Badrinath, a part of the Char Dham Yatra, is a holy town in the Chamoli district of Uttarakhand. It is a small town with a small population of people inhabiting the town only during the months of summer and monsoon. Named after the famous Badrinath temple dedicated to Lord Vishnu, is it a town that offers more than just religious experience to its pilgrims and tourists. From darshans to hot spring, Badrinath offers spectacular views of peaks like Neelkanth and others. It is also the neighbouring town of Mana, the last Indian village adjacent to the Tibetan border. The town has numerous legends attached to it which are highly regarded in Hindu scriptures like Mahabharata and Puranas. It is located at an elevation of 3,100 m and is sourced by the Alaknanda river. More than anything, the town offers the peace and tranquility that one seeks in the mountains.
1. Visit the Badrinath temple
The very famous Badrinath temple, a part of the Char Dham, is situated at a prime location. It is centrally located and it is recommended that you go as early as possible so as to avoid standing in a queue for 2-3 hours. The Badrinath temple is decorated with vast ornaments and is full of colours and sweet smells. Besides visiting the temple, you can also take a dip at the hot spring which is right in front of the temple, making it easily accessible. This religious town, devoted to Badri Vishal, also has other small temples dotted all around its landscape.
2. Offbeat trails to explore
If you are not a religious person but end up in Badrinath, do not worry because this town is not only religiously inclined but also has various off beat hikes. One of them being Charan Paduka. It is believed that Shiva’s and Vishnu’s footprints are imprinted there. You can also reach the base camp of Neelkanth. You can roam around the outskirts of the town and you will surely end up at a scenic spot.
If you are a shopaholic, then you are in luck! The streets of Badrinath are full of small shops hoarded with junk jewelry, clothes, religious items and books. Some of these shops are certified, while some are run by local vendors on seasonal basis. The town basically runs on yatra tourism during the pilgrimage season. There are innumerable shops with innumerable items to choose from! From buying religious items like books, ornaments, sparkling bangles, powders, incense sticks and holy water to buying Chinese items- this town is willing to offer you everything!
4. Sit by Alaknanda river
The serene town of Badrinath is also blessed with the presence of Alaknanda. The river crosses between the town. On both the sides of the town, are hence, rocks to sit by at. If you are having a lazy afternoon, you can always hike down till the river and sit there by hours. There is a spot near the second bus stand where you can hike down within two minutes. There is nothing that the sound of river cannot heal. You can spend your time meditating because there is not a single soul to disturb you.
5. Visit Badrinath waterfall
There is a waterfall of a considerable size near the town. From the temple, it takes only a 15- minute walk to reach till there. You can go and sit by the waterfalls in the evening as it gets windy and the mist reaches pretty close to you! From this spot, you can also see the entire town of Badrinath and by the time it gets dark, the town glows amidst being hugged by snow clad mountains.
Badrinath can offer you the overall experience that you seek from a Himalayan town, it is full of bustling and energetic pilgrims (from families to yogis) who find their way into the town. The crowd, the aura, the synergy of the town will satisfy your travelling decision!
6. Walk till the village of Mana
And if you have made it till Badrinath, you might as well walk/drive for 3 more km to visit the last town of India before reaching the Tibetan border. Mana is a small village that ends in a 15-minute walk. However, within these 15 minutes you can do more than you can imagine. You can hike till the Vasudhara waterfall, or you can visit the Ganesh and Vyas Gufa. It is the only place where you can see the Saraswati river bridged by the Bhim Pul. Legend has it that Bhim, one of the five Pandavas, pushed a huge boulder for Draupadi to cross the Saraswati river. Mana is also the starting point of the Satopanth Tal trek.
If you are not into touristy exploration, then you can always find a spot and enjoy the weather!