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Badrinath


Badrinath Tour PackagesBadrinath, the pristine hill town located in Chamoli District of Uttarakhand (Uttaranchal) state of India, gets its name from the holy temple where Lord Vishnu is worshipped in the form of Badrinarayan. Badrinath Temple enjoys a superior place of the holiest pilgrimage sites of Hindus, especially Vaishnavites.

Originally Char Dham referred to the four holy temples set in four corners of India with Badrinath in the north, Dwarka in the west, Puri in the east and Rameshwaram in the south which forms the "Bigger Char Dham" circuit. Over the years, "Char Dham" is a term popularly used for "The Himalayan Char Dham", a known and revered pilgrimage circuit. Badrinath is amongst the most regarded of these four pilgrimage sites with the other three being Kedarnath, Gangotri and Yamunotri.

One of the 5 Punyakshetras where Hindus can offer oblations to their ancestors, Badrinath forms a part of the 108 Vishnu Temples, collectively referred to as Divya Desams. It is also regarded as one of the sapta badris (seven holy temples dedicated to Lord Vishnu) located in the Badri-kshetra of Uttaranchal's Himalayan range.

According to Skanda Purana, largest among the 18 ancient Hindu texts, there is no shrine like Badrinath in the entire universe. It is a popular belief that pursuing char dham yatra at least once in a lifetime is necessary for every Hindu. Practitioners of Hinduism have faith that Lord Vishnu has been meditating here for the millions of years in the form of Badrinarayan.

Temple and the Stone Image
Though believed to exist since time immemorial, Badrinath pilgrimage site was established in the 9th century by Adi Shankaracharaya. The temple has undergone numerous renovations and its present day construction dates back to the beginning of the 19th century. Decorations and adornments of different parts of the temple are simply amazing.

The image of Lord Badrinarayan worshipped at the temple is made of black Shaligram stone (considered to be an iconic form of Lord Vishnu). It is believed that Adi Shankaracharaya discovered the image in Alaknanda River (considered to be a channel of River Ganga). What is interesting about the image is that it represents Vishnu is Padmasana (a meditation posture). Idols of other Hindu deities are also worshipped inside the temple.

Accessabililuty and Best Time for Pilgrimage to Badrinath
Badrinath Temple remains open only for about six months in a year. Exact pilgrimage dates may vary between April and November. For the remaining part of the year, this region remains inaccessible due to heavy rainfall and the idol is shifted to Joshimath, another popular pilgrimage destination in the state.

Badrinath can be accessed from the national capital New Delhi by road. Bus state and regional transport services are available from Delhi to Rishikesh and from Rishikesh to Badrinath. Many private tour operators organize fixed departure bus tours and family chardham tours (in cabs and taxis) to Badrinath and other three pilgrimage destinations. You can choose among complete char dham tour packages or specific tour to Badrinath.

Those traveling by rail can reach Rishikesh or Kotdwar from Delhi and continue the further journey by road. By air, one can land at Dehradun Airport and continue the trip to Badrinath by road. For this, they can depend on tour operators who arrange for rail or air tickets as well as subsequent road trips.

Helicopter char dham pilgrimage is also possible, with many tour operators offering helicopter ticketing services from Delhi, Dehradun and Phata. It is the most time saving way to pursue Badrinath pilgrimage, do dham yatra (two dhams including Badrinath and Kedarnath) or complete char dham pilgrimage.

Useful Information for Pilgrims
Because of its location in Garhwal Himalayas, Badrinath is extremely cold and you must carry woollen garments to enjoy the journey throughout. Accommodations are available in the form of hotels and guest houses, not only at Badrinath, but at various mid-way destinations that include Haridwar, Rishikesh, Joshimath and Auli. When traveling by road in a cab, taxi or private car, you may like to halt at these places. Advance booking of rooms can help you avoid the problem of non-availability of rooms especially in the peak season.

There are no big restaurants or eating joints at Badrinath. However, you can easily find small shops and dhabas across the town to have meals. You can also relish the local snacks, sweets and hot beverages. It is important to note that eggs, non-vegetarian food and alcohol are strictly prohibited at Badrinath.

Beauty of Badrinath and Places Around
Badrinath, apart from being a pilgrimage destination, can also be viewed as a storybook town located on the bank of River Alaknanda, nestled between Nar and Narayana mountain peaks and resting in the shade of Nilkantha peak. Breathtaking views of snow-capped peaks and blissful natural panorama all around delights the tourists apart from its pilgrimage value.

The temple has many wonderful attractions in its close vicinity:
  • Tapt Kund: A hot water sulphur spring close to the temple, which is known for medicinal properties.
  • Charanpaduka: A beautiful meadow nearby accommodates a boulder referred to as Charanpaduka which is believed to have footprints of Lord Vishnu.
  • Panch Dhara: Five streams and many hot springs, along with a number of mystic caves and seasonal lakes, enhance the charisma of this place.
  • Mana Village: Located near to the Indo-Tibetan border, Mana is a quaint village with historical sites like Ved Vyas Cave and Ganesha Cave, where the great epic of Mahabharata was written. A huge rock known as Bheem Pul forming a natural bridge over River Saraswati is another attraction.
  • Vasudhara Falls: Accessible from Mana via a 5 km. trek, the waterfall is exceptionally enchanting and creates a cool ambiance. It is believed that the waterfall turns away from those who are not pure at heart.
  • Satopanth Tal: A lake with exquisite charm, Satopanth can be accessed via a challenging trek from Mana. The lake is of great religious significance for the belief that Brahma, Shiva and Vishnu take bath in its waters. Many mythological beings (in the disguise of birds) are believed to guard the lake.
  • Swargarohini Trek: Satopanth Lake marks the starting point of a thrilling trek to Swargarohini Peak. According to a popular legend, the Pandavas, along with their wife Draupadi and dog, ascended to swarga (heaven) via this route. It is recommended only for physically fit trekkers to climb the peak.
Blessed with alluring cascades, effervescent holiness amidst serene natural charm, Badrinath is truly a tourist's paradise.




 

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