Cradled in the twin mountain ranges of Nar and Narayan is the holiest of the four main shrines, Badrinath along the left bank river Alaknanda. With the splendid Neelkanth mountains as the backdrop, it is an important destination on the scared itinerary of every devour Hindu. Once the spot was carpeted with ‘badris’ or wild berries and hence was famous as ‘Badri Van’.
The principal idol represents Vishnu in a meditative posture and is flanked by Nara-Narayan. Legend dates it prior to the Vedic age though it is believed to have been re-established by Adi Shankaracharya, an important Hindu saint in 8th century A.D. Some of the other images include Laxmi (Vishnu’s consort), Garud (Vishnu’s mount), Shiva & Parvati and Ganesha.
It looks fairly modern now due to the colourful “Singh Dwara” or the main entrance gate. It has three parts- Garbha Griha (the sanctum sanctorum), Darshan Mandap (for pujas) and Shobha Mandap (for devotees to assemble). 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”.
# Badrinath Temple
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 15mtrs. High temple is dedicated to Lord Vishnu, it is built in the form of a cone with a small cupola of 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 divided into three parts – the ‘garbha griba’ 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 meditative pose.
# Tapt Kund
sulphurous springs of Tapt Kund..
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 medicinal properties.
The natural ice face…
A Pyramidical-shaped snowy peak towering above Badrinath, popularly known as the ‘Garhwal Queen’.
# Panch Prayag
The five important confluences- Deoprayag, Nandprayag, Rudraprayag, Karnaprayag and Vishuprayag, form the Panch Prayag.
The confluence of Alaknanda and Bhagirathi rivers. Ancient stone scriptures are found here. Important pilgrim spots are Shiv Temple and Raghunath Temple.
The confluence of Alaknanda and Mandakini rivers. The temples of Rudranath and Chamunda Devi are noteworthy.
Jogi falls near nandprayag…
The confluence of Alaknanda and Mandakini rivers. The Gopalji Temple is worth a visit.
The confluence of Alaknanda and Pindar rivers with temples of Uma and Karna.
The confluence of Alaknanda and Dhauliganga rivers. An ancient temple of Lord Vishnu stands here by a pool called Vishnu Kund.