Other Places in Badrinath (Part II) - Tapt Kund, Panch Shilas and other Temples

Day 4 : Badrinath - Alaknanda River and Brahma Kapal Ghat - TAPT KUND AND THE PANCH SHILAS - Badrinath Temple - Exploring the Mana Village (Here and There) - Mana Village (Places to visit)  - Diwali celebrations in the Badrinath Temple

Tapt Kund (tank) or Agni Teerth

It is said that pleased with Agni dev’s (Fire God’s) penance, Lord Vishnu had granted him a boon to permanently reside in the form of this kund here and burn away the sins of all His devotees.

Tapt Kund - the hot water natural spring in Badrinath
Tapt Kund

Tapt Kund was crowded, if I can say that, considering the crowds we had encountered before this in Gangnani. There were separate kunds for both men and women.

We warmed ourselves up in the warm waters which is also said to possess certain favorable medicinal properties. I can’t say about its healing properties but it sure was a big respite from the arresting wintriness and also seized away all the weariness of our travel.

Fumes emanating from theTapt Kund with snow peaks in the 
background, Badrinath
Don't you think it's a blessing as well as a miracle of sorts
to have these fumy hot natural sulphur springs sitting
pretty amid all the frostiness and chilliness around?
It not only provides the much needed warmth to the thousands of devotees but also balances the tone of the environs naturally! Amazing!

The sun which was shining bright further helped matters. We learnt that during this time of the year, the sun only makes a brief appearance (precisely 2 hrs in the morning 9 to 11) before disappearing again behind the mountains. The duration further decreases with the approaching winters till there comes a point when it becomes completely oblivious and everybody (except some sages and hermits who apparently stay put for penance) including the temple priests relocate to the lower reaches of the mountains like Devprayag and the holy town shuts down completely for 6 months of the year (Nov-May/June).

People performing prayer ceremony near the Tapt Kund in 
Person performing puja in Badrinath
People performing various prayer ceremonies near the kund area after the bath

Various daans as described in our ancient texts that can 
be done at Tapt kund
A pillar stating the various daans (donations) like clothes, food, gold, etc
that can be done at the place

There is another kund below the Tapt Kund called the Narad Kund where the present image of Badrinarayan is said to have been found by Adi Shankaracharya. Pilgrims usually don’t bathe here and make do by some sprinkle of drops only.

The Panch Shilas

Around the Kund area, there are 5 big stone rocks known as Panch Shilas’ considered sacred by the devotees.

A pillar specifying the names of the five sacred rocks in 
Badrinath - The Panch Shilas
"The central area of the Panch Shilas
is known as the pure and holy Badrikashram."
A pillar specifying the names of the five sacred rocks, the 'Panch shilas'

Out of these, we could not locate the Narsingh Shila (The dwelling place of Lord Narsingh), Varahi Shila (dedicated to Lord Varah) and Markandeye Shila (said to be mostly hidden in the Alaknanda waters, the Shila gets its name from the great sage, Rishi Markandeye) but did come across two of them while making our way upwards towards the Badrinath temple.

Narad Shila is situated besides the Tapt Kund, and it is said in this rock dwells the great devotee of Lord Vishnu, Bhakta Narad, at the feet of the Lord.

Idol of Naradji besides the Shila
Idol of Naradji besides the Narad Shila

Garud Shila – While climbing the steps from the Kund towards the temple, comes this Shila named after Garud, the charioteer of Lord Vishnu.

The Garud Shila in Badrinath
Garud Shila

Just besides the Garud Shila is the Adi Kedareshwar temple, a visit to which is said to be a must before visiting the Badrinath temple for people like us who have missed Kedarnath temple in their Char Dham trip.

Adi Kedareshwar Temple in Badrinath besides the Garud 
The Adi Kedareshwar Temple

Just opposite is the Temple of Adi Shankaracharya.

Idol of Adi Shankaracharya just a few steps down the main 
Badrinath temple
Idol of Adi Shankaracharya just a few steps down the main Badrinath temple

After a refreshing bath in the Tapt kund and a good darshan of the Panch Shilas, finally we made our way towards the Badrinath temple…

Previous posts from this trip -

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  1. Lovely shots. Must be cold if the whole village relocates for half the year!

  2. @ ladyfi
    Its not only the cold but the extremely inhospitable terrain. There are numerous landslides, roads break and get covered with snow. It becomes impossible to take necessary things like groceries to these remote places in the winter season.

  3. Such a fascinating and interesting post for the day, Arti, as always! Love your photos! You can easily imagine just how cold it gets! Hope your week is off to a great start! Enjoy!


  4. I want to feel the warmth of Taptkund.I could almost feel the sweet smell of agarbattis ,sound of bells ,conch shell and the chants through your pictures .Thanks for sharing this beautiful journey of Devbhumi with us.
    Have a nice week ahead.

  5. Another lovely tour! I have no idea when I will get to go on these amazing spiritual journeys but you sure do your best with the virtual reality. :D

  6. Terrific post....have hrd abt the Tapt kund from so many ppl....you must be really enjoying these sojourns!!!

  7. Terrific post.....u must reall enjoy these sojourns!!!

  8. hi arti,

    it is so exciting to read this post , hot water in the midst of cold weather, this journey itself is so purifying that I feel so blessed to know about these places...and getting darshan with your lovely photos...thank you so much for sharing these wonderful moments of your life

    Super Yummy Recipes

  9. Wow , yes these hot springs are real boon to mankind , especially for the people in the mountains as well as tourists . Lovely pics and description as usual the virtual tour continues .

  10. Sunlight only for 2 hours? Oh...poor people:( Never knew India had such inhospitable climate...Thanks for the share!

  11. All such interesting information. Gosh, you really get around!! So many places in a short time..only two hours of sun, that could make one very depressed, I hope they have strong lamps!!

  12. It is so calm n serene n beautiful over there, you almost feel the divine presence!
    US Masala

  13. Wonderful to have those hot springs in an otherwise inhospitable place - weather-wise. Nice photos of a world most of us will never see.

  14. reading your posts have strengthened my resolve to do the chardham yatra!

  15. Its a nature miracle that such a hot spring exists in a place that is inaccessible 6 months in a year due to snowfall.
    Nice post Arti, looking forward for more...

  16. Hello,Arti.
    Such interesting report and photos as always.
    It is impressive to learn that gold is donated to Temples. I remember that gold is donated by many religious people to Temples in Myanmar country too. Thank you for the share.

  17. Must be lovely to bath in the warm water, while the air is chilly and fresh. Enjoy your day Arti, so adventurous all the pictures!

  18. interesting place... seems yellow is the main color all around...
    can understand how cold it was there... sun appears for only 2 hours... seems u has a tough time out there...
    Idols are so small, yet so important... expecting the post about the badrinath temple...

  19. Arti, many thanks for so beautiful and interesting trip!!!
    Your photos are amazing!

  20. The idols are beautiful. I can only imagine how chilly it must get up there in the wintertime.

  21. well I love all of your photos but my favorite is the last - of the Idol. those colors are magnificent, and the bell above- perfect! that bath must have been cleansing, to say the very least about it. and I love your take on the natural balance of the environs. a most interesting post, again. thanks for sharing your world; at this particular time of the year it seems harsh and at the same time, there's a way to seek respite from it. it's beautiful.

  22. Amazing photos and post! To see the sun only from 9-11 would be something! Thank you for sharing your journey with us - I'm learning so much from your posts.

  23. Dear Arti
    Enjoyed the post, it is like revisiting Badri ! I recall during my 1st visit to Badri, I could not take a plunge in the Tapta Kund, It was too hot for me, I could dip my foot and had to take it out,immediately. But strangely most people could get in..May be I am a great sinner ha ha. The priest told me later, one should get in fast and also some times the gusts of hot water makes it very hot momentarily.
    I will be looking forward to the next post and also few lines,if you had gone up to Vasundhara Fall. Of course I dont expect any photograph as it is prohibited.
    Have a nice day

  24. I would have loved this tour. Yes, I absolutely agree that natural hot springs are a gift and blessing! We used to love to find them. (Not so much any more, we are getting too old for the hikes in to them and also for soaking! But it was fun while it lasted ;>)

  25. @ Ushnish
    It does feel very hot in the beginning but after a couple of minutes you start to enjoy the warmth.
    Make sure you take a dip in the kund this time around.

  26. @ All
    This was one wonderful journey in the laps of nature and truly one I enjoyed throughly.

  27. Great travel.I didn't see the letter and people like that.
    As if I were there, when I read this post.:)

  28. arti, you are one truly blessed person to get opportunities to visit these religious places. Thanks for such wonderful information.!

  29. Fascinating tour! I am amazed at the construction done years ago in these remote spots - especially considering the altitude.

  30. A very exotic post as seen from the top of the world :-)
    Different yet we are all humans.

    Thank you for the nice comment!

  31. Beautiful Post. made me nostalgic.

  32. I think schools should be encouraged to view your posts, I'm sure the students would come away having learnt such a lot - I know I do.

  33. Great stuff. I can sure use this as my travel guide.

  34. 2 hours the sun isn't behind the mountain. I bet everyone outside then. Or least a lot of people is. Right now the sun is up about 16 hours here.

    I never thought of fire god burning sin. I've thought of wind god if there is one. To bring in good and take away the bad.

    Thanks for stop in and the coffee is always on.

  35. Great blog on devotion and spirituality. The pictures make it even more interesting and divine. Following your blog. You may like to follow mine. Here's my popular video http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=B1BV8IoLeqM

  36. Hi Arti,
    Such a fascinating and interesting post...Awesome clicks and u must had a lovely tour...Thanx for liking my posts at indiblog...u hav a gr8 space here...Do visit my blog n ur free time..tc..enjoy..:)

  37. Thanks for the lovely post Aarthi, loved looking at each of the clicks....v well clicked:)

  38. Your blog entries are so magical. Thanks for sharing.

    All the best, Boonie

  39. loved this post....quite informative!!!

    blogrolling you!!!


  40. Beautiful! :) I loved these lines "don't you think it is a blessing...." Nice pics. As always very informative post.

  41. Hi Arti,

    Interesting post. I'd love to visit this part of India. The only one time I was in the North of India I only visited Delhi and Agra. Seeing this post reminds me that there is so much more still to see!

  42. Thanks for dropping by my blog. Your site's such a gem, this will make such good reference when we revisit India!

  43. I noticed that there was a chaayadaan in the list of dans. any idea what it signifies?

  44. @zephyr Chaaya Daan is done by taking a little oil (preferably mustard or seasame) in a bowl and looking at your own reflection (chaaya) in it. This bowl of oil is then donated (daan) to a poor or offered to the temple priest. This type of daan is said to please the Shani (Saturn) God.

    Though I did not see anyone performing this daan in Badrinath, but yes, I have seen people doing it in the Shani temple in our local area and also during my visits to other places. It is a ritual mainly associated with this God and hence is more prevalent in temples related to him.

  45. ghar baithe baithe darshan karadiya..hat off to u :)

  46. Hehe agree with GeetS! Ghar baithe darshan ho gaya! Your blog can become a one stop for people interested in Indian tourism. :):)

    Nice one Arti! :)

  47. Nice ..written deliberately with pictures.Good job!

  48. Really a lot of useful information and some nice pics. The second pic is great, I love the blue sky in the background...and I can even imagine the cold :)

  49. Fascinating is the story of ancient temples!

  50. really wonderful. This reminded me of my trip.
    pictures are really lively.

  51. Nice. but some pics looked overexposed

  52. I am planning a trip to Badrinath next week. There were many hurdles in the plan over the past 2 weeks but after reading all your posts on badrinath, I feel confident that I can undertake the journey. Thank you


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