Set in the backdrop of the Neelkanth mountain peak, in Chamoli district, Uttarakhand state, divine Badrinath is the most important of the four sites in India’s Char Dham pilgrimage (Badrinath, Dwarka, Puri, and Rameshwaram). Dedicated to Lord Vishnu, the temple of Badrinath opens only for six months every year, from April to the third week of November.
Holding many myths and legends, Badrinath offers breathtaking beauty, with snow-clad mountain peaks and the gushing landscapes of the Garhwal region. The Rishi Ganga and Alaknanda rivers further add to its beauty. The surging peaks, sacred ponds, and water bodies enthrall visitors with its unparalleled beauty. Apart from its divinity and natural beauty, Badrinath is also popular for trekking and adventure tourism.
1. Badrinath Temple
Established by Adi Shankaracharya, on the banks of the river Alaknanda, the colorful shrine of Lord Badrinarayan has been blessing its devotees for ages. The queues at the most important of the four sites of India’s Char Dham pilgrimage are long and it may take three to six hours to view the black stone Badrinath idol, depicting Lord Vishnu seated in a meditative pose.
The experience inside the temple is divine. The serenity and tranquillity of the place and the snow clad mountains around the shrine are beyond mindblowing. The sight of the misty mountains, serpentine queues, and surroundings leave one spellbound. The experience is just beyond expression.
Address: Badrinath Road, Chamoli District, Badrinath, Uttarakhand 246422
Website: Badrinath Temple
2. Tapta Kund
A natural marvel, this holy hot water spring is located below Badrinath Temple. Believed to be the abode of Lord Agni and famous for its medicinal properties, this hot water pool is always full of devotees, as a dip into the hot water is believed to emancipate human beings from their sins. Moreover, its hot water has a rejuvenating effect in the bone-chilling atmosphere of the place.
But be careful not to spend more than 2 to 3 minutes in the water, as it harms the skin and causes illness.
Website: Tapta Kund
3. Narad Kund
Situated at the bottom of Badrinath Temple, near the Tapt Kund, is the place where the idol of Lord Vishnu was recovered by Adi Shankaracharya. It is believed that Saint Narad meditated here, for a very long time, and wrote the Narad Bhakti Sutra. One should first take a bath in this “kund” or pool, before entering the temple.
Website: Narad Kund
4. Neelkantha Peak
Also known as the Garhwal Queen, named after Lord Shiva, Neelkanth is a snowy peak in the shape of a pyramid, just behind the hill of Badrinath Temple. Neelkanth is the site where the sun casts its first ray and the peak is situated at an average elevation of around 6,597 meters (21,644 feet) above sea level. Travelers can cover 6 km (3.7 miles) of trekking routes, on this peak. Sunrise is the best time to see this hill.
Website: Neelkantha Peak
Joshimath, a beautiful hill station on way to Badrinath dham. Photo: Mayank DimriPosted by eUttaranchal.com on Tuesday, 25 April 2017
An extremely peaceful and beautiful place, Joshimath is located amongst the backdrop of the snow-capped lower Himalayas and is the gateway to Himalayan mountain climbing expeditions, trekking trails, and pilgrim centers, like Badrinath. It is a base station for travelers going to Guru Gobind Ghat or the Valley of Flowers National Park. The famous tourist spot, Auli, known for winter skiing, is just 11 km (6.8 miles) away from Joshimath.
The Narshingh Temple, which is the winter abode of Lord Badrinath, is located there. The temple complex includes the Shankaracharya Ashram, the temple of Badrinarayan, and Rajrajeshwari Devi. It has a sacred cave where Adi Shankaracharya meditated and attained enlightenment and the 2500-year-old Kalpa Vriksha tree, is also here. This place also has a lamp that is said to have been glowing for 2500 years. The hot water springs of Tapovan are also here.
Address: 40 km (24.85 miles) from Badrinath
6. Hemkund Sahib
Hemkund Sahib is a Sikh pilgrimage site, devoted to Guru Gobind Singh Ji, the tenth Sikh Guru and is surrounded by seven mountain peaks and a glacial lake. It is a magnificent place for both trekkers and religious people. One can also hire ponies or choose a helicopter service to reach here. The trek has breathtaking views of the mighty Himalayas with numerous Brahma Kamal flowers, along the hilly slope.
Sacred prayers amidst the chilly weather, delicious “halwa” or porridge as “prasad”, or food offering and a tasty and nutritious canteen, serving food and tea offered by temple volunteers at the high altitude of 4,632 meters (15,197 feet), are all amazing sights. Taking a holy dip in the lake, with its freezing water, is a once in a lifetime achievement. Glacier Lake at the top, surrounded by the high peaks, is mesmerizing. The beauty of the place cannot be expressed in words.
Address: 14 km (8.69 miles) from Badrinath
Website: Hemkund Sahib
7. Valley of Flowers National Park
One of the most spectacular valleys in India is the Valley of Flowers and it is just like a paradise, carpeted with colorful flowers and crystal clear spring water, everywhere. The 24 km (14.9 mile) return trek from Ghangharia village via lovely waterfalls, the narrow bridges across streams, lush vegetation, and snow covered mountains, is just like walking through a fantasy land, similar to Alice in Wonderland.
A small man made path leads to the majestic garden. It is an everlasting memory to cherish. The best time to visit is from mid-July to mid-August.
Valley of Flowers National Park
Address: 12 km (7.45 miles) from Badrinath
Website: Valley of Flowers National Park
8. Bheem Pul
Bheem Pul is a huge rock, acting as a natural bridge across the Saraswati River. As per mythology, Pandava-Bheem lifted this big piece of rock and placed it between two small cliffs, to create a bridge between the two mountains, so that Draupadi could easily walk over it.
The roaring Saraswati River flows between the two mountains, to join the Alaknanda River. On either side, there are spots where one can sit, relax, and enjoy the serene atmosphere. The bridge transports people to the other side of the mountain.
Address: 3 km (1.86 miles) from Badrinath, in Mana Village
9. Alka Puri
Alka Puri is the place from where the Alaknanda stream of the River Ganges originates from the Satopanth Glacier and is just above Mana village, ahead of Badrinath. This place is quite spectacular and the Valley of Flowers is also here.
Address: 15 km (9.32 mile) from Badrinath
10. Charan Paduka
Charan Paduka near Badrinath ..... #Badrinath Pic src : FB/ Chauhan PiyushPosted by Sacred Yatra on Saturday, 25 June 2016
Charan Paduka is a rock, located at a height of 3,380 meters (11,089 feet), that is said to have the footprints of Lord Vishnu. It is believed that those who view these footprints are relieved from ailments and other problems. The path to Charan Paduka has various caves and boulders.
Address: 3 km (1.86 miles) away from Badrinath Temple
If there is a paradise on earth, Badrinath qualifies. The eternal peace and happiness experienced here can be realized nowhere else. The beauty of the snow clad mountain peaks, the gushing landscapes of the Garhwal region, sacred ponds, the Valley of Flowers and enthralling treks, are just beyond expression.
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