Guarded on either side by the two mountains Nar and Narayan, the Neelkanth Peak provides a splendid backdrop to Badrinath, one of the ‘Four Dhams’. One of the most celebrated pilgrim spots in the country, it plays host to the famous Badrinath Temple. Legend has it that Lord Vishnu came to the area, called ‘Badri Van’, or the berry garden, to meditate after Narad rebuked the Lord for being immersed in worldly pleasures. The main deity is a meditating Lord Vishnu.
Facing the temple at the bank of Alaknanda River is a hot water spring known as "Tapt Kund", a bath in which is very refreshing to all travellers. Dedicated to Lord Vishnu, the temple of Shri Badrinathji, is 5 m high, built in the form of a cone with a small cupola of a gilt bull and spire. The temple opens every year in the month of April-May and closes for winters in the third week of November. Even though legend dates the temple back to the Vedic age, Guru Adi Shankaracharya has established the present temple. The temple has three parts - Garbha Grih (The Sanctum Sanctorum), Darshan Mandap (for pujas) and Sabha Mandap (for devotees to assemble).
A place, which holds so many myths and legends, Badrinath acquires predominance in the travel itinerary of a pilgrim. The popular belief is that Badarinath was the domain of Lord Shiva, and Lord Vishnu managed to unseat Shiva from here to Kedarnath. Another belief is that when Ganga made her descend to earth she split up in to twelve streams and one among the channels, Alakananda felt on Kedarnath. Sanctity and holiness of Badrinath festooned it with accolades since from the Vedic ages. This sacred abode of Nara-Narayana sages had been a revered seat and the Vedas like Srimad Bhagavatam, gave testimony to its devoutness.
Badrinath has a cool and chilly climate all through the year but the best time to visit is from May to June and again from September to October.
Winter (October to April) has chilly days with average minimum touching near 5°C. Minimum can touch sub zero levels and snowfall is very common. These months are not the perfect time for travelling.
Summer (May to June) are very pleasant with moderately cold climate, with average around 18°C. Summers is ideal for all sight seeing and the holy Badrinath pilgrimage.
The holy city of Badrinath is open for public views from May to October but the temple remains closed during the monsoon months as landslides are common and can mar the journey of the pilgrims. The region experiences pleasant and cool summer while winters are very chilly and snowfall is a regular occurrence.
Badrinath is the most sacred Dham of India. It is located at an elevation of 3,133mts above sea level in the Chamoli district of Uttarakhand state. This Dham was established by Adi Shankaracharya in the 9th century. The deity of Badrinath temple is Lord Vishnu. The temple is situated on the right bank of the holy Alaknanda River. The colorful ‘Singh-Dwara’ at the entrance is very artistic creation. Every year millions of tourists and devotees visit this sacred place from May to October month. The temple remains closed during winter months as the region is prone to heavy snowfall.
Tapt Kund is a natural thermal spring where the devotees take a holy dip as it is very important to take a bath before visiting a temple. It is also believed that the kund has medicinal values and can cure allergies of the people. All the devotees take holy dip in the natural hot water together with unknown people. The people may be unknown to each other but their purpose of visit is same, i.e. to worship in the sacred Badrinath Dham.
Brahma Kapal is a place where Hindus performs propitiating rites for their deceased ancestors. Brahma Kapal is a flat platform on the bank of river Alaknanda. You can see several pundits sitting with ‘pooja samagri’.
Situated above the Badrinath Temple, Neelkanth peak is named after Lord Shiva. The cliff of the peak is the first place where the sun castes its crimson rays. Neelkanth is a Pyramidal-shaped snowy peak and if you carefully observe its cliff then you can see as if Lord Shiva is sitting looking at the sky. Neelkanth peak is situated at an elevation of 6,560mts above sea level. Numerous Brahmakal can be seen at the foot of Neelkanth Peak and the trekking route of 6km can be achieved easily.
Mata Murti Temple
Situated 3kms from Badrinath, Mata Murti Temple is dedicated to the mother of Lord Narayan. According to mythology Mata Murti prayed Lord Vishnu to take his next avatar by coming out from her womb. Lord Vishnu then happily agreed and came into world as twins, Nar and Narayan to kill a monster. Every year a fair is held in the month of August at Mata Murti Temple.
Situated 3km above Badrinath Temple lies a beautiful meadow carpeted with wild flowers in the summers. A boulder bearing the footprints of Lord Vishnu is located here known as Charanpaduka. It is said that when Lord Vishnu descended from Vaikunth he stepped on this boulder. The area is a steep climb from the town and is full of caves & boulders. This path leads you to the foot of Neelkanth peak where you can find several Brahmakamals.
Located near Tapt Kund, this kund is believed to be the recovery source of the Badarinath idol. The hot water springs comes out from beneath the Garur Shila and falls into a tank. Darshan of Badarinath is always preceded by a holy dip in this kund. Apart from that there are many other hot water springs. Devotees take a dip in them for their religious and medicinal value.
Mana is very close to Tibet border and it is one of the last villages of India. Most of the tourists who visit Badrinath also come to see the end of the road at Mana. Mana is inhabited by Indo-Mongolian tribes often called as bhotias. Mana is situated 3kms from Badrinath.
Bheem Pul is an enthralling and adventurous place with mythological importance. This is the place where Bheem threw a big massif rock to make a path joining two mountains so that Draupadi could walk easily on it. Saraswati River is coming from between the mountain with immense force to merge with the water of Alanknanda River.
Vyas Gufa or Vyas Cave is the place from where Ved Vyas dictated entire Mahabharata to God Ganesha so that he could write. Ved Vyas also meditated in this cave.
Ganesha Cave is the natural cave where he wrote Mahabharata as dictated by Ved Vyas from Vyas Gufa.
On the opposite bank of the river Alaknanda, in the lap of Nar Parvat, there are two small seasonal lakes. Between these lakes is a boulder having an impression of the legendary snake, Sheshnag. The formation of eye on the boulder is natural.
Panch Dharas & Panch Shilas
The Panch Dharas (five streams) which are famous in Badaripuri are Prahlad, Kurma, Bhrigu, Urvashi & Indira dhara. The most striking of these is the Indira dhara, about 1.5 km north of the town Badaripuri. Around the Tapt Kund there are five blocks of mythological importance called Narad, Narsimh, Barah, Garur & Markandeya Shilas (stone)