Badrinath Temple



Badrinath temple is a major religious place among hindues. It is also called Badrinarayan temple. This famous temple is situated along the Alaknanda river, in the hill town of Badrinath in Uttarakhand state in India. The temple is dedicated to god Vishnu. The temple and town are one of the four Char Dham and Chota Char Dham pilgrimage sites. It is also one of the 108 Divya Desams, holy shrines for Vaishnavites.

The temple is open only six months every year (between the end of April and the beginning of November), due to extreme weather conditions in the Himalayan region.

The most important thing about this temple is one meter tall statue of Vishnu as Lord Badrinarayan, made of black Saligram stone. The idol depicts Vishnu sitting in meditative posture, rather than His far more typical reclining pose.

Architecture

The temple is approximately 50 ft (15 metres) tall with a small cupola on top, covered with a gold gilt roof. The front is built of stone, with arched windows. A broad stairway leads up to a tall arched gateway, which is the main entrance. The architecture resembles a Buddhist vihara (temple), with the brightly painted facade also more typical of Buddhism temples. Just inside is the mandapa, a large pillared hall that leads to the garbha grha, or main shrine area. The walls and pillars of the mandapa are covered with intricate carvings.

 The main shrine area houses the black stone image of Lord Badrinarayan, sitting under a gold canopy, under a Badri Tree. There are fifteen more murtis around the temple that are also worshipped. These include murtis of Nara & Narayana, Narasimha (the fourth incarnation of Vishnu), Lakshmi, Narada, Ganesha, Uddhava, Kubera, Garuda (the vehicle of Lord Narayan), and Navadurga.  Hard sugar candy(mishri), Tulsi, and dry fruits are the typical prasad offered at Badrinath temple.

History

It is said that in the ninth century Adi Shankracharya ji  discovered the image of Badrinarayan in the Alaknanda River and enshrined it in a cave near the Tapt Kund hot springs. In the sixteenth century, the king of Garhwal moved the murti to the present temple.

Due to age and damage by weather calamities the  temple has undergone several major renovations. In the 17th century, the temple was expanded by the kings of Garhwal. After significant damage in the great 1803 Himalayan earthquake, it was rebuilt by the King of Jaipur.

Legend

There are many legends behind the establishment of the temple.

One legend explains the reason that Vishnu is shown sitting in padmasana, rather than reclining. According to the story, Vishnu was chastised by a sage who saw Vishnu's consort Lakshmi massaging his feet. Vishnu went to Badrinath to perform austerity, meditating for a long time in padmasana.  To this day, the area around Badrinath attracts yogis who come for meditation and isolation.

One more logical Legend explains both name itself and sitting posture as this place was full of Badri (Bael Fruit,'Ber' in hindi) bushes and Vishnu meditating for couple of hundred years,beloved Luxmi stood next to him sheltering him from scorching sunlight turned into a Badri herself called 'BADRI VISHAL' and her lord(Nath) became the BadriNath.

Another legend says that Shiva and Parvati were doing tapas in Badrinath. Vishnu came in disguise as a small boy, crying loudly and disturbing them. Parvati asked the reason for his crying and he replied that he wanted Badrinath for meditation. Shiva and Parvati found that it was Lord Narayan in disguise. They then left Badrinath and moved to Kedarnath.

Nambudiri Tradition

Although Badrinath is located in the far north of India, the head priest, or Rawal, is traditionally a Nambudiri Brahmin from the far south of India in Kerala. This tradition was begun by Adi Shankara, who was a Malayali. The Namboothiris are considered to be the most orthodox of all the Brahmins and they consider every other caste (including other Brahmins) as Sudras[citation needed] . The Rawal is assisted by Dimri Pundits belonging to Village Dimmer of Garhwal. Badrinath is one of the few temples in North India that follow the ancient Tantra-Vidhi of Shrauta tradition more common in South India. Devotees of all faiths and all schools of thought of Hinduism visit the place. Many religious heads of various Muths, such as Jeeyar Mutt (Andhra mutt), Sringeri, Kanchi, Udupi Pejavar and Manthralayam Sri Raghavendra Swamy Muths have their branches/guest houses.

The Rawal (chief priest) is selected by erstwhile rulers of Garwhal and Travancore. The Rawal has been accorded high holiness status by Garwhal rifles and also the state governments of Uttarakhand and Uttarapradesh. He is also held in high esteem by Royals of Nepal. For six months in a year (during March to pre november), he performs his duties as a temple priest. Thereafter, he either stays in Joshimutt or goes back to his ancestral village in Kerala. The current Rawal is Sh. Badri Prasad Namboothiri, who belongs to the 27th generation of Badrinath Nambuthiris. He is fluent in Sanskrit, Hindi, English, Malayalam, Garhwali, Tamil and Kannada. The duties of the Rawal starts at 4 A.M every day, with the Abhishekam. The Rawal should not cross the river till Vamana Dwadasi and must be a Brahmachari.

Panch Badri

The Badrinath temple is one of five related shrines called Panch Badri that are dedicated to worship of Lord Vishnu.

•    Vishal Badri: Badrinath Temple in Badrinath.

•    Yogadhyan Badri: located at Pandukeshwar. It also has an image of Badrinath in meditative posture. Legend has it that King Pandu installed a statue here named Yogadhyan Badri.

•    Bhavishya Badri: 17 km (10.6 mi) from Jyotirmath at Subain. Legend says that when evil is on the rise in the world, Badrinath will become inaccessible and Lord Badrinath will appear at the Bhavishya Badri temple. Thus it is the future, or Bhavishya Badri.

•    Vridh Badri: 7 km (4.3 mi) from Jyotirmath in Animath. Vridh Badri means 'Old Badri.' Legend says this is where the Badrinath image was originally worshipped, before being enshrined at the current Badrinath.

•    Adi Badri: 17 km (10.6 mi) from Karnaprayag. A temple complex consisting of sixteen small temples with intricate carvings houses a three foot black stone statue of Lord Vishnu.

Badrinathji Door opening Ceremony

The temple is open for six months of the year – from April-May to October-November (Vijaya Dashami), but its day of opening is determined on the day of the Basant Panchami (in February-March), in accordance with astrological configurations. Pujas are held during the opening and the closing of the temple.

The first ceremony on opening is the darshan of the Akhand Jyoti (eternal flame) in an ancient lamp which has remained lit all through the year, even when the temple closed for the winter. The Puja is performed in the darshan mandap which can only accommodate a few people while the devotees stand in the outer or sabha mandap for the holy glimpse while the puja is being performed after a dip in the holy Taptakund.

Aarti

The daily rituals at the Badrinath temple start very early, around 4.30 am with maha ab-hishek and abhishek puja, and end at around 8.30 -9 pm with the shayan aarti. The temple opens for darshan for the general public around 7-8 am and there is an afternoon recess between 1-4 pm. The Rawal of the temple performs the rituals. The procedures of daily pujas and rituals are supposed to have been prescribed by Adi Shankracharya. Unlike most Hindu temples, all the pujas (including the decoration of idols) are performed in the presence of the devotees.

Timings of temple

In morning it is open from 4:30 hrs. to 13:oo hrs. In evening it is open from 16:00 hrs to 21:00 hrs. The temple closes at 21:00 hrs after the divine song Geet Govind.

Places to visit

Tapt Kund    

Tapt kund is a natural hot water pool fed by a sulphur spring which is said to be the abode of Agni, the god of fire. It is customary to bathe before entering Sri Badrinath temple. This water has a temperature of 130 degrees C. To the left of this pool is the Surya Kund fed by a branch of the same thermal spring. These waters are said to be very nourishing to the body. The Alakananda flows swiftly just below these kunds and the boiling water falls into the icy waters of the river giving rise to clouds of steam.

Panch Dharas

The Panch Dharas (five streams) which are famous in Badrinath are Prahlad, Kurma, Bhrigu, Ur-vashi & Indira dhara. The most striking of these is the Indira dhara, about 1.5 km north of the town Badaripuri. Bhrigudhara flows past a number of caves. The one on the right of river Rishi Ganga, orig-inally from the Neelkanth range is Urvashi dhara. Kurma dhara water is extremely cold whereas Prahlad dhara has lukewarm water, which glides majestically down the rocks of Narain Parvat.

Panch Shilas

Around the Tapt Kund there are five blocks of mythological importance called Narad, Narsimh, Barah, Garur & Markandeya Shilas (stone).

Standing between Tapt and Narad Kund is conical formed Narad Shila. It is said that the sage Narad meditated on this rock for several years. Standing in the waters of Alaknanda just below the Narad Shi-la is a huge stone looking like a lion with its gaping jaws and hooked claws. It is said that Bhagwan Narsimh after killing the demon King Hiranyakashyapa remained in the shape of a block of stone for-ever.

Near the Narad Kund the Barah Shila has the shape of boar. Barah is believed to be an incarnation of Lord Vishnu.

The Garur Shila near the Tapt Kund had Garur (the carrier of Vishnu) fasted & meditated on this stone. Sage Markandeya on the advice of Narad left Mathura to meditate here in Badarivan and attained ulti-mate peace. Markandeya Shila is the stone on which the Sage meditated.

Brahma Kapal

To the north of Sri Badrinath temple is the spot known as Brahma Kapal where Lord Brahma is said to reside. Ceremonies for departed souls are performed here.

In a quest to ensure a heavenly abode for the dead ancestors, the shradh ceremony (propitiating rites) or the offering of pind is an important part of Hindu rituals. After offering pind here, it is believed, the spirits of the dead are permanently enshrined in Heaven and no more pinds are to be offered elsewhere.

The Brahma Kapal, on the bank of the Alaknanda is a flat platform a few yards north of the temple. Legend has it that when Shiva chopped off the fifth head of Brahma, it got stuck to his trident. Lastly with the blessing of Lord Vishnu at Badarivan, the head of Brahma fell down from the trident at this place & hence the name Brahma-Kapal (head).

Sheshnetra

1.5 km away is a boulder having an impression of the legendary snake, better known as the Sheshnag’s eye (Shesh meaning Sheshnag and Netra meaning eye).

Charanpaduka

3 km away is a beautiful meadow carpeted with wild flowers in the summer. Here is a boulder bearing the footprints of Lord Vishnu. It is said that when Lord Vishnu descended from Vaikunth (the heavenly abode of Lord Vishnu) he stepped on this boulder. The area is a steep climb from the town and is full of caves & boulders.

Neelkanth

A pyramidal shaped snowy peak (6,597 mt) towering above Badrinath, presents a dramatic sight. It is popularly known as the ‘Garhwal Queen’.

How To Get There - Badrinath

By Air

Nearest airport is Jolly Grant, Dehradun.

By Rail

Nearest railheads are at Rishikesh and Kotdwara.

By Road

Badrinath is connected by good motorable roads with Rishikesh, Dehradun, Kotdwara and other hill stations of Garhwal and Kumaon region.

Local Transport

Taxis, horses, ponies.

Places To Stay in Badrinath

Chand Cottage, Shri KedarBadri Temple Committee.

Gujrat Bhawan, Shri Kedar-Badri Temple Committee.

Modi Bhawan, Shri Kedar-Badri Temple Committee. PWD Inspection House.

Hotel Devlok, (GMVN), Near Bus Stand.

Travellers Lodge, (GMVN), Bus Terminal.

Fairs & Festivals

Badri Kedar Festival

The Badri-Kedar festival, held at the sacred shrines of Badrinath and Kedarnath is held in the month of June.

Mata Murti Mela

On the day of Mata Murti Ka Mela, the mother of Shri Badrinathji is worshipped, and a large fair held at the Badrinath Temple in the month of September.








 

Badrinath, Uttarakhand, UTTARAKHAND, INDIA

Posted By : Vinod Jindal on May 29, 2011

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Photos Of : BADRINATH TEMPLE

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From : Haridwar

Road route map to reach Badrinath via Haridwar:

Haridwar - Rishikesh - Devprag - Srinagar - Rudraprayag - Chamoli - Joshimath - Badrinath

You can reach to Badrinath using taxi service and also using Bus service. GMU is the bus
service provider from the local GMU bus stand of Haridwar opposite to local Haridwar bus
stand. GMU run the bus for Badrinath early in the morning arround 4 o'clock and reaches
the destination in the evening around 6:30 or 7:00 PM via the above said route.

By : Ved Bhushan On Jun 13, 2011 at 05:27 Hrs 

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