Religious importance of Badrinath

Of the four sites of the Char Dham pilgrimage Badrinath is considered the most important. Situated on the banks of the Alakananda River in the Garhwal hills, this holy town is in the Chamoli district of the Uttarakhand state of India. It is located as high up as 3416 meters above sea level.


It was in the 9th century that Adi Shankara became aware of the importance of this place and established it as a major pilgrimage site. The Badrinath temple is particularly sacred to the Vaishnavs. Nevertheless Badrinath attracts multitudes of other pilgrims besides the Vaishnavs.


The sacred scriptures and legends of India have had a special place for Badrinath over thousands of years. Lord Vishnu is said to have been incarnated as the sages Nara and Narayana, who have been performing penance for the benefit of mankind. This has been cited in the Srimad Bhagavatam.

This place supposedly derives its name from a berry called Badri that is indigenous to this region whereas nath is indicative of Lord Vishnu. The Indian Jujube tree is known as Badri in Sanskrit. There is mention of a wealth of Jujube trees in Badrinath according to some of the scriptures. Folklore has it that the berries are actually a form of Goddess Lakshmi. She materialized in this form so her spouse, Lord Vishnu could be sustained during his long penance in the austere Himalayan environment.

In the Hindu scriptures, Badri is mentioned as Badarikaashram. This place is predominantly sacrosanct to Lord Vishnu chiefly in his twin form of Nara-Narayana. When Shiva addressed Arjun in the Mahabharat, he informed him, “You were Nara in your previous birth, and you performed severe penance at Badri for countless years with Narayana for company”.


The Padma Purana refers to the vicinity of Badrinath as reserve of spiritual wealth. As per the Skanda Purana, There is no shrine anywhere in heaven, earth or hell that comes close to Badrinath. It is believed that Badrinath is the earthly dwelling of Lord Vishnu. Several Brahmasuthras and Upanishads have been written here in Badrinath. Religious intellectuals like Madhawacharya, Ramanujacharya and Vedanta Desika composed these sacred texts. In keeping with another belief, Goddess Ganga was appealed to descend on earth. Since the earth wouldn’t be able to survive the strength of her descent, the mighty Ganga was divided into twelve holy conduits. Alakananda, which flows here, was one of them.

Map of Badrinath

Below is the map of Badrinath, in Uttarakhand. Move the scroller towards “+” to zoom in and “-” to zoom out.


Badrinath videos

Traveling to Badrinath

The camera shakes a lot but the road snaking up is awesome.


Badrinath Temple

Short video of Badrinath temple and surrounding scenery.



Another video taken en route Badrinath. Excellent scenery including the fog covered rocky mountain view.


Janmashtami in Badrinath Celebrated by some bussinessmen of Shri Badri Dham.


Adi-Badri Temples

Adi Badri is one of 5 holy Badri Temple Group. These are a cluster of 16 temples out of which 14 are still existing as original. There are highly amazing architectural sculptures here. The road cut from Karanpryag (at Haridwar-Badrinath Road) to Nainital.

Vasudhara falls

On the trekking route to Lake satopanth, Uttaranchal Himalayas. This excellent camp site is under Bhoj tree forest, a place called Lakshmivan, just near Alakapuri glacier, source of River Alaknanda.

We will add some more videos soon.

Activities in Badrinath

There is an interesting spot where you will find a boulder that resembles a serpent. This is called Sheshnetra or the eye of the serpent named Sheshnag.

You could also visit the Vasundhara Waterfall, which is only 8 kilometers from Badrinath.


Neelkanth is a snow covered peak that serves as a backdrop or shelter to Badrinath. It is more widely known as the Garhwal Queen.

In the vicinity of the temple there is a natural hot spring that you could visit. You could take a holy dip here before entering the temple. The hot water spring is said to have therapeutic properties. It is called Tapt kund.


The pier on the banks of the Alakananda River where the Hindus perform rites for their deceased ancestors is called Brahma Kapal.

There’s a beautiful meadow here with a boulder where you can get a glimpse of Lord Vishnu’s footprints on a boulder. This place is called Charanpaduka, which actually means footprints.

Those who love flowers must visit the valley of flowers. There is a myriad of flowers that blossom here. In the milieu of Rataban peak and with the Puspawati River flowing here, it might be one of the most enticing places you could come across.  The best time to see the flowers in their full glory is in the months of July and August.

There is an impressive Gurudwara at the spot where the Alakananda converges with the Lakshman Ganga River. This Gurudwara is called Guru Gobind Singh. Therefore it is named the Gobind Ghat. This spot can be found between Joshimath and Badrinath.

Lok Pal Hemkund is a Gurudwara situated at a towering height of 4320 meters above sea level. The ascent is quite steep and grueling, so you need to be prepared. Hemkund Sahib is considered one of the most celebrated Gurudwaras. The Sikhs hold it in the highest regard. The pristine waters of the Lok-Pal Hemkund Lake near the Gurudwara and the four crests cradling it are a sight to behold.

The locals believe Guru Adi Shankaracharya had arrived here from Kerala to perform reparation. He set up a spiritual center subsequent to his enlightenment. He named it Jyotirmath. Later it came to be known as Joshimath.


There is an interesting little hamlet at the border of India and Tibet. The populace here is fundamentally an Indo-Mongolian tribe. The natural beauty here will hold you in awe.

Another place that confirms the Mahabharata is Bhim pul. An enormous rock forms a natural conduit over the gushing Saraswati River. A magnificent and treacherous view of the waters that surge through the narrow passage under the rock is a wonderful sight. The belief is that Bhim positioned this rock here.

There is a charming waterfall five kilometers from Badrinath. This pleasant place is worth visiting. This place is 3 kilometers off Mana village. Another fascinating place is a cave built out of rock where Ved Vyas is supposed to have penned the Mahabharata and Pauranic annotations.

Significance of Badrinath Temple

The major lure to this town is the Badrinath temple. Legend has it that Shankara stumbled upon a black stone image of Lord Badrinarayan made from Shaligram in the Alakananda River. Initially he preserved it in a cave close to the Tapt Kund hot springs. Later the king of Garhwal shifted the idol to the present temple somewhere in the 16th century.


Being that the temple is pretty ancient and it was damaged in an avalanche the temple has been revamped several times. The kings of Garhwal decided to enlarge the temple during the 17th century. In the year 1803, there was a massive earthquake in the Himalayas, which damaged the temple extensively. It was the King of Jaipur who reconstructed it later.


This 50 foot temple stands proud with a gold gilt roof. The frontage is stone and the windows are arched. To get to the main entrance one has to climb up a broad stairway. The temple has a semblance of Buddhist architecture. This temple too has a bright colored portico which is typical of Buddhist temples. The main entrance opens up to a mandapa, which in turn leads to the main shrine. Elaborate carvings adorn the walls and pillars of the mandapa. The complex holds altogether 15 temples. The main image of Badrinath (Vishnu) has been chiseled in black stone. Some of the other statues found here are of Laxmi, Garud, Shiva, Parvati and Ganesh.

The best time to visit the temple is from June to September. It is a pretty arduous journey that takes two days from Kedarnath, one of the other sites in the Char Dham pilgrimage or even from Hemkund Sahib, a significant pilgrimage site for the Sikhs. Since both Kedarnath and Hemkund Sahib precede Badrinath, the road that leads you there can be pretty busy during the pilgrimage season. Badrinath is incredibly close to the Indo-China border.


Previously Badrinath was not accessible by road but now buses and other vehicles can take you directly to the temple. All terrain vehicles are a better choice since the roads are pretty narrow. Buses are available to take you there from New Delhi, Rishikesh and Haridwar. The closest railway stations are at Kotdwar, which is at a distance of 327 kilometers, Rishikesh is at a distance of 297 kilometers, while Haridwar station is 310 kilometers from Badrinath. As far as airports go, the closest one is in Dehradun, which is at a distance of 317 kilometers.

An important point to note is that the Badrinath temple remains closed in the winters.