Joshimath (earlier known as Jyotirmath also called Jyotir Math) is one of the four ‘maths’ discovered by Adi Guru Shri Sankaracharya in the 8th century AD. The place is highly revered by Hindus and it is an important pilgrimage center in the country. Many devotees and travelers can be seen in the area during the pilgrim season. There are many temples and other religious sites that are located in the town as well.
Joshimath at an altitude of 2100 mts, is a city with religious importance in Uttarakhand. It is also the junction point for people visiting Auli, one of the best skiing spots in India. It is also the main base point for Badrinath.
Joshimath is situated in the Himalayas on route from Haridwar to Badrinath highway. Many pilgrims take night halt at Joshimath during their char dham yatra. The road distance from Rishikesh to Joshimath is 251 km via Rudraprayag, KaranPrayag, SriNagar and Chamoli.
During winter season, the ‘Utsav Murti’ (idol used for public functions and to move around the temple) of Lord Badrinath is worshipped in Narasimha Temple at Joshimath.
Departure from Joshimath to Badrinath is controlled by what is known as the ‘gate’ system. There are two stretches on this road that are so narrow that two-way traffic is impossible. Queued up vehicles from both Joshimath and Badrinath are released at fixed intervals and timings as a result.
The timings for release are 6-7 am, 9-10 am, 11-12 am, 2-3 pm, and 4.30-5.30 pm. Once released from Joshimath or Badrinath the traffic then stops again at Pandukeshwar (the approximate mid-point), which allows a short two-way. These cross each other here, and thereafter it is again one-way traffic.
The nearest airport is the Jolly Grant Airport near Dehradun 293 km (182 mi) away. However, the distance by a helicopter journey is much less. The nearest railway station is at Rishikesh. However, Rishikesh is a small railway station not connected by fast trains.