The flock of pilgrims slowly make their way up the breathtaking mountains, the little are rivulets keep them company, as the stony boulders mark their way. The sky is a lighter shade of blue and the meadows keep rolling and rolling. Finally, a light blinds the eyes, and the divine Badrinath Temple starts to reveal itself. It is like watching a spiritual aura come to life.
This wonderful temple and the holy town of Badrinath is part of both the India Real Char Dham Yatra and the Chota Char Dham Yatra. It is the last stop in the Chota Char Dham Yatra. This resplendent temple is situated by the banks of the Alaknanda River and is located at an altitude of 10,827 feet above sea level.
The trek to Badrinath Temple is relatively easy, and even first-time trekkers cam embark upon this. Even though there are some steep terrains, which can get slippery, the trek is still more or less comfortable. You will mostly meet pilgrims throughout your trek which might just make your trek to Badrinath even more divine, spiritual and enchanting.
The Mana Village is the last village, wherein the boundary of India comes to an end and that of Tibet begins. From this village, Badrinath is about 3 km more. Badrinath is cushioned between two mountains- Nar and Narayana.
Badrinath is a place where spirituality meets the tranquillity of nature and magic happens.
Currently, the temple of Badrinath is shit down for the winters, and it will reopen in the month of April or May next year - 2020. The temple closed down in the third week of November and is usually closed for six months annually.
During this time the main deity of the Badrinath Temple - Lord Badrinarayan is shifted to the Narsimha Temple at Joshimath. Pilgrims can thus, visit and offer prayers to Lord Badrinarayan at the Narsimha temple during winters.
The opening of the temple will be decided by the priests on Basant Panchami 2020. The tentative dates are as follows:
Opening Date - 29th April 2020 (tentatively)
Closing Date - Will be decanted on the eve of Vijayadashmi, which is on 25th October 2020
The Badrinath Temple remains closed during the winter season, due to the extreme cold, rendering the location inaccessible.
Before the doors to the temple are shut, the temple priest lights a little candle or lamp in front of the idol. Legends believe that this light is lighted for Narad Muni, who continues to offer prayers here every winter when the doors are shut. The light remains glowing even when the temple is finally reopened again, giving rise to further belief and divinity.
The mystery about the original date of the Badrinath Temple still remains. No one truly knows when the temple came into being, or how old it is. Many even say that it is as old as the Vedic Age (1500 BC). These claims are strongly refuted by experts.
What is known about the history of the temple, is that it attracted many saints and sages who came here to meditate for hours and hours. This led to an amazing release of powerful energy, which you can still feel at this place.
Some legends even suggest that Badrinath was meant to be the abode of Lord Shiva since he had chosen it for himself. However, Lord Vishnu tricked him and Lord Shiva had to leave and make Kedarnath his new home.
There are several other folklore and myths that are related to the Badrinath Temple. If you are lucky enough you might just end up hearing all of them from the pilgrims while on your way to the temple.
Once the temple opens for the Summer, daily rituals will begin as well. The rituals start at 4:30 am. You can attend these holy rituals by booking a time for a certain fee. While you can also just view the temple later in the day, there is something extremely sacrosanct and peaceful about watching the rituals and the deity.
For public and other pilgrims, the temple opens its gates at- 6:30 am and closes at noon. The temple opens once again at 3 pm and closes at 9 pm. You can visit any time during these hours. However, to fully witness the grandeur and divinity of this temple, you just visit it at 6:30 am, as the first puja in front of the public starts at this time.
If you wish to see all the rituals and pujas in the Badrinath temple, then you will have to pay approx 11,000 INR. While the price is a little steep, the experience is truly worth it.
You also need to buy or carry a little prasad in the form of dried fruits, candy or tulsi leaf to offer to the deity when you see it. You can buy this right outside the temple.
Photography is strictly prohibited inside the temple. But, you can surely engage in some therapeutic photography outside the temple. The beau toil Himalayan landscapes do make for an aesthetic setting.
The perfect thing that you are bound to notice after the strenuous trek is the awe-inspiring location. The temple is nestled in the midst of two stunning mountains, as the lovely river of Alaknanda makes it even more alluring. Along with this, the air is always fresh here, and there is not a single speck of dust around. In such a beautiful setting, the Badrinath Temple looks regal. The Garhwali wooden architecture especially sticks out and makes it look even more captivating.
Once inside the temple, take a look at the 3 feet stone idol made with black stone. This is the idol of Lord Badrinarayan, who is in a meditative pose. This idol is located under the famed Badri tree, and there is a canopy of pure gold per his head.
There are 15 more deities inside the temple, and you can visit all of them.
The refreshing hot water sulphur spring- Tapt Kund is also located below the temple. Pilgrims usually take a little dip inside this tiny pond before they enter the temple. It is said that the Tapt Kund has medicinal properties and can cure both your physical ailments and your stressors.