ABODE OF LORD VISHNU
Cradled in the twin mountain ranges of Nar and Narayan is the holiest of the four main
shrines, Badrinath along the left bank of river Alaknanda. With the splendid Neelkanth
mountains as the backdrop, it is an important destination on the sacred itinerary of every
devout Hindu. Once the spot was carpeted with badris or wild berries and hence
was famous as Badri Van.
The revered shrine is still alive with myriad legends from mythology. Its sanctity is
emphasised in the ancient scriptures as " 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".
Legend has it, when the Ganga was requested to descend to earth to help suffering
humanity, the earth was unable to withstand the force of its descent. Therefore the mighty
Ganga was split into twelve holy channels. Alaknanda was one of them that later became the
abode of Lord Vishnu or Badrinath.The temple of Shri Badrinathji on the banks of the Alaknanda river, dates
back to the vedic times. Situated at an altitude of 3,133 mts., the present temple is
believed to have been built by Adi Guru Shankaracharya - an 8th centurys
philosopher-saint, who also established a math here. Also known as
Vishal Badri, Badrinath is one of the Panch Badris.
The temple remains closed during the winter season and is open from April-May to
Area : 3 sq. km
Climate :Month Max Temp. Min. Temp.April 3 C 0 CMay 5 C 0 C June 14.5 C 5.9 C
July 18.2 C 10 C August 18 C 10.5 CSept. 16 C 8.5 C October 12.5 C 5.6 C Nov. 5 C 0 C
Dec-Mar. Snow Bound
Rainfall : 1460 mm.
Clothing : May - Heavy woollens
June-Sept - Light woollens
Oct.-Nov.- Heavy woollens
Languages : Hindi, English and Garhwali.
Airport : Jolly Grant ( 317 kms.)
Railhead : Rishikesh (300 kms.), Kotdwar (327 kms.)
Road : Well connected to Rishikesh, Haridwar, Dehradun, Kotdwar and other hill
stations of Garhwal and Kumaon region.
Dharamshala and Tourist Rest House are available for a comfortable and economical
- Vijaya - Laxmi Restaurant
- Saket Restaurant
- Urvashi Restaurant
- Several other restaurants, Liquor and non-vegetarian food are prohibited.
On the right bank of Alaknanda lies the sacred spot perched at an altitude of 3,133
metres above the sea level. Encircled by a beautiful valley, the 15 mts. high temple is
dedicated to Lord Vishnu, it is built in the form of a cone with a small cupola of a gilt
bull and spire. Built by Adi Guru Shankaracharya - the philosopher-saint of the 8th
century, the temple has been renovated several times due to damage by avalanches. Its
colourful Singh Dwara or the main entrance gate gives it a new, modern look.
The temple is divided into three parts - the garbha griha or sanctum
sanctorum, the darshan mandap where the rituals are conducted and the sabha
mandap where devotees assemble. The complex has 15 idols. Especially attractive
is the one metre high image of Badrinath, finely sculpted in black stone. It represents
Lord Vishnu seated in a meditative pose.
Devotees take a holy dip in the natural thermal springs on the banks of the river
Alaknanda, before entering the Badrinath Temple. The water of the kund is believed to have
A flat platform on the bank of river Alaknanda where Hindus perform propitiating rites
for their deceased ancestors.
A boulder having an impression of the legendary serpant - known as Sheshnags eye.
The footprints of Lord Vishnu can be seen on a boulder in this beautiful meadow.
A Pyramidical-shaped snowy peak towering above Badrinath, popularly known as the
Mata Murti Temple ( 3 kms.)
On the right bank of Alaknanda stands the temple dedicated to the mother of Sri
Mana Village (4 kms.)
Inhabitated by Indo-Mangolian tribe, it is considered to be the last Indian village
before Tibet on this route. Nearby are Vyas Gufa - the rock cave of saint Ved Vyas,
the writer of Maharashtra; Bhim Pul - a natural bridge over the Saraswati river and
Vasundhara Falls - a 122 mts. high waterfall - all forming an important part of the
pilgrimage to Badrinath.
Alka Puri (15 kms.)
The source of Alaknanda river from the glacier snouts of Bhagirath - Kharak and
Valley of Flowers (42 kms.)
An exotic valley in a conical shape lies to the east of Badrinath with river Pushpawati
flowing through it. The valley that is presently a national park, is 19kms. trek from
Govindghat. A must-see for all nature lovers.
Hemkund Sahib ( 43 kms.)
Near the Valley of Flowers is the holy lake Hemkund - an important pilgrimage of the
Sikhs and Hindus. Along its shores is the sacred Sikh Shrine where Guru Gobind Singh, the
tenth Guru unified with God after prolonged meditation in his previous birth.
Nearby is the Lakshman Temple where Lakshman - the brother of Lord Rama performed his
The reflection of surrounding snow-clad peaks in its placid waters offers a scenic
Satopanth ( 25 kms.)
A three cornered lake with a circumference of about 1 km, situated at an elevation of
4,402 mts. above sea level. It is named after the Hindu triad - Brahma, Vishnu and Mahesh,
who are believed to occupy one corner each of the lake. The trek is hazardous with
dramatic landscapes. An experienced guide is advisable.
Govindghat ( 25 kms.)
The confluence of Alaknanda and Lakshman Ganga rivers. It has an imposing Gurudwara
named after Guru Gobind Singh.
Joshimath ( 44 km.)
The winter home of Shri Badrinathji is situated on the slopes above the confluence of
Alaknanda and Dhauliganga. It is one of the four maths established by
Adi Guru Shankaracharya.
Auli ( 57 kms.)
An ideal Aki resort in the Garhwal Himalayas with its slopes comparable to the best in
the world. Perched at an elevation of 2,500-3,050 mts, Auli not only offers a magnificent
view of the Himalayan ranges but is a delight for winter sports enthusiasts.
Pipalkoti ( 80 kms.)
A scenic spot amidst snow-clad peaks.
Chamoli ( 10 kms.)
From Gopeshwar on Badrinath highway is the tiny mountain retreat that attracts visitors
for its verdant landscapes and fresh mountain air.
The five important confluences - Deoprayag, Nandprayag, Rudraprayag, Karnaprayag and
Vishnuprayag, form the Panch Prayag .
Deoprayag : The confluence of Alaknanda and Bhagirathi rivers. Ancient
stone scriptures are found here. Important pilgrim spots are Shiv Temple and Raghunath
Rudraprayag : The confluence of Alaknanda and Mandakini rivers. The
temples of Rudranath and Chamunda Devi are noteworthy.
Nandprayag : The confluence of Alaknanda and Mandakini rivers. The
Gopalji Temple is worth a visit.
Karnaprayag : The confluence of Alaknanda and Pindar rivers with temples
of Uma and Karna .
Vishnuprayag : The confluence of Alaknanda and Dhauliganga rivers. An
ancient temple of Lord Vishnu stands here by a pool called Vishnu Kund.
Srinagar ( 192 kms.)
The old capital of Garhwal, it is an important cultural and educational centre. Places
to visit include Kamleshwar and Kilkileshwar temples and the Shankar Math.
Badrinath, Yogadhyan Badri, Bhavishya Badri, Bridha Badri, Adi Badri form the panch
badris, situated in the valleys along the Alaknanda river.
Yogadhyan Badri : ( 24 kms.)
Located at Pandukeshwar on Rishikesh-Badrinath highway. The image here in a meditative
posture, is worshipped at Badrinath. According to the myth, the Pandavas handed over
Hastinapur to King Parikshit and retired here.
Bhavishya Badri : ( 69 kms.)
Located at an elevation of 2,744 mts., the temple is surrounded by dense forests.
Nearby is the picturesque Tapovan valley famous for sulphurous hot springs. Traditionally
it is believed that a day will come when the present route to Badrinath will be
inaccessible and Lord Badrinath will be worshipped here and hence the name Bhavishya Badri
meaning Badri of the future.
Bridha Badri ( 52 kms.) : 7 kms. from Joshimath is Animath. It is
believed that Badrinath or Lord Vishnu was worshipped here before the enshrinement of
Badrinath by Adi Guru Shankaracharya. The temple is open throughout the year.
Adi Badri ( 146 kms.) : 17 kms. from Karnaprayag on the
Karnaprayag-Ranikhet road, Adi Badri has 16 small temples. Seven of them, having flat
roofs, belong to the Gupta period. In the main temple of Narayan, a 1 metre high idol of
Lord Vishnu in black stone is enshrined on a raised platform in pyramidal form.