Guarded by the twin mountain ranges of Nar and Narayan, and the splendid
Neelkanth mountains as the backdrop, Badrinath is the holiest of the
four main shrines and an important destination on the sacred itinerary
of every devout Hindu. Once the spot was carpeted with 'badris' or
wild berries and hence was known as 'Badri Van' or wild berries forest.
The temple of Shri Badrinathji on the banks of the
Alaknanda river, dates back to vedic times. Situated at an altitude
of 3133 metres (10,300 feet), the present temple is believed to have
been built by Adi Guru Shankracharya - an 8th century's philosopher-saint,
who also established a 'math' here. Also known as 'Vishal Badri',
Badrinath is one of the Panch Badris.
Yog Dhyan Badri
The temple of Yog Dhyan Badri, one of the five Badris is located at
Pandukeshwar (1920 metres, 6300 feet) just 24kms. away from Badrinath.
The image, depicting a meditative posture of the Lord, is worshipped
here. The Pandavas are said to have retired here after handing Hastinapur
to king Parikshit.
The temple of Bhavishya Badri is at an elevation 3641metres (11,950
feet), and surrounded by a dense forest. It is located at Subain near
Tapovan, about 17kms. east of Joshimath. It is believed that a day
will come when the present route to Badrinath will become inaccessible
and Lord Badrinath will then be worshipped here. Hence the name “Bhavishya
Badri” means the "Future Badri".
Approachable from Karnprayag on the way to Ranikhet, are remains of
16 small temples. Seven among them are ancient ones, belonging to
the late Gupta period. The credit for building these temples is generally
given to Shankaracharya. The main temple of Narayan is distinguished
by a raised platform in the pyramidal from where the idol is enshrined.
Sculpted out of black stone, the idol of Lord Vishnu is one metre
Best time to visit this area is in the summer when
one should wear light woolen clothing.