|Badrinath Temple||Positioned on the banks of the sacred river Alaknanda right in the heart of the town Badrinath|
|Tapt Kund||Positioned just below the Lord Badrinath Temple and above the Alaknanda riverbank|
|Surya Kund||In the proximity with the Tapt Kund of Badrinath.|
|Narada Kund||In the riverbed of Alaknanda close to the Badrinath Temple.|
|Mata Murti Temple||Situated on the banks of River Alaknanda approximately 3 kilometers away from the Lord Badrinarayan Temple|
|Mana Village||Stationed at the distance of approximately 3 kilometers from the Badrinath Town|
|Hemkund Sahib||Placed at the distance of about 43 kilometers from the Badrinath Temple|
|Pandukeshwar||Located approximately 4 kilometers from Govind Ghat and about 24 kilometers away from Badrinath|
|Satopanth||Positioned at the distance of about 25 kilometers from Badrinath to the northwest of Nilkantha|
|Charanpaduka||Nearly 3 kilometers away from the Badrinath Temple|
|Sheshnetra||About 1.5 kilometers away from Badrinath|
|Bheem Pul||Positioned right opposite the Vyas Cave in the Mana Village|
|Brahma Kapal||Situated just 100 meters to the north of the Badrinath Temple|
|Panch Badris||At Badrinath, Pandukeshwar, Subain, Animath and 17 kilometers from Karnaprayag|
|Valley of Flowers||Near Nanda Devi National Park|
|Nanda Devi National Park||Around the Nanda Devi peak|
|Joshimath||Located at the distance of about 14 kilometers from Helang on the way to Badrinath|
|Vasudhara Waterfall||Positioned about 8 kilometers from Badrinath in the Mana Village|
|Neelkanth||Overlooking the Badrinarayan Temple|
|Alka Puri||Situated just 15 kilometers away from Badrinath|
Badrinath Temple, also popularly reckoned by the moniker ‘Badrinarayan Temple’ is positioned on the banks of the sacred river Alaknanda right in the heart of the town Badrinath. This holy shrine dedicated to Lord Vishnu is esteemed as one of the four destinations of the most propitious ‘Char Dham Pilgrimage’ of India. Moreover, Badrinath is also regarded as one of the four ‘Chota Char Dhams’ and one of the 108 ‘Divya Desams’ of the Vaishnavites. In 9th century AD, Adi Shankaracharya had found a black Shaligram stone in the divine waters of the river Alaknanda that resembled the image of Lord Vishnu. Adi Shankaracharya enshrined the Shaligram Idol in a cave near the Tapt Kund where it remained for next 700 years. Eventually in 16th century AD the Garhwal Kings built a temple in the honor of Lord Badrinath and moved the Shaligram to its present location.
The Badrinath Temple is nearly 50 feet in its height and is crowned with a small cupola enshrouded in a gold gilded roof. The radiantly painted stone façade of the Badrinath Temple ornamented with arched windows resembles the Buddhist style of architecture. As you cross the threshold of the temple you enter a large mandapa that is supported with intricately carved pillars and elaborately decorated walls. The mandapa leads to the ‘Garbha Griha’ i.e. the main area of the shrine where the presiding deity of the temple; Lord Badrinarayan is placed under a gold canopy beneath a Badri Tree. The idol of Lord Vishnu made in black Shaligram stone is about one meter tall and it depicts the Lord Vishnu seated in the meditative posture. As this statue is said to have discovered by Adi Shankaracharya in the river bed of Alaknanda, this idol is considered amongst the eight ‘Swayam Vyakta Kshetras’ i.e. self originated or self manifested images of Lord Vishnu.
Apart from the Lord Badrinath idol, the temple enshrines other fifteen idols of several deities including Nara & Narayana, Narasimha, Lakshmi, Garuda, Kubera, Uddhava, Narada, Ganesha, Navadurga etc. The temple of Lord Badrinath is kept open only from the first week of May till the second week of November due to the extreme cold during the rest of the year.
The term ‘Tapt Kund’ literally means the ‘hot water tank’. Tapt Kund positioned just below the Lord Badrinath Temple and above the Alaknanda riverbank is a water lagoon where hot sulfur springs originate all round the year. The boiling waters of the Tapt Kund mysteriously retain the temperature of about 45°c in the midst of the freezing cold of this Himalayan region. The sulfur springs of the Tapt Kund are considered to be possessing therapeutic medicinal values that can cure various skin diseases. According to the practice prevalent at Badrinath, pilgrims take a holy bath in the springs of the Tapt Kund before entering the temple premises for the holy darshana of the Lord Badrinarayan. The Tapt Kund of Badrinath is venerated as the holy abode of Lord Agni i.e. the Lord of the fire and the devotees hold a belief that a sacrosanct dip into the sacramental waters of the Tapt Kund will burn all your worldly sins. Moreover, bathing in the soothing hot waters of the Tapt Kund when the biting cold of this mountainous province is glaciating you with its frosting chill is indeed a revitalizing experience.
Surya Kund named after the Hindu ‘Sun God’ Lord Surya; the Lord of light, energy and fire is yet another water tank situated in the proximity with the Tapt Kund of Badrinath. Holding the similar characteristics like the Tapt Kund, Surya Kund also features hot water springs that carry curative and remedial qualities capable of healing skin diseases. Bathing in the waters of the Surya Kund is equally treasured by the pilgrims paying a visit to Lord Badrinath Temple.
Narada Kund, a seraphic site enormously cherished both for its staggering natural charisma and its religious significance is a natural water pool formed in the riverbed of Alaknanda close to the Badrinath Temple. The water tank receives its name after the heavenly sage and the ardent devotee of Lord Vishnu; Muni Narada who is supposed to have composed Narada Bhakti Sutra at this divine locale. Narada Kund is a niche naturally created in the Alaknanda River and enclosed by a huge rock having projecting angles. Narada Kund is believed to be the very spot from where Adi Shankaracharya had recovered the Shaligram idol of lord Vishnu in 9th century AD. On the account of this chronicle Narada Kund is exalted as one of the most aggrandized destinations of Badrinath. The water of Narada Kund is quite hot and the rock that shelters the Kund lessens the current of the gushing river and provides an appropriate berth for bathing in the middle of enchanting natural splendor. Generally the devotees take a holy dip in the Narada Kund before heading towards the Badrinarayan Temple. Even though, as the water of the Narada Kund is notably hot that it is not advisable to bath in this pond for an elongated period of time.
Mata Murti Temple
Mata Murti Temple, situated on the banks of River Alaknanda approximately 3 kilometers away from the Lord Badrinarayan Temple of Badrinath is a holy shrine built in the divine honor of Mata Murti; the mother of Lord Badrinath. As the legend goes, Mata Murti was a pious lady who performed a severe penance in order to win Lord Vishnu as her son. Appeased Lord Vishnu appeared before her and granted her a boon that he will take a birth as her son. Eventually the blessings came true and Lord Badrinath was born as the twin sons; Nara and Narayana to Mata Murti. Nara and Narayana later killed a monster and performed ‘tapas’ for the well being of all living creatures atop the two mountains Nara and Narayana that flank the town Badrinath. According to the popular belief if you sincerely pray at the Mata Murti Temple, the supreme Mata Murti; the mother of Nara-Narayana has the power of granting you Vairagya from the worldly pleasures. Devotees pay homage at the Mata Murti Temple of Badrinath particularly on the auspicious occasions of Shukla Tritiya, Ashtami and Chaturdashi. Apart from that, at the time of Mata Murti Ka Mela which is held in the month of August every year, the temple receives hordes of devotees alighted from every corner of the country.
Mana Village, stationed at the distance of approximately 3 kilometers from the Badrinath Town and populated by an Indo-Mongolian tribe named ‘Bhotias’ is the last Indian Village placed on the Indo-Tibet Border. Nested on the banks of the river Saraswati, this dandy little village boasts of being the only place on the back of the earth where the river Saraswati is visible. Apart from its geographical feature what earns fame to this small hamlet is its opulent mythological background. Mana Village is the domicile of the Vyas Caves where Maharshi Ved Vyas is believed to have dwelt and also composed the great India epic Mahabharata. Further, it is also supposed that this was the very cave where Adi Shankaracharya met Ved Vyas and had a profound discussion on the ‘Bhashyam’ about the ‘Brahma Sutras’. The Vyas Cave of Mana Village is a rock cave wherein rock formations resembling the orderly stacking of palm leave manuscripts (palm leaves used to suffice as paper during the ancient periods) are seen. These rock formations found in the Vyas Cave are worshipped as ‘Vyas Pustak’ in this region. Apart from the Vyas cave the Mana Village is also admired amongst the tourists for its Vasundhara Waterfalls, Bheem Pul and the end of the Mana road.
Hemkund Sahib, placed at the distance of about 43 kilometers from the Badrinath Temple is a famous pilgrim destination of Sikhism located in the Chamoli district of the state of Uttarakhand. Perched at the altitude of about 15200 feet above the sea level in the Himalayas, Hemkund Sahib can only be reached on foot from Gobindghat on the Rishikesh-Badrinath highway. The Gurudwara that is established at the Hemkund Sahib known as Gurudwara Sri Hemkunt Sahib Ji is dedicated to the tenth Guru of Sikhism Guru Gobind Singh Ji. This blessed Gurudwara also finds citation in the Holy Scripture ‘Dasam Granth’ written by Guru Gobind Singh Ji Himself. ‘Dasam Granth’ also referes to the ‘Hemkund Sahib’ as the place where the King Pandu; the father of the five Pandava brothers had practiced Yoga. The term ‘Hemkund’ literally means ‘a bowl of snow’. Hemkund Sahib is also renowned for its glacial lake; ‘Lok-Pal Hemkund’ that is enclosed by seven mountain peaks, each of them being marked with the sacred Nishan Sahib.
Pandukeshwar located approximately 4 kilometers from Govind Ghat and about 24 kilometers away from Badrinath is a small village believed to have been established by King Pandu; the father of the five Pandava brothers. As the legend goes, Prince Pandu once hunted two mating deer who were actually a sage and his wife. As a result Pandu was cursed by the dying sage that if ever he indulges in carnal pleasures, he would immediately die. To get rid of this curse, Pandu along with his two wives Kunti and Madri resided at Pandukeshwar and performed a strict penance. It is also believed that the five Pandavas were also born here. Moreover, it is also said that Pandavas prayed to Vasudeva at Pandukeshwar.
Today Pandukeshwar is famous for its two legendary temples dedicated to Lord Yogabadri Narayan and Lord Vasudeva. During the period of winter the Lord Vasudeva Temple also functions as the residence for Lord Badri Narayan. During the winter season when the temples at Pandukeshwar remain closed, Udhava; the friend and emissary of Lord Krishna is worshipped here. A grand procession is held at the end of winter when the idol of Lord Udhava is carried in an elaborately decorated palanquin. The procession passes from temple to temple along with Lord Uddhava reopening the closed temples. Pandukeshwar also houses the shrines dedicated to Lord Kuber and the Khsetrapal Ghantakarn.
Satopanth, positioned at the distance of about 25 kilometers from Badrinath to the northwest of Nilkantha is a triangular Glacier Lake nestled at the altitude of 3810 meters above the sea level. The word ‘Satopanth’ derives from two words ‘Sato’ meaning heaven and ‘Panth’ means road. Thus Satopanth means the road leading to heaven. Bounded by the snow clad Himalayan peaks and spread over an extensive area of about 13 kilometers, Satopanth, one of the well reputed glaciers of Uttarakhand is a favorite destination amongst the trekkers and adventure seekers. The natives believe that the three corners of the Satopanth Lake are occupied by the Hindu Trinity Brahma, Vishnu and Mahesh.
Charanpaduka, nestled at the elevation of about 3,380 feet and located nearly 3 kilometers away from the Badrinath Temple is a celebrated rock formation that bears the foot prints of Lord Vishnu Himself. The devotees of Lord Shri Krishna hold a belief that the darshana of these footprints will relieve you from all the worldly problems and also wash off all your sins. As mentioned in the ‘Bhagwat Purana’, Lord Krishna Himself had asked his emissary Uddhava to visit Badrinath carrying his Charanpaduka. The rocky path that leads to the Charanpaduka is featured with a number of caves and boulders and the uphill route is quite hazardous and risky. Even though, the mesmerizing beauty and tranquility of the vicinity, the scenic ambiance and the religious significance draws myriads of tourists as well as devotees to come and pay homage at the Charanpaduka. It is also believed that this is the point where Lord Vishnu had set his first foot on earth.
Sheshnetra, situated about 1.5 kilometers away from Badrinath is a massive boulder that bears the insignia of an eye of the mythological snake Adi Shesha. Adi Shesha (also known as Ananta Shesha) is the very snake on whose back Lord Vishnu takes a reclining position and reposes in the Vaikuntha. Sheshnetra; the rock that holds the natural imprint of the eye of Adi Shesha is highly revered by the devotees of Lord Vishnu. It is assumed that the Snake God Adi Shesha guards the periphery of Badrinath from here. Adding to its divine implications are the boundless natural allure and the composed environs that summon the tourists to this enticing niche. The marvelous bed of Alaknanda and the two adjacent lakes further augment the appeal of this grandiose milieu.
Bheem Pul, positioned right opposite the Vyas Cave in the Mana Village is a gargantuan rock that furnishes as a natural bridge across the Saraswati River. The river Saraswati that is visible only at the Mana Village flows with tremendous force in the middle of two mountains and then meets the river Alaknanda. As per the prevalent lore, Bheem; one of the five Pandava brothers, disposed this colossal rock here in order to connect the two distant mountains so as to form a path for Draupadi to cross the river.
Brahma Kapal, situated just 100 meters to the north of the Badrinath Temple is a flat platform cuddled on the banks of the river Alaknanda. This is the spot where pilgrims perform Shraddhakarmas in the honor of their departed ancestors. As per the prevalent belief, if you perform the Shraddha at Brahma Kapal of Badrinath, the 42 lines of your ancestors will receive salvation. That’s the reason why Badrinath is considered as one of the five Punyakshethras. Devotees believe that Lord Brahma resides at Brahma Kapal. The myth that forms the background of the ‘Brahma Kapal’ relates that at this place the head (Kapal) of Lord Brahma cut by the trident of Lord Shiva had fallen. Later, by the blessings of Lord Vishnu i.e. Lord Badrinath the fallen head was restored and Lord Shiva was relieved from the sin of ‘Brahma Hatya’.
The town Badrinath receives its name after the Badri Van i.e. ‘the forest of berries’ where the Badri trees grew in abundance. The term Badrinath means the ‘Lord of the Berries’. The reason why the berry trees are bestowed upon such an elevated status here is that Lord Vishnu had appeared here before the Sage Narada in front of a Badri Tree. Badrinath is one of the Panch Badris i.e. five Badris dedicated to Lord Vishnu. These five Badris include; Vishal Badri, Yogadhyan Badri, Bhavishya Badri, Vridh Badri and Adi Badri.
Vishal Badri refers to the Lord Badrinarayan Temple at Badrinath.
Yogadhyan Badri located at Pandukeshwar is a shrine that also worships Lord Vishnu in a meditative posture. This shrine of Lord Badrinarayan is supposed to have been consecrated by the King Pandu; the father of five Pandavas.
Bhavishya Badri located at the distance of 17 kilometers from Jyotirmath at Subain refers to the Lord Badrinath that will appear at this place in future. It is believed that when the evil will increase in the world even more, there will be one day when Lord Badrinarayan at Badrinath will turn inaccessible. At that time Lord Vishnu will reappear at Bhavishya Badri to save the world from the evil.
Vridh Badri located at Animath about 7 kilometers from Jyotirmath referes to the older domicile of Lord Badrinath. This is believed to be the place where the idol of Lord Badrinath before being enshrined in the present temple was worshipped.
Adi Badri located at the distance of 17 kilometers from Karnaprayag is a temple complex of 16 small temples where a three foot tall statue of Lord Vishnu formed out of black stone is enshrined.
Valley of Flowers
Valley of Flowers, an exceedingly beautiful high-altitude Himalayan valley burgeoning with hundreds of multicolored flowers is a National Park distinguished for its far reaching meadows of regional alpine flora. Declared a national park in the year 1982 and listed amongst the UNESCO World Network of Biosphere Reserves, the Valley of Flowers highly praised for its unparalleled natural pulchritude is a home to endangered species of animals including snow leopard, Asiatic black bear, brown bear and blue sheep. The gentle slopes of the Valley of Flowers National Park teeming with an all embracing carpet of blossoming flowers complement the wild deserted mountains of the Nanda Devi National Park which encompasses the Nanda Devi Biosphere Reserve together with the Valley of Flowers. The Valley of Flowers National Park covering an extensive area of 87.50 square kilometers is also a home to a number of commended flowers including Brahmakamal, Cobra Lily and Blue Poppy. Earlier, this valley was known amongst the locals as the abode of fairies. The Valley of Flowers bequeathed with incredible natural artistry is indeed the Garden of Eden personified. It is truly a heaven for the flower-lovers, botanists and adventure enthusiasts.
Nanda Devi National Park
The Nanda Devi National Park laying around the Nanda Devi peak in the state of Uttarakhand is a protected area established in the year 1982. In the year 1988 UNESCO inscribed the Nanda Devi National Park as a World Heritage Site along with the Valley of Flowers and since 2004 both of them comprise one of the Biosphere Reserves in the UNESCO World Network of Biosphere Reserves. Nanda Devi National Park covers the total area of 630.33 square kilometers and together with Valley of Flowers encompasses the Nanda Devi Biosphere Reserve
Joshimath, located at the distance of about 14 kilometers from Helang on the way to Badrinath is the first mutt that was established by Adi Shankaracharya. Joshimath is famous for its Lord Narasimha and Lord Vasudev temples. Moreover, it is also accredited as one of the 108 Divya Desams of the Vaishnavites.
Vasundhara Falls, positioned about 8 kilometers from Badrinath in the Mana Village is an enamoring cascade that is nested at the altitude of about 12,000 feet above the sea level. Enclosed by towering Himalayan peaks the silvery waters of the Vasundhara Falls gush down the 400 feet descent with its overwhelming speed and thundering roars. Apart from the enchanting natural allure and challenging trekking trails, what more attracts the visitors is an interesting tale that is associated with the cataract. It is believed amongst the locals that the Vasundhara Falls turn away from those who are not pure at heart. The enticing charm and the enrapturing ambiance of the Vasundhara Falls cajole its beholders to no extent. The surging water of the Vasundhara Falls looks like a thick flow of pure milk flooding down the mountain.
The lofty snow crowned peak that fringes the Nara-Narayana mountain ranges of Badrinath and overlooks the Badrinarayan Temple with its towering snow clad backdrop, the pyramidal shaped Neelkanth is named after Lord Neelkanth i.e. Lord Shiva. The 6,597 meters tall Himalayan Peak; the Neelkanth is a gigantic berth of immeasurable natural splendor. Fondly reckoned by the title ‘the Queen of Gharwal’ Neelkanth beckons both the nature lovers and adventure seekers. A six kilometers of trek will reach you up to the pinnacle of the Neelkanth Peak; the zenith of charisma where the early sun casts its first ray.
Alka Puri named after the celestial abode of Lord Indra in the heaven ‘Alka Puri’ is situated just 15 kilometers away from Badrinath. Positioned in the proximity with the celebrated Mana Village, Alka Puri is believed to be the dwelling place of Kuber, Yakshas and Gandharvas. Alka Puri is the locus from where the Alaknanda River originates from the Satopanth glacier.