Badrinath is one of the Dham in Char dham Yatra. Now its close to devotees and it will open in summer 2012 for Ytra. Badrinath Dham is located in the great himalayan hights in the Garhwal hills of Uttarakhand state, This place is one of the most sacred place for the hindu devotees. On the route to badrinath one can easily enjoy the panoramic views of hilly terrain, curves and cliffs and admire the beauty of this place. Various other devotional places like deoprayag,rudraprayag,karnaprayag ,nandaprayag and vishnuprayag are lined up on the way to badrinath.The significance of Badrinath is that Lord vishnu is believed to do his penance over here,along with Goddess mahalaxmi,who transformed herself into badri tree and provided him shelter against the adverse weather conditions.
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 idol of lord badrinath which is 1 metre in height is the main attraction of the temple including 15 other mighty deities.the lord vishnu's idol which is in a dhyaan mudra is carved out of black stone and is finely sculptured.
To the right of the Badrinarayan is the uddhava.in the extreme right are nara and narayan.On the left side are kubera,the god of wealth and ganesh ji in silver.Towards left in the front of badrinarayana garuna is there in the kneeling position.the heartfelt beauty of this place can be experienced in the evening during the aarti.the morning exclusive prayers include abhishek,mahaabhishek, geeta path followed by aarti and geet govind in the evening.before every prayer session one must take a holy dip in the tapta kund.
Palces of Pilgrimage in and Around Badrinath
On the right bank of the Alaknanda lies the sacred spot perched at an altitude of 3,133 meters above sea level. Encircled by a beautiful valley, the 15mtrs. high temple is dedicated to Lord Vishnu, it is built in the form of a cone with a small cupola of gilt, surmounted by a ball ball and spire. Built by Adi Guru Shankaracharya – the philosopher-saint of the 8th century, the temple has been renovated several times due to damage by avalanches. Its colourful ‘Singh Dwara’ or the main entrance gate gives it a new, modern look.
The temple is divided into three parts – the ‘garbha griba’ or sanctum sanctorum, the ‘darshan mandap’ where the rituals are conducted and the ’sabha mandap’where devotees assemble.The complex has 15 idols. Especially attractive is the one meter high image of Badrinath, finely sculpted in black stone. It represents Lord Vishnu seated in a meditative pose.
It is necessary to have a dip in the Tapta Kund, a hot water spring, pleasantly different than others which cause a feeling of nausea. The water comes out from beneath the ‘garur shila’ and falls into a stone tank reinforced by concrete. The temperature is governed by a cold water spring. A dip in the water makes the body tingle after being in the icy grip of the Alaknanda.
The Panch Shilas
There are five blocks of stone around the Tapta Kund, called the Narad, Narsingh, Barah, Gauru and the Markandey ‘shilas’ ass hay mythological importance. Narad Shila, this is where the saga Narad meditated for several yars, the conical stone stands between the Tapta nad Narad Kund. Just below the Nrad Shila and standing in the waters of the Asaknanda, is the Narshing choose to remain in the waters of the river to sooth his anger. He never left the icy waters which he grew to like and, at his own request, as well as the gods, he stayed behind forever as a block of stone. Looking very much like a lion, the gaping stone jaws and hooked claws are clearly visible from the other side of the river. Also near the Narad Kund the Barah Shila, too, is in the Alaknanda. The boar shaped ‘shila’ is the pertifed incarnation of lord Vishnu as a boar, which, too choose to remain behind in the icy river. Garuda, or garur, Vishnu’s mount, desiring to be always with his Lord Garur Shila. The Rishi Narad advised Markandey to visit Badrivan. He did so and meditated on this ‘shila’ scarcely visible in the flowing waters of the Alaknanda. With the blessings of Sri BAdrinath, Markendey attained ‘Param Shanti’.
Panch Dhara – The five Streams
Known as the Prahlad, Kurma, Urvasi, Bhrigu and the Indra Dharas – the panch Dhara are famous in Badripuri. The water in each is different in tis temperature, while water of the Prahlad is lukewarm, that of Kurma Dhara is extremely cold. Flowing from the Neelkanth range, the Urvasi Dhara forms the right arm of the Rishi Ganga. Flowing past a number of caves, the Bhrigu, the Dhara is about one kilometer from Badripuri while the beautiful of all, Indra Dhara, glides majestically down the Narayan Parbat rock and is about 1.5 kilometers north of Badripuri.
The Sesh Netra
No one can escape the eye of the Sesh Nag, even Narayan. Between two small louts filled lakes, on the opposite band of the Alknanda, is a large block of stone caring the eye of the ‘seshnag’. It is natural formation and never been ascribed to man. He sits there waiting and watching – he will accompany Narayan on his reincarnation.
Neelkanth Peak – The Shinning Pyramid
At the back of the temple, a side valley opens to the majestic, conical shaped Neelkanth peak, which soars into the Heaven at Badrinath. It is shining pyramid of white crystal which are even ready to change their color and hue – it reflects the first red glow of dawn into the valley and the sunset it glitters like a golden temple. Neelkanth embodies all the divinity of this divine land. It is mountainous form of Lord BAdrivishal.
The weather is generally unsettled in the afternoon, so the best viewing time is early in the morning.
Neelkanth has been scaled by several expeditions, and is very popular amongst mountaineers.
The Temple to a Celestial Nymph – Urvashi
Badrivishal, the ashram of Nar and Narayan, where both performed penance andnow, in the shape of mountains, uard the temple, was also the scene of their temptation. While they were in deep meditation, Indra sent a group of celestial maidens, or ‘apsaras’ to disturb them and distract them. Narayan tore his left thigh and out of the flesh, created several nymphs each more beautiful than the other. The most ravishing of all of them – Urvashi, led the nymphs to Indra and shattered has pride near a small pond in the Charanpaduka, two kilometers from Badrivishal. The pond bears the name of Urvashi, while not to be out doen, there is a temple on the outskirts of Bemni village dedicated to the lovely nymph. In the ‘sanctum sanctorum’ a celestial nymph sites on the left thigh of the Narayan who holds a ‘shankh’, ‘chakra’ a ‘gada’ and a ‘padma’ in his four hands.
Chanrapaduka – where Urvashi shattered Indra’s Pride
Even the journey to the delightful spot where a beauty shamed the heavenly lord is steeped in beauty passing through emerald green meadows, carpeted with wild flowers. Here, in Chandrapaduka, when Lord Vidhnu descended from Vikunth, he stepped on a boulder which, aeons later, still bears his footprint. About two kilometers from Badripuri, the place is full of caves and boulders, well worth a visit.
Brahma Kapal – where Shiva was relieved of the unwanted head
The way of the gods are not be questioned but just accepted by the mortals. In their celestial abode, one day, Shiva chopped off the fifth head of Brahma – the gory piece Brahma’s anatomy stuck to the trident and much as Shiva tried, he could not shake it off. The worried god went to Badrivan and, with the blessing of Vishnu, the unwanted head of Brahma feel off at this place called Brahma Kapal. The stone slab is a flat platform a few yards north of the temple. Brahma Kapal, consequently became sanctified and is now the spot where the ‘shradh pinda’ are offered to ensure a heavenly abode for the departed ancestors or ‘manas’. This is an important part of the Hindu ‘karmakan’. The ‘Pinds’ can be offered at any place but after the offering of a ‘pind’, at the Brahma Kapal no more ‘pinds’ can be offered at any other place, or the soul reverts to hell.
The temple of Mata Murti and Tapta Kund
When their sons were meditating, Dhara Raj and Mata Murti saddened at their long absence, went their separate ways in search of them halting at places given to them by their son – Narayan. To the right of the roaring river, 3.2 kilometers, an ancient temple, in the Alaknanda valley and opposite to Mana village is dedicated to Mata Murti, the mother fo the two illustrious sons Nara and Narayan. The temple is close to the Tapta Kund – hot water spring, provided b nature as gift to the loyal devotees. In the town itself are two more hot water tanks Narad Kund and Surya Kund, in which pilgrims take bath.
Once a year, on the day of Vamana Dwadashi, the Narayan (Bdarinathji) pays a visit to Mata Murti, when she is worshipped by the Rawal of Badrinathji and the villagers, in a festival of prayer, havan and bhog.
It is believed that Mata Murit has the power of granting ‘Vairagya’ to those who are sincere and meditate in her presence for a few days. Another belief is that through the worship of Mata Murit preferably on, the days of Shukla Tritiya, Ashtami and Chaturdashi worried parents will have their wayward sons returned to the path of righteousness.
The village of Mani Bhadrashram or Man
Known in Hindu scriptures also as Manibhadrapam, Mana, three km north of Badrinath is the last Indian village on Indian border and Tibet. Situated on the slope of stabilized debris in the Alaknanda at the confluence of two rivers, it was known in the celestial Era, when gods roamed the Earth; as Manibhadra Ashram, giving its name Mana; from here one path leads to Kailash – Celestial Abode of Shiva, si peopled with the Himalayan semi-nomads who form a small group, similar to the jadhs, and move down, in winter to joshimath and Chamoli, when the village is deserted and covered with a thick blanket of snow. Mostly Rajputs, the people who are poor, are known as the Marchyas, and have lost their traditional ties with Tibet without gaining any substitute. With the mechanization of the roads however, many changes are coming into their way of life. Mountaineers and tourists visit the area to climb Neelkanth and Chaukhamba, dotted with military posts all along up to the mana pass on the border, 6.4 km away. The people betry their ancient origin, in their quaint customs born out of the formation of the Alaknanda.
The villagers of Mana are closely lik=nked with the activites of the Sri Badrinath Emple and the annual worship of Mata Murti. On the closing day of the temple a ‘choli’ is presented by the Molpas of Mana to the deity, to keep Him warm during winter. This is a part of Karmakand and the choli is spun and woven at Mana.
Home of Rishi Vyas and Vyas Gupha (Vyas Cave)
Among the many caves, in which the rishis dwelt are the Vyas Gupha, Ganesh Gupha and the Muchkund Gupha. In the Vyas Gupha, Rishi Vyas composed the account of the Mahabharat and gave to the world the immortal words of Krishna, when he exhorted the unwilling Arjun to plunge into the battle and enunciated the ‘Bhagvat Geeta’ the Lord’s philosophy of life, its rights andits wrongs. Arjun listened and obeyed – the Pandvas, a handful, rallied and won the day after a tremendous carnage with Arjun had sought to avoid. Faithful Ganesh, to whom it si believed, on the massive rocks that abounded in the area and closely on the outskirts of the cave are the records of the manuscript, piled up one on top of the other.
Keshavprayag and Bhim Shila – The road to Heaven
On the outskirts of Man village there is natural bridge, a huge boulder, lying across the river. The boulder, it is said was put into by Bhim, while they were on their way to heaven.
The Mgnificent Vasudhara Falls
Nature has not stinted in lavishing beauty, both awesome and majestic. At the distance of 8 km from the main shrine of Badrinath and 5 km from the village of Mana are the extravagantly beautiful and mighty Vasudhara falls where, with a backdrop of snow-capped mountains and glaciers and set in an area of rock heights, the Vishnu Ganga (Alaknanda) falls from a height of 145 meters breaking into a myriad crystallize reflection of a rainbow.
Laxmivan – where the Goddess Laxmi Meditated
The land after Dev Darshini just 2 km before approaching Badrivishal, is barren till one reaches dense forest of Bhojpotra trees with their pale green leaves and set in the midst of rocky heights, on the way to Satopanth. Here, 11 km from BAdrinath, and 5 km from Vasudhara Falls, the Goddess Laxmi meditated and gave the place its name. The Bhojpatras, which were used by the ancients who wrote on the barks of the trees, grow at the incredible height of 3,350 meters and are the same as at Bhojbasa on the Gangotri – Gaumukh route.
Chakrateerth – where Arjun acquired his strength
In this lovely spot where the mountains of Nar and Narayan meet to form a circular valley, water, icy cold springs out from different sources and flows through the meadows. Arjun came here to acquire Herculean strength of Pashupathashtra needed to defeat the Kauravas, which he gained by bathing in the waters at Chakrateerth. On the other side of Gaumukh snout of the Ganga. From here, to 21 km form Badrinath and 9 km form Laxmivan is visible the Swargarohan.
Satopanth Lake – The Lake of Divinity
The lake at Satopanth is considered as the lake of trinity. As this is a Triangular lake and it is
believed that each corner of this lake is occupied by Brahma,Vishnu and Mahesh. The trek is extremely
difficult as there is no place to rest and all the food has to be carried from Badrinath, yet the panoramic
beauty of this place is breath taking. Then comes the 44m high Vashundhra falls. As mana is a restricted area, the foreigners have to take permit in Uttarakhand.
About three km from Bhima Pul is Vasudhara Falls, which are more than 44m (135 ft) high. To get to Mana is an easy climb. Foreigners have to get special permission to go to Mana, as it is a restricted area. This rule could change at any time.
Swargarohan mountain – the stairway to Reaven
The fabled Swargarohan mountain, made up of seven steps of snow, believed to have been used by the Pandvas, after ascending which they attained Heaven, can only be approached after taking a dangerous and tedious route passing through snow and glaciers that line the approach. The pools of water have been termed as Som Kund, Vishnu and Surya Kund.
Alkapuri – The Source of the Mighty Alaknanda
Near Badrinath the Alkapuri is the source of Alaknanda River. the glacier is steep and, due to the breaking up of the ice, looks like a giant ascending staircase to heaven on the top of the Chaukhamba or Badrinath peak.
How to reach Badrinath
Nearest airport is jolly grant,dehradun which is 314km.if you are following by rail 2 routes stands in there.one is from delhi to rishikesh which is 287kms,followed by rishikesh to badrinath which is 297 kms by road.the other one is 300kms from dlhi to kotdwar by rail and then kotdwar to badrinath 327kms by road.