Legend has it that the dham was the sacred ground Nar and Narayan chose as their abode while they engaged in spiritually beneficial practices for all living beings upon earth. Nar and Narayan are said to have been prior incarnations of Shri Krishna and Arjun of Treta Yuga. Rarely is another pilgrimage shrine referred to as ‘Ashrama’, Badrinath’s being referred to as Badrikashram is an allusion to the many saints who sought the land for their meditative practices – Nar & Narayan, Ved Vyas, Vashishta, Kanwa, Shankaracharya, Varadacharya. In fact even the idol of Vishnu worshipped here is seated in padmasana!
adrinath Yatra forms an integral part of three pilgrimage trajectories in India – Char Dham of India initiated by Shankaracharya (Puri, Rameswaram, Dwaraka, Badrinath), Himalayan or Chota Char Dham (Yamunotri, Gangotri, Kedarnath, Badrinath) and Panch Badri. No wonder the pilgrimage shrine receives such great inflow of pilgrims every year. The self-manifested idol of Badrinarayan was recovered from a recess in Alakananda River known as Narad Kund by Adi Shankaracharya in the eighth century. He had decreed that the major priest of Badrinath ought to be from Namboodiri community in Kerala to ensure that people can overlook the North-South divide and learn to function from a more unified Indian consciousness. Badrinath finds its mention in many Puranic texts like Skanda Purana and Vishnu Purana.
Apart from Lord Vishnu, the temple also has idols of Nav Durga, Nar & Narayan, Narada, Uddhava, Kubera, Lakshmi, Garuda, Lakshmi Narasimhar, Shankaracharya, Ramanujacharya and Vedanta Desika
How to Reach:
Badrinath is easily accessible via road. National Highway 58 connects Delhi with Badrinath. One can easily employ the many buses that ply on the road from Haridwar or rent a taxi from Haridwar/Dehradun/Rishikesh/Delhi.
These days, many choose to opt for Helicopter services that land them near the shrine without much ado. The pleasure of flying over the majestic Himalayan peaks is indeed an added advantage.
What to Do in and Around Badrinath?
Well, worshipping at the shrine forms the crux of one’s schedule in Badrinath. But there is so much more to do in Badrinath. First of all, one ought to know about Brahma Kapal- a site venerated within the temple premises as the abode of Lord Brahma wherein rites to propitiate dead ancestors are performed.
The nearby Mana village, popularly referred to as India’s last village due to its location on the Indo-Tibetan border, is the major attraction in and around Badrinath. The serene village has a lot of sacred spots strewn within its contours – Vyas Gufa, Ganesha Gufa, a quick glimpse of Saraswati River among some of them. It is widely accepted that Ved Vyas wrote 18 puranas and Mahabharata in this quaint village, the caves named after him and Lord Ganesha remnants of the same historical affair.
Best Time to Visit
Badrinath Dham is open to darshan only during half a year. Due to its location in an icy cold locale, winters make the site particularly inaccessible during which Badrinarayan accepts Joshimath his winter abode. The shrine is open from May – October, although it is advisable to avoid visiting the shrine during the monsoon season. Thus the ideal time to visit would be May, June (before the onset of Monsoon) and September (post-monsoon) and October.
Accommodation in Badrinath
One needs to worry about where to stay while at Badrinath. There are ample budget hotels to accommodate pilgrims within the surrounding area provided one has booked in advance. If you are travelling during the peak pilgrim season it can prove quite difficult to find a room without prior booking.