Badrinath is one of the holy towns of northern Uttarakhand. It is a part of the Chamoli district and one of the chotta cha dhams along with Yamunotri, Gangotri and Kedarnath. The town is the part of the greater Himalayan Ranges. It s drained by the river Alakhnanda and lies on the border with Tibet. The town has mythological and religious significance. Its association with Adi Shankaracharya is also makes it important place of pilgrim. Badrinath is also one of the Cham Dhams of India along with Rameshwaram, Dwarka and Puri. There are several stories and legends related to Badrinath. According to beliefs it was in a cave very close to Badrinath where Sage Vyasa authored the epic Mahabharata. The town also provides awe inspiring view of the Nar and Narayan Mountain ranges of the Himalayas.
WHAT TO SEE
The region has a unique and diversified culture owing to the diverse ethnicities of the people living here. The people of the region are well versed in Hindi, Bhoti, English, Garhwali and other languages. The region has rich forms of dances Langvir Nritya, Barada Nati Hurka Baul Jhumaila, Chholiya and others. The people of the region well know the art of playing Dhol, Dholki, Daur, Thali, Turri and others. Spirit worship is an integral part of dance and music here, Jagar is one of the most popular of such worships. The ballad songs of the region are equally famous.
Where to go
Badrinath Temple is the main attraction of the town. It is one of the reasons for the popularity of the town. The temple is considered to be one of the most sacred places of India along with Puri, Dwarka and Rameshwaram, which also constitute the char dhams of Hindu Pilgrimage. The temple is a Vaishnavite temple i.e. dedicated to Lord Vishnu. The temple is said to be built by revered saint Adi Shankaracharya in the 8th c CE. Legends say that the idol of Badrinarayan was found by the saint immersed in waters of the River Alakhnanda. The temple is open from May to October and is visited by thousands of devotees on a daily basis.
Mana village is another place ear Badrinath worth a visit. The beauty of the village and the journey itself is breath taking. It lies on the Indo-Tibetan Border at a height of about 3220 m. the River Saraswati drains the region which originates from here. The people live here only for 6 months when the temple at Badrinath is open and then go to Chamoli for the rest of the year. It is because their activities and livelihood revolve around the temple activities. The region is also popular for trekking activities.
Satopanth is a beautiful Lake to visit near Badrinath town. It is in the greater Himalayas and is a popular trekking destination. Snow covered mountains surround the lake enhancing its beauty. The view is all the more reason that one must visit the Lake. The local people consider the lake to be sacred. For photographers it is a paradise. There are several rare species of birds that can be found here.
Neelkanth Peak is a popular trekking destination near Badrinath. The peak is named after Lord Shiva. The peak receives the first light of Dawn and this view is beyond imagination. The visit to the peak is a must especially for the trekkers. The journey up the peak is equally thrilling and full of surprises. Visiting the peak is a lifetime experiences.
Other places to visit in the town are Charan Paduka, Vyasa Gufa, Brahma Kapal, Tapt Kund, Mata Murti Temple, Shesh Netra, Vasudhara falls, Swargarohini, Hemkund sahib etc. the people here are welcoming and will guide you to several local places to visit if asked.
What to eat
Wheat is a staple food of the region. The region has good vegetarian and non-vegetarian food. The people of Uttarakhand eat coarse grain food but even that is worth having. The spice mix and preparation for food is different here and yet the food has good taste. A crop by the name of Jhingora is quite popular in the region. It is buckwheat and dishes made of it taste quite delicious. Food here is cooked in desi ghee and mustard oil making it quite healthy. Even the sweets of Uttarakhand like Bal Mithai, Gulgula and others are quite famous.
How to reach
The airport at Jolly Grand is the closest to Badrinath. From here regular bus services are available to reach Badrinath. Taxi is also available from the airport to reach Badrinath.
The railway station at Rishikesh is the closest station to the town. The station is well connected to rest of the country. From here regular bus services are available to reach the town of Badrinath. The railway station of Haridwar is also quite close to the town.
Badrinath is well connected to the nearby towns and cities like Gangotri, Dehradun, Rishikesh, Musoorie and others via road. Regular bus services from nearby towns and cities are there to reach Badrinath. Taxi is also available to reach the town.