Badrinath Temple is located in a small town Badrinath which is in Chamoli district of Uttarakhand. The temple is dedicated to Lord Vishnu and boasts high religious significance. With Alaknanda River flowing by the side and a backdrop full of snow clad mountains Badrinath Temple is an absolute visual treat. It is one of the most revered pilgrimage sites of “Char Dham” (four abodes) which in turn is the most scared set of pilgrimage sites in Hindu religion. Every year thousands and thousands of disciples visit this temple. Located at the height of 3133 meters above the sea level Badrinath Temple is not easy to reach. One has to drive through hilly terrains with dangerous cliffs and curves to reach the temple. But this doesn’t deter disciples from pouring in every year in large numbers.
When I visited Badrinath Temple it was a part of my “Trek to Valley of Flower” itinerary. I knew the religious and mythological significance of the Temple and was very excited to see it for real. I was enervated because the strenuous trekking from Ghangharia to Govindghat. My legs were sore and every time I took a step ahead my mind would struggle between the pain and the excitement. But thinking about the reward of being able to see the most sought after temple of India I kept moving.
Roads to Badrinath Temple
The journey to Badrinath Temple started as soon as we trekked down from our base camp Ghangharia to Govindghat. My legs took breath of relief as soon as I hopped in the car. We drove through dangerously curved roads with craggy sides. A lot of times the turns on the hilly roads were totally blind. There is no way you can close your eyes even for a minute on such roads. Many a times I could see remains of land slide on the ditch side of the road.
The broken rocks and debris on the side of the roads reminded me of various news about disciples being stuck for days because of landslides. That very moment I felt very fortunate to not have face any such adversaries on the roads to Badrinath Temple. It was sheer benediction of Lord Vishnu that on the roads which are notorious for landslides and accidents I had a smooth ride. The journey till the Badrinath Temple was thrilling and my eyes were stuck at the window all the time.
My Experience of Visiting Badrinath Temple
As you get close to Badrinath Temple you cannot help but feel a different energy in the air. We parked our vehicle and then started walking towards the temple. The narrow lane towards the temple was filled with small shops with glittering copper idols of different deities. We stop by one shop to buy some offerings for the temple.
The very word that crossed my mind at the first sight of the temple was colorful. Badrinath Temple is painted in various bright colors. The architecture and bright colors of the temple resembles a Buddhist temple. This is one of the reasons why it is believed that the present Badrinath Temple was a Buddhist shrine till 8th century. Post that Adi Shankara played an instrumental role in converting it into a Hindu temple.
I visited the temple on the auspicious day of Janmashtami (birthday of Lord Krishna). The temple was inundated with devotees from all over the country with colorful idols of Lord Krishna and Tulsi garlands. The temple has three sections Garbhagriha (Sanctum), The Darshan Mandap, and Sabha Mandap. The Garbhagriha consists of idols of Lord Badri Narayan, Kuber (God of wealth), Narad Rishi, Uthavar, Nar & Narayan. At the entrance of the temple you can see the idol of Lord Shiva perched on bird Garud. In the main sanctum you can find the idol of Adi Shankaracharya. Apart from the main temple there are many shrines in and around the Badrinath Temple. After the visit to Badrinath Temple I am now keen to visit rest of the dhams as well.
History of Badrinath Temple
Legends says that Adi Shankara found an idol of Badrinath in the Alaknanda River. Later he enshrined the same image in a cave near the hot spring of Tapt Kund, which is now known as the Badrinath Temple. It is also believed that during Satya Yuga Lord Shiva meditated here for many years. And all those years Goddess Lakshmi transformed into a Badri tree to provide shadow to Lord Shiva. This is how the place got its name as Badrinath. It is believed that the whole area in and around Badrinath was abode of Lord Shiva. This is one the reasons that the temple is jam packed during Maha Shivratri.
Places to Visit Around Badrinath Temple
- Mana Village : Mana village, popularly known as India’s last village is located at Chamoli district of Uttarakhand, few kilometers away from the Tibet/China border. Mana village is three kilometers away from Badrinath. So on a normal day the visit to Badrinath is always ensued by a visit to Mana village. It has recently gained quite some popularity in terms of tourism.
Also Read : A visit to India’s last village, Mana Village !
- Tapt Kund and Surya Kund: Tapt Kund and Surya Kund are two famous hot water springs near the Badrinath Temple. The fascinating part about the kunds is that the temperature of the spring remains constant at around 55 degree celsius throughout the year irrespective of whether it is summers or winters. It is believed that taking a dip in these hot springs cleanses all the sins from the body, mind and soul. Devotees generally go for a bath in these hot springs before entering the temple.
- Valley of Flower Trek: The Valley of Flowers boasts the coveted title of Unesco World Heritage Site. A valley carpeted with flowers and green meadows till the end of your sight is nothing less than a visual treat for your eyes. The best and balanced portrait of all the natural elements is what you should imagine when you think of this valley. Being located at an altitude of 3,500 meters to 4,000 meters this valley is home for numerous species of flora and fauna.
Also Read : A trek into blossoming Valley of Flowers !
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