Badrinath was the place the Ashtaakshari Maha Mantra of "Om Namo Narayana" was given as upadesam for the upliftment of the rest of the world!! It is one of the 8 Swayamvyakta kshetram or the place where Narayana himself gave darshan to devotees. The Utsava Murty of Badrinath is seen below.
Badrinath refers to the Narayana Avataram in Yoga Dhyana in Himalayas under Badri Tree!! Badri is the sanskrit name for the tree and it is known as Ilandhai Tree in Tamil and Ber Tree in Hindi.
Seeing Narayana perform penance here, Mahalakshmi takes the form of Badri Tree and Narayana performs tapas under the Tree. It is said that Badri Tree is still there in Sookshma form here and blessed person can see the tree even today. It is not visible to normal people.
The Temple of Badrinath is open for Human pooja only for 6 months starting from Akshaya Tritiyai in April to May period till Yama Dwitiyai that falls in October to November period. The remaining period is exclusively reserved for Deva Pooja of celestials and Mahaishi. The entire place of Badrinath is fully covered with snow during that period.
The Moola Vigraham is made of Saligrama black stone. Adi Shankara installed the Swayambu Moola Vigraham of Badri Narayana as seen below from Alakananda river in Badrinath. He also detailed the pooja procedures that are to be followed. He detailed that a Namboodiri from Kerala should be the main priest in Badrinath and he is known as Rawal. Till date a Rawal from Kerala is the main priest in Badrinath.
This Nirmalya Darshan of Badrinath as seen in photo below can be seen by devotees only after the Temple is reopened in Akshaya Tritiyai period,
The Miraculous aspect of Badrinath is that when the temple is closed in October November period before onslaught of snowfall, the Temple lamp is lit and the Temple doors are closed. When the Temple is reopened after 6 months in Akshaya Tritiyai period, the Lamp continues to burn and even the flowers remain fresh. This is proof of the fact that Devas, Apsaras, Maharishis and Siddhas worship Badrinath during the 6 months of Snowfall period. Many people flock to see the nirmalya darshan of Badri Narayana and the akhanda deepa jyothi.
There are two hills known as Nara Parvatham and Narayana Parvatham in Badrinath. Alakananda flows in between the two hills. Badrinath Temple is located on top of Narayana Parvatham. Once has to walk and cross the bridge between two hills above Alakananda river to reach Badrinath Temple.
Badrinath Temple in Narayana parvatham is seen below.
Initially Badrinath Narayana Temple and Kedarnath Shiva Temple were adjacent to each other and the same priest used to perform pooja to both Temples. Once the priest initially performed pooja to Badrinath and then took food. Later he slowly performed pooja to Kedarnath Shiva Temple. Shiva was unhappy with the negligence of the priest and rose as a huge mountain between Badrinath and Kedarnath Temples. Till date Badrinath is located to the east Neelakanta Parvatam and Kedarnath is located to the west of Neelakanta Parvatam. They are miles apart today.
Neelakanta Parvatam Photo is seen Below, This hill shimmers like gold when sun rays fall on it.
Badrinath Panchayatana Murty
Badrinath worship procedure was laid down by Adi Shankara. Panchayatana or worship of 5 deities is followed here. This is unique as this procedure is not followed in remaining Divya Desams. Only Badrinath Divya Desam follows this procedure and is praised by Tirumangai alwar.
The 5 deities from left to right in photo below are as follows,
3) Badri Narayana
Apart from above deities, Udhava, Mahalakshmi, Garuda and Narada are also worshipping Badri Narayana. Nara and Narayana actually took avataram as Krishna and Arjuna in Dwapara Yuga.
Painting of the Garba Griham in Badrinath
Actual Photo of Badrinath
Brahma Kamalam is a rare species of Lotus. It belongs to the species of lotus which emanates from Vishnu Nabi or Navel of Vishnu and is the Seat of Brahma Deva. It is seen in plenty in Neelakanta Parvatam and the surroundings of Badrinath.
Agasthiar.org details that the Brahma Kamalam is actually known as Prema Pushpam and signifies the True love and devotion of Radha towards Krishna. Brahma Kamalam photo is seen below,
Badrinath is also known as Pancha Shila Kshetram. Skanda puranam the ancient text detailing the Sthala Puranam of Badrinath refers to Badrinath as located amidst Pancha Shilas. The Pancha Shilas or the Five important places in Badrinath are as follows,
1) Narada Shila: Narada Maharishi performed penance here and had darshan of Nara and Narayana
2) Garuda Shila: Garuda performed penance in this Shila and was blessed to be the Vahanam of Mahavishnu.
3) Narasimha Shila: Narasimha Murty after killing Hiranyakasupu in Ugra or Fierce Form stayed in the Shila amidst cool waters of Alakananda river.
4) Varaha Shila: Varaha murty took visranthi in this Shila after killing Hiranyaaksha and saving Bhoomi devi from bottom of ocean.
5) Markandeya Shila: Markandeya maharishi performed penance here to be chiranjeevi.
Badrinath is the place teaming with Mangala Shakthi. Similar to Pancha Shilas above there are Pancha Dhara or waterfall, Pancha Theertham or pond, Pancha Badri Kshetram and Panchayatana Murty inside Main Temple.
1) Taptha Kundam
Agni Murty stays in this hot spring water and the water is always above 45 degrees. Agni Deva was cursed by Brigu maharishi. Agni wanted to be relieved of Brigu curse and Brahma Deva guided him to perform penance in Badrinath. Agni stays in Taptha Kundam serving the devotees of Badrinath. Devotees are relieved of many sins by taking bath in Taptha Kundam.
2) Narada Kundam
3) Surya Kundam
4) Prahlada Kundam
5) Rishi Ganga
Apart from above Theertham, Alakananda and Saraswathy rivers are also in Badrinath.
Alakananda is also known as Vishnu padothbhavi. During Trivikrama avataram, mahavishnu's feet was washed with the water from the Kamandalam of Brahma deva. This water flowed as Ganga river and Alakananda is the tributary of Ganga which flows in Badrinath.
Pancha Dhara or Springs
There are 5 Dhara here in Badrinath,
1) Prahlada Dhara
2) Koorma Dhara
3) Urvashi Dhara
4) Brigu Dhara
5) Indra Dhara
Adhi Kedareswara: Kshetra Palaka of Badrinath
The Trip to Badrinath is successful only after we worship Adhi Kedareswara who is the Kshetra Palaka of badrinath. He guards the Kshetram. They also say that one should worship Adhi Kedareswara before worshipping Badri Narayana.
The Video below portrays the force of Alakananda river and the aerial view of Badrinath. Though the description audio is in Hindi, the video itself is self explanatory.
Pancha Badri Kshetram
Apart from the main Badrinath Dhaam, there are 4 other Badrinath temples in and around this place.
They are as follows,
1) Badri Vishal: The Current Temple Premises detailed above is known as Badri Vishal. The word Vishal refers to Vanam or Forest. This place was covered with Badri Trees as a forest earlier.
2) Aadhi Badri: This Badrinath Kshetram existed before the current Kshetram came into place in previous Yugas.
3) Vridhha Badri: Narayana gave darshan as a old man here to Narada Maharishi.
4) Yoga Dhayana Badri: Narayana is Dhyana state here. It is said that before Narayana went to Badrinath Temple, he performed Dhyana here.
5) Bhavishya Badri: Below Badrinath, there is a divya desam in Joshi Mutt. There is a Narasimha Swayambu Vigraham there. The left hand of the Vigraham is thinning day by day. The day when the left hand breaks down as falls is the day when there will be a natural calamity in Himalayas. Nara and Narayana parvatham will block the current route to Badrinath. Then Swayambu Vigraham of Badri Narayana will appear in Bhavishya Badri and this will the future Temple of Badrinath.