- Badrinath temple
Badrinath temple, sometimes called Badrinarayan temple, is situated along the
Alaknandariver, in the hill town of Badrinathin Uttarakhandstate in India. It is widely considered to be one of the holiest Hindutemples, and is dedicated to Lord Vishnu. The temple and town are one of the four Char Dhampilgrimage 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.
murtis are worshipped in the temple. The most important is a one meter tall statue of Vishnuas Lord Badrinarayan, made of black Saligramstone. The statue is considered by many Hindus to be one of eight "swayam vyakta keshtras", or self-manifested statues of Vishnu.Sen Gupta, Subhadra, "Badrinath and Kedarnath - The Dhaams in the Himalayas", 2002. ISBN 81-7167-617-0] The murti depicts Vishnu sitting in meditative posture, rather than His far more typical reclining pose. In November each year, when the town of Badrinath is closed, the image is moved to nearby Jyotirmath.
, 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, Pongal, Tulsi, and dry fruits are the typical prasad offered at Badrinath temple.
The Tapt Kund hot sulphur springs just below the temple are considered to be medicinal—many pilgrims consider it a requirement to bathe in the springs before visiting the temple. The springs have a year-round temperature of 45°C.
Although Badrinath is located in the far north of India, the head priest, or Rawal, is traditionally a
NambudiriBrahmin from the far south of India in Kerala. This tradition was begun by Adi Shankara, who was a Malayali. The Rawal is assisted by Dimri Pundits belonging to Village Dimmer of Garhwal. Badrinathis one of the few temples in North Indiathat follow the ancient Tantra-Vidhi of Shrautatradition 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, Udupie Pejavar and Manthralayam Sri Raghavendra Swamy Muths have their branches/guest houses.
Badrinath was originally established as a pilgrimage site by
Adi Shankara, founder of the Advaitha Philosophy of the Sanatana Dharma (as he referred to Hinduismin the ninth century. Shankara discovered the image of Badrinarayan in the Alaknanda River and enshrined it in a cave near the Tapt Kund hot springs.Nautiyal, Govind Prasad, "Call of Badrinath", Shri Badrinath-Kedarnath Temples Committee, 1962.] In the sixteenth century, the king of Garhwal moved the murti to the present temple.
The temple has undergone several major renovations, due to 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. [Cite web|url=http://www.boloji.com/environment/62.htm|title=Uttaranchal Developing on Shaky Ground|accessyear=2007|accessmonthday=October 5|publisher=Boloji.com|work=] It is one of the five Punyakshethras (Holy places)where the Hindus offer Shradddhakarmas (oblations) to their 42 line of ancestors (Both from mother's and father's side) (Other four are Kashi, Gaya, Prayaga and Rameswaram). It is believed that once the Shraddha Karma is performed here, the descendants need not perform the yearly ritual.
Badrinath is mentioned in religious texts as far back as the Vedic period. Some accounts claim that the temple was built on a former Buddhist temple site. [Tyagi, Nutan, "Hill Resorts of U.P. Himalaya: A Geographical Study" (1991). p. 70. ISBN 8185182620.]
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 seclusion.
Another legend says that
Shivaand Parvatiwere doing tapas in Badrinath. Vishnucame in disguise as a small boy, crying loudly and disturbing them. Parvatiasked the reason for his crying and he replied that he wanted Badrinath for meditation. Shivaand Parvatifound that it was Lord Narayanin disguise. They then left Badrinath and moved to Kedarnath.
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] The
Skanda Puranastates that “There are several sacred shrines in heaven, on earth, and in hell; but there is no shrine like Badrinath.” The area around Badrinath was also celebrated in Padma Puranaas abounding in spiritual treasures.
The Badrinath temple is one of five related shrines called Panch Badri that are dedicated to worship of Lord
Vishnu.Bansal, Sunita Pant, "Hindu Gods and Goddesses", Spb Enterprises Pvt Ltd (June 2005) ISBN 978-8187967729]
* "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
Panduinstalled a statue here named Yogadhyan Badri.
* "Bhavishya Badri": 17 km 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 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 from
Karnaprayag. A temple complex consisting of sixteen small temples with intricate carvings houses a three foot black stone statue of Lord Vishnu.
* [http://www.badarikedar.org/ Official Site]
* [http://www.chardhamyatra.org/badrinath/ Badrinath]
* [http://sss.vn.ua/india/uttarakhand/badrinath/indexen.htm#Badrinath_temple 1280x960 - 2816x2112 photos of Badrinath temple, published by author]
* [http://www.vanamaliashram.org/Badrinath.html Photos and story of pilgrimage to Badrinath]
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