14 July, 2012

Akhand Jyoti (eternal flame) at the Badrinath temple

 High above in the Himalayas is the Badrinath temple; this temple is open for 6 months in a year, in winter the temple remains closed {locked and sealed}

Since ancient times a small lamp has always kept burning in the temple;  when the temple is reopened after winter this lamp is always found to be burning also the flowers that were kept in the temple when the temple closed are still fresh; people take it as a miracle of the Badrinath temple.

Now myself a tanker man {working on dangerous cargo ships} proud of my knowledge on flammability once met the head priest of the temple and inquired about the miracle of the eternal burning lamp.

This is what he told me-----nothing is a miracle; everything is science, to understand why the lamp keeps burning you must understand a flammable mixture.

He said that 2500 years ago Adi Shankracharya who reestablished this temple wrote a recipe for the mixture of the oil lamp he prescribed the names of the herbs that have to be mixed in ghee made from cow’s milk further he instructed that this mixture be prepared by girls less than 10 years of age only.

The mixture is such that only a very small amount of oxygen is needed and it gives out no carbon dioxide; one can call it a perfect flammable mixture hence a small lamp can keep burning for 6 months.

Since ancient times the residents of Mana village near Badrinath {which is the last Indian village on the border with Tibet} have prepared this mixture for the temple.

Road to Mana village
Little girl of Mana village; in future she will make the mixture for the temple

And regarding the flowers which remain fresh the head priest told me that this variety of flowers again recommended by Adi Shankracharya are of such species that they do not fade.

The head priest further told me the reason behind the char dham yatra {written in the post "reason behind the char dham yatra"}.

I had the opportunity to meet him twice and had a very rich experience meeting this person.

Such people always enrich our lives.   



  1. it is miracle that adi sankaracharya coming from kerala knew the misture while in kerala we do not have the composition. I ahve also heard that the wicks used are of special types and hence the lamp does not turn off.

    1. on my next visit to Badrinath, i will try to find out about the wicks
      i feel that a soul like Adi Shankaracharya is certainly beyond any realms of political boundaries etc; is he not called Jagadguru (जगद्गुरु), literally meaning the Guru of the world.

    2. special wicks or not - the flame is a miracle . The mixture definitely does not confirm that the lamp will burn for 6 months . The lamp burns unextinguised for 6 months - once cant explain that- Similarly in life whatver scientific explanations one gives - One really cant explain why it is like that - what certain chemicals react in a certain way - why is nature like that. all these are answers beyond us .. this makes us beleive in god ! Adi sankaracharya had also established the five diety puja.. wish we could have met him...

    3. well, that relaization is very difficult to get- if I get that realization - i won't be in the world - will be meditating in the himalayas:-)

      I still desire all temporary material happiness and am happy with it !

    4. Regarding meditating in the Himalayas.

      I had met a few sadhus who were staying near Badrinath; they told me that; the surrounding natural beauty has the power to attract you but can never give you enlightenment; this has to come within you, wherever you are.

      On the other hand I met many people on the spiritual path who come from foreign countries to places around Badrinath and valley of flowers; they say that these places are very special to communicate with the unknown.

      We all have our ways.

      Anyway, many thanks for visiting and contributing to my blog, you are most welcome always.

    5. regarding meeting Adi Shankracharya; i am trying to meet the Adi Shankracharya in me.
      hope to make it in this lifetime.

    6. well I beleive that your thoughts in this birth is a result of your thoughts of many other lifes. You are attracted to spirituality while others are attracted to other things and this is definitely a result through vasna praticesed in many births. Vasana means the natural inclination to do something.

      Have you been to temples in the south?

    7. Yes, I had a very good spiritual experience visiting temples in TN south India.

      Also like to add, the people of south India were very kind and helpful.


    9. i have no idea.

      a similar flame at Ateshgah {fire temple} of Baku was fed by a natural gas field located directly beneath the complex

    10. And how to explain new flowers instead old orange flowers in the Badrinath temple?!

      I came over this link: http://www.amazingbharat.com/2013/08/badrinath.html

    11. about the flowers it is already written in the blog.

      never came across the orange flowers story during my stay in Badrinath

  2. 1) Have u found the composition and making procedure of the oil used in akhand jyoti?
    2) Is same oil used in Gangotri also?

    1. no at Gangotri normaloil is used that is why there is a huge container
      only at Badrinath this procedure is followed hence a small quantity of oil last 6 months

  3. Sage Narada worships Badri Narayana when the temple is closed in winter.So the lamp is lit and flowers are afresh when the temple is reopened.

  4. I had a tour to Badrinath on 28th Sep 2018. I asked a pundit/pujari of the temple whether the oil is specially made with herbs & whether some specific flowers are used during the closing of the temple recommended by adi Shankaracharya. He replied that normal oil is used. No special flower is used. He told that many people will say many things. But no such specially made oil or flower.

    1. thanks for remembering my article in Badrinath

      there are many many pundits in the temple, people who sit near the Garbha gruha (sanctum sanctorum) to distibute prasad are just staff

      better speak with Rawalji head priest (he meets visitors if he is free at his residence only)

      the rawalji who explained me all this his photo is displayed in the one of my articles on Babaji

      the lamp of Badrinath (unlike Gangotri) is very small and certainly not sufficient to last 6 months