Badrinath

Badrinath

At a Glance
Population
841
Area
3 km²
Geo Location
NA
Average Climate
18°C
Best time to visit
May - June and September - October

Vyas Cave is one of the historical, mythological and religious tourist attraction and a must see place to visit while on Badrinath Dham pilgrimage. Vyas Gupha (Vyas Cave) is named after famous saint Muni Vyas. The commended cave is where legendary Vyas Muni, a sage who spoke the entire epic of Mahabharata to god Ganesh, who noted it down while Vyas Muni was speaking. Vyas Gupha is located near the confluence of Alaknanda and Saraswati, known as Keshaprayag. Legend goes that the great sage Vyas composed Mahabharata and Shrimad Bhagvad Gita here. A massive rock resembling the records of a manuscript piled one over the other lying on the outskirts of the cave is known as Vyas Pustika. A unique thing about this ancient cave is that no outside sound, how noisy, can reach inside the cave. In this way, it is one of the perfect spots to ruminate. The hermitage of Sage Vyas lies on the western bank of Saraswati and it was here that he taught Bhagvad Gita to his son Shukracharya who recited to king Parikshit, grandson of Mahabharata’s hero Arjuna. Sage Vyas dedicated his verses to Lord Ganesh who is said to have lived in the nearby cave known as Ganesh Gupha (Ganesh Cave).

The two gods are venerated and adored in different parts of India in their different forms & incarnations. In North India, Chardham of Uttarakhand is a journey that aficionado and pilgrims take before they leave their mortal clothing of human body. The two gods Shiva and Vishnu are believed to dwell at Kedarnath and Badrinath, respectively. The adherents of Shiva-Shivaites and adherents of Vishnu-Vaishnavaites have altogether unique methods of worship yet they can both partner themselves in the way these Gods depended on each other for the smooth working of this Universe, in their parts of Destroyer (god Shiva) and preserver (god Vishnu) of world.

One of the holiest temples in India, Badrinath is tallied among the four sacred seats of God (Char Dham) and one in the list of the Char Dham of Uttarakhand, which is popularly called the 'Chota Char Dham'. Badrinath Temple has another name, Badrinarayan Temple since it is devoted to master Vishnu's incarnation of Badrinaryan. Situated in Badrinath town in the Chamoli district of Uttarakhand, this Hindu temple is among the most visited religious spots. Some say the temple was built in the 8th Century AD by Adi Shankaracharya, eminent saint, scholar and thinker. The first temple was, anyhow, broken by an avalanche. The present temple should have been built by the Garhwal Kings in the seventeenth century.

The sanctuary that stands today is an excellent structure, a display of distinctive mountain engineering. Splendidly colored 'Singh Dwar' is the main entrance of the temple. The temple complex comprises of around 15 idols of different Hindu divinities, the main god here is god Vishnu, or Narayan, who is sitting in a meditative position, very exceptional for the god who inclines toward leaning back. A Badri tree covers the pondering god.

As per Hindu legend, god Vishnu sat in meditation, avoiding Thuling, a place in the Himalayas which was debased by meat-eating priests and unchaste individuals. Amid his meditation, Vishnu was ignorant of chilly climate. Lakshmi, his consort, secured him by converting herself into a Badri tree. Satisfied by the commitment of Lakshmi, Vishnu named the place Badrikashram. As per Atkinson (1979), the place used to be a jujube backwoods which are not found there today.

The Vishnu Purana portrays another variant of the genesis of Badrinath. As per the mythology, Dharam had two children, Nar and Narayan—both of which are present-day names of Himalayan Mountains. They picked the place to spread their religion and each of them wed the large valleys in the Himalayas. Hunting down a perfect place to set up a shelter, they ran over the other four Badris of the Pancha Badri, specifically Bridha Badri, Yog Badri, Dhyan Badri and Bhavish Badri. They at last found the hot and frosty spring behind the Alaknanda River and named it Badri Vishal.

According to some other records, the temple was a Buddhist holy place till the eighth century and Adi Shankara converted it into a Hindu temple. The structure of the temple looking like that of a Buddhist vihara and the splendidly painted exterior which is atypical of Buddhist vihara supports the argument.

One can see a great testimony of India’s cultural unity in one of the several traditions prevalent in Badrinath Dham. According to traditions, the head priest of the temple has to be a Namboodri Brahman from Malabar in Kerala in south India. The chief priest is designated as Rawal here. Subordinate priests come from Devaprayag. Garhwalis of some specified villages provide fuel to pilgrims. The Badrinath Temple, situated at a height of 10,300 (nearly 3,169 mtrs.) above sea level nestles in the Alakananda valley ringed by snowy peaks. The Nara Parvat is called Kuber Bhandar (Treasure of Lord of Wealth) because it is popularly believed to contain diamonds and emeralds. The temple has been dedicated to Lord Badrinath (Lord Vishnu) who appeared here for meditation.

The history of Badrinath Temple dates back to more than several thousand years. It has passed through various calamities and ravages. The present day structure is not of remote historical past. The original temple, erected here about 12000 years ago, was destroyed by avalanches or some fanatic Buddhists. It was the great sage Shankaracharya who rebuilt the temple under divine inspiration. The present elegant structure, standing picturesquely on the banks of Alakananda dates from the 8th century AD. Thanks to the heroism and tireless efforts of Shankaracharya, the place was rescued from obscurity and brought back to the fold of Hinduism. After some time the temple again fell a victim to vandalism and it lay unknown until another great religious leader, Ramanuja, came and restored the worship of the image. The temple is said to have been entirely rebuilt in the 16th century AD by the ruler of Garhwal or Nepal.

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