“I twisted key in Ignition of my SUVs in the morning 5AM May 21, 2012 for my long tour of Kedarnath & Badrinath to feel a driving experience of Uttaranchal hills. Though it could be presumed as a pilgrimage tour but first I was a traveler on vacation & fulfilling my wish to drive to north border of India. My FIRST aim was to take halt at Haridwar , there are several routs from here to go there like via Bagpat –Shamli- Mujjafernagar or via Panipat- Shamli, I took Panipat route, up to Panipat it is 6 lane highway, from Panipat to Shamli road was ok , broken only at 2 or 3 places. Then again Shamli to Mujjafernagar broken at few places, I presumed during Mayawati rule all of budget is diverted to make Parks & idols of Elephants so roads got insufficient portion of budget. From Mujjafernagar to Haridwar road was good but busy, Har ki Podi, Haridwar welcomed us around 9 am. Water was iced cold as always, Hindus consider dip here washes their sins , though I don’t have any religious compulsion for dip , but it always fascinate me & give me lot of enjoyment. First we allowed parents to dip, as usual mother got over- conscious & feared but with little encouragement she did it , father & father in law enjoyed dip Then I shivered by dip & did swimming also. Many people of north come here every month specially during Purnima ( full moon) & on Amavasya. May be, for south Indians & people from far, it is dream to come here once in lifetime. After dip we satisfied our stomachs by deep fried poori chole & kachoris at outside shop. Around 12.30 we headed toward Rishikesh & at 1 pm we parked our car at Ram jhula Rishikesh , our parents & kids toured by own but me & Reena planned for adventure sport river rafting.
Just 100 meter before the Ram Jhula , on a Ghat, Rafting people were busy in catching customers . According to distance & wildness of rapids , rafting is classified , shivpuri (18 KM) , marine drive ( 25 KM) , Kaudiyala ( 35 KM) .The Ganga has a mixed river section of Grade I - IV Rapids, easygoing waters to wild waters followed by relaxing stretches where one can even body surf with the gentle waves. The stretch of Ganga from Kaudiyala has 12 major rapids over 36 Kms. The first 20 Kms of this stretch has famous rapids like three blind mice, wall, black money, Daniel’s dip, etc. But the real excitement begins at Shivpuri(18Kms) which is the most courageous and exciting stretch with most of the rapids like roller coaster, golf course, double trouble etc. The final point to join in the fun is Brahmpuri (9 Kms), along with some rapids here Activities like body surfing, cliff jumping etc could be enjoyed only in this stretch.
At 1.30 pm only Shivpuri section was available for us, a four wheeler took us. they tied boat on roof of Bolero to Shivpuri , usual charge for this is just 300 rupees but if you booked by any agent cost may bloat up to 500/-.
Me & Reena wore safety jacket & helmet & lifted the boat to river along with people of group of 8. Guide taught us how to sail boat & how could we enjoy rapids & keep safe ourselves, after chanting “Ganga Maiya ki Jai” we started our journey for rafting, a welcome rapid came just at start. 2nd one was famous roller costar; it was moderately wild & adventurous. We had rafted once before in Pahalgam Kashmir. In Pahalgam’s boats float faster but in Rishikesh rapids stretches for longer length. 2nd & 3rd Rapid were very interesting & after 4th rapid, water was quiet for long stretch & we are allowed to jump in water with holding rope of Boat. So I jumped in ice cool water to satisfy by adventure hunger. Boats halt at Brampuri to eat something, here if anyone wants can do cliff jumping it is jump in water from a boulder person go around 8 to 10 feet in water & then float. After a while we again sailed to Ramjhula & at 4.30 PM we were able to drive for our next halt. From Rishikesh first we crossed Devprayag then Srinagar & broke our journey just 7 km before Srinagar It was already 7.30 pm ,we slept in nice hotel named River view, we took 2 AC rooms here for 3900 with one extra bed. Food was good. Road from Rishikesh to Srinagar stretched curvy of 100KM. Next day in morning we left the hotel around 7 am for Guptkashi, where we reached after around 3 hour journey of 80 Km. GMVNL accommodation had booked in advance . location of the hotel was good but services were pathetic, ill maintained dormitory spoiled our stay here.
Guptkashi, A small sleepy hill station stores various ancient temples like temple of Vishwanath, Kalimath, Narayan koti mandir group, yaksh devta attract by its architecture Apart of it, many helicopter services for Kedarnath are operated from here & nearby places. As we didn’t get booking of helicopter to Kedarnath of that day we used our time to visit Kalimath 12 Km far from hotel, a beautiful landscape was in the way, at Kalimath there were ancient temples & idols, three devi’s temple make it a math. Temple is perched on bank of river Mandakini. All of its experience was surreal. I couldn’t resist to take dip in chilled river, after initial courage of me water numbed my senses.
Ancient Yaksh temple on a hilltop was our next destination. It was desolated infrequently visited temple, from here whole of town was visible. A owner of small house cum restaurant cum grocery shop, near the temple made Maggi & nice tea for us. A beautiful boarding school of Govt owned is situated at this hilltop. After that we directed our steering to Narayan koti Mandir , just 7 km far on Kedarnath road , the temples have ancient & rustic charm & it is a must visit place .
Now it was time of Arti at Vishwanath temple so we quickly rolled down to town & reached to the temple . The legend states that sage Vyas Rishi advised the Pandavas that since they were culpable of slaying their own relatives (Kauravas, their cousins) during the Mahabharata war. Their act could be pardoned only by Lord Shiva. Consequently, the Pandavas went in search of Shiva who was avoiding them since he was convinced of the guilt of Pandavas. In order to keep away from them, Shiva took the form of a bull and went into hiding in an underground safe haven at Guptkashi, where Pandavas chased him, Pandavas were told that they should do atonement for hidden sins, after penance Shiva’s body in the form of bull’s body parts rematerialized at five different locations that represent the “Panch Kedar” where Pandavas built temples of Lord Shiva at each location, to worship and venerate, seeking his pardon and blessings. Each one is identified with a part of his body; Tungnath is identified as the place where the bahu (hands) were seen: hump was seen at Kedarnath; head appeared at Rudranath; his navel and stomach surfaced at Madhya maheshwar; and his jata (hair or locks) at Kalpeshwar. So temple of Guptkashi has equal ponderosity of panch kedar .
Next day we cancelled our program for Kedarnath reasoned by crowd, lack of booking,& bad whether so we proceeded to Ukkimath here is Onkareshwar temple, where idols of Kedarnath come every year in winter, when gates of Kedarnath closes due to heavy snow, after foot trek of 3 days, after visiting the temple we had our breakfast outside & then we proceed for Chopta, though it is a beautiful hill-station of Uttrakhand , it lacks good facility to attract tourist. From Ukkimath to Chopta whole landscape is spectacular, lush green, lot of pasture, stimulating enough to stop & watch the nature here & there. It could be converted popular destination if Govt or tourist department take interest to develop it. It needed good accommodations & some park like in Dhanaulty. Highlight of this place is from here trekking of Tungnath starts. Tungnath is one of the Kedar of Panch- Kedar. Tungnath is the highest temple in the world and is one of the five and the highest panch kedar temples located in the mountain range of Tunganath. The Tunganath (literal meaning: Lord of the peaks) mountains form Mandakini and Alaknanda river valleys. Located at an altitude of 3,680 m (12,073 ft),( height of leh is 11500 ft) and just below the peak of Chandrashila, Tungnath temple is the highest Hindu shrine dedicated to Lord Shiva. The temple is believed to be 1000 years old and is the second in the pecking order of the Panch Kedars.
Legend also states that Lord Ram meditated at the Chandrashila peak, which is close to Tungnath. It is also said that Ravan, also of Ramayana fame, did penance to Shiva, the lord of the peaks, when he resided here.
Tungnath is at the top of the ridge dividing the waters of the Mandakini (rising from Kedarnath) from those of the Alaknanda River (rising above Badrinath). The Tungnath peak on this ridge is the source of three springs, which form the Akashkamini River. The temple lies about 2 km (1.2 mi) below the Chandrashila Peak (4,000 m (13,123 ft)). From the top of the Chandrashila peak, picturesque views of the Himalayan range comprising snow peaks of Nanda Devi, Panch Chuli, Banderpoonch, Kedarnath, Chaukhamba and Neelkanth on one side, and the Garhwal valley on the opposite side could be witnessed. The valley between Chopta and Tungnath temple has wooded hills with rich alpine meadows with rhododendron coppices and also agricultural fields. The rhododendrons, when they are in full bloom during March, display dazzling colors ranging from crimson to pink. A high-altitude botanical station of the Garhwal University is located here. Nearing the top of the temple, there is a forest rest house at Dugalibitta, just opposite to the Kedarnath range of hills. The Kedaranth Wild Life Sanctuary, also called the Kedarnath Musk Deer Sanctuary, set up in 1972 to preserve the endangered Musk Deer , crossed during drive from Ukkimath to Chopta .
Of all the Panch Kedar trek routes, the route to Tungnath is the shortest: only 4 km (2.5 mi) from Chopta (on the Ukimath Gopeshwar road) that can be covered in approximately 3–4 hours (depending on the trekker\'s physical ability). Trek is a moderate (and sometimes steep) climb (9,600–12,000 ft (2,926–3,658 m)), the trek path is stone paved with benches provided en-route at intervals to rest and enjoy the beautiful views of the Chowkhamba, Nanda Devi, Neelkanth and Kedarnath peaks. Thin air forced us to take deep breath & we had taken rest 3 to 4 times during our trek. We took 3 & ½ hour for whole up & down trekking, parents & kids were playing at Chopta while waiting for us .
Now we headed toward Joshimath, Gopeshwar & Chamoli were major town in way. At Joshimath we had booking in new hotel of GMNVL, here GMNVL has 2 resorts both are nearby, and view from new one is good.
services were good, though water problem was there but staff is quite cooperative regarding it. Food was also good. Next day in morning on 7 am we drove to Badrinath, it was 45 KM journey of 2 hr. In morning I didn’t get any obstacle so I reached their little faster .one thing should be take care here in whole way up to Badrinath there wasn’t any fuel pump. Even If you require diesel , you need to 6 km in different direction. In Joshimath only petrol is available.
In the way Gobind Ghat welcomed you after 6 km, from here you can trek for valley of flowers & Hemkund sahib. You need 2 days for the trekking. And when I was at badrinath I was in the middle of exquisite beauty , lush green Himalayas just was at level of my eyes . Low snow capped peaks are looked close enough to reach out & touch, sky was brilliant blue. Pilgrims were in full enthusiasm they all are at the one of the holy char dham of India.
That day the governor of Uttaranchal Mr. Aziz qureshi came here for Darshan. As he was a VIP all of us, a general public forced to wait in queue. It was bad luck for us & thousand of yatries including very old & senior citizens waited for 3-4 hours. This is India. Probably this VIP also doesn’t have any religious compulsion for Darshan. Temple was quite ancient more than 1000 years old
The Badrinath area is referred to as Badari or Badarikaashram (बदरिकाश्रम) in Hindu scriptures. It is a place sacred to Vishnu, particularly in Vishnu\'s dual form of Nar- Narayan. One legend has it that when the goddess Ganga was requested to descend to earth to help suffering humanity, the earth was unable to withstand the force of her descent. Therefore the mighty Ganga (Ganges) was split into twelve holy channels, with Alaknanda one of them.
The mountains around Badrinath are mentioned in the Mahabharata, when the Pandavas are said to have ended their life by ascending the slopes of a peak in western Garhwal called Swargarohini - literally, the \'Ascent to Heaven\'. Local legend has it that the Pandavas passed through Badrinath and the town of Mana, 4 km north of Badrinath, on their way to heaven. There is also a cave in Mana where vyasa, according to legend, wrote the Mahabharata.
The area around Badrinath was celebrated in Padma Purana as abounding in spiritual treasures
Next day we discovered legend importance of Joshimath, actually the Name is derived from old name Jyotirmath. The math was just walking distance from hotel. Just near to math there is Kalpvraksh . A 11year old boy named shanker came here from kerala 2500 back later he became famous as a shankaracharya ,he performed penance for 5 year under this tree ;kalpvraksh ,here he saw a Jyoti (light ) & made a math known as Jyotirmath . That time few faiths like budha , charvak questioned the credibility of Vedas & god . they damaged the temple of Badrinath & idol throw in Naradkund of Alaknanda river.Guru shankaracharya searched this idols & reconstructed the temple & started Pooja . he also constructed four math in 4 corners of India, jyotirmath ( joshi math one of them.]
Food, sight-seeing and shopping: Tungnath, chopta, badrinath, Narayan koti mandir guptkashi.
Activities & things to do: Trekking, watching beauty of hills , adventure sports.
Travel tips, How to reach, travel warnings etc: Delhi to Haridwar 206 km
Haridwar to Rishikesh 24 km
Rishikesh to Devprayag 74 km
Devprayag to Srinagar 34 km
Srinagar to Rudraprayag 33 km
Rudraprayag to Karnaprayag 31 km
Karnaprayag to Nandprayag 21 km
Nandprayag to Chamoli 10 km
Chamoli to Joshimath 48 km
Joshimath to Badrinath 42 km
- State: Uttarakhand
- Famous for/as: Pilgrimage
- Altitude: 3415 m
- Pincode: 246422
- District: Chamoli
- Language: Hindi
- STD code: 01381
- Weather: Summer 7 to 18°C, Winter -1 to -18°C
Badrinath is an ancient holy town located in Chamoli District of the north Indian state of Uttarakhand at an altitude of 3133 meters above sea level. Located in the Garhwal ranges along the banks of River Alaknanda near the India – Tibet border, Badrinath is one of the four sites of Char Dham pilgrimage. More »
Surrounded by Nar and Narayana mountain ranges and the Nilkantha peak, Badrinath has great mythical significance. This holy town is mentioned as ‘Badari’ or ‘Badarikaashram’ in many ancient texts and scriptures. According to the epic Mahabharata, Badrinath is the site where Nara and Narayana, the dual forms of Vishnu, did meditation.
River Alaknanda is believed to be one of the twelve holy channels of the sacred River Ganges. It is also believed that the Pandavas passed through Badrinath on their way to heaven. Legend has it that Sage Vyasa authored Mahabharata at a cave in Mana, which is about 4 km from Badrinath.
Badrinath is famous for its Badrinath temple that houses Lord Badrinarayan, an incarnation of Lord Vishnu. As per legend, Adi Shankara, a revered guru who revived Hindu Dharma in India, visited Badrinath during the 9th century.
Adi Sankara discovered a Saligram idol of Lord Badrinarayan which lay immersed in the River Alaknanda. He installed this idol in a cave nearby Tapt Kund (hot springs). It was later shifted to the present temple by the King of Garhwal in the 16th century.
Adi Shankara also grouped Badrinath along with Rameshwaram, Puri and Dwarka as the Char Dham Pilgrimage sites. Later Chota Char Dham Pilgrimage destinations - Kedarnath, Badrinath, Yamunotri and Gangotri of the Garhwal Himalayas became the revered Char Dham Pilgrimage sites during the 20th century. Adi Shankara also established Jyotirmath (Joshimath), one of the four monasteries, nearby Badrinath.
Badrinath town is famous for Panch Badri temples, which are Yog Dhyan Badri, Bhavishtya Badri, Adi Badri and Vriddha Badri, along with Badrinath temple. Badrinath tourism also offers activities like trekking and mountaineering in the Garhwal mountain ranges.
Hindi and Garhwali are the languages spoken by the majority of people of Badrinath. Kedar-Badri Utsav, Janmashtami, Mata Mruti Ka Mela, etc. are some of the main festivals celebrated here.
Badrinath can be reached by a two day long journey from Kedarnath. It can also be reached by road from Dehradun (317 km), Haridwar (310 km), Rishikesh (297 km), Kotdwar (327 km) and New Delhi. The vicinity of Badrinath to destinations such as Nandaprayag, Rudraprayag, Uttarkashi, Tehri and Karnaprayag makes it a popular destination of pilgrims and adventure enthusiasts.