Badrinath Dham: The Land Of Meditation And Penance

Badrinath is part of Chota Chardham in Uttarakhand, it's religious aura is simply fathomless. Many of our ancient religious texts and Puranas speak of Badrinath Dham most exultantly. In this context, it is worthwhile to quote what Skanda Purana tells about Badrinath Dham. In our revered Skanda Purana, Badrinath Dham has been described in the given words-

“There are many sacred spots of pilgrimage in the heavens, earth and the nether world, but there has been none equal to Badri, nor shall there be.”

These words clearly drop a cue to the religious stature this shrine has been enjoying since time immemorial. Today too scores of pilgrims make their way to Badrinath Dham to soak in its religious gravity and depth.
Badrinath Temple
Badrinath Temple

Myths on Badrinath

There are several myths associated with Badrinath Dham. One myth tells that the River Alaknanda, a tributary of River Ganga that flows through Badrinath Dham had been lord Vishnu’s dwelling place. Also, as per myths Lord Vishnu had grabbed this place from Lord Shiva and had chosen it as his ‘Tapobhumi’; i.e. land of meditation. Afterwards he had spent years of meditation at this place while his consort, Goddess Lakshmi had protected him from the scorching sun rays and had supplied him with food in the form of Badris or berries by assuming the shape of a Badri Tree. As lord Vishnu had resided in the Badrinath region, it is also given the name of ‘Bhu Vaikunth’ meaning ‘Heaven on the earth’. It is also believed that Pandavas of Mahabharata had left for their heavenly abode from this very place by ascending towards heaven by means of a mountain peak called Swargarohini. Also, at an ancient cave near the Badrinath Dham Sage Ved Vyas is said to have composed the famed epic ‘Mahabharata’.

Importance of Badrinath dham

The importance of Badrinath Dham is simply unparalleled. Many of our ancient religious texts like Bhagavata Purana, Skanda Purana, Padma Purana, Vishnu Purana etc. sings lots of praises about Badrinath dham thereby underscoring its religious importance most aptly.  Badrinath Dham is a revered place for all Vaishnavites as it is counted among the 108 Divya desams of the Vaisnavites. The idol of Lord Badrinarayan is said to be a swayam vyakta idol or a self-manifested idol. This idol is made up of Shaligram shila; a kind of holy black stone and is said to have been retrieved by Adi Shankaracharya from Tapt kund, a hot spring. The temple of Badrinarayan is said to receive the highest number pilgrim visit in the whole of the country. The average recorded visits amount to 1060, 000. Generally pilgrims pack in Kedarnath Dham Darshan too along with Badrinath. Hence, Badrinath Kedarnath Yatra is a popular pilgrimage tour of the country.

What to See at Badrinath

Apart from the main temple of Badrinarayan, there are other places of attraction in and around Badrinath. Given below are some of the top places to see at Badrinath-
Tapt Kund
Tapt Kund
Tapt Kund
Tapt Kund is a hot spring in vicinity to Badrinath temple. The temperature of water in the Tapt Kund is nearly 45 degree centigrade. According to myths lord Agni resides in Tapt kund and taking a holy bath in Tapt Kund can purge one of all mortal sins. Thus pilgrims to Badrinath definitely make sure to take their holy dip prior to stepping into the temple also, bathing in Tapt Kund can heal one of many diseases as the water is rich in medicinal ingredients.
Mata Murti Temple
Mata Murti Temple
Mata Murti Temple
Mata Murti temple belongs to mother goddess who is said to have given birth to sons known by the name of Nar and Narayana. A festival referred to as Mata Murti ka Mela is celebrated quite pompously around the temple

Brahma Kapal
Brahmakapal is a holy flat Ghat along river Alaknanda. Hindus often perform the last rites of their deceased ancestors on this Ghat. Brahmakapal is often considered as lord Brahma’s holy abode.

Charan Paduka
Charan Paduka is a flat stone slab bearing imprints of Lord Vishnu’s feet. As per common belief a glimpse of the Charan Paduka can put an end to all sorrows and diseases in your life.

Badrinath Temple- Architecture

The temple consists of three distinct parts; i.e. Garbha Griha or sanctum sanatorium, the darshan Mandap and the Sabha Mandap. The Garbha Griha is topped by a roof conical in shape along with a small gold gilt cupola. The exterior frontal façade of the temple bears arched windows and is brilliantly colored. The temple architecture is often compared with that of Buddhist monastery. A flight of broad steps take you to the main arched entrance of the temple. As you step in, you enter the Mandap, a spacious hall with ornately carved pillars as well as walls. The Shaligram Shila idol of Lord Vishnu or Badrinarayan is a Chaturbhuj idol; i.e. four armed idol holding Shankha, chakra in two hands while the other two hands resting on lap while the lord is seated in Padmasana posture.

When to visit Badrinath

Badrinath Dham can be visited between months May to June and then again between late August to October. The weather during these months remains the most travel friendly. It is pleasantly cool during this time and hence tourists and pilgrims don’t face much problem pertaining to the weather. The months of July and August need to be avoided as the arrival of monsoons make the region landslides prone and thus dangerous. Beyond the month of October, heavy snowing and rapid drop in temperatures make Badrinath Dham quite inaccessible.

Reaching Badrinath

As it is located at a few km from the Indo-China (Tibet) border, Badrinath can be reached in two days from either Kedarnath or one of the major points of disembarkation in the plains.
By Road, from Gaurikund near Kedarnath, Badrinath is at the distance of 233 km. From the north of Rishikesh (another famous Hindu pilgrimage spot), it is 301 km away. Badrinath is well linked with other famous spots such as Haridwar, Dehradun, and Kotdwar.
By Air, the Jolly Grant airport near Dehradun is closest one at a distance of 317 km. However, Badrinath also visit by helicopters.
By Rail, the close by stations is Rishikesh (297 km) and Kotdwar (327 km).
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