Badrinath was originally established as a pilgrimage site by Adi ShanKara in the ninth century. Shankara discovered the image of Badrinarayan in the Alaknanda River and enshrined it in a cave near the Tapt Kund (hot springs.) In the sixteenth century, the King of Garhwal moved the murti to the present temple.The temple has undergone several major renovations, due to age and damage by climate. In the 17th century, the temple was expanded by the Kings of Garhwal. After significant damage in the great 1803 Himalayan earthquake, it was rebuilt by the King of Jaipur. It is one of the five Punyakshethras (Holy places) where the Hindus offer Shradddhakarmas (oblations) to their 42 line of ancestors (Both from mother’s and father’s side) (Other four are Kashi (Varanasi), Gaya, Prayaga (Allahabad) and Rameswaram). It is believed that once the Shraddha Karma is performed here, the descendants need not perform the yearly ritual.
Several murtis are worshipped in the temple. The most important is a one meter heighted statue of Vishnu as Lord Badrinarayan, made of black Saligram stone. The statue is considered by many Hindus to be one of eight Swayamvyaktakshetras, or self-manifested statues of Vishnu. The murti depicts Vishnu sitting in meditative posture, rather than His far more typical reclining pose. In November every year, when the town of Badrinath is closed, the image is moved to nearby Jyotirmath.
Legend ,The Badrinath temple is approximately 50 ft heighted with a small cupola on top, covered with a gold gilt roof. The facade is built of stone, with arched windows. A broad stairway leads up to a tall arched gateway, which is the main entrance. The architecture resembles a Buddhist Vihara (temple), with the brightly painted facade also more typical of Buddhism temples. Just inside is the mandapa, a large pillared hall that leads to the garbha grha, or main shrine area. The walls and pillars of the mandap are covered with intricate carvings. Badrinath is mentioned in religious texts as far back as the Vedic period.
One legend explains the reason that Vishnu is shown sitting in padmasana, rather than reclining. According to the story, Vishnu was chastised by a sage who saw Vishnu’s consort Lakshmi massaging his feet. Vishnu went to Badrinath to perform austerity, meditating for a long time in padmasana. To this day, the area around Badrinath attracts yogis who come for meditation and seclusion. One more logical Legend explains both name itself and sitting posture as this place was full of Badri (Bael Fruit,’Ber’ in Hindi) bushes and Vishnu meditating for couple of hundred years,beloved Lakshmi stood next to him sheltering him from scorching sunlight turned into a Badri herself called ‘BADRI VISHAL’ and her lord(Nath) became the BadriNath.
Another legend says that Shiva and Parvati were doing tapas in Badrinath. Vishnu came in disguise as a small boy, crying loudly and disturbing them. Parvati asked the reason for his crying and he replied that he wanted Badrinath for meditation. Shiva and Parvati found that it was Lord Narayan in disguise. They then left Badrinath and moved to Kedarnath. According to the Bhagavata Purana, “There in Badrikashram the Personality of Godhead (Vishnu), in his incarnation as the sages Nara and Narayana had been undergoing great penance since time immemorial for the welfare of all living entities.” The Skanda Purana states that “There are several sacred shrines in heaven, on earth, and in hell; but there is no shrine like Badrinath.” The area around Badrinath was also celebrated in Padma Purana as abounding in spiritual treasures. This temple is char dham place. Dhanu, Simha and Mesh Rashi person should visit once in life here.
Name: Badrinath Temple
Location: Badrinath town, Uttarakhand, North India.
Built in: 9th Century AD By: Adi Shankaracharya
Primary Deity: Sri Badrinarayan (Vishnu)
Best time to Visit: May to October (except monsoons)
Distance: Nearest Airport: Jolly Grant (317 Kms)
Nearest Railwayhead: Rishikesh (300 Kms)