There are so many holy shrines in our country and it is believed that the Gods the self manifested shrines are the first rather than the Shrines enshrined by sages and mankind. There are eight self manifested temples of Lord Vishnu. Sri Ranganatha Temple of Srirangam, Balaji Temple in Tirumala, Bhuvarahaswamy temple in Ganjigera, Varahanatha Kallahalli near Mysore, Vanamamalai Perumal Temple near Tirunalveli, Mukthinath in Nepal, Varaha Temple in Puskar, Lakshmi Narayan Temple in Naimisharanya and Badarinath in Uttarakhand are the eight self manifested Temples of Lord Vishnu.  

Badrinath is a nagar panchayat in Chamoli district . It is one of the four Shrines of popular  Char Dham  along with Dwaraka, Puri and Rameswaram. Badri refers to a berry a small, pulpy and edible fruit konwn as Regu grow in large quantity in the area, and nath means husband or “Lord”. There are plenty of Jujube trees in the area.  In olden dats, Pilgrims used to walk to reach Badri. Adi Sankaracharya re-built Badrinath temple in fourteen hunded years ago. Long ago, there were the houses of the temple staff. Due to repeated earthquakes, the temple was damaged severally. The population occupancy developed every year besides increasing of pilgrims and Badarinath got popularity as a holy pilgrimage center. Badrinath is the gateway to several mountain expeditions like Nilkantha. Badrinath is at a height of twelve thousand feet above sea level and the famous two hot springs Tapti Kund and Surya Kund maintain the normal temperature round the year.

Badrinath temple in the centre of the town is the main attraction. Lord Shiva found a black stone having the image of Lord Badrinarayan made out from Saligram stone in Alaknanda River and established in a cave near the Tapt Kund hot spring. The king of Garhwal moved the Deity to the present place. The temple is fifty feet height and having a small cupola on top, covered with a gold guild roof. The arcade is built of stone, with arched windows. A broad staircase leads up to the main entrance. The architecture is like Buddhist temple. A large pillared hall leads to the main shrine area. In the Epic Mahabharata, the mountains around Badrinath are of great importance. Pandavas ascended one by one on the mountain range while traveling from Badrinath to the mountains for ascension, they passed through Badrinath and Mana at a distance of 4 Km north to Badrinath, There is also a cave in Mana where Veda Vyas said to be written Mahabharata. Himalayas are also called Ashtapad because of its eight different mountain ranges Gauri Shankar, Kailash, Badrinath, Nanda, Drongiri, Narayan, Nar and Trishuli.

Badarinath Temple

Badrinath temple which is located at 46 kms from Joshimath is amongst the top pilgrimage places for Hindus. The temple is dedicated to Badrinarayanan incarnation of Lord Vishnu and  part of both Chardham Yatra and Chota Chardham Yatra. Badrinath Kshetra is a place of perfection since the beginning of universe on par with Vedas and Lord Hari, and is endless residence of great sages like Narada. It is believed that with darshan of Lord Badrinath will give Moksha without reincarnation. Lord Shiva resides in the form of Adi-Kedar Shivaling on the banks of the Tapta Kund in Badri Kshetra. Devotees worship Lord Shiva in the form of Adi-Kedar Shivaling. It is stated that those devotees who worship Badrinarayan atain Moksha. Those devotees who worship the Adi-Kedar Shivalinga located beneath the lotus feet of Lord Badrinarayan remain everlasting. Such is the glory of Badrinath Dham.

Pandava have offer their prayers to the souls of their departed ancestors in their journey to heaven and they also performed rituals of Pinda Pradhan to their kith and kin and to the soldiers lost their lives in Kurukshetra battle to attain salvation to their souls as instructed by Lord Krishna. It is said that performing deep penance give moksha to the ancestors or salvation from the karmic cycle of birth and rebirth. 

Badrinath is nothing but heaven on earth with natural beauty. The temple closed for six months in winter and an Akhand Jyothi (Lamp) will be lightened with ghee. The thread for the lamp got prepared by the villages of Mana with devotion. Lightening the Jyothi, the temple doors will be closed. The temple opens on the dates decided by the Badri, Kedar temple committee in consultation with the priests of the temples. It is believed that the gods worship Badrinarayan in the closure period and the Panchayatan council helps them to perform rituals during that period. The lamp remains lit even after opening. It is nothing but the highness of Sri Badrinarayan. The priest of the temple is called Ravalji and is from the Nambudri family of Kerala.

In the Sanctum of the temple pilgrims may visit Panchayatan members comprising Kuber, Uddhava, Nara Narayan, Narada and Garudha. It is traditionally believed that Lord Badrivishal presides over the Panchayat (Divine Council). Lord Badrinarayana shows Him holding a Shanka (Conch) and a Chajkra (wheel) in two of his arms in a lifted posture and the other two arms resting on his lap in Yoga Mudra (Padmasana) posture. Ganesh and Kuber sit, Uddhav stands on the right side of Badrinath Ji Lakshmi stands and Nara Narayan sit on the left beside Garuda and Naradha sit at his feet. Vedic scriptures believe that Lord Vishnu takes help of the council in deciding the right course of action for the Universe. Kuber worship is famous at Badrinath.

Uddhava (also known as Pavanayadhi) is the friend and counsellor of Krishna and he plays a prominent role in Bhagavata Purana in which Krishna taught the processes of yoga and devotion called as Uddhava Git like Bhagavad Gita told to Arjuna. It is also believed that Uddhava was the cousin of Sri Krishna and son of Devabhaga, brother of  Vasudev. His physical appearance was so like that of Krishna’s and in some instances he is temporarily mistaken as Krishna. Before the havoc of the Yadava clan, Krishna advised Uddhav to go to Badari and spend the rest of his life there.

Bramah Kapal

Srardha Karma or ceremony performed in Badrinath is eight time better than performing the Srardha performed in Gaya as defined in Skanda Purana. As such Devotees visit Badarinath perform Shraddha to their ancestors at Brahma kapal Ghat is at distance of 200 to 300 mtrs towards north to the Badrinath Temple and Situated on the banks of over and over splashed by the cool waters of Alaknanda River which is accessible to walk and is a place in Badrinath which is of great importance for Hindus. Pilgrims pay homage to the dead souls of their ancestors in the Bramah Kapal Ghat. This place is marked with a few stones is overvalued all over the universe. The black stone seen here is the leftover of the head of Lord Brahma.

As per legends Brahma has five faces. The four faces see the four sides and the fifth towards up. Brahma is called as Pancha Mukha and later Chaturmukha Brahma after losing one head. Brahma showed his superior complex among Trimurthi before his obedient followers stating that creation is the major in universe and there will be no survival and destruction without his creation. The sages and followers praised him. Brahma felt proud and some among them went to Vaikuntam to inform the matter to Lord Vishnu. Disputes rose among the followers of Brahma and Vishnu. Vishnu tried to convince Brahma that there is no superior among them but the words became in vain. Vishnu agreed with the superiority of Brahma. 

Brahma felt triumphantly and went to Kailash and raised a dispute with Shiva. Shiva convinced that there will be no superior among them and all are equal in performing their acts and Brahma agreed to the argument. The four heads of Brahma agreed to the words of Shiva but the fifth head felt that he was superior to the two Gods. Shiva recognised the feelings of Brahma. He felt that the creation will become haywire. Shiva has cut the fifth head of Brahma with his Trident and thrown into Alaknanda River near Badrinath. The fifth head of Brahma attains salvation and the haughtiness of Brahma come down from his superior feelings.

Another legend says that Brahma satisfied with the penance of Manmadha and presented three arrows informing that the person on whom the arrow launched felt seduced and will effect with eroticism. Manmatha desired to test the arrow and launched against Brahma. Brahma was affected with eroticism and fascinated Sataroopa, a beautiful lady created by Brahma to assist him in creation. Later, Brahma glanced at her with a view of lust in thoughts. She escaped to the sky from the lustful glances of Brahma. Brahma started to insert with his fifth head and stopped creation of the universe. Lord Shiva understood and created Veerabhadra by cutting off the fifth head of Brahma. Veerabhadra implemented the orders of Lord Shiva separating the fifth head of Brahma and threw it in Alaknanda River near Badrinath. The place is named as Brahma Kapal. Since Brahma was fascinated towards Sataroopa, who was born from his mind, equivalent to a daughter with lust ignoring  the sacred relationship, Lord Shiva gave curse to Brahma without having temples and worship. Legend says that ever since Brahma chanted four Vedas with his four heads to compensate for his sin. 

Hence forth, Lord Shiva resided in Badrinath along with his wife Parvathi and other sages doing penance. Shiva performed penance and got relief from the sin of cutting off the fifth head of Brahma. It is so the uniqueness of Varanasi and Badari is special and both are beloved Shrines to Lord Shiva. Hindus feel Brahma Kapal as the most holy place to perform ritual ceremonies to their ancestors. It is also stated that the annual ritual ceremony may be ignored by performing ritual ceremonies in Brahma Kapal and it is not necessary to conduct in other places. Thousands of Hindus visit Brahma Kapal to perform ritual ceremonies to their ancestors.  

It is presumed that Badrinath worship shall give Nirvana without re-birth. Lord Shiva resides in the form of Adi-Kedar Shiva Ling near Tapta Kund on the banks of Alakananda River. Those devotees who worship the Adi-Kedar Shivalinga which is located beneath the lotus feet of Lord Badri Narayana remain everlasting. It is stated that those devotees who die in Badrinath Shrine get Nirvana. Such is the glory of Badrinath Dham. In order to get rid of the sin of killing their kin, Pandava stayed here on their way during their journey to heaven to offer their prayers to the souls of their departed ancestors. They performed the ritual for Shradh to attain salvation to their ancestors and the people who lost their lives in Kurukshetra. It is said that performing deep penance here will grant the ancestors with Nirvana (Moksh) or salvation from the karmic cycle of birth and rebirth.

Adi Kedareswar Temple: 

The temple is on the banks of Tapta Kunda slightly higher towards Badari Temple. The temple is dedicated to Lord Shiva. As per Skanda Purana, the temple carries equal significance of visiting as the same of Kedarnath Temple. It was the place originally chosen by Lord Shiva to meditate after attaining the sin of Brahma Hatya due to the cutting of the fifth head of Brahma which was thrown in Alaknanda River at Brahma Kapal. Lord Vishnu resolved to get this place and assumed the form of a little child and cried loudly. Shiva and Parvathi tried consoling the child, but in vain. Shiva told Parvathi that the child seems to be illusory and not to intervene with him. But Parvathi placed the child in the Bhavan where they reside and went for a bath in Alaknanda River. When they arrived from bath, they found that  the doors of the Bhavan closed and the child transformed into Chaturbhuja (with four Hands) Narayana claiming the place. For that reason Shiva had to leave the place and moved to Kedarnath to continue his meditation. The temple is on the banks of Tapta Kunda slightly higher towards Badarinath Temple.  

Tapt Kund

Just below the Badrinath temple, there is a natural hot spring which is believed to be used having curative properties. Pilgrims have a dip in the holy and hot waters of the Kund before visiting the Temple. There are five boulders Narad, Narsingh, Varah, Garur and Markandaya near TaptKund. 


At a distance of 1.5 km from the Temple there is a rock named Seshanag, the legendary snake of Lord Vishnu. The Rock has natural mark like eyes and it safeguard Badrinath.

Mata Murthi Mandir

The temple located at a distance of 3 Km from Badriath temple and on the right bank of Alaknanda River. The maa believed to be the mother of Nara and Narayan, the twin-brother avatar of Lord Vishnu. Mata Murti convinced Lord Vishnu to take birth from  her womb. Mela will be conducted every year in the month of September. The temple is on the way to Vishnu Charan Paduka from Badrinadh Temple.

Vishnu Charan Paduka

Vishnu Charan Paduka is a beautiful rock with the foot impressions of Lord Vishnu. Charan Paduka gained a lot of prominence of Hindu mythology. It is believed that Lord Vishnu stepped on this rock while coming down to the earth from Vaikunta. The rock with his foot print is the auspicious place to be known as Charan Paduka. Charan Paduka may be reached by trekking from the left side of Badarinath Temple. Pilgrims start walking on the correct side and with speedup walking of stairs lead up to the Charan Paduka rock. Walking on the stairs to go upwards take approximately Ninety minutes to reach Charan Paduka situated in the Narayan Parvat. The feasible time to visit Charan Paduka is from April to November in which the government officially allows tourists to visit the holy shrine from sunrise to sunset. 

Besides there are Mana Village, Vasudhara falls, Nara Narayan Temple, Surya Kund, Ganesh Cave, Veda Vyas Cave, Bhima Pul and Pandukeswara Temple in the surroudings of Badarinath and the information of these places available in another episode Swargarohana Yatara of Panadav. Pilgrims advised to return to Joshimath in the evening since it is not feasible to stay at Badarinath.