Badrinath

Why To Go

Badrinath is situated near river Alakananda in Chamoli district in the state of Uttarakhand and is one of the four sites of Chota Char Dhams. One of the most sought after pilgrim sites, Badrinath is also a famous tourist spot. Set in the back ground of Neelkanth mountain peak, the place is truly majestic. The word Badrinath is derived from the sacred Badrinath Temple, which the tourists visit to pay their tributes.   

Located in the heart of the Himalayas, Badrinath plays host to millions of pilgrims every year. However, religious attraction is not the only attraction that it boasts of. The natural beauty surrounding Badrinath is such, that a large number of tourists visit the spot just to enjoy its beauty. It is the meeting point of the rivers Rishiganga and Alakananda and is girdled on both sides by the Nara and Narayana mountain ranges. The snowcapped Nilkantha peak can be seen from the spot and sunlight playing on the snow creates a beautiful sight. Badrinath has an average elevation of 3,100 meters (over 10,000 feet) above sea level and has moderate snow for most of the year. However, winters here are completely white and the valley is layered with snow.

It is believed that the saint, Adi Shankarcharya had actually established the black stone idol of Lord Vishnu which is self-manifested statues of Vishnu at Badrinath.

Travel Tips

Badrinath is a place where snowfall occurs most of the year, the best time to visit is thus between May and June and again from mid September to October, when the weather remains pleasant. Winter is quite chilly, temperature dropping down to 5 degree Celsius. The Badrinath temple remains closed during these days. Avoid the monsoon months as there can be landslides. It is advisable to carry torches and warm clothing as it is quite chilly. Also, it is better to consult trekking tour organizers, if one is planning to trek as far as Laxmi Van and Satopanth Lake. There is no place to buy food and water after the last shop on the Indian side. Therefore, one has to carry food and water for the trek. If one is interested in watching snowfall then the end of winter is also a good time to go.

Things To Do

The most famous attraction of Badrinath is, of course, the Badrinath Temple. Lord Vishnu is worshipped here. The magnificent architectural beauty of the temple is further enhanced by a prominent Buddhist architectural influence; likewise, it resembles a Budhhist Vihara. It is approximately 15 meters in height and has a small, dome shaped cupola on top. Legend has it that the original idol, made of Saligramstone, was found by Shankaracharya, a Hindu mythological character in the Alakananda river, who enshrined it in a cave near TaptKund hot springs. It was moved to the temple by the Garhwal king during the sixteenth century. To reach the temple, one has to cross a rough bridge across the Alakananda River. There is a cave in the village of Mana which is of great historical value and where Vyas is said to have penned the Mahabharata. Many challenging trekking trails surrounded Badrinath. You can take the fascinating treks around the town for a thrilling experience. The trek along Chatuvangi Glacier to Vasukital and then further to Khara Pathar is steep and exciting. You can enjoy the festivals of Mata Murti ka Mela and the Badri Kedar that are celebrated gloriously.

Getting Around

The best way to travel in Badrinath is on foot or on horseback. The town itself is small and the temple can be visited on foot. There is a trekking route to the Mana village. It is cold in Badrinath all year round and even during summer the temperature may go down as low as 10 degrees at night. Therefore, it is advisable to be well covered during any venture outside during the day and to not venture out at night at all. The place does not have any special dishes. There are local joints that serve Indian vegetarian food, because Badrinath has religious significance. Alcohol is forbidden, here.

How To Reach

FLIGHT

The nearest airport is the Jolly Grant Airport near Dehradun. It is 310 kilometres away by road. The airport is well connected to cities like Delhi, Mumbai, Chennai, Bangalore etc. However, the distance by a helicopter journey is hardly 100 kilometres. There are many providers of helicopter service from Dehradun and Phata. The nearest International airport is at New Delhi.

TRAIN

The nearest railway stations are at Rishikesh and Kotdwara. However both are smaller stations and are connected by a few trains only. The nearest junction is the Hardwar junction which is 321 kilometres from Badrinath. From Rishikesh, get a bus to reach Badrinath.

ROAD

Badrinath can be reached by the National Highway NH58 that connects Delhi with Mana Pass in Uttarakhand near Indo-Tibet border. There are buses from New Delhi to Badrinath via Haridwar and Rishikesh in pilgrim season of summer months. Rishikesh is the major starting point for a road journey to Badrinath. Even regular buses operate from Rishikesh bus station to Badrinath, however they start early, usually before dawn. The last bus from Rishikesh leaves for Badrinath before dawn. The road is narrow after Joshimath and travel is not permitted on the road after sunset. Therefore if one misses the bus for Badrinath at Rishikesh bus station, one has to go only up to Rudraprayag, Chamoli or Joshimath and spend the night there to take the early morning bus for Badrinath from that town.

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Surrounding Attractions

Though the town itself has the main attraction, the Badrinath Temple, there are quite a few interesting places surrounding it. The village of Mana, apart from its historical significance, is also the last Indian village on the Indo-Tibetan border. There is a motorable road leading up to it and a trekking route to the beautiful Vasudhara Falls starting from it. The waterfall is approximately 6 kilometers from Mana and on the way; one can visit the Saraswati Mandir and BhimShila. The Satopanth Lake are further from Badrinath. The lake is 25 kilometres and the forest is en route to the lake. However, it is advisable to carry camping equipment if one is to venture so far. Share cars or buses take tourists from Badrinath to Joshimath. There are several temples on the way, which have become popular attractions for the large number of devotees who visit year after year. Located 3 km above Badrinath Temple is a charming meadow called Charanpaduka, where foortprints of Lord Vishnu is placed on a big rock. Visit the Narad Kund, the hot water spring that comes out from the Garur Shila. You can travel to Rishikesh or Haridwar from this place.
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