Badrinath is a town and a nagar panchayat in Chamoli district in the state of Uttarakhand in north-west India. Badrinath is the most important of the four sites in India's Char Dham (chhota) yatra. It is located in the Garhwal hills, on the banks of the Alaknanda River. The town lies between the Nar and Narayana mountain ranges and in the shadow of Nilkantha peak (6,560m). Badrinath is located 301 kms. north of Rishikesh. From Gaurikund (near Kedarnath) to Badrinath by road is 233 kms.Entrance Gate And Compound Development :
Badrinath was established as a major pilgrimage site by Adi Shankara in the ninth century. In recent years its popularity has increased significantly, with an estimated 600,000 pilgrims visiting during the 2006 season,compared to 90,676 in 1961.The temple in Badrinath is also a sacred pilgrimage site for Vaishnavites.
Badrinath has been mentioned as a holy place in scriptures and legends for thousands of years. According to the Srimad Bhagavatam, "There in Badrikashram the Personality of Godhead (Vishnu), in his incarnation as the sages Nara and Narayana, had been undergoing great penance since time immemorial for the welfare of all living entities." (Srimad Bhagavatam 3.4.22).
Badri refers to a berry that was said to grow abundantly in the area, and nath means "Lord of". Badri is also the Sanskrit name for the IndianJujube tree, which has an edible berry. Some scriptural references refer to Jujube trees being abundant in Badrinath. Legend has it that the Goddess Lakshmi took the form of the berries to provide sustenance to Lord Vishnu during his long penance in the harsh Himalayan climate.Badrinath Temple :
The Badrinath temple is the main attraction in the town. According to legend Shankara discovered a black stone image of Lord Badrinarayan made of Saligram stone in the Alaknanda River. He originally enshrined it in a cave near the Tapt Kund hot springs. In the sixteenth century, the King of Garhwal moved the murti (Statue) to the present temple.
The temple has undergone several major renovations because of age and damage by avalanche.In the 17th century, the temple was expanded by the kings of Garhwal. After significant damage in the great 1803 Himalayan earthquake, it was rebuilt by the King of Jaipur. The temple is approximately 50 ft (15 m) tall with a small cupola on top. The facade is built of stone, with arched windows. A broad stairway leads up to a tall arched gateway, which is the main entrance. The architecture resembles a Buddhist vihara (temple), with the brightly painted facade also more typical of Buddhist temples. Just inside is the Mandapa, a large pillared hall that leads to the Garbhagriha, or main shrine area.