January 16, 2016

Badrinath

Site Name: Badrinath
Site Type: Pilgrimage for Hindus
Location:  Uttarakhand state, India
Highlights: An ancient temple located on the Himalayas; One of the 108 Divya Desam temples; One of the Char Dham temples
Nearest Railway Station: Rishikesh
Nearest Airport: Dehradun - around 320 kms from Badrinath
How to reach: Badrinath is connected by road from Haridwar, Rishikesh, Dehradun and other important hill stations of Garhwal and Kumaon hills; it is motor-able till the temple unlike Kedarnath where trekking is needed
Climate: Sep to Nov - winter; Dec to Mar - snow bound; the other months are pleasant
Best time to visit: May - Oct
Clothing: Light woolen in summer; heavy woolen in winter
Hotel: Mid-range to star hotels are available in the nearby hill stations; people stay right from Rudraprayag to Badrinath to visit the site
Restaurants: Vegetarian option alone

Intoduction:

If you live in India, it is unlikely that you would not have heard about BadrinathBadrinath is one of the most popular pilgrimages for Hindus. It is located on the Himalayas in Uttarakhand state of India. It is lying at an altitude of 3100 meters from the sea level. Badrinath is famous due to Badrinath temple located here. Lord Vishnu in this temple is called as Badrinath. Everything in and around Badrinath town are directly or indirectly dependent on Badrinath temple. In simple words, the town exists only because of this temple.

Not only pilgrims visit this town. Even those who are interested in trekking or those who love to see the snow filled peaks of the beautiful Himalayas or the beauty of the streams at their origin also visit this town. Visiting this site would be an unforgettable and pleasant life time experience.


About the Temple:

Badrinath is one of the four Chhota Char Dhams. The other three Chhota Char Dham sites are Kedarnath, Gangotri and Yamunotri. 

Badrinath is one of the Divya Desam temples. The temple has been revered by Peyalvar and Tirumangai Alwar.

The temple, which is located on the banks of the river Alaknanda, is opened only for six months a year. Due to heavy snow fall in winter, the temple is closed from the last week of November everyyear. The deity is transferred temporarily to the temple in the nearby Joshimath. 

Legend:

The site is referred as Badrikashram in many of the Hindu Puranas and epics. It is said that Lord Vishnu had performed penance for many years in this site.

The two hills behind the temple are believed to be Nar and Naryan, the incarnations of Vishnu. It is believed that both of them performed severe penance in this site.

It is believed that the deity of the temple was installed by Vishwakarma. Later, the temple was built by Adi Shankaracharya. However, in due course of time, the idol was moved to a cave near Tapt Kund hot springs. In the 16th century CE, a Garhwal King moved the idol to the present temple. 

Temple Layout:


The 200 year old structure of the temple resembles Himalayan Buddhist shrine architecture. It has a colorful main entrance, which is called as Singhdwar.

The sanctum sanctorum enshrines the presiding deity Badri Narayan. It is believed that the idol was carved by the celestial architect, Vishwakarma. It is said that this black colored stone idol is made of Salagram. He is found in the Pamasan seating posture.

Badrinath is flanked by Kuber and Garud on his either sides. Apart from these, there are 11 more idols which include Narad, Udhava, Nar, Narayan are also situated within the sanctorum. The Goddess Aravindavalli or Maha Lakshmi is found in a small shrine in the prakara.

The sub-shrines of Vedanta Desikar, Lakshmi Narasimha, Ramanujar and Adi Shankaracharya are found around this main shrine.

The vahan (mount) of Vishnu, Garud is found facing towards the main shrine.

The vimana which is traditionally called as Taptakanchana Vimana is gold plated. 

The hot water springs Tapta Kund that is found near this temple is considered as the Sthala Teerth (holy waters).

The word 'Badri' also means date and hence the date tree or Badri Vruksha is considered as the Sthala Vruksha (holy tree) of the site.

The traditional ardha mandapa and maha mandapa are called as Darshan Mandap and Sabha Mandap in this shrine. 

Sapta Badri and Pancha Badri:

The seven temples of Badri in and around Badrinath are called as Sapta Badri temples. They are Badrinath, Adi Badri, Vridha Badri, Dhyan Badri, Ardha Badri, Bhavishya Badri and Yogadhayan Badri. 

Five Badri temples are considered as Pancha Badri sites. They are Badrinath, Adi Badri, Vridha Badri,  Bhavishya Badri and Yogadhayan Badri. Few people omit Vridha Badri and instead include Narasingha Badri.

Happy travelling.

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