Badrinath, where divinity meets with serenity of nature

BY Seema Shukla 

Badrinath a picturesque town located in the Chamoli district in Uttarakhand at the height of 3,133 meters. It is one of the holiest of the holy shrines of the Char Dham pilgrimage of Hindus in India. Badrinath is a temple of supremacy Lord Vishnu situated between Nar and Narayan peaks.

Starting with Yamunotri, Gangotri and Kedarnath, the temple is easily reachable by walking along an easy trek. Mann is one of the last villages of Badrinath, which boundaries are connected to Tibet. Badrinath dam is also located in this area creating another center of attraction. This dam is easily accessible by motorable roads. This temple remains open for six months a year. The heavy snowfall in winter makes it inaccessible. The ideal time to visit the Badrinath temple is from May to October. This temple is closed from October/ November and is reopened around April.

Myriad legends, snowy mountain peaks, gracefully flowing Alaknanda river and incredible landscapes enhance the artistic beauty of the location. The scenic beauty of Badrinath creates a perfect background to facilitate a spiritual connection to the god. Every year the chief priest of Badrinath declares the opening date of the temple.

There are several tales popular regarding the Lord Vishnu temple. According to one mythological tale, Lord Vishnu had performed rigorous atonement at this place and Goddess Lakshmi acquired the shape of the Badri tree to protect him from the different extreme weather. 

Another famous story about this place is that Lord Shiva and Goddess Parvati were once performing Tapasya in Badrinath and after being disturbed by lord Vishnu they left Badrinath and moved to Kedarnath.

Badrinath Dham located in Badrinath also has one story: two sons of Dharma, Nar and Narayana spot this place to worship God. It is also said that the Pandavas of the holy epic Mahabharata climbed via `Swargarohini, popularly known as the ascent to heaven and Mana town, north of Badrinath while on their route to heaven.

There is a very famous tale about the origin of the river Alaknanda. It was believed that the river Ganga took the form of Alaknanda at the request of Badrinath to relieve humanity from the curse of suffering and sins.

Just below the Badrinath temple, there is a natural thermal spring that is believed to be infused with therapeutic properties. Brahma Kapal is a flat platform by the banks of Alaknanda a hundred meters north of the temple. Neelkanth Peak is the snow-covered peak that gets augmented as it receives the first rays of the Sun at the crack of dawn. Mata murti mandir is located 3 km from the Badrinath temple, on the banks of Alaknanda River is built to worship Mata Murti who is a mother of Nara and Narayan, the twin-brother avatar (incarnation) of Lord Vishnu. It was believed that the relentless prayers of Mata Murti persuaded Lord Vishnu to take birth from her womb. Every year, in September, pilgrims came to attend the Mata Murti ka Mela (fair).

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