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One of the oldest Hindu places of worship is Badrinath. 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. It is 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'.
The temple is built in the form of a cone with a small cupola of a gilt bull & spire, Which is dedicated to Lord Vishnu. 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.
Considered as the holiest of the four important shrines of Hindus, Shri Badrinath ji is situated in the Garhwal region at the confluence of the Rishi Ganga and Alaknanda rivers and at an altitude of 3110 M above the sea level.
A great religious importance has been attached to Badrinath Puri, which was once surrounded by wild berries or "Badri" and so it was named "Badrivan". This land has been worshipped by saints and sages and has been the abode of yogies, and great hermits over the ages.
Badrinath TempaleShri Badrinath is guarded by the twin mountain ranges of Nar and Narayan range near the towering Neelkanth Peak. The other hot water tanks are "Narad Kund" & "Surya Kund" in which pilgrims take the holy bath. Badrinath stands first in the pilgrimage programs since it bears the supreme degree of faith and devotion towards God.
At the backside of Badrinath temple, a valley opens to Nilkanth peak, which embodies all the divinity of this sacred land. The pujaris of Shri Badri Nath Temple are known as the Rawal, who are generally the Namboodri Brahmin of Kerala, as part of a tradition. Adiguru Shankracharya was also a Namboodri Brahmin. The Rawal is appointed jointly by the Badrinath temple committee and Maharaja of Tehri Garhwal. The Rawal is well-versed in Sanskrit and Puja ceremonials.
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