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Badrinath has a very ancient history since the Vedic period. It is believed that most of the Vedic hymns and Upnishads were first sung in the divine spot of the Badrikaashram. The great sages, Nar and Narayana are said to be practising penance here even to this day. The Mahabharatha mentions that these sages took avatar in the form of humans as Krishna and Arjuna for the welfare of mankind.

There is a cave close to the Badrinath temple dedicated to rishi Vyas, where he wrote Mahabharata with Lord Ganesha as his scrivener. Vyas muni collected the Vedas and divided them into four parts, which he taught to four of his chief adherents. Sages like Vasishtha and Kanva came here for meditation.

There is an engraved image of lord Vishnu in a Saligrama (type of stone) in Padmasana (lotus pose). This is the only idol of Lord Badrinath in this yogic pose. According to the historians, the temple had existed even before the period of Mahabharata. With the advent of Buddhism, the territory surrounding this sacred place came under the influence of the Buddhists. Some zealots destroyed this ancient temple and threw the idol into the Alaknanda River. Adi Shankaracharya, the founder of the Advaita Vedanta school of philosophy, discovered the image in the Alaknanda through the pool known as Narad Kund and installed it in the Garud Gufah near the hot water spring known as Tapta Kund. It remained there for about seven centuries. Then, at the insistence of the great Vaishnava saint called Varadarajacharya, the then ruler of Garhwal made a temple at the place where the present temple stands and installed the idols therein. The gold covering of the temple is supposed to have been a gift of the famous Queen, Ahalyabai of Holkar.

In the Bhagvat Purana, Lord Krishna said to his folk, Uddhava “ In the future, he would be available only in the holy spots of Badrikaashram(Badrinath). He gave Uddhava his sandals and told him to carry them to Badrinath and keep it there for people to worship”. The sacred scripture says that the life of a Hindu would be incomplete without making a visit to the Badrinath Dham.

Adi Shankaracharya established the rules how lord should be worshiped. He decreed that Rawals (chief priest of the temple) should come from the Indian south state (Kerla) and chief priest of the Rameswaram temple in south, should come from the Garhwal region of North. Thus, he ensured that there be a good interchange of cultures between the north and south holy lands. This tradition is being followed even today; Rawal of Badrinath is always a Namboodiri Brahmin from Kerla, Adi Shankaracharya’s birth place.

Badrinath is among the Char Dhams of Hindus. It is known as a spiritual as well as a sacred zone of India. Every year, lakhs of devotees participate in the Char Dham yatra. It is situated in the Chamoli(district of Garhwal )region of Uttarakhand. The town lies between the Nar and Narayana mountain ranges and situated in the shadow of the Nilkantha peak. The name of the Badrinath temple is in the name of Lord Vishnu, Badri symbolizes “VISHNU” and Nath means “LORD”. The main temple of Badrinath is situated at the right bank of the Alaknanda River. According to myths, Goddess Ganga was split into twelve holy channels to help the suffering people; Alaknanda is one of them. Badrinath is a land of lord Vishnu, Who practised meditation here in his Nar and Narayana roops. History of Badrinath has a link with Mahabharata. There is a cave known as ‘Vyas Gufa’ named after Maharshi Vyas(an important character of the epic ‘Mahabharata’). Saying is there that at the request of Vyas, god Ganesha wrote down the text to Vyas’s dictation. Ganesha is said to have agreed to write it only on a condition that Vyas would never pause in his citation. Vyasa agreed, provided Ganesha took the time to understand what was said before writing it.

Badrinath town is famous for the Panch Badri temples, known as Yog Dhyan Badri, Bhavishtya Badri, Adi Badri, Vriddha Badri, and Badrinath temple. The area of Badrinath is known as Badrikaashram in spiritual terms.

                                     Best time to visit
The best time to visit Char Dhams is from May to October. After this, the Kapats (doors) of most of the temples are kept closed due to heavy snowfall causing the landslides and road block.

                                     Badrinath Temples
The land of Badrinath is full of spirituality and austerity. The Hindu scriptures say that the life of a Hindu is incomplete without making a visit to Badrinath; the sentence is enough to elaborate the importance of Badrinath among Hindus as a must visit pilgrim destination.

              The Shrines and Pilgrimages around Badrinath area
Badrinath Temple:The main attraction of the Badrinath or Badrikaashram, is the Badrinath temple. The temple is divided into three sections known as Gharbha Ghrah, Sabha Mandap (where devotees assemble) and darshan Mandap (where prayers and rituals are conducted). The temple is famous for the black stone idol of Lord Vishnu in the meditative pose which is 3 feet in height and consists of 15 others God’s idols.

Akhand Jyoti(the lamp of eternity) in the Badrinath temple never goes out even when the doors of the temple are closed for 6 months in winters. One could be surprised seeing the lamps spreading light when Rawal(priest of the temple) opens the holy door in May. For the lamp of eternity, some special type of wicks are used and the lamp is filled with ghee. The wicks are specially made by one of the families from Mana village. It is said that the prayers and rituals are conducted here by devguru Narad, during the period when the temple kapats (doors) are closed.

Yogdhyan Badri: The ancient temple of Yogdhyan badri is located at Pandukeshwar at a height of 1920m above sea level, around 24km from Badarinath and 24 km from Joshimath. This is the temple in which the idol of Uddhava is brought and worshiped during the winter months when the kapats (doors) of Badrinath are kept closed. It is religiously ordained that a pilgrimage to the Badrinath Dham will not be considered complete without offering prayers at this temple. Bhatts from South India serve as chief priests in the temple.

                                       Mata Maruti Badri
Mata Maruti Badri temple is dedicated to the Mother of great sages Nar and Narayana.

                                   Places around Badrinath
The spiritual center of Uttarakhand is surrounded among places which are spiritual, natural, hilly, meadows, icy, mysterious, and of-course, enchanting. Below is the list of places near Badrinath, you would find interesting to explore.

Adi Badri: Adi Badri is one of the Panch Badri along with Vishal Badri (Badrinath), Yogdhyan Badri, Bhavishya Badri, Vridha Badri. Adi Badri a historic place since the Gupta Vansha. A black stone idol of lord is enshrined here.

Auli: Auli is situated in the Chamoli district, Uttarakhand. This place is a famous destination among skiing lovers, with the snow flake covered mountains of Himalaya, blessed by nearby revered Badrinath temple. Auli was not so famous earlier, but after the establishment of the Uttarakhand state, the Garhwal Mandal Vikas

Nogam (GMVN), a government organization, has been endeavoring to promote the beautiful place; consequently, today, Auli is a well known, recognized skiing destination. As a result, in 2010, SAF winter games were hosted in Auli.

Bedni Ali Bugyal: A ‘meadow’ is called a ‘Bugyal’ in the local language; this place is a beautiful meadow of Chamoli district of Uttarakhand. The place has an attractive view of trishul peak; it also offers various adventures activities such as trekking, mountaineering, skiing etc.

Chamoli: At a distance of 88.7 km from the Badrinath temple, Chamoli town is situated. This place is rich in culture and blessed with the gifts of nature. It is also known for ‘Chipko Aandolan’.
Gairsain: Gairsain is located at the Kumaon – Garhwal Border. Gair means deep and sain means plane, referring to a place such as a valley. The place offers a panoramic view of the Himalayas. It is being seen as a future capital of Uttarakhand. It is around 138 km from Auli via NH – 58 and NH – 87.

Gauchar: Gauchar is famous for the trade fair occurring here from ancient times. The place is a flat land in the Garhwal Himalayan range. Distance between Gauchar and Badrinath is about 131 km via NH – 58.

Gaurikund: Gaurikund is one of the most renowned holy pilgrim sites for hindus situated in the Rudrapyag district of Uttarakhand, on the way to Kedarnath. This is the place where Goddess Parwati did penance involving ascetic and yoga practices to win over Lord Shiva’s heart.

Ghangaria: Ghangaria is a small village en route to the Hemkund Sahib and valley of flowers, located in the Chamoli District. It is the last rehabilitation center of the route. The place is located at the confluence of the River Pushpawati and River Hemganga. It is about 13 km from Govindghat.

Gopeshwar: Gopeshwar is a beautiful town situated in the Chamoli district of the Garhwal region of uttarakhand state. Gopeswar is also known as Chamoli Gopeshwar. It is the administrative headquarter of the Chamoli district. Gopeshwar is known for its temples, pleasant weather, trekking tracks, beautiful Oak view forests and lovable picturesque scenery all-round. Some people believe that the name of the town – Gopeshwar – has a connection with Lord Krishna – the lord of the Gopis.
Govindghat: Govindghat is located at the right bank of the Holy river Alakananda. It is the commencement place for the trekking to Hemkund Sahib and valley of flowers. There are very good Hotels, restaurants, and parking facility for visitors available here. It is only 25 km from Badrinath and 20 km from the Hemkund Sahib via trekking.

Hanuman Chatti: Hanuman Chatti is a small town in the Joshimath Taluk of Chamoli district in Garhwal. This is the place where Hanuman Ganga and the Yamuna rivers have a confluence. This place is popular because earlier it was the end of the road for the Yamunotri trek, but presently a jeepable road is made upto Janki Chatti, which is 7 kms ahead still of Hanuman Chatti. This place is named after Lord Hanuman.
Joshimath: Joshimath is the home to one of the four cardinal pīthas established by Adi Shankara in the 8th century. It is around 44 km from Badrinath.

Few other incredible views near Badrinath are Kagbhusandi lake, Kheerau Valley, and Pandukeshwar.

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