Badrinath TempleBased in the town of Badrinath in Uttarakhand state lies one of the holiest places of the Hindus named as Badrinath temple or the Badrinarayan temple. Dedicated to Lord Vishnu the temple forms one of the part of the famous Char Dham or Chota Char Dham religious tour. Not only to the Hindus but the pious shrine is believed by devotees of other clans and caste too. The Temple finds its mention even in the famous Hindu scriptures which includes Skanda Puran and Vishnu Puran. Even in the period of Azhwar saints during 6th century to 9th century AD, the temple was mentioned in the Tamil canon named as Divya Prabandha. This is the reason why thousands of devotees every year come to this sacred destination to seek blessings of God. It holds a record of visits counting to 1060,000 people.
The temple is based in the dense snow-capped Himalayan region cradled between the mighty Nar and Narayan Mountains which makes it suffer extreme conditions in the winter season. On the Garhwal region this temple lies on the left banks of Alaknanda River. The climatic conditions here become such worse in the winters, that the temple committee has decided to close the venue during this time.
The temple is around 3 feet tall with excellent architecture and a black stone idol of Lord Badrinarayan. The temple is all the more religiously significant because it is one of the 108 Divya Deshams of Lord Vishnu as per the scriptures of the Vaishnavas. The temple has found its mention in the greatest Hindu scriptures like Skanda Purana, Bhagvata Purana and even in Mahabharat.
Committee Managing Badrinath TempleFor best administration, the temple was included in the jurisdiction of state government. The works of the temple is looked after by the Shri Badrinath Mandir Samiti which was established in 1939 with seventeen members under Shri Badrinath and Kedarnath Act 16, 1939. The head priest of the temple is a Namboodri Brahmin travelled from Kerala and selected by the committee as well as the Maharaja of the Tehri Garhwal. The head priest is honored here with the title of Rawal and he only has the permission to touch the idol of Lord Badrinarayan. The Rawal of the temple is assisted in his works by another Namboodri Brahmin who gets the honor of the position of Naib Rawal. However, the latter has to be a successor of Rawal himself. The Rawal is considered as one of the disciple of God, well versed in Sanskrit and puja works, and is expected to be celibate too.
Architecture of Badrinath TempleThe elevation of the temple is at 3133 meters or 10,279 feet from the sea level. The structure of the temple is an absolutely impressive one with huge carvings and use of colors that easily catch the eyes.
The temple construction can be broadly divided into three major portions, the main temple area or the Garbhagriha where the idol of Lord Vishnu is based, the area where devotees gather and pray which is called the Darshan Mandap or the worship hall and lastly the Sabha Mandap or the convention hall. The main entrance of the temple is beautified with a conical shape on the roof which is about 15m in length of the total 50-feet-tall temple and the top has a designer cupola bordered by gold gilt. The walls of the temple is built with arched colored windows. There is a broad staircase in the front which forms the entrance of the temple. As one enters the temple there is a gigantic hall which straightaway meets the main temple area. This hall is decorated with various paintings and complicated carvings. It also has the idol of Garud, the bird which is known to be the vehicle of Lord Badrinath, sitting with folded hands and praying to God.
Garba GrihaThis area has a canopy of gold sheets which provides the abode of Lord Bardrinarayan, Narad rishi, Kuber, the God of treasure and wealth, Nar, Narayana and Udhava. Though there are altogether 15 idols of various gods like Lakshmi, Garuda and Navdurga with its nine avatars,but the most eye catching and mesmerizing is the 3.3 feet tall idol of Lord Badrinarayan sculpted and decorated in black stone. Lord Badrinarayan has Sankha and Chakra in two hands and in an elevated way and the rest two hands are positioned on the lap in a Padmasana position.
Darshan MandapThis is the area which provides the divine view of the main temple and where devotees pray and enjoy the glorious and heavenly ambience of the pious shrine. Lord Badrinarayan in the temple is based under the Badri tree, along with other Gods. Uddhava is based on the right hand side and Kuber and Lord Ganesh on the left side. Narad Muni and Garuda remains seated in the front.
Sabha MandapThis is the place where all devotees assemble and together they engage themselves in the activity of meditation and reciting of Sanskrit slokas (verses).
Badrinath Temple HistoryThe historical and legendary background of Badrinath Temple is hugely complex and there are multiple beliefs by people regarding the origin of the pious shrine. According to Vedic scriptures, Badrinath temple was existent during 1750-500 BCE. While there are others who believe that this was originally a Buddhist shrine but it was Adi Shankara who transformed it into a Hindu temple after 8th century to spread the religion. The latter theory gets more boost since the temple is designed like the Buddhist Vihara temple.
However, the theory that is believed the most, is the fact that it was Adi Shankara who was the creator of pilgrimage site. During the late nineth century, Adi Shankara used to spend months in both Badrinath and Kedarnath. One day he found a black stone image of Lord Badrinarayan which he enshrined in a small cave near Tapt Kund. In the 16th century, it was the King of Garhwal who shifted the idol to its present temple. After the division of Garhwal took place though the temple came under the British rule but it was the King of Garhwal who continued as a Chairman to the management committee.
As per the mythological scriptures, Lord Vishnu chose this place for meditation and while doing the same he was unaware of the chilly cold weather. To protect him from such bad climate Goddess Lakshmi took the form of Badri tree or the Jujube tree to offer a shield over him. This essentially pleased Lord Vishnu and he, as a mark of devotion of Goddess Lakshmi, named the place Badrika Ashram.
Apart from this, according to Hindu scripture Vamana Purana, the fifth avatar of Lord Vishnu, Nar and Narayana perform their due penances here only.
The temple, however, has gone through several reconstruction and damage repairing in the years passed. During 17th century, the temple premises were extended by the Garhwal kings. Again it was the Jaipur king who performed renovation work of the temple after the devastating earthquake in the Himalayas in 1803 damaged the whole temple area. In 2006, it is stated as no construction zone by the state government.
Badrinath Temple Puja TimingsThe daily puja schedule of Badrinath temple starts with the morning rituals which include mahabhishek, abhishek, bhagvat puja and Gita path. In the evening there is geet govinda followed by an aarti. Recital of scriptures like Sahasranama and Ashtotram are quite common during occurrence of major customs and specially on religiously significant days. People are allowed to sit for puja only if they have taken the holy bath at Tapt Kund. After the aarti is done, all the ornaments from the idol of Lord Vishnu is taken out and a sandal wood paste is applied on him as a mark of resting time. This paste is provided the next morning to the devotees who come for nirmalya darshan. All this rituals are performed before the devotees only.
The most common prasad received by the devotees at Temple are sugar balls and bay leaves. From the year 2006 arrangements were made for locals to prepare Panchamrit Prasad which are offered by the devotees to Lord Badrinarayan. One can do special puja at the temple after providing nominal fees to the head priest of the temple.
The temple gets closed on the pious day of Vijay Dashami with special pujas and rituals performed the whole day. At the end of the day a specific lamp called divya jyoti is lit with loads of ghee to last for six months. The temple again re-opens on the day of Vasant Panchami in the month of April.
Badrinath Temple TimingsThe temple opens at 4:30 am and remains open till 1:00 pm. In the second half, the temple opens at 4:00 pm and closes for the day at 9 pm. The aarti is performed from 8:30 pm to 9:00 pm and named as Shyan aarti. A huge rush is quite common during the visiting season with thousands of devotees, however, there are specified personnel to manage the same. Security officers are there to keep an eye over misconduct and protection of the temple as well as the visiting pilgrims.
There is a facility of online puja booking for Badrinath which can be easily done from anywhere in the world by paying nominal fees to the account of Shri Badrinath-Kedarnath Temples Committee. Apart from this one can also book a puja by sending a DD in favour of the CEO of the committee at least 20-25 days before the puja date and can contact the committee for further details.
The detail information can be fetched from: Website: http://www.badarikedar.org
In a nutshell, Badrinath temple has huge religious significance and is considered as a famous temple of the country.
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