Dedicated to Lord Vishnu, it is built in the form of a cone with a small cupola of a gilt bull & spire. Legend dates the temple prior to the vedic age and the original temple is believed to be built by King Pururava and the icon of the lord carved by Vishwakarma, the creator of gods. A Hindu reformist Adi Shankaracharya re-enshrined the temple back in 8th century. A flight of steps takes pilgrims to the main gate & then into the temple. The temple is divided into three parts - the 'Garbha Griha' or the sanctum sanctorum, the 'Darshan Mandap' where the rituals are conducted and the 'Sabha Mandap' where devotees assemble. The Garbha Griha portion has its canopy covered with a sheet of gold offered by Queen Ahilyabai Holkar. The complex has 15 idols. especially attractive is the one-metre high image of Badrinath, finely sculpted in black stone. It represents Lord Vishnu seated in a meditative pose-padmasan.
Special pujas are also performed on behalf of individuals. Every puja must be preceded by a holy dip in the Tapta Kund. Some of the special morning pujas are Abhishek, Mahaabhishek, Geeta Path. Some special evening pujas are Aarti & Geet Govind. Such pujas are to be booked in advance. The temple opens at 0430 hrs & closes at 1300 hrs. Once again it opens at 1600 hrs & closes at 2100 hrs after the divine song Geet Govind. Rawal is the administrator-Pujari of the temple well versed in puja ceremonials & Sanskrit language and is expected to be celibate.
Panch Dharas : (a) Prahalad Dhara (b) Kurma Dhara (c) Urvashi Dhara (d) Bhrigu Dhara (e) Indra Dhara
Panch Shilas : (a) Narad Shila (b) varaha Shila (c) Garurh Shila (d) Markandeya Shila (e) Narshingh Shila.
Tapt Kund : Natural thermal springs on the bank of the river Alaknanda, where it is customary to bathe before entering the Badrinath temple.
Narad Kund : A recess in the river, near Tapt Kund, forming a pool from where the Badrinath idol was recovered.
Brahama Kapal : A flat platform on the bank of river Alaknanda. Hindus perform proppitiating rites for their deceased ancestors. Legends has it that when Shiva chopped of the fifth head of Brahma, it got stuck to his trident. Lastly with the blessing of Lord Vishnu at Badrivan, the head of Brahma fell down from the trident at this place & hence the name Brahma-Kapal (head).
Sheshnetra : 1.5kms. away is a boulder having an impression of the legendary serpent, better known as the Sheshnag's eye.
Charanpaduka : 3kms. away is a beautiful meadow where the footprint of Lord Vishnu is seen on a boulder.
Neelkanth : A pyramidal shaped snowy peak ( 6,600mts.) towering above Badrinath presents a dramatic sight. It is popularly known as the ' Garhwal Queen'.
Mata Murty Temple : Devoted to the mother of Sri Badrinathji. Other important temples include Sesh Netra Temple, Urvashi Temple and Charanpaduka.
Mana Village : Inhabited by an Indo-Mongolian tribe, it is the last Indian village before Tibet.
Vasundhara : As the name suggests, vasundhara is a magnificent water fall. This place is 5 kms. from Badrinath out of which 2 kms. is motorable upto Mana.
Bhim Pul : On the other side of Mana village, a massive rock forming a natural bridge, lies over the roaring Saraswati river. It presents a spectacular view of water thundering down through the narrow passage under the rock and is believed to have been placed there by Bhim, the second eldest among the five Pandava brothers.
Vyas Gufa (cave) : Near Mana Village, this is a rock-cave where Ved Vyas is believed to have composed the Mahabharata and the pauranic commentaries.
Alka Puri : 15 kms. from Badrinath and located via Mana village, lies the source of Alaknanda river from the glacier snouts of Bhagirath-Kharak and Sato Panth glaciers. The spot is supposed to be the adobe of Kuber, Yakshas and Gandharvas.
Sato Panth : 25 kms. from Badrinath and located at an elevation of 4,402 mts. is a three cornered lake of serene water with a circumference of about 1 km. The lake is named after the Hindu trinity of Brahma, Vishnu and mahesh, who are believed to occupy one corner each of this lake. The trek is hazardous and full of dramatic views. An experienced guide is advisable. There is no place to rest except in the caves. Cooked food, stove etc. must be carried from Badrinath itself.
Arwatal : For the more enterprising, a trek to Arwatal (3,980 mts.) via-Mana, Ghastoli and Arwatal is immensely rewarding. The trek passes through a hazardous icy and snowy terrain and a number of streams have to be crossed. badrinath to Ghastoli is 17 kms. and Arwatal is approximately another 18 kms. Photography is prohibited in this area and a guide is essential.
Air : Nearest airport is a Jollygrant, 314kms.
Rail : Nearest railhead is Rishikesh, 297kms. which is connected to major cities like Howrah, Mumbai, Delhi & Lucknow by rail.
Road : Badrinath is connected by a motorable road with Rishikesh, Kotdwar, Dehradun, Hardwar and other hill stations of Garhwal. Some important road distances are Delhi (518Kms), Joshimath (42Kms), Hardwar (321 Kms), Gopeshwar 9106 Kms).
Summer - Max 17.9° C, Min 5.9° C, Winter- Generally snowbound from December to March with minimum subzero temperature.
Best Season :
From opening to closing, generally from April to November.
Heavy woolen garments required throughout.
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