India is an often described as “Incredible India” and rightly so. The country is blessed with natural beauty, awe-inspiring surroundings, rich history & culture and some of the most astonishing temples carved out of marbles and stones. According to ancient Indian traditions, people, particularly those who have attained old age, must undertake the Chardham yatra to seek the almighty’s blessings before their lives come to an end.
This is one of the major reasons why many Indians, including the ones living in abroad plan their visit to the Badrinath Dham (one of the four popular Chardham sites) every year. Continue reading to find out more about Badrinath temple-one the most sought-after pilgrimage sites in India.
Situated in Uttarakhand’s Chamoli district, Badrinath temple draws worshippers and devotees from around the country and different parts of the world. It is widely believed that a visit to the dham leads one to the path of salvation or Moksha (freeing oneself from the cycle of birth and death).
Regarded as the holy shrine of Hindus, devotees worship and seek blessings of Lord Badrinath at the temple. The Badrinath temple lies close to the River Alaknanda’s bank at a height of 3133 meters. Also known as the temple of Badrinarayan, the Badrinath temples is among the hundred and eight Divya Desams that is dedicated to Lord Vishnu. However, the temple is open only for around six months in a year. Devotees can visit the temple during the summer as well as rainy season (i.e. between the months of April to November third week).
Tales Related to Badrinath Temple
There are numerous tales related to the Mythical Badrinath temple. According to ancient mythology, Vishnu took to meditation at the temple site and remained unaffected by the hot weather. In order to safeguard him from the harsh rays of the sun, Goddess Lakshmi (Vishnu’s spouse) took the form of a tree (Badri tree). Vishnu was extremely pleased with her act and devotion, following which he decided to call the site Badrikashram.
Another tale is associated with Dharma’s sons Nar as well as Narayan. Together, they intended to establish a hermitage as well as expand their presence in the Himalayas. Legend has it that while searching for a suitable spot for setting up a hermitage, they discovered the Panch Badri sites including Yog Badri, Dhyan Badri, Bhavishya Badri and Bridha Badri. Eventuallly, thy discovered the spot that had the two amazing hot and cold springs right behind Alaknanda River. Happy and elated to find the place, they together named it Badri Vishal.
As per the Vedas, Adi Shankaracharya set up the temple as a site for pilgrims during the 9th century. It is also believed that Adi Shankaracharya found Lord Badrinath in River Alaknanda and set it up as a cave close to the Taptkund or the hot spring.
Apart from the above, there are many other tales linked to the origin and establishment of the temple.
Attractions at Badrinath
In addition to the Badrinath temple, devotees can also visit several other equally fascinating spots such as the Tapt Kund, a natural hot spring that many believe offers therapeutic benefits. It is said that one must dip himself/herself in the Kund water before proceeding to the Badrinath shrine. Close to the Kund are the 5 boulders that according to mythology are Narsingh, Narad, Garur, Markanday and Varah.
Apart from the Tapt Kund, devotees also throng to the Brahma Kapal, a platform situated along the banks of River Alaknanda where members of the family of a deceased person perform rites to free to liberate them from the cycle of birth and death. Additionally, you can also pay a visit to the Neelkanth Peak, Mata Murti Mandir, Charanpaduka, Sheshnetra and Vasudhara Falls during your visit to the Badrinath Temple.
How to Get There? One can easily reach the Badrinath Dham by air, train and even road. Those travelling by air can book their tickets to Dehradun to land at the Jolly Grant airport, from where one can get to Gagotri to catch a bus or travel in a cab. On the other hand, regular train services between Haridwar as well as Dehradun are available throughout the year. Alternatively, devotees can hire a cab to reach Uttarakhand by road conveniently.