The glorious town of Badrinath represents a perfect blend of divinity and serenity which makes this place stand out from the rest of India. Set against the picturesque backdrop of the snow-clad Nar and Narayan mountain peaks the vibrant Dham of Badrinath caters to a number of spiritual seekers and pilgrims from across the globe. Settled at an elevation of 3,133 metres above sea level Badrinath Dham is also a crucial pillar of the all India Char Dham Yatra along with being a part of the Chota Char Dham Yatra of Uttarakhand. The entire region of Badrinath is replete with natural hidden gems in the form of rolling green hills and the unending blue skies. The air of Badrinath holds some incredible and unmatched spirituality and devotion which can be felt from the moment you enter.
Here are a few places you must include on your trip to Badrinath:
1. Charan Paduka:
This stack of rock shrine is located at a mere distance of 3 kms from the main Dham shrine of Badrinath and at a distance of 1.5 kms from Banganga that attracts tourists and spirituality seekers from across the world. Sitting at an elevation of 3,380 metres above sea level and surrounded by lush greenery and tranquil serenity the trekking route here will instill a feeling of deep peace and unmatched calm. As per the Hindu mythology, it is believed that Lord Vishnu had put his foot first in the earthly realm at this very spot. As mentioned in the Bhagavata Purana, the Ministry of Lord Krishna, Uddhav, acquired this Charan Paduka of the lord in order to get rid of his sinful ways. Your senses will be encapsulated with the overwhelming beauty and peace that this place has to offer.
2. Vasudhara Falls:
Located at a close distance of 9 kms from the main Dham shrine of Badrinath, this silver waterfall overlooks and falls over in the holy river of Alaknanda. This waterfall gushes down from a height of almost 400 feet. If you want to reach the falls the initial 3 kms can be reached by covering a road journey from Badrinath Dham, the remainder of the 6 kms will require you to trek onwards from Mana village. If you are an adventure enthusiast you will be able to access the waterfall during the open pilgrimage season for Char Dham Yatra, where you will be required to leave before noon time. Upon reaching here you will be treated with some of the most magnificent views of the surroundings.
3. Neelkanth Peak:
Considered to be one of the major peaks of the Garhwal region of the Himalayas, this snow-clad peak overlooks and towers majestically over the lush green valley created by Alaknanda river. Rising up to an elevation of 3,474 metres above sea level, Neelkanth also forms an attractively breathtaking backdrop for the pilgrimage destination of Badrinath. Outdoor adventure sports enthusiasts make it a point to cover this site as a part of their Satopanth glacier trek which goes along towards the northwestern end of the peak. The pristine, serene, quiet and tranquil environment allows the visitors to have a wonderful time. The beauty of this iconic mountain peak has been admired by the ace mountaineer Frank Smythe (who is credited with the discovery of valley of flowers), as second only to Siniolchu in Himalayan beauty.
4. Tapt Kund:
Situated in close proximity to the main temple shrine of Badrinath, Tapt Kund is believed to be the home of Goddess Agni. This naturally occurring hot water spring is where all the pilgrims take a holy bath before entering the temple premises as a part of their puja ritual. The entire hot water spring is divided into two parts one of which is for female and the other one is for male visitors. The water is believed to carry medicinal properties due to the natural presence of sulphur in the water. If you are planning on visiting this place then make sure you check the temperature of the water before diving into it since in the morning the water is bearable. A dip in this water will relieve you of all your stress, tension and other such ailments.
5. Bheem Pul:
As the name suggests this natural mountain Rock Bridge is dedicated to one of the Pandava brothers, Bheem, who is also believed to have been the strongest. As per the Hindu mythology, this is the spot where the Pandavas are said to have crossed during their journey to heaven at Swargarohini. While the panda were able to cross the gaping wide divide, Draupadi was however stuck and was not able to pass through. Bheem then lifted a massive mountain rock from nearby and placed it in between the gap and Draupadi was able to cross the river with ease. This wonderful bridge is till date a teeming tourist spot visiting Badrinath. The pul is an important sightseeing destination among pilgrims and devotees going on their spiritual Journey of Char Dham.
6. Vyas Gufa:
Located at a distance of 5.5 kms from the main Dham shrine of Badrinath, the cave of Vyas is situated on the banks of the holy river Saraswati. Named after sage Ved Vyas, this cave is believed to be the exact place where Vyas is said to have composed the iconic Hindu epic of Mahabharat with the help of Lord Ganesh. Right below the Vyas Gufa a Ganesh Gufa is also situated where the lord is believed to have been continuously jotting down the entire epic in one go while the sage dictated. Another important incident which took place in this cave was the time while writing Mahabharat Lord Ganesh’s reed broke and he broke off one of his tusks. The cave is also believed to hold the footprints of Lord Krishna inside.
7. Mana Village:
Popular for being the last village of India due to its location on the Indo-Tibetan border, the scenic village of Mana has mystical and enchanting aura about it. This village is generally covered by pilgrims and visitors on their Char Dham Yatra of Badrinath since it is only located at a distance of 3 kms from the main ham shrine of Badrinath. Surrounded by snow-clad Himalayan mountain peaks and sitting at an elevation of 3,219 metres above sea level this village is a popular place for village tourism and eco-tourism. Mana has also found its mention in the legendary Hindu epic of Mahabharat as one of the places where the Pandavas are said to have spent some time there. The village is popular for its pristine beauty and unmatched wonder which cannot be found anywhere else.
8. Brahma Kapal:
Situated at just 5 minutes of walking distance from the main Dham shrine of Badrinath, Brahma Kapal is located on the banks of the holy river Alaknanda which runs past this pilgrimage town. This is the spot where all the visitors and pilgrims perform the Pind Daan puja ritual, which is a way of paying homage to the departed souls and ancestors. People from far and wide make it a point to visit this place and perform the Pind Daan puja as ways of granting moksha to their deceased ancestors. The Kapal is in the form of a black mountainous rock structure which is surrounded by incredible greenery. Not only is this place utilized as a place to perform puja but it also allows the visitors to savour some awe-inspiring sights.
9. Yogadhyan Badri:
Situated in Govind ghat Yogadhyan Badri is famed for being as ancient and old as the main Badrinath Dham shrine. The place is named after an idol of the presiding deity of Lord Vishnu who is in the form of a meditative position. As per legend the father of Pandavas, king Pandu is believed to have performed some severe penance at this very spot in order to cleanse him of his sin of killing two deers who were mating, who used to be ascetics in their previous life. Pandavas were not only born here but king Pandu is also said to have died here and attained his salvation. The life-size idol is carved artfully out of a Shaligram stone and after the end of the great war of Mahabharat, the Pandavas brother visited here to repent for their sin of killing their kin.
10. Alkapuri Glacier:
Situated at a comfortable distance of 15 kms from Badrinath Dham, this magnificent holy town is popularly known as ‘the city of gods’. The entire region is covered in thriving, lush green forests which are also believed to be the home of Lord Kuber and tutelary gods of the forests and villages along with being the abode for Gandharvas (male nature spirits) and the husband to the apsaras. Alkapuri also serves as the Origin centre of the holy river of Alaknanda. The enchanting village of Alkapuri is a charming, quaint and tranquil destination for people seeking for some time away from the maddening city crowd.