26 March, 2016

Idols worshiped at Badrinath and Badrinath during winters

More photos added on 3rd November 2016

The idols worshiped at Badrinath

Winter abode for Badrinath idol

People / Swamis / yogis who stay over in Badrinath during winters

The spiritual supermarket based on Mahavatar babaji’s name in Badrinath

The chardham circuit in the Himalaya is open for six months from May to November and closed during winters

Please refer below link

For commercial reasons the government of Uttarakahand is promoting the winter Chardham yatra

There is a lot of misconception regarding this, people think that the main idols of temples are shifted to their winter abode, but this is not so.

There is also a lot of misconception regarding the People / Swamis / yogis who stay over in the chardham’s during winters when the respective chardham towns are abandoned, they are considered to be special and highly elevated spiritually again this is not so

This article is based on my own personal experiences and the first-hand information that I have collected as I travelled to these places and stayed there for a long period of time

This article is about Badrinath and is the last in the series of four articles


bell of the temple

Me outside the temple

The small building before the temple is where the chief priest stays

Top view of temple

In the Garbha gruha (sanctum sanctorum) of the Badrinath temple apart from the main idol of Badri narayan (Badrinath meaning husband of Badri {Lakshmi}) of shaligram stone which is Swayambhu, (Sanskrit: स्वयम्भू) means "self-manifested" or which was created by its own accord (by the way this ancient idol is khandit meaning broken, yet it is still worshiped) there are the idols of Udhav, Narayan , Nar, Kuber, Garuda and Narad. (all these idols face east)

Idols at the temple

Old photo of the idols before someone donated gold and diamonds and remade the interior

one gokulashtami everyone was outside the sanctum sanctorum celebrating the birthday of Lord Sri Krishna, I was almost alone in the temple and the main idol which is usually covered up was fully open I spent hours looking at the meditating Vishnu, this old photo shows the idol without any cover 

Outside facing the Garbha gruha (sanctum sanctorum) from left side clockwise there are these small temples of—Lakshmi who is Vishnu’s consort (the chief priest of the temple had told me that the lord Vishnu is known by the name Badrinath meaning husband of Badri because in Sanatan Dharam women are so very respected that the name of the wife is taken first, like we always say Sita Ram.

Then there are small temples of Vishnu swarrop,Adi Shankarachary’s statue, Nar-Narayan, Hanuman, Ganta dev (the kul dev of the bhotiya tribe who stay at mana village) then the place to perform Yagna (Vedic fire ceremony) and again a Hanuman temple

Adi shankaracharyas statue in the temple premises

Below are photos of the Narad kund the story goes that when Adi Shankaracharya re-established the Badrinath temple (the Chinese had taken over the temple and thrown away the main idol and were carrying out animal God worship)

Adi Shankaracharya recovered the main idol from Narad Kund and established procedures to be carried out for worship.
After the Badrinath temple was re-established Sanatan Dharam once again flourished. 

Winter abode for Badrinath idol

During winters when the temple is closed for six months the idol of Lakshmi is taken inside next to her husband and the idol's of Udhav and Kuber are moved to Yogdhyan temple in Pandukeshwar ( Yog Badri one of the panch Badri temples). It is on the Joshimath—Badrinath route situated very near govindghat the place from where treks to valley of flowers and hemkund sahib start

Unlike the belief the main idol is not shifted to Joshimath or anywhere else

Yog badri temple at Pandukeshwar

The official web site of the temple http://badarikedar.org/ states that “the devotees can perform the winter puja, darshan & abhishek of Lord Badrinath at Pandukeshwar/ Narsingh Temple Gaddi Sthal, Joshimath with same rituals & traditions as performed at Shri Badrinath Temple” ….this is not so, they have just added Narsingh Temple  at Joshimath because there is a dispute between people of Joshimath and Pandukeshwar to attract pilgrims since it is their source of income, here the same rituals go on throughout the year and nothing is shifted from Badrinath to Joshimath

Also read about the eternal lamp which keeps burning for six months (click on link below)

People who stay in Badrinath during winters

Apart from the security personnel of the Indo Tibetan border police some swamis and yogis stay over during winters they require a special permission from the Government.

Now the Government has become strict in giving permission as initially many people used to take permission and then come down to lower altitudes during peak winter.

Regarding others who stay I know a few of them they are very well equipped having more than enough food stock, insulated places to stay , generators even a battery to start the generator so that they do not have to crank start, some even keep their assistants with them. When required they use the communication equipment of the security forces who always help them.

I do not find them special in any way as they are just surviving in a harsh cold environment like many people do

Below is a photo of a mouse he also stays over during winters in Badrinath collecting his food well in advance before the winter sets in, so you see nothing so special in staying in a very cold environment in winter it is only a matter of survival

A three day trek from Badrinath takes you to Satopanth lake, this is believed to be the last journey of the Pandavas currently no one stays at Satopanth during winters, there are a few babas, Sadhus who stay there during summers only  

Satopanth lake

Years back I was impressed when I met these people who stay back during winters as I spent more and more time in and around Badrinath I got to know the real picture, have always seen these people do frequent rounds at the bank’s ATM to check their ever increasing bank balances, got first-hand information of the people who were cheated by them, once they have your telephone number they keep on calling you for money, below I have written about two such persons.

Of course I have met a few people who stay in remote places they never accept any money from anyone and spent their time doing their spiritually practices.

The spiritual supermarket based on Mahavatar babaji’s name

 The world first heard about Babaji courtesy Paramahansa Yogananda's book “Autobiography of a Yogi” and Sri Yukteswar Giri’s book “The Holy Science”.

Ever since Mahavatar babaji has become a big name in the spiritual supermarket.

Please read this article (click on the link below)

There are those who claim to be his disciples and they all use the word “direct disciple”

Many such people are found around Badrinath

There was one baba he stayed high up near charan pakuka (on the way to Neelkanth) he also claimed to be in direct touch with Babaji. He had a huge box; he claimed that his physical body would be in this box and his spirit would travel to meet Babaji. The last time he called me was in November of 2012 when he was collecting funds to spread Babajis message of a possibe destruction of the coastal regions in December 2012 (The 2012 end of the world phenomenon) Below is the photo of the box which is still lying at Badrinath in the same cottage, nothing heard about him.  

Another baba stayed in Badrinath continuously for more than sixteen years. He kept silence for all these year’s even then he kept two mobile phones with him, completely money minded he claims that he is in touch with Mahavatar babaji on a daily basis and has made a huge fortune. Below is his photoshopped image with a tiger but he does not realize that tigers are not found at very high altitudes he should have used the image of a snow leopard instead. 

His guru claims that he was in school with Motilal Nehru (father of Jawaharlal Nehru) who was born in 1861, he has made a red colour timber cottage which is the centre of attraction in Badrinath and also has a cave high up on the Narayan parvat (mountain). People are impressed to see someone living so high up on a mountain, few know his real story, by the way this cave was raided twice by forest department over various allegations; I will not write more about them or anyother person I met but hope people awaken and are not impressed with such babas like I was and ended up losing my time and money.  

Visiting Badrinath in winters

All the chardhams in Uttarakhand are abandoned in winter, the temples sealed.

But there are a few people who visit these places in winter, some do it to experience the peace and tranquility and absorb the spiritual vibrations when no one is around others do it as an expedition as one has to travel over snow covered roads.

Special permission IS required to visit Badrinath.

There is a motorable road right up to Badrinath, but again this trip should not be attempted without a local guide.

Feel free to ask me any further questions and I recommend staying over for a few days in each dham. I always travel after monsoons when there is no rush and rates are less  

Badrinath temple in future will be shifted

There is an ancient Narasimha temple in joshimath on the way to Badrinath a famous feature of the ancient black stone idol of Narasimha is that its left wrist is getting thinner by the day.

Legend has it that when the wrist breaks off, there the current Badri vishal temple at Badrinath will become inaccessible and new temple will be bhavishya badri.

In the early morning puja this wrist is shown to the people and then covered up throughout the day

The new temple is called Bhavishya (future) Badri, it is located at a elevation of 2744 m 15kms drive from Joshimath  to tapovan then another 4kms to saldhar then 6kms trek to bhavishya badri

Swayambhu (self-manifested or that which are created by their own accord ) idols are currently in the process of formation at the temple

Below photos of the bhavishya badri temple and self-manifested idols which are currently in the process of formation at the temple

photo clicked November 2009

Below are 2 photos I clicked in October 2016 you can compare them with the above photo clicked in 2009

photo clicked October 2016

photo clicked October 2016

It is predicted in the scriptures that when the good age comes that is when man will be closer to god than the present day badrinath will be covered in snow
And hence cannot be accessed
How I interpret this is there are 2 parvats in badrinath Nar {human}and Narayan {god} They both will be merged symbolizing union of god and man This may happen because cracks formed in the neelkhant parvat which is in-between the nar and narayan parvats. Scientist have predicted that snow accumulates in the cracks in neelkhant and an earthquake can cause an avalanche to flood the entire valley of badrinath hence the valley will come in its original form water / ice {himalaya—kingdom of ice} and man also in his original form {much closer to god} however this is my personal thought.

Very old photo taken in 1882 of the trekking route from Joshimath to Badrinath, the motor able road was constructed after the Indo China war

I will write another blog about various places in and around Badrnath


  1. Grateful to know all this information...
    I visited once in 2015 to complete my mother's Chardham Yatra of PURI, RAMESHWARAM, DWARKADHAM AND BADRIDHAM in a self driven journey.
    The Badridham yatra is one of my most memorable.
    Hope to visit again with HIS grace.

    1. thank you, yes Badrinath is one such place you feel like visiting again and again, try and spent a few days there
      all the best

  2. Hi,

    Could you let me know what preparations one needs to do to travel alone to char dham? Any precautions ?
    Also I plan to go there for meditation which place of the four dham is better. Any suggestions on itenary is very helpful.

    1. this blog does not cover the above mentioned topics
      i would suggest yamunotri and badrinath

  3. Hi, I want to ask who can touch the idol of lord badrinath ji?

  4. Very beautiful and informative blog. I want to know more about Mahavtar Babaji and it is said that He lives near Neelkanth Parvat. Please give all this a light.