The four dham pilgrimage in Himalaya Mountains in India is the dream of every Hindu. Most of the temples and the dhams are of lord Shiva in the Himalayan Mountains but the one spot belongs to god Narayana, husband of goddess Laxmi, and that is Badrinath. Badrinath is one of the most famous 4 dhams of the Himalayas. You can reach Badrinath from Haridwar by road in a luxury travel bus or a hired taxi. Haridwar is well connected by the train, road, and air from all the major cities of Northern India. The route from Haridwar is around 240 miles and takes around 10 hours to reach Badrinath via Rampur, Gopeshwar, and Joshi math. The temple of Badrinath remains open only from May to October every year.
Joshi math is having many places to see. The first is the temple of NarNarayana. The statues of lord Krishna and his elder brother Balramji, made of black smooth stone are very impressive. This temple was established by Adi Shankaracharya in around 10 th century. There is also a statue of lord Ganesha having 8 hands here. The famous Narsinh temple is just close by that has the statues of lord Ram, Laxman, and Devi Sita. The statue of goddess Chandi is also here at this temple. The next spot is the math of Adi Shankaracharya that is situated on the top of the small mountain. This is one of the four most famous maths of Shankaracharya. There is a temple of Annapurna Devi in the math. Joshi math is a small town that has some facilities for staying and eating. There is also a post office, STD telephone booths and a small market here. We did not stay at Joshi Math and continued our journey towards Badrinath after visiting most vital places at Joshi math. The tirth of Pandukeshwar comes next on the way. This is the place, where king Pandu, father of the Pandavas, had performed tapa. There is a tamrapatra written in the handwritings of King Udhisthir here. This place is at the height of around 6000 feet. The Hanuman Chatti comes after around 11 miles from Pandukeshwar. It is said that this was the place, where Bhima, one of the Pandavas, met Hanuman. Finally, you reach your destination of Badrinath. It is said that lord Narayana performed tapa here. Laxmiji remained present with her husband in the form of a Badri tree providing the shade on lord Narayana. That is why this spot is called Badrinath.
The bus or car can reach up to the Badrinath temple, and you are not required to walk any distance. But, there is a one way road from Joshi Math and you have to reach in time, when your side of road begins. We were delayed in the way and had to wait for around 2 hours till our road opened. The present Badrinath temple has been built before around 600 years by the kings of Garhwal. The statue of Badrinarayana is said to be thousands of years old. Maharishi Naradji had established this statue originally. Later on, the followers of Lord Buddha threw this statue in the river Alakhnanda. It was taken out by Adi Shankaracharya from the river and established here. The statue and the temple pillars are made of smooth black stones. The Dip opposite to the statue remains lighted for ever. Even when the temple remains closed for the six months during the winter, it does not get extinguished. The exact reason of this is not known, even today. The holy statue of Badrinath is shifted to Joshi Math in every winter when the temple remains closed. There are many hot water wells here that have hot water containing Sulphur. Taking a bath here cures many skin diseases due to the presence of chemical Sulphur in the water. However, water is really very hot here and you must initially take bath using metal glass or container so that your body gets used to hot water. Badrinath is considered as the best spot to perform the religious rituals after the death of an individual. We had stayed for one night here at Badrinath. There are reasonably good hotels and dharmashalas available to stay that have provision of hot water and electricity. We had stayed at the government guest house that provides a room at the rate of around Rs.300 ($24) per day.
Though, the cars and buses reach up to the temple of Badrinath, there are around 120 stone steps that you will need to climb while entering the temple. It is better to visit Badrinath in an organized tour managed by the proven and experienced travel companies. This will help you to get all the facilities without any hassle or tension.
I would recommend all my AC friends to grab the opportunity for doing this four dham pilgrimage in the Himalayas in order to combine the pleasure of visiting the most scenic place as well as the most holy place at the same time.