The revered shrine of Badrinath, a part of the Chardham of Uttarakhand (Yamunotri, Gangotri, Kedarnath and Badrinath) as well as the Chardham of India (Badrinath, Jagannath Puri, Rameshwaram and Dwarkapuri), is situated between the Nar and Narayan peaks on the banks of Alaknanda. It is the largest and the most revered among the Panch Badri. It is believed that Adi Guru Shankaracharya built the four pilgrimages in four corners of the country, today known and the Chardham of India, in the 8th century to revive the lost prestige of Hinduism and unite the country in one bond.
Badri refers to a berry that used to grow in abundance in the area where Badrinath is situated today and Nath refers to lord Vishnu. According the Hindu legends Lord Vishnu did a long penance in the area and Godess Lakshmi took the form of blue berries to protect him in the harsh climate. Every year the temple is open between the months or April and November. The opening date is Basant Pachami and the closure is done on Vijaydashmi by the Mandir Committee. During the winters the Utsav Murti (the idol used for public functions) of Lord Badrinath is placed and worshipped at the Narsimha Temple at Joshimath. The other four subsidiary Badris known as Panch Badri are Bhavishya Badri, Yogdhyan Badri, Adi Badri and Bridha Badri. There are many festivals and functions that are held at the temple of Badrinath. The major festivals include Badri Kedar Utsav, Krishna Janmashtmi and Mata Murti ka Mela.
Panch (Five) Badris
The five Badris are five different sites in Badrinath. At all these places, Lord Vishnu is worshipped in five different forms and under five different names. The eternal search of the man has never come to an end and never will. As travellers visit these Panch Badris in Badrinath, they will come to learn how Lord Vishnu, the preserver of the universe, is glorified in five different forms.
It is the main shrine of Lord Badrinath. Also known as Badrinathji, the Badrinath shrine attracts around six lakhs pilgrims every year. The Badrinath temple is located in the middle of two mountain ranges – Nar and Narayan. Badrinath was anciently known as Badrivan, due to the abundance of wild ‘berries’ or badris here.
The Badri has immense importance. The Yogdhyan Badri is at an altitude of 1,920 m in Pndukeshwar. According to the Hindu mythology, it is here that the Pandavas, after gaining victory against the Kauravas, handed over Hastinapur to Raja Parikshit. The place Pandukeshwar, where Yogdhyan Badri is located, takes its name from Pandu, who is beleived to have meditated at the place.
At this Badri is enshrined the lion-headed idol of Narsingh. Perched at an elevation of 2,744 m, it is located in the midst of thick forests. To reach Bhavishya Badri, tourists and pilgrims need to get to Joshimath, the entry point to this Badri. While pilgrims reach the place, they also pass through Tapovan, popular with tourists for its hot water springs.
Also spelt Vridha Badhri, Bridha Badri means Old Badri. The place is situated at a distance of 7 km from the pilgrimage town of Joshimath. Before the advent of Shankaracharya, the idol of Badrinath was worshipped here for many centuries. Owing to its long age, the idol enshrined here is known as Vridha Badri or the First Badri.
The sacred site is located at a distance of 17 km from Karanprayag. At the place, you will find a group of sixteen Gupta-period temples. Hindus believe that these temples were founded by Adi Guru Shankaracharya. Visitors can easily distinguish the main Narayan temple, as it is built on an elevated platform.