Joshimath Joshimath
Living in the mountains mostly in places that are not easily accessible the people of the district have been able to preserve their culture, folklore, folksongs and folkdances, the last, a distinctive feature of the district, being seasonal, traditional and religious, some of the better known being described below.....Read More
Badrinath Temple

Badrinath Temple is considered the holiest of the Char Dham Hindu pilgrimage in Uttarakhand. It is delicately placed between the mountains of Nar and Narayan with River Alaknanda flowing peacefully beside it. It is known as Badrinath since the entire region is covered with Badri trees (Indian Jujube).Also known as Vishal Badri, this temple located at the height of 3,133 mts. is the largest Himalayas and most popular of Vishnu pilgrimages among the five Badries. The original temple here is believed to be built by King Pururava and the icon of the lord carved by Vishwakarma, the creator of the gods. The idol was recovered by Adi Shankaracharya from the waters of the nearby Naradkund and consecrated once more in the temple, restored in the 19th century by the royal houses of Scindia & Holker.

The idol is made of black stone similar to granite. So holy is the shrine that it forms one of the four prominent places of Hindu worship. The epic Mahabharat, it is believed, was composed in the Vyas & ganesh caves close by. The Vishnu Ganga which later becomes the Alaknanda flows below the temple. Almost 3 km north of Badrinath, mana is the last Indian village before the Tibetan border. The Vasudhara falls are quite spectacular. On the closing day the residents of Mana offer a choli to the deity to cover the deity all the winter. It is taken off on the opening day & its fibers are distributed amongst the Yatris (pilgrims) as a maha prasadam. Joshimath is the winter deity of Badrinath.

Badrinath is located about 301 kms north of Rishikesh in Chamoli district of Uttarakhand.

Badrinath is talked about in the Hindu scriptures as Badari or Badarikasram. This place is consecrated to Vishnu and particularly to Vishnu's dual form of Nara-Narayana. Another legend has it that when Goddess Ganga, the celestial river, was appealed by Bhagiratha to come down to Earth and help suffering humanity, the Earth was not capable to endure the power of her plunge. Consequently Ganga was divided into twelve sacred waterways, Alaknanda (in Badrinath) being one of them. It later became the abode of Lord Vishnu or Badrinath when he performed penance here and Ma Lakshmi took the form of Badri or Indian Jujube to provide sustenance to him. The mountains around Badrinath are mentioned in the Mahabharata as Swargarohini, the mount from where the Pandavas ascended into heaven. Just four kms from Badrinath is the Mana cave in which Ved Vyas, it is said, wrote the Mahabharata.

Dedicated to Lord Vishnu, it is built in the form of a cone with a small cupola of a gilt bull & spire. Legend dates the temple prior to the vedic age and the original temple is believed to be built by King Pururava and the icon of the lord carved by Vishwakarma, the creator of gods. A Hindu reformist Adi Shankaracharya re-enshrined the temple back in 8th century. A flight of steps takes pilgrims to the main gate & then into the temple. 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 Garbha Griha portion has its canopy covered with a sheet of gold offered by Queen Ahilyabai Holkar. 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-padmasan

Special pujas are also performed on behalf of individuals. Every puja must be preceded by a holy dip in the Tapta Kund. Some of the special morning pujas are Abhishek, Mahaabhishek, Geeta Path. Some special evening pujas are Aarti & Geet Govind. Such pujas are to be booked in advance. The temple opens at 0430 hrs & closes at 1300 hrs. Once again it opens at 1600 hrs & closes at 2100 hrs after the divine song Geet Govind. Rawal is the administrator-Pujari of the temple well versed in puja ceremonials & Sanskrit language and is expected to be celibate..

The temple is just about 50 ft (15 m) tall with a petite cupola on top, enclosed with a gold gilt roof. The facade has been assembled with stone and has arched windows; a wide flight of stairs leads up to a tall, arched main entrance leading to the sanctum sanctorum of the god. This enterance is joined with the highly ornate assembly hall with carved elephants and intricate shapes. The temple also has hot Sulphur springs with medicinal properties. Numerous pilgrims believe it as a prerequisite to cleanse themselves in the springs before calling on the temple. These Sulphur springs have a year-round constant temperature of 45 C.

How to reach By Air ?
Jolly Grant Airport in Dehradun is the nearest domestic airport, located 317 km away. Nearest international airport is New Delhi.

How to reach By Train ?
Rishikesh (300 km), Haridwar (310 km) and Kotdwar (330 km) are the nearest railway stations. All the three railway stations are well-connected to other cities in India.

How to reach By Road ?
Government-run bus services in addition to private-run ones operate daily from New Delhi, Rishikesh and Haridwar. Uttarakhand State Transport Ccorporation operates bus services from Delhi-Rishikesh daily.