Monday, June 6, 2011

Badrinath – An Introduction (Where to Stay, Eat)

At a notable height of 3155 mtrs above the sea level, above the five prayags, stands the most revered of the Char Dhams in the Himalayas - Bhuvaikuntha (the earthly abode of lord Vishnu) – the holy town of Badrinath.

The tirtha (pilgrim place) stands by the banks of the holy river Alaknanda flanked by two hills named after the sages Nar and Narayan with the sacred Neelkanth peak standing guard in the background.

It is not only the dwelling place of the Lord Himself but also home to countless pilgrims, saints and sages, who meditate here in search of enlightenment.  It is said that, when the entire town shuts down in November during the winters, some true sages can still be seen in deep meditation! For others, believers like me, well... just setting foot on the soil of this holy land…a 'Pilgrimage to Badrinath' marks a significant landmark in life.

And why not? After all, Badrinath is one land richly infused with sacred accounts from numerous ancient Hindu scriptures. Be it the puranic story of the Pandav brothers, along with Draupadi, going past on their last pilgrimage by ascending the slopes of a peak near Badrinath called Swargarohini (literally, the 'Ascent to Heaven') or the visit by Lord Krishna and other great sages, these are just some of the many tales which we associate with this holy tirtha.


There are many names by which Badrinath is referenced – Badrikaashram, Keshavprayag, Badrivishal, Narad Kshetra, Tapobhumi to list a few – all of these signify but one aspect – The enormity of the spiritual magnitude of this land. Great rishis (sages) of yore like Kapila, Gautam, Kashyap have performed penance here, Bhakta Narada attained salvation and Lord Krishna loved this region, medieval religious scholars like Adi Shankaracharya, Ramanujacharya, Sri Madhavacharya, Sri Nityananda have come here for learning and quiet contemplation and so many still continue to do even today. Badrinath also appears in many Buddhist writings confirming that the place was a Buddhist pilgrimage too for some time at least.

The story as to how the place came to be called as Badrinath is also very interesting. The name of the tirtha originates from the local word badri which is a type of a wild berry. It is said that when Lord Vishnu sat in penance in these mountains, His consort Goddess Laxmi took the form of a berry tree and shaded Him from the harsh sun.


That love, that respect has been kept alive even today by the devotion of millions of pilgrims all round the world and can be easily sensed the moment you land foot in the divine dham.

Where to Stay in Badrinath


Our place of stay at Badrinath was the peaceful Hotel Devlok of GMVN group. Situated very near to the temple, around 5 minutes walk; this was one of the few hotels still open for pilgrims like us visiting the shrine just few days prior to the closure of the temple.

Hotel Devlok of GMVN at Badrinath
Hotel Devlok in Badrinath

Hotel Devlok, TRH of GMVN room pic at Badrinath
Deluxe Four Bedded Rom at Hotel Devlok

The view of the magnificient Neelkanth peak from the window
View from the Balcony
Spot the ice covered Neelkanth mountain far in the picture

The rooms and the bathrooms were good as they had been in all earlier GMVN’s and the food was good too. The only drawback was there was no luxury of a heater in the room which I was so wishing for since the absolute zero degree temperatures were completely freezing me out!

Where to Eat in Badrinath

Badrinath has a number of dhabas and restaurants around the town catering to the taste of all kinds of pilgrims. They all look good and seem to serve fresh and flavorsome food for the devotees visiting the holy town.

A Cofee and tea shack in Badrinath
I started my mornings with a hot cu of coffee here…
A shack just opposite Hotel Devlok

A roadside dhaba in Badrinath
The dhaba nearby our hotel where we had our lunch of
garma garam parathas (hot hot Indian bread)
and delicious alu ki sabzi (potato curry)

Our Diwali night Dinner was in GMVN Hotel Devlok itself where food is prepared on order just like in the case of Birahi GMVN.

How to Reach Badrinath and Other Related Information

Badrinath is easily accessible by road. It is located at a distance of 525 Km from Delhi & 296 Km from Rishikesh which is also the nearest railway station.

The town is the holiest of the four dhams (sites) of Hindus, in Garhwal ranges, and draws pilgrims from all over India. It is the most visited of the char dhams, when doing the entire circuit, it comes last in the course but many do it standalone too.

The visiting season is 6 months from May – Nov with May/June being the most crowded months when the pilgrim rush is at its peak and September/October being ideal for a more relaxed spiritual journey.


Previous posts from this trip -


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70 comments:

  1. Dear Arti
    So finally you took me to Badrinath..:-), Just finished reading in one breathe!!
    Now I realize, I haven't gone to Badrinath in this century ...But as it is said " You cant go to Badrinath or to any temple unless you are called by the sitting deity of the temple".
    SO Badri Vishal willing I will go this autumn.
    Devlok is a good place and I only stayed there .Once I stayed in a Dharamshala as there was no room in Devlok. but my 1st choice remains GMVN or KMVN (in Kumaon.
    Your brief on Badrinath is also well written and you have touched the Buddhist connection of the place too. It is a great reading .
    Have a nice week

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  2. Thanks for this very informative and interesting introduction.The picture showing Neelkanth parvat is beautiful.Wish to taste garam garam paratha and aalu ki sabzi there someday :)Have a nice week Arti.

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  3. Great post Arti...like always...the pics are just wonderful. :)

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  4. Pics of the temple? Hope you have them in store for a later post :)

    Enjoyed the puranic info in the post too.

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  5. A beautiful view from that balcony and I must say that I would like to try that coffee shop.

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  6. That was a wonderfully comprehensive post Arti, touching upon most of the necessities of travel. Kudos!

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  7. Must be so great to explore Badrinath - when you're dressed warm enough ;) Would love to have a cup of coffee with you and wander around!

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  8. It never fails to amaze me just how much I learn from your posts - always interesting as well as informative, keep them going.

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  9. Badrinath looks and sounds like a fascinating, interesting place to visit! Your photos are always the next best thing to being there, Arti! One of the best things for me about blogging is that it has given me the opportunity to learn so much about your country, its people and history. I have traveled to many places, but never India and I do regret that! But as I said, your blog and photos are the next best thing! Have a wonderful week!

    Sylvia

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  10. Arti, I was travelling and do not know if I missed any of your earlier posts. As usual the pics are awesome so is the description

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  11. Hi, Tried to post a comment on the earlier post but could not. Came here earlier through indivne and have found a great India -travel resource, a keeper... will use it for planning my holiday.

    Thanks for the vote. I am new to this whole contest thing, but it is nice to have votes :) I hope you win. All the best.

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  12. Very useful information !!! This is exactly what one looks for when planning for a tip!! Missed the usual awesome clicks though....:(

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  13. Again a good post, useful information about stay in Bhadrinath. Nice pictures, especially of the hotel and its backdrop Arthi:)

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  14. Love Badrinath. There wasn't a wall when I stayed here almost 20 years ago and the rooms weren't this nice then. I had freezing water bath. LOL! Ambassador car still look the same. :)

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  15. Lots of interesting information here. That hotel room...does it have four beds, or is that one huge bed the size of four?

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  16. I would say you have given very useful tips. The pictures are fantastic too.

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  17. @ Ushnish
    May Badrivishal call you there time around... And yes gmvn hotels are the best that one can find in these regions.
    Thanks for liking the post, more coming up :)

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  18. @ Zephyr
    Dont worry I have them, will post on the Badrinath Temple shortly :)

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  19. @ Sylvia
    Hope you visit India someday, Thanks for the generous compliment:)

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  20. @ Chitra
    Good to hear you were travelling, more posts coming up then!
    You did not miss any of the Char Dham posts:)

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  21. @ suchismita
    Thanks for your best wishes. I did receive your comment on the earlier post. The comments are moderated so they dont appear instantaneously.

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  22. @ Authenticoriyafood
    Arent the pics good? might be because of my shivering hands...

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  23. @ The Chair Speaks
    Tell you what, they dont have a Geyser in the bathroom even now, somethings remain the same even after 20 long years :-D

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  24. @ Ginny
    They have 2 single beds plus the double bed as I have shown in the post. So total 4 beds:)

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  25. The view from the balcony is very charming. I can stay at that balcony all day/night just to stare at that mountain. I'm craving now for a hot hot indian bread. :)

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  26. Hello,Arti.
    Thank you for its interesting reports of your trip. I wish I could have a garma garam parathas! Is it soft or crisp?

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  27. Lovely place should visit this place once .

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  28. Hie Arti!
    Thanks for promoting my post on Indivine...came to know ur blog thru dat!

    I can say you are blessed to go around the country and visit such places...and definetely it's a delight for all the readers as we feel as if we were there at that place..!
    A great blog...I say you are guiding many people to new places.. :)

    Smile,
    Gowthami.

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  29. Thank you for this detailed information together with your nice photos. Have a nice week.

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  30. Ati thanks! Heart is filled with devotion after reading this. Thanks for all the info and stories too. I think, I should read your blog in the morning, when we wake up and worship the God, we can worship God of these sacred places through your blog.

    Thanks you have done a wonderful job. Hats off to you! :)

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  31. Very informative... I am surprised at the absence of room heaters.

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  32. well, its interesting to know the history of badrinath... never knew one place had so much history in it... now, expecting ur next post on the temples...

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  33. What an interesting post, Arti. You always take me on the best tours of the landscape. I don't think I would have been freezing - since I live at altitude already, I know to wear many layers! Potato Curry sounds yummy.

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  34. What a lovely place to visit!

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  35. Very good place.Have a good day.:)
    I like your post.

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  36. @ redrose
    The parathas are soft and crispy!!
    And delicious:)

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  37. @ Gowthami
    Welcome to My Yatra Diary...
    And yes its great when people appreciate your work, thanks. Do keep visiting:)

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  38. @ Mohinee
    Thanks Mohini. Glad you liked it. Definitely come back any time and worship the Gods through my blog.

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  39. @ Karthick
    Yes temples from next post:)

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  40. I've never followed a pilgram route or stayed in a holy city, but it sounds amazing. I'm really enjoying reading about all your adventures.

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  41. Truly wonderful article. Loved every bit of it, especially the translation of garma garam parathas. lol

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  42. Thank you for your informative and interesting blog. Himalayas are very holy place in Buddhism too. I love to have nan bread with hot curry.
    Garma garam parathas are like nan bread?
    Have a great day!

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  43. i want to visit this place... hope the day come soon.

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  44. great read...very informative...and nice pics....

    Cheers!
    SUB

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  45. I've been captivated by this most interesting post. when I read the word curry my mouth immediately began to water - I started a crave. I had a delicious curry dish for lunch yesterday and the flavor has stayed in my mind. now I read that word again and want the taste! this is an exotic world that I'm anxious to learn more about through your eyes. thanks for visiting my blog Arti, I truly do appreciate it, and I look forward to more of your your intriguing posts. have a wonderful week.

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  46. @ snowwhite
    Parathas are not like the naan... Parathas are thick breads which are stuffed with vegetables, in this case it was a potato stuffed with potato and spices...

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  47. Very informative. I love your description of the wild berry tree, your food and your photos. I'm enjoying receiving you posts via email.

    Regards, Mari

    ttp://www.mariscamera.blogspot.com/

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  48. Nice post Arti,
    Just that you could have added a few more bits and pieces to this like darshan timings, road conditions, dos and donts, the hot water jhula, river alakananda etc...

    I've been here once and my life and my perspective of life changed for the better from thereon.
    Hailing from a Brahmin family, Badrinath is one of the most sacred piligrimages for us.
    We had a dip in the hot water jhula and the ice-cold Alakananda river too...
    But somewhere its true that because of constant road widening in progress and influx of huge no of people, is having its effect on the nature and it shows with frequent landslides in the region and differing weather.

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  49. Dear Arti
    Very interesting trip!!!
    Thanks for your photos and inmorfations!!!
    Many greetings

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  50. @ Santosh
    All those things that you have mentioned are coming up in subsequent posts.
    And yes man has interfered too much with nature, the glaciers are receding day by day.

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  51. The mountains in the background are simply magnificent. Now that's what I call a room with a view.

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  52. good info
    hotel looks good

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  53. This is what I would call an ideal post ~ full of information accompanied with gorgeous pics :)
    US Masala

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  54. Wish you a nice weekend too! LG Tina

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  55. LOVE your view of the mountains !!
    ~ laura xx

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  56. I feel like I've commented on this post before.... but maybe not.
    Fascinating post as always, and very informative too. Do you need to acclimatize to the height when you visit?

    All the best, Boonie

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  57. @ Boonie
    Though Badrinath is situated at over 10000 feet, if you dont have major health problems then you wont face much difficulty.
    The coldness may be an issue for everyone though.

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  58. Great post Arti! Very useful. And great pics. Love the detail that you've given.
    And thank you :)

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  59. This post is definitely going to help me next month. :)

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  60. I have Never come across such informative such descriptive article.... it speaks in volumes about yr zing for providing the valuable information. This information will truly be very very useful for all those who visitng this holy place with due dedication and divinity. I am sure the god will surely bless u for this noble cause. I too love to go around spiritual places and am putting efforts in completing Panch Kailash's in India. Wish U all the best
    Kedar/Delhi

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  61. dear Arti !
    What a lovely post -you capture the essence as well as the nitty-gritty of staying and eating all in one wonderful post. Thanks!

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  62. nice post.gonna bookmark it. it could be usedful when i vl go there.

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  63. Wonderfully informative. This is really useful.

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  64. Wonderful post. Badrinath is indeed a very beautiful place to visit. I've never been there but I would try pretty soon. Thanks for sharing the valuable information out here :)

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  65. Thanks for info on how BadriNath got it's name. Planning a trip to BadriNath next year so shall use these tips and wait for more!

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  66. v spiritual... thanks for sharing such memorable trips ..wow!

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  67. Wow Arti! What a descriptive travel blog you have created. I really admire the posts. I have just read this one but really I am excited to read as many as I can! Really a pleasure reading :)

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  68. This series would certainly help many. Since, long I wanted to write it but never got a chance to focus on Uttarakhand :( ... But, thanks for the post.

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  69. hi. i am planning a trip to badrinath in 3rd week of may. any other nice places to stay near badrinath? one place called AR resort keeps coming up....has anyone ever been there? there official website is down for the last 2 months. but the pictures and amenities mentioned on makemytrip and tripadvisor looks decent.

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