Badrinath – A Voyage
Badrinath is one of the foremost Hindu temples of Lord Vishnu in the same name as the town Badrinath in the state of Uttarakhand. On the outdoor temple has its own charm of the local Garhwal tradition with traditional wooden architecture that enthralls the visitors for their visit to this holy town. Great Hindu Philosopher, Adi Guru Shankaracharya is known to lay the foundation of this historical temple in the 9th century.
Holy shrines dedicated for Vaishnavites i.e. the followers of Vishnu, Badrinath is among the most traveled pilgrimage center across India. Situated on the banks of the Alaknanda River, on the backdrop of Garhwal Hill tracks in Chamoli district is at an elevation of 3,133m (10,279ft) above the mean sea level. Badrinath town lies between the mountain range of Nar and Narayana along the shadow of majestic Neelkantha Peak.
Badrinath is part of Hindu Char Dham Yatra, with Badrinath in the North, the shrine of Jagannath Temple in Puri (Odisha), the shrine of Dwarakadheesh Temple at Dwarka (Gujarat), Sringeri Sharada Peetam shrine at Sringeri (Karnatka South). Journey to Char Dham is considered by Hindus to be taken once in their lifetime to complete their life cycle for taking birth on Earth.
Badrinath is also part of the five popular shrines often termed as ‘Panch Badri’, dedicated in the name of the Lord Vishnu only. These are
- Vishal Badri – The temple at Badrinath
- YogaDhyan Badri Pandukeshwar
- Bhavishya Badri at Subain
- Vridh Badri in Animath
- Adi Badri at a distance of 10.6 miles from Karnaprayag
Temple is also part of the 108 Diva Desham (historical places) dedicated to Lord Vishnu worshipped as Badrinath.
Badrinath Temple Opening and Closing
Due to extreme weather conditions, the temple is open for six months only from the end of April to the beginning of November. Opens at the auspicious day of Akshaya Tritiya and closing at the date of the Bhaiya Dooj. Deity is taken to Nar Singh temple at Joshimath for worshipping during the winter season.
The main temple has a built of 50 feet with a small cupola on top with gold glittered roof signifying the importance of this place as per the Hindu tradition. Many historians see the similarities of Buddhist architecture in temple building. Inside the temple, there are three main structure: Garbhagriha (Sanctum), the Darshan Mandap (worship hall), and Sabha mandap (convention hall).
The main idol is built of Shaligram (Black stone) idol 1ft of Lord Vishnu in the form of Badrinarayan and is considered by Hindu religion to be one of the main eight self-manifested Vishu statues or Swayam Vyakta Kshetras. Idol is housed in a gold canopy under the Badri Tree with holding Shankra and Chakra in two arms while two arms in Yogamudra posture.
There are around 15 idols carved out of black stone in the temple of different deities. With the god of wealth Kubera, Sage Narada, Nar and Narayana, Uddhava, Lakshmi, Garuda, Navadurga, and other forms of Durga. Although it is a Vaishnavites pilgrimage still all Hindus worship this great temple and come here to offer their praying to Lord Badrinarayan.
Mata Murti Ka Mela is the most famous festival of Badrinath, which is celebrated to commemorates the descent of the Goddess Ganges in the form of the river on the mother earth. Badri Kedar festivals are also quite famous celebrated for eight days where artists from all over the country come here to perform and pay their offering to Lord Badrinarayan.
As per the Hinduism belief, they offer prayers for their ancestors here by worshiping the image of Badrinath and taking a dip in the Alaknanda river simultaneously to purify their soul.
There are two mythological stories popular for this historical temple of Badrinath. As per one Hindu legend, God Vishnu was meditating in the harsh cold weather of the Himalayas. Goddess Lakshmi took the form of Badri(Jujube) tree in protecting him. When Lord Vishnu awoke he was pleased and hence named the place Badrika Ashram.
While the Vishnu Puranas, one of the ancient texts of Hinduism has another version about the origin of Badrinath. As per the literature, there were two sons of Dharam, Nar, and Narayan which are the present names of two current mountains. They were looking for an ideal place for hermitage and chose this location behind the Alaknanda river with hot and cold springs respectively.
Badrinath temple and its location are also found directly in Mahabharata, Skanda Purana, and Bhagavata Purana. Although the temple is located in Northern India still the head priest is selected from the Southern state of Kerala with a traditionally Nambudiri Brahmin. Adi Shankaracharya started this tradition. When the last of shiva ascetics called Dandi sanyasis died without an heir in the 18th century, the local king invited the non-ascetic Nambudiri community, a group that still continuous their belief in modern Southern India. They are selected by royal families of Travancore and Garhwal in consultation with each other.
Hotels And Accommodations
There are a lot of accommodations available to this pilgrimage place. Dharamshala, guesthouse, 3-star hotels, and individual beds are also available in case of a single traveler. During the peak season, it would be wise to have a pre-planning for accommodations. While Joshimath nearly 45Kms away from Badrinath is also recommended for staying with ease of same-day travel to the temple and back by evening to the hotel for resting. At the Amazing Uttarakhand, you can choose our Char Dham Yatra Packages or take a solo trip to this religious place for taking the blessing from Lord Badrinarayan.