Places to visit in and around Badrinath (Tourist Attractions)
There are various places of interest for every kind of visitor. While there is Swargarohini, Laxmi Van, Vasu Dhara Falls, Bheem pul, Satopanth, Tapt Kund, Panch Shila, Narad Kund, Brahma Kamal for pilgrims, at the same time there is Neelkanth Parvat and Vasudhara fall for the nature lovers.
- Neelkanth: At the back of the Badrinath temple, a side valley opens to a conical shaped Neelkanth peak (6600 mts). Also known as the ‘Garhwal Queen’ is a snowy peak in the shape of a pyramid that forms the background of the Badrinath. Visitors can come up to Braham Kamal area.
- Satopanth: It’s a triangular lake surrounded by snow covered peaks and is named after the Hindu gods Mahesh, Vishnu and Brahma. It is believed that Hindu gods Mahesh, Vishnu and Brahma takes bath in this Sarovar each Ekadasi of Hindu Calender. (Permission required to visit)
- Tapt Kund: Before entering the Badrinath Temple, one has to take a holy dip in the Tapt Kund. Tapt kund is a natural hot water pool fed by a sulphur spring which is said to be the abode of Agni, the god of fire. The bathing area has separate arrangements for men and women. Although the normal temperature is 55°c, the water temperature keeps rising gradually during the day. It is considered to have high medicinal value. A dip here is considered to be a good cure for skin diseases.
- Brahmkapal: Near the temple, there is a place to perform Shradha of ancestors of yatris, this is an important place of Shradha where a person can perform once in his life.
- Charan Paduka: It is just 3 km away is a beautiful meadow carpeted with wild flowers in the summer. Here is a boulder bearing the footprints of Lord Vishnu.
- Narada Kund: Situated near the Tapt Kund, Narad Kund is the place where the idol of Lord Vishnu was recovered by Adi Sankara. The hot water springs comes out from beneath the Garur Shila and falls into a tank. Darshan of Badarinath is always preceded by a holy dip in this kund. Apart from that there are many other hot water springs. Devotees take a dip in them for their religious and medicinal value. Suraj Kund at Badarinath and Gauri Kund on way to Kedarnath are another famous Kunds.
- Vasudhara Falls: Vasundhara Falls (3 kms from mana village) is one of the famous tourist attractions, which lies in the Mana Village. The water of this cascading falls flows down from the height of 400 ft and is situated at an altitude of 12,000 ft. It is believed that the water of Vasundhara Falls turns away from the visitors who are not pure at heart. Close to the falls are prominent peaks of Satopanth, Chaukhamba and Balkum.
- Vasuki Tal: This is a high altitude lake which can be reached by an 8 km trek that ascends to 14,200 feet. Vyas Gufa, Ganesh Gufa, Bhimpul and Vasudhara Falls are 3-6 km. All these destinations are famous for their links with Hindu mythology and form part of the pilgrimage to Badarinath.
- Leela Dhongi: Badrinath is the area that Lord Shiv originally chose for his tapasya. However, Lord Vishnu decided that he wanted to meditate here so he assumed the form of a little child and lay on a rock and cried. He refused to stop even when Parvati tried to console him. In the end, Lord Shiv could not stand the child’s wails and decided to shift to Kedarnath.
- The Urvashi Temple: Badrivishal, the ashram of Nar and Narayan, where both performed penance and now, in the shape of mountains, guard the temple, was also the scene of their temptation. While they were in deep meditation, Lord Indra sent a group of celestial maidens or apsaras to distract them. Narayan tore his left thigh and out of the flesh, created several nymphs each more beautiful than the other. The most ravishing of all of them – Urvashi — led the nymphs to Indra and shattered his pride near a small pond in the Charanpaduka, 2 kilometres from Badrivishal. The pond bears the name of Urvashi; and there is a temple on the outskirts of Bamni village dedicated to the lovely nymph.
- Bheem Pul: It is a huge rock which acts as a natural bridge across the Saraswati River. The Saraswati River flows with force in between the two mountains and joins the Alaknanda River. It is believed that Mahabali Bheem, one of the five Pandavas, threw a huge rock in order to make a path to join the two mountains so that Draupadi could easily walk over it.
- Sheshnetra: 1.5 km away is a boulder having an impression of the legendary snake, better known as the Sheshnag’s eye (Shesh meaning Sheshnag and Netra meaning eye). On the opposite bank of the river Alaknanda, in the lap of Nar Parvat, there are two small seasonal lakes. Between these lakes is a boulder having an impression of the legendary snake, Sheshnag.
- Mana village : It is the last village of Indian Territory at China Border and is just 3 kms from Badrinath. The villagers of Mana are closely linked with the activities of Shri Badarinath temple for they offer a choli to the deity on the closing day of the temple – an annual traditional feat. The Mana village is full of caves and it is said that Ved Vyas dictated his famous epic of Mahabharat to Ganesh, in one of these caves, now known as Vyas Gufa (cave).
- Vyas Gufa: visit to Vyas gufa near Mana village an ancient gufa of Shri Vyas Muni where he wrote great grantha of Mahabharata. The caves associated with ancient sages and yogis, like Ganesh Gufa, Bhima Gufa and Muchakanda Gufa are known since very long.
- Mata Murti Mandir: About 3 km from Badrinath, on the right bank of the Alaknanda stands this temple, dedicated to the mother of Shri Badarinath (Maa Murti).
- Panch Dharas: The Panch Dharas (five streams) which are famous in Badaripuri are Prahlad, Kurma, Bhrigu, Urvashi & Indira dhara. The most striking of these is the Indira dhara, about 1.5 km north of the town Badaripuri. Bhrigudhara flows past a number of caves. The one on the right of river Rishi Ganga, originally from the Neelkanth range is Urvashi dhara. Kurma dhara water is extremely cold whereas Prahlad dhara has lukewarm water, which glides majestically down the rocks of Narain Parvat.
- Panch Shilas: Around the Tapt Kund there are five blocks of mythological importance called Narad, Narsimh, Barah, Garur & Markandeya Shilas (stone). Standing between Tapt and Narad Kund is conical formed Narad Shila. It is said that the sage Narad meditated on this rock for several years.
- River Saraswati: 3 km north of Mana village emerges the river Saraswati from a lateral glacier. Saraswati is known as the Goddess of learning, blessed Ved Vyas to compose the epic Mahabharata at Mana. The river after touching Vyas Gufa, gets lost in the Alaknanda at Keshav Prayag. From here to Allahabad, Saraswati flows incognito. It is said that at the confluence of Ganga, Yamuna and Saraswati at Allahabad, the Saraswati remains invisible.
Festivals in Badrinath
- The Mata Murti ka Mela is celebrated on Bavan Dwadashi, when the statue of Uddhavji is taken to the Mata Murti temple, 3 km away, and brought back on the same day.
- The Badri Kedar festival: is held in the sacred shrines of Badarinath and Kedarnath in the month of June. The festivities go on for a stretch of eight days. The Badari-Kedar festival makes an attempt to bring under one platform, the greatest artists of the country.
- Krishna Janmashtami is another notable occasions when huge number of pilgrimage arrive in Badrinath.