 3 km from Badrinath, where the border of India ends and the border of Tibet begins.
Establishment of Badrinath Temple
Badrinath temple was established by Adi Shankaracharya. When he found the Saligram idol of Lord Badri submerged in water inside the river Alaknanda, he installed the idol of Lord Badri in a cave near Tapt Kund.
During the sixteenth century, the king of Garhwal built a temple to house the idol of the god. The length of the temple is about 50 feet (15 meters). There is a small dome at the top of the temple. The façade of the temple is made of stone, with bow-shaped windows. Outside the temple, a wide staircase leads to a high bow-shaped entrance, which is the main entrance to the temple.
The architecture of the temple resembles that of a Buddhist vihara (temple), with a brightly colored front. Just inside the temple, there is a huge pillared hall that leads to the sanctum sanctorum, or the main area. The walls and pillars of the temple are carved.
The idol of Lord Badri is shifted to Yogdhyana Badri place in Pandukeshwar (Chamoli district) during the winter season.
Stories related to Badrinath Dham
There are many mythological stories associated with the Badrinath temple. A famous legend – Lord Vishnu was in deep meditation and did not know the severe weather conditions there. To protect Lord Vishnu from the scorching sun of the sun, Goddess Lakshmi, the wife of Lord Vishnu, took the form of a Badri tree and spread the branches of the tree over him. Seeing this, Lord Vishnu was very pleased with the devotion of Goddess Lakshmi and named this place as Badrikashram.
Lord Narayan’s desire to meditate at Badrinath
Another legend is that, once Lord Shiva and Goddess Parvati were engaged in penance at Badrinath. Then Lord Vishnu came in the form of a small child and wept loudly and began to force his meditation. Seeing him crying, Goddess Parvati asked him the reason for his crying, then the boy replied that he wanted to meditate at this place (Badrinath). Seeing Lord Narayan in that child disguise, Lord Shiva and Goddess Parvati left that place (Badrinath) and went to Kedarnath.
Origin of Holy River Alaknanda
According to another legend, the most sacred river Ganges was ready to come to earth to free humans from sins and sufferings at the request of Bhagiratha. The intensity of the river Ganges when it came to earth was so strong that it could submerge the whole earth in its bottomless waters. To save the earth, Lord Shiva absorbed the river Ganges in his hair and eventually the river Ganges was divided into twelve holy rivers. The holy Alaknanda river flowing through the Badrinath temple was one of those rivers.
Story of Nar and Narayan
Dharma’s two sons, Nara and Narayan, wanted to establish their ashrams amidst the holy Himalayas and broaden their religious base. While searching for a suitable place for his ashram, he discovered Bridha Badri, Yog Badri, Dhyan Badri and Bhavishya Badri. At last they reached a place where there were two attractive (cold and hot) springs near the holy Alaknanda river. He was very happy to see this beautiful place and he named this place Badri Vishal. Thus Badrinath Dham came into existence.
Other Attractions of Badrinath Dham
Below the temple, there is a natural pool. Many medicinal properties are found in the water of this pool. Devotees take a dip in the holy and hot water of the Kund before entering the holy shrine of Lord Badrinath. Five boulders are also found near this Tapt Kund, which according to ancient legend are Maharishi Narada, Varaha, Garuda, Narasimha and Markandeya.
A huge stone (Shil) is present on the banks of the holy Alaknanda river in Brahmakapal, a place located about five hundred meters from Badrinath Dham, where Havan is performed and Pind Daan is performed in the Havan Kund for the salvation of the ancestors.
A steep rocky climb of about 3 kms from Badrinath will take you to Charanpaduka. Charanpaduka is a rock which is believed to be the footprints of Lord Vishnu when Lord Vishnu came to earth from Vaikuntha.
Neelkanth Peak is named after Lord Shiva, the height of this peak is about 6,597 meters. Being covered with snow, the beauty of the peak increases and it receives the first rays of the sun from its height.
On the opposite bank of the holy Alaknanda river, about 1.5 km from the Badrinath temple, lies a huge rock between two seasonal lakes, giving the impression of Sheshnag, the famous serpent of Lord Vishnu. A natural mark is present here, which looks like the eye of Sheshnag. It is believed that from here Sheshnag guards and guards the holy temple of Lord Badrinath.
Mata Murti Temple
This temple is situated on the banks of holy river Alaknanda at a distance of about 3 kms from Badrinath temple. This temple is believed to be the incarnation of Lord Vishnu as Nar and the mother of Narayan. It was her prayer that Lord Vishnu agreed to take birth from her womb. Every year, in the month of September, pilgrims come from far and wide to attend the Mata Murti ka Mela (fair).
Road to reach Badrinath Dham
The distance from Haridwar to Badrinath by road is about 315 kms. Way:-
Haridwar – Rishikesh – Devprayag – Srinagar – Rudraprayag – Karnprayag – Nandprayag – Chamoli – Garur Ganga – Joshimath – Vishnuprayag – Govindghat – Pandukeshwar – Hanumanchatti – Badrinath.
You will be able to reach Rishikesh by rail, you will have to decide the further route by road.
By plane you will reach Jolly Grant Airport, Dehradun, from where you will have to decide the further route by road.
Best time to Badrinath Dham Yatra
The best time to visit Badrinath is in the months of April/May to June and from September to October/November.
Traveling during monsoon time can lead to floods, landslides and other monsoon related problems. In winters the roads are closed due to extreme cold and snowfall.