Badrinath,Himalaya - place to go in India

The Char Dham, is the four most famous Hindu pilgrimage circuit in India which are believed to be the abodes of Hindu gods. Located in the four directions of India, the circuit consists of four sites – to the north is Badrinath, to the west is Dwarka, to the south is Rameshwaram and to the east is Puri. Badrinath is one of the Char Dhams of India.

Badrinath has an average elevation of 3,100 metres (10,170 feet). It is in the Garhwal Himalayas, on the banks of the Alaknanda River. The town lies between the Nar and Narayana mountain ranges 9 km east of Nilkantha peak (6,596m). Badrinath is located 62 km northwest of Nanda Devi peak and 301 km north of Rishikesh. From Gaurikund (near Kedarnath) to Badrinath by road is 233 km.

Badrinath was re-established as a major pilgrimage site by Adi Shankara in the ninth century. In earlier days, pilgrims used to walk hundreds of miles to visit Badrinath temple.] In recent years its popularity has increased significantly, with an estimated 600,000 pilgrims visiting during the 2006 season, compared to 90,676 in 1961. The temple in Badrinath is also a sacred pilgrimage site for Vaishnavites. Badrinath is also gateway to several mountaineering expeditions headed to mountains like Nilkantha. According to the Bhagavata Purana, “There in Badrikashram the supreme being (Vishnu), in his incarnation as the sages Nara and Narayana, had been undergoing great penance since time immemorial for the welfare of all living entities.” (Bhagavata Purana 3.4.22)

Badri refers to a berry that was said to grow abundantly in the area, and nath means “Lord of”. Badri is also the Sanskrit name for the Indian Jujube tree, which has an edible berry. Some scriptural references refer to Jujube trees being abundant in Badrinath.

Badrinath is at a height of 10,400 feet above sea-level in the Garhwal Mountains a part of the larger Himalayas, in the state of Uttaranchal, on the banks of the Alaknanda River. The town lies between the Nar and Narayana mountain ranges and in the shadow of Nilkantha peak (6,560m).

Badri refers to a berry that was said to grow abundantly in the area, and nath means Lord. The legend goes that Shankara discovered a black stone image of Lord Badrinarayan made of Saligram stone in the Alaknanda River. He originally enshrined it in a cave near the Tapt Kund hot springs. In the sixteenth century, the King of Garhwal moved the murti to the present temple.

The Badrinath temple is the main attraction in the town. According to legend Shankara discovered a black stone image of Lord Badrinarayan made of Saligram stone in the Alaknanda River. He originally enshrined it in a cave near the Tapt Kund hot springs. In the sixteenth century, the King of Garhwal moved the murti to the present temple.] The temple is approximately 50 ft (15 m) tall with a small cupola on top, covered with a gold gilt roof. The facade is built of stone, with arched windows. A broad stairway leads up to a tall arched gateway, which is the main entrance. The architecture resembles a Buddhist vihara (temple), with the brightly painted facade also more typical of Buddhist temples. Just inside is the mandapa, a large pillared hall that leads to the garbha grha, or main shrine area. The walls and pillars of the mandapa are covered with intricate carvings.

Best time to visit: May to October, except monsoons

Located only 24 kilometers from the Indo-China(Tibet) border, Badrinath is generally a one dayjourney from either Kedarnath, the site that precedes it in the Char Dham circuit, or one of the main disembarkation points on the plains. The temple and its surrounding village are accessible by road. The best time to visit Badrinath is between June and September.