Places to visit when in Shri Badrinath Ji
Perched on the Garhwal hill tracks, near Alaknanda River, the most sacred Badrinath Temple or the Badrinarayan Temple is dedicated to Lord Vishnu. The temple is also one of the four Char Dham and Chota Char Dham pilgrimage yatras. It finds its mention in the 108 Divya Desams devoted to Lord Vishnu in India. Badrinath is situated at the height of 10,279 feet, The temple is surrounded by lofty snow-clad Himalayas and is a paradise for nature lovers . It is believed to be originally established by the saint, Adi Shankaracharya, The black stone idol of Lord Vishnu is 1m tall and is considered to be one of the 8 swayam vyakta kshetras or self-manifested statues of Vishnu. The religious importance and purity of Badrinath Temple allures scores of devotees.
The main gate of the shrine painted with myriad colours. It is not only the image of Lord Vishnu but, several other gods and saints are housed inside the temple. From November to April end, the temple remains closed due to extreme weather conditions. Badrinath is accessible by road and therefore driving up to this pilgrim spot is not difficult.
Badrinath Temple has a Tapt Kund , a hot water spring which is considered to have medicinal values. River Alaknanda is known to originate from here. The vibrant festivals of Mata Murti Ka Mela and the Badri Kedar Festival give you another reason to visit the temple. Both these festivals are celebrated with vim and vigour. The temple with its purity and serene beauty brings you to a different world, bereft of chaos and sin.
At a distance of 3 km from Badrinath, Charanpaduka or Charan Paduka is a beautiful rock, which is believed be holding the foot prints of Lord Vishnu. It is believed that the darshan of these footprints will relieve visitors from all aliments.
The Charan Paduka is perched at an elevation of 3,380 feet above sea level. According to Hindu mythology, Lord Vishnu set his foot on earth at this place. Bhagwat Purana says that Lord Sri Krishna advised his minister Uddhav to proceed to Badrinath with his Charan Paduka to get rid of his wrongdoings.
Charan Paduka can be reached by 3 km trek from Badrinath. The path towards Charan Paduka is on the left side of Badrinath temple. Walk few meters and on the right side you will see stairs going upwards. Follow the stairs to reach Charan Paduka situated at Narayan Parvat. The 3 km uphill trek takes about 1.5 hours to reach Charan Paduka.
The view from Charan Paduka is excellent. At one side you can watch Neelkanth Peak and the other side Nar Parvat. On the left side of Charan Paduka is Rishi Ganga flowing through a manmade diversion to create a waterfall. There are several caves and boulders on the path which lead to Charanpaduka. The rock holds a medical unit of Badrinath shrine board. This medical unit is well equipped and it holds all basic medical amenities.
Nilkantha Peak is 6 km trek from Charan Paduka.
Nilkantha, Neelakant, Neelkanth, Nilkanth or Nilkanta is a major peak in the Garhwal division of the Himalayas. Lying in the picturesque region state of Uttarakhand, it is one of the most important and religiously revered peaks of the region due to its close proximity to Badrinath. It is situated at the height of 6507 metres and overlooks the lovely valley of the Alaknanda River. The snow-covered peak rises dramatically against the background of the crisp blue sky and presents one of the most beautiful sights that the region had to offer.
Neelkanth lies in the midst of a medley of glaciers. The Satopanth Glacier lies on the northwest side of Nilkantha, while the Panpatia Glacier lies to the southwest, and feeds the Khirao Ganga, a stream running under the south of the peak. To the west of the peak, lies the Gangotri Glacier and its adjacent peaks while the Nanda Devi groups and Kamet lie across the Alaknanda Valley. Undoubtedly, the scenery painted by the snow-covered peaks is a sight to sore eyes. It also forms an important part of the route to Badrinath and hence has a great footfall every year.
Believed to be the home of Lord Agni, Tapt Kund is a natural hot water spring at 45 degrees Celsius above the Alaknanda river bank where visitors take therapeutic baths. The water of the kund is believed to have medicinal properties.
Tapt Kund is the abode of Lord Agni and is famous for its medicinal properties. Before entering the Badrinath Temple, one has to take a holy dip in the Tapt Kund. The temperature of the water of Kund is 45° Celsius and there are number of hot water springs on the banks of Alaknanda River. It is believed that taking a bath in Hot water spring will cure all the skin diseases.
There is another Kund below Tapt Kund called the Narad Kund where the present image of Badrinarayan is said to have been found by Adi Shankaracharya. Pilgrims usually don’t bathe here and the kund is considered sacred. Around the Kund area, there are 5 big stone rocks known as Panch Shilas considered sacred by the devotees. Narad Shila is situated beside the Tapt Kund, and it is said the great devotee of Lord Vishnu, Bhakta Narad used to live here. Garud Shila is situated on the way to temple from the Kund towards the temple. Narsimha Shila, Varahi Shila and Markandeya Shila are hidden in the Alaknanda waters.
Mana Village is a tourism village known as the last Indian village that lies close to the Tibetan – Chinese border. Located on the banks of River Saraswati at an altitude of 10,000 feet above sea level, it is famous for its scenic beauty surrounded by the breathtaking Himalayan Mountain Ranges. The Bheem Pul on River Saraswati is believed to be built by Bheem when the Pandavas walked through the village.
4 km of Badrinath at Mana, the Vasudhara Falls at 400 ft is believed to have been the resting place of the Pandavas. People also believe that the water falls turn away from visitors impure in thoughts and heart.
Bheem Pul is a natural stone bridge on River Saraswati that is believed to be discovered by Bheem, one of the Pandav brothers while they were passing by. Some say the bridge was created by a stone Bheem threw between the mountains to create a path to cross the river. Nevertheless, the stunning natural bridge and the fierce River Saraswati gushing through it is a breathtaking sight.
An important part of Hinduism, Saraswati River has been mentioned in several Vedic scriptures as the milky way that leads to afterlife or immortality. It is named after Saraswati, the Goddess of Wisdom. It is the tributary of River Alaknanda which further merges with River Ganga amidst the breathtaking natural surroundings.
Vyas Gufa is a sacred site where Maharishi Vyas documented Mahabharata with the help of Lord Ganesha. Many other Puranas, Sutras and Veda were also composed by Maharishi Vyas in this cave. A unique feature of the cave is the roof that resembles the pages of a script.
Narad Kund is the holy site on the recess of river Alaknanda from where it is believed that Adi Sankaracharya recovered the idol of Lord Vishnu.
Devotees often take a bath in this hot water geyser. People visit Narad Kund to take a dip into the water before visiting the temples. The beautiful surroundings and the mythological significance of Narad Kund attract a huge number of tourists all round the year.
Brahma Kapal is where Lord Brahma is believed to exist. It is also said that those who perform funeral rituals for the deceased in their family themselves attain Nirvana. Therefore, many visit the sacred site to immerse the ashes of their deceased family member in River Alaknanda, on the banks of which Brahma Kapal is located.
Ganesh Gufa is a natural cave formation which is often associated with the legend of the Mahabharata. It is believed that Maharishi Vyas dictated the Mahabharata and Lord Ganesha wrote it in this cave. The cave and the mesmerising meadows that surround it also attract nature lovers and photographers.
Yogadhyan Badri Temple
Yogadhyan Badri Temple is one of the seven badris. It is considered to be the Holy abode of Lord Kuber and Lord Udhava. The idol of the presiding deity, Lord Vishnu is seen in a meditative pose and is believed to be installed by the Emperor Pandu, the father of the Pandavas.
Alka Puri Glacier is the source of water that forms River Alaknanda. The majestic glacier with the breathtaking mountain peaks surrounding it is a treat to the eyes. Alka Puri also has a great religious significance in India as it is believed to be the holy abode of Kuber, Gandharvas and the Yakshas.
Mata Murti Temple
Dedicated to the mother of twin brothers, Lord Badrinath and Nara, Mata Murti Temple is a sacred place for the Hindus. Lord Badrinath is also known as Narayan. It is a believed that Mata Murti prayed with utmost dedication to Lord Vishnu and requested him to take birth from her womb as his next incarnation. Lord Vishnu, pleased with her devotion, took birth in the form of the twins. Therefore, praying to the Goddess is believed to free one from the sufferings of the materialistic life. A fair is held every year in September at the temple on the day of Shravan Dwadashi in the honour of the Goddess.
Located at an elevation of 6000 feet, Pandukeshwar is a sacred site for the Hindus. It is believed that this is where the father of the Pandavas worshipped Lord Shiva. The Vasudev Temple in Pandukeshwar is believed to be built by the Pandavas. The mesmerizing natural beauty of the location draws nature lovers from far and wide.
Sheshnetra is famous for religious reasons. It is believed that Lord Vishnu took retreat here on Ananta Shesha. A boulder marked with the eye of Ananta Shesha is believed to have the genuine imprint. Sheshanetra is also believed to protect the region and the shrine of Lord Badrinath. Other than this, the scenic beauty of the locations draws tourists in large numbers each year.
Satopanth Lake is an enchanting water body surrounded by beautiful snow peaked mountains. The lake is located at an altitude of 15,000 feet above sea level and is considered to be religiously important to the locals. They believe, on a particularly auspicious day, Lord Brahma, Vishnu and Lord Maheshwar bathe in the sacred waters. The natural terrain also serves as a perfect location for adventure activities, especially trekking and hiking.