Badrinath, among the four dominant Char Dham pilgrimage sites of India as well as the Chota Char Dham, is a sight to behold! Situated at an average elevation of 10,827 feet above sea level, Badrinath is beautifully nestled on the banks of the Alaknanda River.
Let's quickly dive into the details:
The town gains its name thanks to the holy temple of Badrinath, devoted to the preserver, Lord Vishnu. Badrinath is one of the 5 temples dedicated to Badri (Lord Vishnu) in the Garhwal.
The temple in itself is stunningly gorgeous, thanks to its history & construction in traditional Garhwali wooden architecture. With the scenic views all around, the beautiful and lovely terrain – Badrinath will take your breath away!
History & Mythology
It is believed that the temple was established by Adi Shankaracharya and has been renovated multiple times since. In the 9th Century, the holy town of Badrinath was re-established by Adi Shankaracharya.
It is believed that pilgrims used to walk hundreds of miles to pay obeisance at the sacred sides. Apart from being an integral member of Char Dham Yatra, it is also one of the Panch Badri.
The area is known as Badri – signifying the dedication to Lord Vishnu and his dual form of Nara-Narayana. Thus, you would have heard in the Mahabharata, Krishna telling Arjun- You were Nara in former body and Narayana for your compassion and didst perform shocking harshness at Badri for many many years”.
In fact, the mountains are mentioned in Mahabharata multiple times- Pandavas are said to have ended their life after climbing their Ascent to Heaven –Swargarohini. It is believed that Pandavas traversed through Badrinath and the town of Mana.
Another story goes that when Ganga was asked to descend to earth to help the suffering humankind – the earth was unable to handle the sheer force and then Ganga was split into 12 holy channels – Alaknanda river being one.
Located in the Chamoli district of Uttarakhand, Badrinath lies between Nar and Narayana mountain ranges, right in the shadow of the Neelkantha peak. There are several turquoise lakes, beautifully stunning mammoth peaks and scared ponds as well as water bodies that truly makes Badrinath for a must visit!
Like most Himalayan places at an elevation of over 10,000 ft. – Badrinath is always a heaven for people who enjoy cool weather. Winters are especially cold – and often inaccessible. In the summer months, you’ll experience temperatures in Summers ranging from 8 to 19°C and Winters from -7 to 5°C.
Best time to visit Badrinath
Badrinath is open for 6 months of the year. However, if you want the most peaceful of journeys – visit right before the closing of the journey dates – i.e. a few weeks before Diwali. May and June might also be an okay time to visit but you’ll experience huge queues and influx of pilgrims at this time. Best avoided during monsoon season.
How to get there
The third on the Char Dham Yatra, it is an easy journey to take upon.
Jolly Grant Airport is the nearest Airport to Badrinath. It is situated 314 KMs from our humble abode. There are multiple flights per day from Delhi. There are taxis easily available for sharing and personal combination easily.
The nearest railway station is Rishikesh, situated at a distance of 295 KMs on NH58. Rishikesh, being an important, integral Hindu pilgrimage is also well connected to major Indian cities. Taxis, buses are easily available from Rishikesh. Also, it should be noted that in terms of connectivity – Haridwar railway station is a viable option as well.
Badrinath enjoys decent road connectivity and is well connected with Ghaziabad by NH58. You’ll easily catch buses to Rishikesh from ISBT Kashmiri Gate, Delhi. You can then hire a taxi to reach Badrinath. Alternatively, you can drive up to Badrinath as well.
Things to do in Badrinath
The primary attraction in visiting Badrinath is of course to pay respects and embark upon the pilgrimage.
The temple is dedicated to Lord Vishnu and is also one of the 108 Divya Desams/ holy shrines of Vaishnavites. The temple is conical in shape and there are 15 idols present in the temple complex. Each of these idols are built in black stone. The idol of Vishnuji is in a meditative stage, encouraging the devotees to seek their inner calm as well.
The architecture of the temple will surely draw you in. It has a striking resemblance to a Buddhist temple and the façade is built out of stone with arched windows. You will definitely want to explore the sheer magnitude of the 50 feet tall temple and enjoy the calmness it imbibes in you!
Apart from the temple – it is integral that you also visit the Tapt Kund – a natural thermal spring on the banks of Alaknanda. The temperatures in the spring touch 45 degrees Celsius – thus, making for a welcome change from the surrounding climate, apart from having healing properties. The Tapt Kund is regarded as the residing place of Agni Deva (God of Fire).
Narad Kund is adorned in the holy town of Badrinath and is the second prominent attraction of Badrinath. It is a sacred place from where Adi Shankara discovered the idol of Lord Vishnu. Narad Kund is a bay in river Alaknanda and is naturally enclosed by a rock.
Things around Badrinath
While the main reason to visit Badrinath is of course the pilgrimage, you’ll be remiss to not explore the nearby regions!
Literally translated to sweet nectar, Vasudhara Falls is one of the most enchanting places to visit in Uttarakhand. This beautiful cascade drops from a height of 400 feet. It is believed that the blissful attractiveness of the Vasudhara falls can only be enjoyed by those who are pure and unstained from guilt.
Given that it is a remote destination, you may imagine the sheer beauty and the heartwarming ambiance of this waterfall. This truly is like visiting a shrine for people whose religion is nature itself!
Mana, the last Indian village prior to India’s border with Tibet in the Himalayas, is located in the district of Chamoli. It’s been designated as a “Tourism Village” by the Uttarakhand government.
Mana village is one of the best tourist attractions nearby to Badrinath, It’s just 3 km from Badrinath town. The village is on the banks of the River Saraswati. It is situated at a height of around 3219 meters. The village is surrounded by Himalayan hills.
Auli is a popular winter destination for skiing in India, known for its snowy slopes, Auli has everything that people imagine when thinking of Himalayas – views, meadows, adventure activities, romantic vistas, cable cars and much more.
Embark on the journey and visit all the 5 temples associated with Vishnuji while on this journey, these include – Yogadhyan Badri, Bhavishya Badri, Bridha Badri and Adi Badri.
Char Dham Yatra
The Chota Char Dham Yatra of Uttarakhand are the four abodes of holy shrines – Badrinath, Kedarnath, Yamunotri and Gangotri. All four of these temples are situated within the Garhwal region of Uttarakhand. The prominence of the Charm Dham Yatra is immense amongst Hindus.
Moreover, it is believed that every Hindu should do Char Dham Yatra at least once in their lifetime. The Great Reformer and Philosopher, Adi Shankaracharya, gathered together these Holy Pilgrimage places into a spiritual circuit around the 8th century.
Generation followed generations and hundreds of thousands of devotees have kept up the tradition of covering these pilgrimage spots every year. Thus, it is very common to complete the circuit in one religious pilgrimage!
Best places to stay in Badrinath
Given the importance of the holy location, you’ll easily find many places to stay here. Right from guesthouses & Dharamshala to affordable hotels as well as hotels – you will not be hard pressed to find a location. The only suggestion I can give you is book early and book in advance!
There is a GMVN in Badrinath which has all the basic amenities and a beautiful location.
Best places to eat in Badrinath
Since the holy town of Badrinath is situated at an elevation of 3,300 meters, you will be a bit hard pressed to find many restaurants here. There are only a handful of food joints and dhabas here. The food served is mostly North Indian with a few Indo-Chinese delicacies.
However, the choices are limited. Of course, goes without saying – non-vegetarian food is not served here. One must visit food place that serves mouth-watering delicacies is Saket Restaurant, located near the Temple Bridge. While the place is usually packed, you can enjoy the sound of the river, with a view of the temple while relishing on some piping hot Parathas.
- Be respectful of the place and refrain in indulging in any activities that might harm the sentiments of the pilgrims. This includes alcohol & smoking as well as eating non-vegetarian food.
- Wear conservative clothes. This is a pilgrimage and holds high reverence in the hearts of all Hindus. Thus, ensure you’re not offending anyone here – the place means a lot to its visitors.
- The Badrinath journey is not as difficult as Kedarnath. However, it is completely normal to feel dizzy thanks to the low oxygen levels in the air. Thus, ensure you’re properly acclimatized and are able to manage the climb
- Do not travel in the monsoon season. If you’re aware of the region – you’ll know how harsh and tough the rains can be. Best avoided then. It is better to visit during the start of the season or post monsoon.
- Photography is prohibited in the temple. Please abide by all guidelines of temple authorities.
A must-visit for the religious folks as well as the explorers, Badrinath has plenty and more to offer. Situated amongst the most scenic of locations – Badrinath offers something for everyone. With a lot of positive vibes and beautiful prayers all around – you will be hard pressed to feel anything but contentment.
Enjoy the views, immerse yourself in truly positive vibes and take one breath after the next – Badrinath will provide you with a lot more than you can imagine. A trip to change your perspective for a lifetime! I hope the above guide helps you out, if you have any questions, don’t hesitate to ask below!