Situated amidst the Nar and Narayan mountain ranges, the Badrinath temple in Chamoli, Uttarakhand is a place which offers spiritual solace. The journey to Badrinath allows you to experience the beautiful hilly terain and the scenic Himalayan vistas. Badrinath, located at an altitude of 3,133 metres above the sea level is the only temple which is a part of both, Main Char Dham of India and the Chhote Chaar Dham Yatra. According to an account, it is said that Adi Shankara established this as a pilgrimage site in the ninth century.
Story behind the name ‘Badrinath’
According to a legend, once Lord Vishnu was meditating at this place, unaware of the cold weather. Goddess Lakshmi, his consort saw him and protected him in the form of Badri tree (Jujube). Pleased by Laksmi’s devotion to him, Vishnu named the place Badrinath so that her name is taken before him and it became Badrinath (Nath means husband in Hindi).
Other significant places around Badrinath
1. Tapt Kund- Tapt Kund, situated below the temple is the holy hot water spring where devotees take a bath before entering the Badrinath temple. It is believed that the water of this kund has medicinal properties and these springs are known to be the home of Lord Agni, the Lord of fire.
2. Brahma Kapal- This is a flat platform on the banks of Alaknanda and is 2 kms away from Badrinath hills. It is believed that Lord Brahma exists at this place and if someone performs the rituals for the departed souls at Brahma Kapal, they get salvation from the cycle of birth and death.
3. Sheshnetra-It is a rock boulder with the impression of the Shesh Nag, the serpent on which Lord Vishnu rests. The imprints on the rock are natural and it is said that Sheshnetra guards the shrine of Badrinath.
4. Charanpaduka- It is a rock which holds the footprints of Lord Vishnu.
5. Neelkanth- Mount Neelkanth forms the backdrop of Badrinath.
6. Mata Murti temple- It is situated on the banks of the Alaknanda river, just 3 kms away from Badrinath.
7. Mana village- It is in the district of Chamoli near Badrinath. It is believed that the Pandavas had passed through Mana on their journey to heaven.
8. Vyas cave and Ganesha Guha –In the Vyas cave, Ved Vyas used to meditate. Ganesha Guha is the place where Lord Ganesha wrote the Mahabharata as directed by Ved Vyas.
9. Bhim Pul- It is a natural rock bridge. This was the place from where the Pandavas started their journey to heaven during which Draupadi wasn’t able to cross the river and that is when, Bhima lifted a huge rock and placed it.
10. Vasudhara Falls- These waterfalls are situated 5 kms away from the Mana village. According to a legend, it is said that the waterfalls turn away from those people who aren’t pure and clean at heart.
11. Lakshmi Ban-It is believed that Draupadi breathed her last here.
12. Satopanth Tal- This lake lies on the route taken by the Pandavas on their journey to heaven.
13. Alkapuri- Alkapuri is located at a distance of about 15 kms from Badrinath. It is near the Mana village and is believed to be the home of Gandharvas, Kuber and Yakshas.
14. Saraswati river- The origin of this river is in Badrinath.
15. Bamni village- There is a temple in this village dedicated to the nymph Urvashi.
The Badrinath temple opens every year in the month of April-May and closes for winters in November.