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Cradled in the twin mountain ranges of Nar and Narayan is the holiest of the four main shrines, Badrinath along the left bank of river Alaknanda. With the splendid Neelkanth mountains as 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’. This is the seat of the god Vishnu in his aspect of Badrinarayan or NarNarayan, is the most important of the four sites in India's Char Dham (Four abodes) pilgrimage.

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".

Located in Uttaranchal only a few kilometers from China, Badrinath is generally a two-day's journey from either Kedarnath, the site that precedes it in the Char Dham circuit, or one of the main disembarkation points on the plains. Also a member of the all-India Char Dham, Badrinath is one of the most important Vaisnava temples in India. As the route to Badrinath is for much of the way also the route to Hemkund Sahib, an important Sikh pilgrimage site, the road to Badrinath is especially crowded. The temple and its substantial surrounding village are accessible by road. The actual temple is a striking building whose bright colors evoke the painted Buddhist ghompas of the region; rumor has it that the temple was originally controlled by Buddhists.


Legend has it, when the Ganga was requested to descend to earth to help suffering humanity, the earth was unable to withstand the force of its descent. Therefore the mighty Ganga was split into twelve holy channels. Alaknanda was one of them that later became the abode of Lord Vishnu or Badrinath.The temple of Shri Badrinathji on the banks of 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 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.

The temple remains closed during the winter season and is open from April-May to October- November

Panch (Five) Badris

Badrinath, Yogadhyan Badri, Bhavishya Badri, Bridha Badri, Adi Badri form the panch badris, situated in the valleys along the Alaknanda river.

Yogadhyan Badri ( 24 kms.) :  Located at Pandukeshwar on Rishikesh-Badrinath highway. The image here in a meditative posture, is worshipped at Badrinath. According to the myth, the Pandavas handed over Hastinapur to King Parikshit and retired here.

Bhavishya Badri ( 69 kms.) : Located at an elevation of 2,744 mts., the temple is surrounded by dense forests. Nearby is the picturesque Tapovan valley famous for sulphurous hot springs. Traditionally it is believed that a day will come when the present route to Badrinath will be inaccessible and Lord Badrinath will be worshipped here and hence the name Bhavishya Badri meaning Badri of the future.

Bridha Badri ( 52 kms.) : 7 kms. from Joshimath is Animath. It is believed that Badrinath or Lord Vishnu was worshipped here before the enshrinement of Badrinath by Adi Guru Shankaracharya. The temple is open throughout the year.

Adi Badri ( 146 kms.) : 17 kms. from Karnaprayag on the Karnaprayag-Ranikhet road, Adi Badri has 16 small temples. Seven of them, having flat roofs, belong to the Gupta period. In the main temple of Narayan, a 1 metre high idol of Lord Vishnu in black stone is enshrined on a raised platform in pyramidal form

Travel attractions around Badri

Mata Murti Temple ( 3 kms.)

On the right bank of Alaknanda stands the temple dedicated to the mother of Sri Badrinathji.

Mana Village (4 kms.)

Inhabitated 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 Maharashtra; Bhim Pul - a natural bridge over the Saraswati river and Vasundhara Falls - a 122 mts. high waterfall - all forming an important part of the pilgrimage to Badrinath.

Alka Puri (15 kms.)

The source of Alaknanda river from the glacier snouts of Bhagirath - Kharak and Satopanth glaciers.

Valley of Flowers (42 kms.)

An exotic 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 19kms. trek from Govindghat. A must-see for all nature lovers.

Hemkund Sahib ( 43 kms.)

Near the Valley of Flowers is the holy lake Hemkund - an important pilgrimage of the Sikhs 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.

Satopanth ( 25 kms.)

A three cornered lake with a circumference of about 1 km, situated at an elevation of 4,402 mts. above sea level. It is named after the Hindu triad - Brahma, Vishnu and Mahesh, who are believed to occupy one corner each of the lake. The trek is hazardous with dramatic landscapes. An experienced guide is advisable.

Govindghat ( 25 kms.)

The confluence of Alaknanda and Lakshman Ganga rivers. It has an imposing Gurudwara named after Guru Gobind Singh.

Joshimath ( 44 km.)

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’ established by Adi Guru Shankaracharya.

Auli ( 57 kms.)

An ideal Aki resort in the Garhwal Himalayas with its slopes comparable to the best in the world. Perched at an elevation of 2,500-3,050 mts, Auli not only offers a magnificent view of the Himalayan ranges but is a delight for winter sports enthusiasts.

Pipalkoti ( 80 kms.)

A scenic spot amidst snow-clad peaks.

Chamoli ( 10 kms.)

From Gopeshwar on Badrinath highway is the tiny mountain retreat that attracts visitors for its verdant landscapes and fresh mountain air.

Panch Prayag

The five important confluences Deoprayag, Nandprayag, Rudraprayag, Karnaprayag and Vishnuprayag, form the Panch Prayag .

Deoprayag : The confluence of Alaknanda and Bhagirathi rivers. Ancient stone scriptures are found here. Important pilgrim spots are Shiv Temple and Raghunath Temple.

Rudraprayag : The confluence of Alaknanda and Mandakini rivers. The temples of Rudranath and Chamunda Devi are noteworthy.

Nandprayag : The confluence of Alaknanda and Mandakini rivers. The Gopalji Temple is worth a visit.

Karnaprayag : The confluence of Alaknanda and Pindar rivers with temples of Uma and Karna .

Vishnuprayag : The confluence of Alaknanda and Dhauliganga rivers. An ancient temple of Lord Vishnu stands here by a pool called Vishnu Kund.


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