Badrinath Temple is located 301 km north of Rishikesh
. It is on a small plateau between Narayana Parbat and the Alaknanda River
and flanked by the Nara and Narayana peaks.
Badrinath is one of the foremost pilgrim centers of India. It is believed that if you visit the four Dhams of India, Badrinath, Rameshwaram, Jagannath Puri, and Dwarka, you will attain salvation.
Shankaracharya installed the idol in the 9th century. The idol was recovered by him from Narada Kund. A sitting place or 'Gaddi' is maintained outside the temple where Shankaracharya is said to have meditated. The sages Nara and Narayana are said to be doing penance at Badrinath for the salvation of mankind.
The temple is kept closed for six months in winter. In the month of November, the deities are worshipped and ghee lamps left near the deities. Miraculously, the ghee lamps are found lit at the end of the six month period. It is
believed that Narada and other gods visit and worship in the temple in winter.
Pinda sraddha is offered to departed ancestors at Brahma Kapal Ghat nearby.
A number of ponds or kunds with hot sulfur water are found near the temple. Bathing in the kunds is considered ideal before visiting the temple.
The temple is open from May to October. The Nirmalya darshan of Badarinarayana in the early morning is the most auspicious time to view the deity.
At Mana, 4 km from Badrinath,
Veda Vyasa's cave as well as Ganesh's cave are to be found. Ganesh is said to have taken down the Mahabharata and the Srimad Bhagavata on Vyasa's dictation here. The rocks here are thought to look like layers of paper on which Ganesh wrote. Foreigners have to get special permission to go to Mana, as it is a restricted area.