Infobox Indian Jurisdiction
native_name = Badrinath
type = Town
latd = 30.73 | longd = 79.48
state_name = Uttarakhand
district = Chamoli
altitude = 3415
population_as_of = 2001
population_total = 841
area_total = 3
Badrinath is a Hindu holy town and a
nagar panchayatin Chamoli districtin the state of Uttarakhand, India. It is the most important of the four sites in India's Char Dhampilgrimage.
Badrinath is located at coord|30.73|N|79.48|E|. [ [http://www.fallingrain.com/world/IN/39/Badarinath.html Falling Rain Genomics, Inc - Badrinath] ] It has an average elevation of 3,415
metres (11,204 feet). It is in the Garhwal hills, on the banks of the Alaknanda River. The town lies between the Nar and Narayana mountain ranges and in the shadow of Nilkantha peak (6,560m). Badrinath is located 301km north of Rishikesh. From Gaurikund (near Kedarnath) to Badrinath by road is 233km.
Badrinath was established as a major pilgrimage site by
Adi Shankarain the ninth century. In recent years its popularity has increased significantly, with an estimated 600,000 pilgrims visiting during the 2006 season, ["The Hindu" newspaper, November 17, 2006] compared to 90,676 in 1961. The temple in Badrinath is also a sacred pilgrimage site for Vaishnavites.
Badrinath has been mentioned as a holy place in scriptures and legends for thousands of years. According to the Srimad Bhagavatam, "There in Badrikashram the Personality of Godhead (
Vishnu), in his incarnation as the sages Nara and Narayana, had been undergoing great penance since time immemorial for the welfare of all living entities." (Srimad Bhagavatam 3.4.22)
"Badri" refers to a berry that was said to grow abundantly in the area, and "nath" refers to Vishnu. Badri is the Sanskrit name for the Indian
Jujubetree [ [http://www.flowersofindia.net/catalog/slides/Ber.html Indian Jujube] ] , which has an edible berry. Some scriptural references refer to Jujube trees being abundant in Badrinath. Legend has it that the Goddess Lakshmitook the form of the berries to provide sustenance to Lord Vishnu during his long penance in the harsh Himalayan climate.
Badrinath templeis the main attraction in the town. According to legend Shankara discovered a black stone image of Lord Badrinarayan made of Saligramstone in the Alaknanda River. He originally enshrined it in a cave near the Tapt Kund hot springs. In the sixteenth century, the King of Garhwal moved the murtito the present temple.
The temple has undergone several major renovations because of age and damage by avalanche.Randhir Prakashan, "The Holy Places of Uttarakhand Yatra".] 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. [ [http://www.boloji.com/environment/62.htm Uttaranchal Developing on Shaky Ground] ] Sen Gupta, Subhadra, "Badrinath and Kedarnath - The Dhaams in the Himalayas", 2002. ISBN 81-7167-617-0]
The temple is approximately 50 ft (15 metres) tall with a small cupola on top, covered with a gold gilt roof. The facade 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 Buddhist 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.
History and legend
The Badrinath area is referred to as Badari or Badarikasram (बद्रीकाश्रम) in Hindu scriptures. It is a place sacred to
Vishnu, particularly in Vishnu's dual form of Nara-Narayana. Thus, in the Mahabharata, Siva, addressing Arjuna, says, "Thou wast Nara in a former body, and, with Narayana for thy companion, didst perform dreadful austerity at Badari for many myriads of years." [Dowson's Classical Dictionary of Hindu mythology]
One legend has it that when the goddess Ganga was requested to descend to earth to help suffering humanity, the earth was unable to withstand the force of her descent. Therefore the mighty Ganga was split into twelve holy channels, with Alaknanda one of them. It later became the abode of Lord Vishnu or Badrinath.
The mountains around Badrinath are mentioned in the
Mahabharata, when the Pandavas are said to have ended their life by ascending the slopes of a peak in western Garhwal called Swargarohini - literally, the 'Ascent to Heaven'. Local legend has it that the Pandavas passed through Badrinath and the town of Mana, 4 km north of Badrinath, on their way to Swargarohini. There is also a cave in Mana where Vyas, according to legend, wrote the Mahabharata.Nautiyal, Govind Prasad, Call of Badrinath, Shri Badrinath-Kedarnath Temples Committee, 1962.]
According to the
Skanda Purana: "There are several sacred shrines in heaven, on earth, and in hell; but there is no shrine like Badrinath."
The area around Badrinath was celebrated in Padma Purana as abounding in spiritual treasures.
Badrinath has also been eulogised as "Bhu Vaikunta" or earthly abode of Lord Vishnu. Many religious scholars such as
Ramanujacharya, Madhawacharyaand Vedanta Desikavisited Badrinath and wrote sacred texts, such as commentaries on Brahmasutras and other Upanishads.
pilgrimage site, is on the way to Badrinath, so the road is especially crowded during the summer pilgrimage season. The temple and its substantial surrounding village are accessible by road. The best time to visit Badrinath is between June and September. Warm clothes are recommended all year.The northern math established by
Adi Sankarais nearby at Jyotirmath. Other places in the area are Haridwarand Rishikesh.
The nearest airport is the
Jolly Grant Airportnear Dehradun, (317 km). The nearest railway stations are at Haridwar(310 km) and Rishikesh(297 km) and Kotdwar, (327 km) respectively. There are regular buses operating to Badrinath, from New Delhi, Haridwarand Rishikesh. As the roads are very narrow, for your safety it is recommended to travel by all terrain vehicles. Until recently you could not drive here, but now you can drive right up next to the temple.
As of 2001India census[GR|India] , Badrinathpuri had a population of 841. Males constitute 65% of the population and females 35%. Badrinathpuri has an average literacy rate of 85%, higher than the national average of 59.5%; with 70% of the males and 30% of females literate. 9% of the population is under 6 years of age.
Badhri Narayanan temple
* [http://www.vanamaliashram.org/Badrinath.html Photos and history]
* [http://sss.vn.ua/india/uttarakhand/badrinath/indexen.htm Photo galleries of Badrinath, 345 photos, 1280x960]
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