In an effort to unify the country, Adi Shankaracharya established four peethas (centers) in the four corners of the country. They are Badrikashram in the north (Badrinath), Kancheepuram in Tamil Nadu in the south, Dwarkapuri in the west and Jagannath Puri in the east (Sringeri mutt in Karnataka state is also claimed to be the fourth peetha). Badrinath is at the bottom of Nar-Narayan Parvat. Badrinath is at the bottom of Nar-Narayan Parvat. Neelkanth peak, 6,597 mts., is behind the site. Badrinath is at an altitude of 3,133 mts. It is one of the holiest places of the Hindus, situated on the banks of Alaknanda river. The Badrinath temple is dedicated to Lord Vishnu. It has a height of 15 metres. According to legends, there existed a temple prior to the Vedic period. The idols include those of Lakshmi (Vishnu's consort), Garud (Vishnu's vehicle), Shiva, Parvati and Ganesh. The Panch Dharas- Prahlad Dhara, Kurma Dhara, Urvashi Dhara, Briu Dhara and Indra Dhara as well as the Panch Shilas Narad Shila, Varaha Shiala, Garud Shila, Markandeya Shila and Nari Narsingh Shila are attractions for Hindu pilgrims.
Then there is the Tapt Kund where one takes bath for going inside the temple. This is a thermal spring on the bankof Alaknanda river. Brahma Kapal is a platform on the bank of the river from where the Hindus perform rites from their ancestors. Sheshnetra is 1.5 km away. There is an impression of the legendary snake, Sheshnag's eye. Lord Vishnu's footprint is visible , it is said, on a boulder at Charanpaduka, three km from Badrinath. Neelkanth peak, of 6,597 mts. altitude, and called Garhwal Queen, is a snowpeak overlooking Badrinath. Narad Kund, near Tapt Kund, is a semi-historical site from where the Badrinath idol was rediscovered.
Accommodation: There are many lodgings.
Food: There are several restaurants. Non-vegetarian food and alcohol are banned in Badrinath.
Altitude: 3,133 mts.; Climate: June to October- Average maximum temperature 16 deg C., average minimum is 8 deg C, in winter the place is snow-bound and the temperature touches zero at night.
Season: The best season to visit the place is June to October. The temple remains open from the first week of May till the second week of November.
Clothing: June to September light woollens, rest of the year heavy woolens; Languages: Hindi, Garhwal and English.
Yogadhyan Badri, situated at Pandukeshwar, is one of the five Badris. It is 24 km before Baddrinath. According to mythology, the Pandavas after giving up their kingdom, spent the rest of their lives here.
Bhavishya Badri surrounded by forests, is situated at Subain near Tapovan, 17 km on Joshimath-Malari route. Tapovan has sulphurous hot springs. Bhavishya meaning future, it is said, Badrinath will become inaccessible one day and then worship will be shifted here. And hence the name! At Bridha Badri, it is said, Lord Vishnu was worshiped before Adi Shankaracharya established the temple at Badrinath. The temple here is open round-the-year.
Adi Badri is located on Karnaprayag-Ranikhet route. Adi Shankaracharya reconstructed the temples here.
Alaka Puri: 15 km beyond Badrinath and after Mana village near the Tibetan border is Alaka Puri, the source of Alaknanda river. It is believed to be the abode of Kuber, Yakshas and Gandharvas. Sato Panth is 25 km from Badrinath. The trek is dangerous. It is a lake at an altitude of 4,402 mts.
Arwatal is beyond Badrinath
and Mana village. 17 km away is Ghastoli and after another 18 km comes
Arwatal. The terrain is icy and stream-stridden. Hence hazardous. Arwatal
has an altitude of 3,980 mts. Those desiring adventure can attempt Arwatal.
Photography is banned.At Vyas Guha, Ved Vyas is supposed to have
composed Mahabharat. It is a rocky cave.Bhim Pul is a huge rock
placed across Saraswati river like a bridge, beyond Mana village. Bhim,
the second of Pandavas, is believed to have placed the rock across.Three
km from Mana is Vasudhara waterfalls. It has a height of 122
The Valley of Flowers is 19 trek from Govindghat. Govindghat is on the main route to Badrinath. The Valley has been declared as national park. Camping has been regulated. River Pushpawati flows through the Valley.
Hemkund Sahib is located near the Valley at an altitude of 4,329 mts. The lake is considered to be holy. With snow-clad peaks and glaciers around, the sight is enchanting. It is said the 10th Sikh Guru, Guru Gobind Singh, meditated here in his earlier birth. There is a gurudwara and a Lakshman temple. There is another story that Lakshman was brought here after he was injured by Ravan. Govindghat is at the confluence of Alaknanda and Lakshman Ganga, on the main routre before Badrinath.
Joshimath is 42 km before Badrinath. Adi Shankaracharya established a math here. Auli is 15 km from Joshimath. There is a cable car from Joshimath to Gorson via Auli. Skiing courses are also conducted here. The place is also good for winter sports.