History and Legends about Badrinath
The name of the tirtha originates from the local word badri which is a type of a wild berry. It is said that when Lord Vishnu sat in penance in these mountains, His consort Goddess Laxmi took the form of a berry tree and shaded Him from the harsh sun. It is not only the dwelling place of the Lord Himself but also home to countless pilgrims, saints and sages, who meditate here in search of enlightenment.
The main attraction, Badrinath temple was worshipped as a Buddhist temple, when King Ashoka was the ruler of India.
According to Skand Puran the idol of Lord Badrinath was recovered by Adiguru Shankaracharya from Narad Kund and was re-enshrined in the 8th century A.D. in this temple. Skanda Purana describes more about the place: “There are several sacred shrines in heaven, on earth, and in hell; but there is no shrine like Badrinath.”
According to mythics, Badrinath oftenly called as Badri Vishal, was re-established by Adi Shri Shankaracharaya to revieve the lost prestige of Hinduism and to unite nation in one bond. Badrinath is one land richly infused with sacred accounts from numerous ancient Hindu scriptures. Be it the puranic story of the Pandav brothers, along with Draupadi, going past on their last pilgrimage by ascending the slopes of a peak near Badrinath called Swargarohini or the ‘Ascent to Heaven’ or the visit by Lord Krishna and other great sages, these are just some of the many tales which we associate with this holy tirtha.
According to Vamana Purana, the sages Nara and Narayana (fifth avatar of Lord Vishnu) perform Penances here.
Great sages of yore like Kapila Muni, Gautam, Kashyap have performed penance here, Bhakta Narada attained salvation and Lord Krishna loved this region, medieval religious scholars like Adi Shankaracharya, Ramanujacharya, Sri Madhavacharya, Sri Nityananda have come here for learning and quiet contemplation and so many still continue to do even today.