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Badrinath 

Badrinath is one of the oldest Hindu places of worship. On the right bank of the river Alaknanda lies the sacred shrine perched at an altitude of 3133 m above sea level, guarded on either side by the two mountain peaks Nar & Narain with the towering Neelkanth peak providing a splendid back-drop. Also known as the Vishal Badri, the largest among the five Badris, it is revered by all as the apt tribute to Lord Vishnu. Once the spot was carpeted with 'badris' or wild berries and hence was famous as 'Badri Van'. 

Dedicated to Lord Vishnu, the temple is built in the form of a cone with a small cupola of a gilt bull & spire. Legend dates the temple prior to the vedic age and the original temple is believed to be built by King Pururava and the icon of the lord carved by Vishwakarma, the craftsman of the gods. A Hindu reformist Adi Shankaracharya re-enshrined the temple back in the 8th century. 


A flight of steps takes pilgrims to the main gate & then into the temple. The temple is divided into three parts - the 'Garbha Griha' or the sanctum sanctorum, the 'Darshan Mandap' where the rituals are conducted and the 'Sabha Mandap' where devotees assemble. The Garbha Griha portion has its canopy covered with a sheet of gold offered by Queen Ahilyabai Holkar. The complex has 15 idols. Especially attractive is the one-meter high image of Badrinath, finely sculpted in black stone. It represents Lord Vishnu seated in the meditative pose of padmasan. Special pujas are also performed on behalf of individuals. Every puja must be preceded by a holy dip in the Tapta Kund. Some of the special morning pujas are Abhishek, Mahaabhishek and Geeta Path. Some special evening pujas are Aarti & Geet Govind. Such pujas are to be booked in advance. The temple opens at 0430 hrs & closes at 1300 hrs. Once again it opens at 1600 hrs & closes at 2100 hrs after the divine song Geet Govind. Rawal is the administrator.The Pujari of the temple is well versed in puja ceremonies & Sanskrit language and is expected to be celibate.

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