PLACES-TO-SEE

Tapt Kund (at Badarinath)

Located just below the temple, the meeting point of Alaknanda and Rishi Ganga rivers, this thermal spring of hot sulphurous water has inviting freshwater pool. The bathing area, 16.1/2 feet by 14.1/4 feet, has separate arrangements for men and women. Although the normal temperature is 55°c, the water temperature keeps rising gradually during the day. It is considered to have high medicinal value. A dip here is considered to be a good cure for skin diseases.

Narad Kund

Located near Tapt Kund, this kund is believed to be the recovery source of the Badarinath idol. The hot water springs comes out from beneath the Garur Shila and falls into a tank. Darshan of Badarinath is always preceded by a holy dip in this kund. Apart from that there are many other hot water springs. Devotees take a dip in them for their religious and medicinal value. Suraj Kund at Badarinath and Gauri Kund on way to Kedarnath are another famous Kunds.
Caution: Avoid staying too long inside the hot spring water pool to prevent skin burn.

Mana Village - Vyas & Ganesh Gufa

4 km from Shri Badarinath, inhabited by Indo-Mongolian tribe, it is considered to be the last Indian village boardering Tibet. The villagers of Mana are closely linked with the activities of Shri Badarinath temple for they offer a choli to the deity on the closing day of the temple - an annual traditional feat. The Mana village is full of caves and it is said that Ved Vyas dictated his famous epic of Mahabharat to Ganesh, in one of these caves, now known as Vyas Gufa (cave). Inside is a marble statue of Ved Vyas shown writing the granth (epic book). On this route a natural bridge over the Saraswati river and 125 m high Vasudhara falls form an important part of the pilgrimage to Badarinath.

The area around the remote village even in ancient times offered ideal setting and excellent shelter to philosophers and saints. The caves associated with ancient sages and yogis, like Ganesh Gufa, Bhima Gufa and Muchakanda Gufa are known since very long.

Govindghat, Valley of Flowers

Situated between Joshimath and Badarinath, Gobindghat is the starting point for the trek to the valley of flowers. The vicinity has Lakshman Temple and an imposing Gurudwar a named after tenth sikh Guru Govind Singh.

Lok-Pal Hemkund Sahib

One of the most famous Gurudwaras in India, Hemkund Sahib is located here, at an altitude of 4320 meters above sea level. Lying in heavenly environs, the place is revered both by Hindus and Sikhs, as well as for people from other faiths it is an important pilgrimage. Encircled by seven snow clad peaks and their associated glaciers, it reflects the surroundings enchantingly on its crystal clear screne waters. The glaciers from Hathi Parvat & Sapt Rishi Peaks feed the lake and small stream called Himganga flows out to this lake. It is believed that Lakshman, the younger brother of Lord Ram, meditated by the lake and regained his health after being severely wounded by Meghnath, son of the demon King Ravana, during battle. There is a Sikh Gurudwara and a Lakshman temple built on the bank of the lake.

The motorhead for Hemkund Sahib is Govind Ghat located 20 km from Joshimath & 270 km from Rishikesh. The trek upto Ghangaria is the same as for the Valley of Flowers. The trek from Govind Ghat to Hemkund Sahib is about 20 km and is steep climb. Porters & ponies are available at Govindghat. Private taxies & other light vehicles also ply between Rishikesh (nearest railhead) & Govind Ghat and back.

Mata Murti Mandir

About 3 km from Badarinath, on the right bank of the Alaknanda stands this temple, dedicated to the mother of Shri Badarinath (Maa Murti).

Vasuki Tal

This is a high altitude lake which can be reached by an 8 km trek that ascends to 14,200 feet. Vyas Gufa, Ganesh Gufa, Bhimpul and Vasudhara Falls are 3-6 km. All these destinations are famous for their links with Hindu mythology and form part of the pilgrimage to Badarinath.

Joshimath, the first math established by Shri Adi Sankara, is located at a distance of 14 kms from Helang enroute to Badari. Adi Sankara is believed to have got enlightenment here and authored Sri Sankara Bhashyam. This located at a height of 6150 ft above sea level. Here, there are separate temples for Lord Narasimha and Lord Vasudev (different forms of Lord Vishnu). This is one of the 108 Divya Desams (sung by Sacred Vaishnavaite Saints).

In the temple for Lord Narasimha, separate statues of Badari narayan, Udhava, Kuber, Chandikadevi, Ram, Lakshman, Sita and Garud can be seen together in the sanctum. Outside the temple separate statues of Brahma, Krishana, Lakshmi & Anjaneya can be seen. Vyas Maharishi is believed to have worshipped Goddess Lakshmi here. The presiding deity Lord Narasimha is believed to have been established by Adi Sankara. It is widely believed that one hand of the presiding deity is getting weakened and the day it disjoints, the way to Badari will get eternally blocked and Lord Badari Narayan will thereafter give darshan only at either Bhavishya Badari or Adi Badari (part of Panch Badaris).

The temple of Lord Vasudev houses Lord Vasudev in the sanctum sanctorum as well as Sridevi, Bhoodevi, Leela devi, Oorvasi devi & Balram in the outer praharam. Further separate structures are available for Vinayaka, Brahma, Indira, Chandra(Moon), Navadurgas & Gauri Shankar.

Village Mana - Vyas Guha

This village, located at a distance of 3 kms from Badarinath is the last Indian Village situated at the Indo-China Border and has gained historical importance on account of Vyas Caves. This village located on the banks of River Saraswati (only place where this river can be seen) is very beautiful. Maharishi Vyas (Sage), author of the Mahabharat is believed to have lived in the caves, hence named after him. It was in these caves, Vyas Maharishi composed the Mahabharata. This was done at the orders of his mentor Kalpatru Maharishi who appeared in his dream. Mahabharata depicts the history of Pandavs, Kauravs including the epic war of Kurukshetra and most importantly Bhagawad Gita authored by Krishna (reincarnation of Vishnu). Ganesh, the son of Shiv and Parvati, is said to have helped Vyas Maharishi in putting this epic in the written form. In addition to Mahabharat, Vyas Maharishi composed 18 puranas (legendary stories), Brahma Sutras and classified the Hindu Vedas into 4 parts – Rig, Yajur, Sama and Atharva. It is only in this cave that Adi Shankara is believed to have met Maharishi Vyas and discussed his Sankara Bhashyam (explanatory notes) for Brahma Sutras.

Rock formation inside the Vyas Guha appears to resemble the orderly stacking of palm leave manuscripts – oldest writing material and is worshipped as Vyas Pusthak. Maharishi Vyas is also considered, by some, as reincarnation of Vishnu. Ganesh Guha (caves) is also located in Mana Village.

Pandukeshwar

This place is believed to have been established by King Pandu, father of Pandavas. It is situated at 4 kms from Govind Ghat, 219 kms from Kedarnath and 24 kms from Badarinath. There are two temples – one for Lord Yoga Badari Narayan and the other for Lord Vasudev. During winter, Lord Vasudev temple functions as the abode for Lord Badari Narayan and all the daily rituals connected with worship are performed here. Both the temples are centuries old.

Adi Badari

The main Temple is of the lord Narayan that is distinguished by a raised platform in the pyramidal form. Here a black stone idol of lord Vishnu is enshrined. Local tradition attributes the building of the temples to Adi Guru Shankaracharya. It is situated at a distance of 17 Kms from Karnaprayag and is easily approachable by motorable road. On way to Ranikhet are some beautiful remains of 16 small temples belonging to the Gupta period.

Brahma Kapal

In a quest to ensure a heavenly abode for the dead ancestors, the shradh ceremony (propitiating rites) or the offering of pind is an important part of Hindu rituals. After offering pind here, it is believed, the spirits of the dead are permanently enshrined in Heaven and no more pinds are to be offered elsewhere. The Brahma Kapal, on the bank of the Alaknanda is a flat platform a few yards north of the temple. Legend has it that when Shiva chopped off the fifth head of Brahma, it got stuck to his trident. Lastly with the blessing of Lord Vishnu at Badarivan, the head of Brahma fell down from the trident at this place & hence the name Brahma-Kapal (head).

Charan Paduka

3 km away is a beautiful meadow carpeted with wild flowers in the summer. Here is a boulder bearing the footprints of Lord Vishnu. It is said that when Lord Vishnu descended from Vaikunth (the heavenly abode of Lord Vishnu) he stepped on this boulder. The area is a steep climb from the town and is full of caves & boulders.

Neelkanth Peak

At the back of the temple, a side valley opens to a conical shaped Neelkanth peak (6600 m.) It is popularly known as the Garhwal Queen. It is a shining pyramid of white crystals, which are ever ready to change their colour & hue. Reflecting the first glow of dawn into the valley & glittering like a golden temple, Neelkanth embodies all the divinity of this divine land.

Sheshnetre

On the opposite bank of the river Alaknanda, in the lap of Nar Parvat, there are two small seasonal lakes. Between these lakes is a boulder having an impression of the legendary snake, Sheshnag. The formation of eye on the boulder is natural.

Panch Dharas & Panch Shilas

The Panch Dharas (five streams) which are famous in Badaripuri are Prahlad, Kurma, Bhrigu, Urvashi & Indira dhara. The most striking of these is the Indira dhara, about 1.5 km north of the town Badaripuri. Bhrigudhara flows past a number of caves. The one on the right of river Rishi Ganga, originally from the Neelkanth range is Urvashi dhara. Kurma dhara water is extremely cold whereas Prahlad dhara has lukewarm water, which glides majestically down the rocks of Narain Parvat.

Around the Tapt Kund there are five blocks of mythological importance called Narad, Narsimh, Barah, Garur & Markandeya Shilas (stone).

Standing between Tapt and Narad Kund is conical formed Narad Shila. It is said that the sage Narad meditated on this rock for several years. Standing in the waters of Alaknanda just below the Narad Shila is a huge stone looking like a lion with its gaping jaws and hooked claws. It is said that Bhagwan Narsimh after killing the demon King Hiranyakashyapa remained in the shape of a block of stone forever.

Near the Narad Kund the Barah Shila has the shape of boar. Barah is believed to be an incarnation of Lord Vishnu.

The Garur Shila near the Tapt Kund had Garur (the carrier of Vishnu) fasted & meditated on this stone. Sage Markandeya on the advice of Narad left Mathura to meditate here in Badarivan and attained ultimate peace. Markandeya Shila is the stone on which the Sage meditated.

Mata Murti Temple

On the right bank of Alaknanda opposite the Mana village is a small temple of Mata Murti dedicated to the mother of Shri Badarinathji. Once a year on the day of Vamana Dwadashi, the Narain (Badarinathji) pays a visit to Mata Murti, when she is worshipped by the Rawal of Badarinathji and the residents of Mana village organise a festival of prayer, havan & bhog. Belief is that Mata Murti has the power of granting Vairagya to those who sincerely meditate here for a few days.

Saraswati

3 km north of Mana village emerges the river Saraswati from a lateral glacier. Saraswati is known as the Goddess of learning, blessed Ved Vyas to compose the epic Mahabharata at Mana. The river after touching Vyas Gufa, gets lost in the Alaknanda at Keshav Prayag. From here to Allahabad, Saraswati flows incognito. It is said that at the confluence of Ganga, Yamuna and Saraswati at Allahabad, the Saraswati remains invisible.

Vasudhara Falls

3 km from Mana village, the Vasudhara falls, 125 m high, against the backdrop of snow covered mountains and glaciers is a captivating sight. The torrents of water come gushing down and are diffused in fine showers and soft mist by wind blowing from different directions. Close to the falls are prominent peaks of Satopanth, Chaukhamba and Balkum. One is also able to see the glacial snouts from where the river Alaknanda emerges.

Bhimpul - Bhim Bridge

The bridge over the river Saraswati on the outskirts of Mana village is made of a huge slab of stone. It is believed that when the Pandavas and Draupadi were on their way to Swargarohan, Bhim bridged the river with the huge slab to get them across. The view from the bridge is truly spectacular.

Bhimpul - Bhim Bridge

The bridge over the river Saraswati on the outskirts of Mana village is made of a huge slab of stone. It is believed that when the Pandavas and Draupadi were on their way to Swargarohan, Bhim bridged the river with the huge slab to get them across. The view from the bridge is truly spectacular.

Valley Of Flowers

An irresistible treat for naturalists, ecologists, environmentalists, zoologists, ornithologists, trekkers, tourist and pilgrims, the valley was introduced to the world in 1937 as the Valley of Flowers by Frank S. Smith mountaineer, explorer and botanist.

The valley remains snow covered from November to May but when the ice envelop thaws in June it is a signal for profusion of colors hidden in petals of alpine herbs to blaze during July & August. Some 300 species of wild flowers bloom here in a natural way.The valley remains in bloom for three months while the floral composition keeps on changing every few days. Best time to visit is between August 3rd week and September 2nd week.

The 19 km trek starts from Gobindghat, situated between Joshimath and Badarinath.The main land of the valley is about 4 km from Ghanghria. After trekking, 1 km from Ghanghria, a bifurcation point (one way leads to Hemkund Sahib & other to Valley of Flowers ) is reached. Travel beyond Ghangaria is on foot since the entry of ponies is prohibited.

Joshimath Or Jyotirmath

Joshimath, the first Math established by Shri Adi Sankaracharya, is located at a distance of 14 km from Helang en route to Badari.
An important town enroute Shri Badarinathji has religious history, magnificent scenery, bracing climate & a hub of commercial centre all one needs for a holiday or pilgrimage. Joshimath or Jyotirmath holds an important position in the history of Hindu revivalism. Adiguru Shankaracharya got enlightenment here in a cave and in this cave he wrote his famous Shankar Bhasya.

Atop the cave is the Kalpvriksha, a Mulberry tree that is said to be 2400 years old under which Adi Guru is believed to have attained enlightenment. It is one of the four 'Maths' organized by Adiguru, the other three are at Dwarika, Puri and Rameshwaram. Located at a height of 6150 ft above sea level, there are separate temples for Lord Narsimh and Lord Vasudev (different forms of Lord Vishnu). This is one of the 108 Divya Desams (sung by Sacred Vaishnavaite Saints).

Auli (Skiing)

The Himalayas are the world's highest mountain chain, and also the youngest. Believed to be the home of gods, the sages have always come to the Himalayas to attain bliss, meditate and experience divinity.

People come from around the world to seek solitude from an increasingly The Himalayas are the world's highest mountain chain, and also the youngest. Believed to be the home of gods, the sages have always come to the Himalayas to attain bliss, meditate and experience divinity.

People come from around the world to seek solitude from an increasingly Auli in the Garhwal Himalayas of Uttaranchal offers exciting skiing opportunities to Auli in the Garhwal Himalayas of Uttaranchal offers exciting skiing opportunities to both, the beginner as well as the advanced skier. Snow capped slopes of Auli specially 3 km long slope (2519 m - 3049 m) flanked by tall stately Deodar forests cut the wind velocity to the minimum. Just 16 km from Joshimath on the Badarinath route, Auli offers a 180o panoramic view of Himalayan peaks like the Nanda Devi (7817 m), Kamet (7756 m), Mana Parvat (7273 m) & Dunagiri (7066 m).

It is found that the slopes compared favourably with those in Europe. Seasonal skiers have a clean stretch of 10-20 km of absolutely virgin slopes to sport on. Auli has been easily adapted for family with children too young to try the skill of skiing. They can enjoy the cable car rides & rope lifts. It is a spectacular sight to see the sun rising over the high snow peaks quite early in the morning. Auli is surrounded by places of pilgrims & destinations like Badarinath, Joshimath, Hemkund Sahib & Valley of Flowers.

The ideal time to be at Auli is from January to March. Auli is 253 km from Rishikesh & 13 km from Joshimath.