Badrinath is considered to be among the most sacred in the Char Dham yatra performed by the Hindus. Badrinath falls in the Chamoli that is adjoining Tehri Garwal. The temple established by Adi Shankara, houses Lord Vishnu, the supreme God in the sanctum sanctorum.
The very location of the temple in this holy land is very sacred. It is located between the Nar and Narayan peaks and comes in face with the divine Neelkanth peaks. Other than being regarded as a sacred place of worship, Badrinath is among the most beautiful and scenic places in the country. It is thronged by people in great numbers for the few months that the temple doors are open.
It is not clear as to how the place got such a name. It is believed that the place is named so, since it is filled with Badri or the berry fruit and is home to the Nath i.e. the Lord.
It is believed that Adi Shankara stumbled upon the natural saligrama idol of Lord Vishnu and thereafter established a shrine for it. The present temple in which this idol is places has been constructed by the Garhwali Kings.
Badrinath is a paradise both for the pilgrims in their quest of the char dham and the visitor who can be enchanted by the stunning visuals. Situated at a height of more than ten thousand feet above sea level, the onlookers are treated to the snow covered peaks in front of them. The Alaknanda River, a tributary of the Ganga flows in utmost grace at this very place.
The visitors are also treated to the Tapt Kund and the Surya Kund, two hot natural hot springs in which the temperature always remains at 55 degrees. There are four temples that have been devoted to Lord Badrinath i.e. Adi Badri, Bridha Badri, Bhavishya Badri and Yogadhyan Badri. The main temple consists of three sections, Griha Garba, Darshan Mandap and the Sabha Mandap.
When winter approaches, the temples of Badrinath are shut down and the blessings of the Lord can be sought at Joshimath. Joshimath lies at a distance of forty two kilometers below Badrinath. It is also believed that Guru Gobind Singh, one of the principal Sikh Gurus meditated at the Hemkund Valley.
The pilgrimage of the Sikhs to the picturesque Hemkund Sahib nearly coincides with that of the Hindus to Badrinath.
For people travelling by air, people have to reach Dehradun that is at a distance of around 300 kms from Badrinath. For those using the train, though Rishikesh and Kotdwar stations are closer, Hardwar comes in the main rail line. Badrinath is also well connected by road from all parts of the country.