Badrinath temple is one of the Char Dham pilgrimages in whole India other three being Rameshwaram, Dwaraka and Jagannath. One of the four chhota Char Dham situated in Uttarakhand state other three being Kedarnath, Gangotri and Yamunotri; Badrinath is also one of the Panch Badri popularly known as Badri Vishal. Other four Badris of Panch Badri are Adi Badri, Vridha Badri, Yogdhyan Badri and Bhavishya Badri.
Badrinath Temple Religious Significance
Badrinath temple is one of the most pious and most visited Hindu Pilgrimages in Uttarakhand state. One meter tall black stone statue of lord Vishnu in Badrinath is considered as one of the eight self manifested statues of Vishnu. The black stone is Shaligram- Hindu devotees believe Shaligram to be lord Vishnu, as they believe Pipal tree, Tulashi herb and Kush shrub as the form of lord Vishnu. The story connects with pure woman Brinda who cursed lord Vishnu for his mischief towards her. The story of Swosthani states that lord Vishnu attired in the form of Brinda’s husband Jalandhar and kept physical relation with her in order to help lord Shiva kill Jalandhar. When Brinda realized that the person who slept with her last night was not her husband Jalandhar but lord Vishnu attired as Jalandhar, Brinda cursed lord Vishnu that he should live as stone, tree, herb and shrub. Thus to purify, lord Vishnu took form of Shaligram, Peepal, Tulashi and Kush which Hindu devotees consider as sacred and worship till date.
Temple and statues – Badrinath Temple
Vishnu is sitting in meditative form in Badrinath under a gold canopy resembling a Badri/Bayar tree. The colorful gate and temple resembling Buddhist monastery offers meditative vibes to the visitors. There are many other idols in the temple which include Narsingha (forth incarnation of lord Vishnu in the form of half human and half lion), goddess Lakshmi, Navdurga, Narada, Garuda, Nara and Narayana (popularly called for Arjuna-the third of Pandavas and lord Krishna. It is also believed there were sages named Nara and Narayana who meditated in the region of Uttarakhand in ancient times), Kubera and Uddhava. Nearby is a hot water spring Tapt Kund with temperature 45?C throughout the year. Pilgrims bath in Tapt Kund before entering Badrinath temple. They also believe that the water has medicinal values.
Badrinath Temple Establishment
In Badrinath temple, Nambudiri Brahmin is the priest. As the temple was established by Aadi Shankaracharya who was born in South India, like many other Hindu temples around India, the Rawal from Kerala of South India are the priests in Badrinath temple. Garhwali Dimri pundits (prists) from Dimmer village assist the Nambudiri Brahmin priest.
The idol of lord Vishnu of Badrinath is worshipped in Joshimath during winter season as it is inaccessible due to snow and extreme cold.
Legend and History of Badrinath Temple
A sage once chastised lord Vishnu about his consort Laxmi always massaging his feet. To fulfill the punishment, lord Vishnu went to Badri Ban (forest) for meditation and sat on Padmasana (position as Kamal or lotus flower) meditating for a long time. Being unable to endure her husband suffering from extreme heat, goddess Laxmi stood by lord Vishnu’s side providing shadow to him and after years turned into a huge Badri or Bayar tree thus named Badri Vishal and her consort lord Vishnu is called Badrinath.
A self manifested statue of lord Vishnu appeared at the place where lord Vishnu meditated and a huge Badri tree provided shadow to the statue. In course of time, natural catastrophes destroyed the statue and it was later retrieved from Alaknanda river and enshrined in Garud Gufa near Tapt Kund by Aadi Shankaracharya in 9th century. The Garhwal King and vaishnava saint Varadarajacharya installed the idol at present place and built the temple.
Usually CharDham tour begins at Haridwar starting from Yamunotri reaching to Gangotri, heading towards Kedarnath and finally making way towards Badrinath. But Badrinath is also loved by trekking enthusiasts for the serene beauty and breathtaking view it provides.