The temple of shri badrinathji on the bank of the alaknanda river , dates back to 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.
Cradled in the twin montain ranges of nar and narayan is the holiest of the four main shrines , badrinath along the lift bank of the river alaknanda . With 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 the suffering humanity, the earth was unable to withstand the force of its descent . therefore the mighty ganga was split into twelve holy channesl . alanknanda was one of lord vishnu or badrinath.
The temple remains closed during the winter season and is open from April - May to October - November.
The temple’s was built by the Kings of Garhwal about two centuries ago.The temple has three sections - Garbhagriha (Sanctum), The Darshan Mandap, and Sabha Mandap. The Garbhagriha (Sanctum) houses Lord Badri Narayan, Kuber (God of wealth), Narad Rishi, Uthavar, Nar & Narayan.
Lord Badri Narayan (also called as Badri Vishal) is armed with Shankh (Conch) and Chakra in two arms in a lifted posture and two arms rested on the lap in Yogamudra.The principal image is of black stone and it represents Vishnu seated in meditative pose. The temple also houses Garuda (Vahana – vehicle of Lord Narayan) and Goddess Mahalaxmi. Also here are the idols of Adi Shankar, Swami Desikan and Shri Ramanujan Guru-Shisya parampara is supposed to have its roots here.The principal image is of black stone and it represents Vishnu seated in meditative pose. The temple also houses Garuda (Vahana – vehicle of Lord Narayan) and Goddess Mahalaxmi
Places to see in Badrinath:
The pilgrimage centre boasts of two natural hot water springs – Tapt Kund and Surya Kund. The sulphurous waters have a temperature of 55 oC. A bath in these springs is believed to purify the body and soul and is done before visiting the temple.
Vishal Badri: Refers to the main Shri Badri Narayan Temple and is considered to be the most sacred.
Yogathyan Badri: Located at a distance of 24 kms from Badri Nath and at 20 kms from Joshimath. This is also the place where Maharaj Pandu (father of the Pandava princes) prayed to Pandukeshwar.
Bhavishya Badri: This is located at 17 kms from Joshimath and is a small village.
Preetha Badri: Located at 17 kms from Joshimath at a place called Animath. Adi Shankar is believed to have worshipped Lord Badrinath here for some time.
Adi Badri: This is located at a distance of 16 kms from Karnaprayag. Several temples constructed during Gupt Dynasty are here of which Mana Narayanan temple is considered to be the most popular one.
Village Mana - Vyas Gufa: This village, located at a distance of 3 kms from Badri is the last Indian Village situated in the Indo-China Border and has gained historical importance on account of Vyas Caves. This village, located on the banks of River Saraswati (only place where this river can be seen) is very beautiful. Vyas Maharishi (Sage), author of Mahabharat is believed to have lived in the caves. These are named after him. It was in these caves, Vyas Maharishi composed the Mahabharata. This was done at the orders of his mentor Kalpatru Maharishi who appeared in his dream. Mahabharata depicts the history of Pandavs, Kauravs including Kurukshetra War and most importantly Bhagawad Gita authored by Krishna (reincarnation of Vishnu). Ganesh, the son of Shiv & Parvati, is said to have helped Vyas Maharishi in putting this epic in the written form, the beginning of education in written form. In addition to Mahabharat, Vyas Maharishi composed 18 puranas (legendary stories), Brahma Sutras and classified the Hindu Vedas into 4 parts – Rig, Yajur, Sama and Atharva. It is only in this cave that Adi Shankara is believed to have met Vyas Maharishi and discussed his Bhashyam (explanatory notes) for Brahma Sutras.
Rock formation inside the Vyas Gufa appears to resemble the orderly stacking of palm leave manuscripts – oldest writing material and is worshipped as Vyas Pusthak. Vyas Maharishi is also considered, by some, as reincarnation of Vishnu.
Another Cave called as Ganesh Guha (cave) is also located in this village.
Valley of Flowers:
One of the most idyllic valleys in the world, was discoverd by Frank S. Smythe, in 1931. The valley is profuse with a plethora of vibrant flowers, hence the name. Nearby, flows the river Pushpavati, while the massive Rataban peak forms a splendid backdrop.
Govindghat: Situated between Joshimath and Badrinath, Gobindghat is the starting point for the trek to the valley.
Lok-Pal Hemkund: One of the most famous Gurudwaras in India, Hemkund Sahib is located here, at an altitude of 4320 metres above sea level. Nearby, is the Lok-Pal Hemkund lake, with its crystal clear waters, and four peaks surrounding it.
Mata Murti Mandir: About 3 km from Badrinath, on the right bank of the Alaknanda stands this temple, dedicated to the mother of Shri Badrinath.
Vasuki Tal This is a high altitude lake which can be reached by an 8 km trek that ascends to 14,200 feet. Vyas Gufa, Ganesh Gufa, Bhimpul and Vasudhara Falls are 3-6 km. All these destinations are famous for their links with Hindu mythology and form part of the pilgrimage to Badrinath.
Joshimath: The first mutt established by Shri Adi Sankara, is located at a distance of 14 kms from Helang enroute to Badri. Adi Sankara is believed to have got enlightenment here and authored Sri Sankara Bhashyam. This located at a height of 6150 ft above sea level. Here, there are separate temples for Lord Narasimha and Lord Vasudev (different forms of Lord Vishnu). This is one of the 108 Divya Desams (sung by Sacred Vaishnavaite Saints).
In the temple for Lord Narasimha, separate statues of Badri narayan, Uthavar, Kuber, Chandikadevi, Ram, Lakshman, Sita and Garud can be seen together in the sanctum sanctorum. Outside the temple separate statues of Brahma, Krishana, Lakshmi & Anjaneya can be seen. Vyas Maharishi is believed to have worshipped Goddess Lakshmi here. The presiding deity Lord Narasimha is believed to have been established by Adi Sankara. It is widely believed that one hand of the presiding deity is getting weakened and the day it disjoints, the way to Badri will get eternally blocked and Lord Badri Narayan will thereafter give darshan only from either Bhavishya Badri or Adi Badri (part of Panch Badris).
The temple of Lord Vasudev houses Lord Vasudev in the sanctum sanctorum as well as Sridevi, Bhoodevi, Leela devi, Oorvasi devi & Balram in the outer praharam. Further separate structures are available for Vinayaka, Brahma, Indira, Chandran(Moon), Navadurgas & Gauri Shankar.
Pandukeshwar: This place is believed to have been established by King Pandu, father of Pandavas. It is situated at 4kms from Govind Ghat, 219 kms from Kedarnath and 24 kms from Badrinath. There are two temples – one for Lord Yogabadri Narayan and the other for Lord Vasudev. During winter, Lord Vasudev temple will function as the abode for Lord Badri Narayan and all the daily rituals connected with worship are performed here. Both the temples are quite old.