Badrinath, also known as Badrinarayana Temple, is a Hindu temple dedicated to Vishnu in Badrinath, Uttarakhand, India. The temple is devoted to Lord Vishnu and is widely regarded as one of the holiest Hindu temples. The temple and town are one of the four Char Dham pilgrimage locations, as well as one of the 108 Divya Desams, or Vaishnavite holy places. Due to the terrible weather conditions in the Himalayan region, the temple is only open for six months a year (from the end of April to the beginning of November).
The temple is located in Uttarakhand’s Chamoli district, amid the Garhwal, hill ranges along the banks of the Alaknanda River. The hill tracts are 3,133 meters (10,279 feet) above sea level. The Nar Parbat mountain lies to the west of the temple, and the Narayana Parbat is to the east of the Neelkanth summit. Travelers can travel 233 kilometers by road from Badrinath to Gaurikund, which is located 301 kilometers north of Rishikesh (near Kedarnath).
The popularity of Badrinath has risen dramatically in recent years. During the 2006 season, an estimated 600,000 pilgrims visited, compared to 90,676 in 1961. For Vaishnavites, the temple in Badrinath is a sacred pilgrimage place.
The temple is painted in brilliant and colorful colors of yellow, red, and blue on the outside, which contrast beautifully with the surrounding flora. According to certain academics and architects, this temple was originally a Buddhist monastery that was later turned into a temple by Adi Shankaracharya in the 8th century. The temple’s luxurious appearance is enhanced by the golden gilded roof on the top, as well as the large golden ‘Om’ on the entryway.
The Garbhagriha (sanctum), Darshan Mandap (worship hall), and Sabha Mandap are the three components that make up the temple (convention hall). The Garbhagriha, the sanctum’s conical-shaped roof, is roughly 15 m (49 ft) tall, with a little cupola on top and a gold gilded dome. Stone is used for the facade, which includes arched windows. The main entrance, a large, arched entryway, is reached through a broad stairwell. A mandap, a vast, pillared corridor leading to the sanctum, or primary shrine area, is located just within. The hall’s walls and pillars are adorned with elaborate carvings.
The primary shrine houses Lord Badrinarayana’s 1 ft (0.30 m) Shaligram idol, which is ensconced in a gilded canopy beneath a Badri Tree. Lord Badrinarayana’s deity depicts Him in a raised posture with two arms holding a Shankha (conch) and a Chakra (wheel) and the other two arms resting on His lap in a Yogamudra (Padmasana) pose. The sanctum also includes pictures of Kubera, the sage Narada, Uddhava, Nar, and Narayan, the deity of riches.
Around the temple, there are fifteen more images that are revered. Lakshmi (Vishnu’s spouse), Garuda (Narayan’s vahana), and Navadurga, Durga’s incarnation in nine various forms, are among them. There are other shrines dedicated to Lakshmi Narasimhar, Adi Shankara (AD 788-820), Nar and Narayan, Ghantakarna, Vedanta Desika, and Ramanujacharya. The temple’s deities are all fashioned of black stone.
A natural hot spring is located just below the temple and is said to have healing effects. Before visiting the sacred sanctuary of Badrinath, a devotee must take a plunge in the holy and hot waters of the Kund. There are five stones near the Tapt Kund that are named Narad, Narsingh, Varah, Garur, and Markanday in legend. The springs have a year-round temperature of 55 degrees Celsius (131 degrees Fahrenheit), although the outside temperature is normally below 17 degrees Celsius (63 degrees Fahrenheit) all year. Narad Kund and Surya Kund are the names of the temple’s two water pools.
Badrinath is one of the most fabled temples in India, with countless legends surrounding it. Lord Vishnu is said to have atoned for his sins at this location, according to legend. He was completely ignorant of the harsh weather conditions while meditating. His wife, Goddess Lakshmi, took on the form of a Badri tree and draped herself over him to protect him from the blazing heat of the sun. Lord Vishnu was impressed by her devotion and named the place Badrikashram after her.
THE DESIRE OF LORD NARAYANA TO MEDITATE IN BADRINATH
Lord Shiva and Goddess Parvati were allegedly said to be practicing Tapasya in Badrinath, according to another tradition. Then Lord Vishnu appeared in the form of a tiny child and interrupted them by wailing aloud. When Parvati learned of this, she inquired as to why he was behaving so solemnly, to which he replied that he intended to meditate in Badrinath. After seeing Lord Narayan in disguise, Shiva and Parvati left Badrinath and proceeded to Kedarnath.
NAR AND NARAYANA’S STORY
Badrinath Dham also has a connection to the story of Dharma’s two sons, Nar and Narayana, who wanted to build a hermitage and expand their religious base in the holy Himalayas. According to mythology, their search for a suitable location for their hermitage led to the accidental discovery of the four Panch Badri sites, namely Dhyan Badri, Yog Badri, Bridha Badri, and Bhavishya Badri. Finally, they stumbled and discovered a location with two remarkable cold and hot springs hidden behind the Alaknanda River. They were pleased to discover this location and named it Badri Vishal, this is how Badrinath was born.
THE SOURCE OF THE ALAKNANDA RIVER
Last but not least, there is a fantastic legend related to Badrinath. According to legend, the holiest and curse-relieving river the Ganges granted Bhagiratha’s prayer to free humanity from the curse of sufferings and sins. While climbing to earth, the Ganges’ ferocity was such that its floods might have submerged the entire planet. Lord Shiva bore the world onto his tresses to save it from such unfathomable effects, and the Ganges was eventually divided into twelve holy rivers, one of which is the Alaknanda, which flows past the hallowed Badrinath Temple.
The most frequent way to view the temple is on a day trip from Joshimath, though there are various lodging options in Badrinath. After visiting the Kedarnath temple and traveling from either Gauri Kund or Sonprayag, pilgrims traditionally end their Char Dham Yatra pilgrimage at the Badrinath shrine.
Regretfully, the closest railway to Badrinath is Haridwar, which is nearly a 10-hour drive from Joshimath. Taking a car and driver from Haridwar is the most convenient option, and these automobiles are accessible at the station. The majority of automobile rental firms charge per day, which must include a return trip. Depending on the model of the automobile, expect to pay roughly 3,000 rupees per day or more. You must leave as soon as possible (by 7 a.m.) in order to be in Joshimath before dark. Due to safety concerns, driving on mountain routes at night is prohibited in Uttarakhand.
The quickest, but most expensive, way to get to the temple is via helicopter. Pilgrim Aviation, a private firm, offers one-day packages to Badrinath, departing from Dehradun’s Sahastradhara helipad.