Badarinath Dham is considered as one of the most sacred centres of pilgrimage situated in the lofty Himalayan heights in the Garhwal hill tracks (Uttarakhand). Situated at the height of 3133 m (10248 feet) above sea level. The route to Badarinath is one of the most fascinating one due to the lofty hilly terrain, curves and cliffs amidst the most scenically beautiful place on the earth.
Throughout the route to Badarinath there are numerous pilgrimage sites at Deo Prayag, Rudraprayag, Karnaprayag, Nandaprayag and Vishnuprayag; as well as Pandukeswar where king Pandu observed Tapasya with his queen Madri and where his sons Pandavas, stayed during their pilgrimage to heaven, and the site where Bhima and Hanuman (sons of Vayu) met.
At Badarinath Lord MahaVishnu is believed to have done his penance. Seeing the Lord doing his penance in the open, Goddess Mahalaxmi is believed to have assumed the form of Badari tree to provide him shelter to face the onslaught of the adverse weather conditions, therefore the name Badari Narayan. It is believed that Lord Vishnu revealed to Narad rishi that Nar & Naryans forms were his own. It is also believed that Narad rishi, who also did his penance here, is even now worshipping the supreme God with Ashtakshara mantras.
The image of Badarinarayan here is fashioned out of Saligramam. Badarinarayan is seen under the Badari tree, flanked by Kuber and Garuda, Narad, Narayan and Nar. Mahalakshmi has a sanctum outside in the parikrama. There is also a shrine to Adi Sankara at Badarinath.
Behind the temple of Lord Badarinarayan is the Lakshmi Narsimh mandir, with shrines to Desikacharya and Ramanujachary.At Badarinath one can witness one of the greatest wonders of Nature in the Hot water springs of Taptkund on the banks of ice chilled river Alaknanda. The temperature of the water in the Kund is 55 degree centigrade whereas the normal temperature in this region for most part of the year remains at 9-10 degree centigrade to sub-zero levels. Before visiting the temple the pilgrims take a holy bath in the Taptkund.
The Temple’s present structure was built by the Kings of Garhwal. The Temple has three sections – Garbhagriha (Sanctum), the Darshan Mandap, and Sabha Mandap. The Garbhagriha (Sanctum) houses Lord Badari Narayan, Kuber (God of wealth), Narad rishi, Udhava, Nar & Narayan.
Lord Badari Narayan (also called as Badari Vishal) is armed with Shankh (Conch) and Chakra in two arms in a lifted posture and two arms rested on the lap in Yogamudra.The principal image is of black stone and it represents Vishnu seated in meditative pose. The temple also houses Garuda (Vehicle of Lord Narayan). Also here are the idols of Adi Shankar, Swami Desikan and Shri Ramanujam. Guru-Shisya parampara is supposed to have its roots here.