Motorcycle Trip To Badrinath Shrine
Badrinath is a sacred Hindu town situated in Chamoli district of Indian state of Uttrakhand. The town is famous for the Temple of Badrinath which is one of the four Char Dham in Hinduism. Every year thousands of devotees plan a trip to Badrinath to offer their prayers to Lord Badrinarayan. Person planning a trip to Badrinath find it difficult to gather correct information to complete a successful trip. When I was planning my trip to Badrinath I encountered the same situation and therefor I thought to share my travelling experience. Road trip to Badrinath will give you a thrilling experience of riding on mountains and the ambience of Badrinath Temple fill your body with devotion. In this article we will cover the Holy Trip to Badrinath Temple, best time to visit Badrinath Temple, history of Badrinath Temple, places to visit in Badrinath and do’s and don’t while planning a trip to Badrinath.
Motorcycle Trip to Badrinath
For several days I had been planning a motorcycle trip with my friends but the trip was getting postponed due to unavailability of leaves from their offices or we were not able to unanimously decide the destination. Finally I decided to go for a solo trip and what could be the best destination other than the holy town of Badrinath. After gathering sufficient information I got my bike serviced, packed my bag, camera and other necessary item and started my four day trip to Badrinath.
History of Badrinath Temple
The primary deity of Badrinath Temple is Lord Vishnu and the place got its name Badrinath from the Badari Tree which grows here in abundance. Badrinath is the most important shrine among all the Char Dham, the other shrines are Dwarka, Puri and Rameswaram. It is also the part of Chota (Small) Char Dham other being Yamunotri, Gangotri and Kedarnath. The Temple of Badrinath is mentioned in many ancient books like Bhagavata Purana, Skanda Purana and Mahabharata. One popular story is “once Lord Vishnu, unaware of the cold weather was mediating and when Goddess Lakshmi saw this she protected him in the form of the Badri Tree. Lord Vishnu was pleased by the devotion of his wife and he named the place Badrika Ashram. The Pilgrimage to Badrinath began after the temple was installed by Hindu Sage Adi Shankaracharya. According to the story Adi Shankaracharya found the idol of Badrinath in the Alaknanda River and since then it is worshipped here. The current temple of Badrinath was built by the King of Garhwal and he had relocated the idol in the present temple.
Best Time to Visit Badrinath
The temple of Badrinath opens only for six months in a year and during the winter season the temple is closed. The best time to plan a trip to Badrinath is between the months of May to September. The highest number of pilgrims arrive here in the month of May and it is not advisable to visit the shrine during rainy season as the area is prone to landslides. Since the temple is situated at an altitude of 3133m you can see snowy peaks even in the summer season. When I asked about the weather in winter season the local villagers told that the snow fall is nearly 10ft in winter season and all the villagers move 13 km down the mountain at Hanuman Chatti (temple dedicated to Lord Hanuman).
Beginning of Trip to Badrinath: I began my journey on 9th of June from Noida (Badrinath Temple is 525Km from Noida) and my plan was to cover maximum distance on my first day so that I can explore more places once I reached Badrinath. I started my journey at 5 A.M in the morning and after 30 min of drive I crossed the Ghaziabad City and I was on my way to Meerut.
Noida to Rishikesh: There is nothing much to write about the first leg of my journey as I was fully charged, the highway connecting Ghaziabad to Rishikesh is well constructed (excluding few places) and since it was morning there was hardly any traffic on roads. I took my first break at Roorkee around 8:00 A.M and after taking rest of 15 min I was again on my driving seat. I crossed the Holy City of Haridwar around 9 A. M and encountered a heavy traffic along Haridwar-Rishikesh Highway due to the Ardh Kumbh Mela of 2016. I stopped for nearly half an hour took photos of River Ganges, Sadhus and devotees who came to Haridwar to attend the Kumbh Mela. Once I crossed the mela settlement it took half an hour more to reach Rishikesh.
Rishikesh to Devprayag: I reached Rishikesh at 11 AM and I found a sign-board leading to bypass road (avoiding the traffic of main city) and the milestone read “Badrinath 305Km”. I took the bypass road and after 15 min of drive I was at a point from where the route to all four Chota Char Dham begins. As soon as I crossed Shivpuri, weather conditions started deteriorating and it began raining heavily. I took a halt at a small town Bayasi, 35 km from Rishikesh and one of the point for adventurers to begin their river rafting in Ganges River. Once the weather cleared I resumed my drive and reached Devprayag at 2PM. Devprayag is a holy town located 70Km from Rishikesh and at Devprayag River Bhagirathi and River Alaknanda meet and flow further by the name of River Ganges.
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Devprayag to Vishnuprayag: The road to Badrinath is significant because while driving on this route you will witness the sacred Panch Prayag (Holy Five Confluences) of Hinduism. The five Panch Prayag are Devprayag, Rudraprayag, Karnaprayag, Nandprayag and Vishnuprayag. The rivers which meet at these Prayag are as follows:
Devprayag: River Bhagirathi and River Alaknanda
Rudraprayag: River Alaknanda and River Mandakani
Karnaprayag: River Alaknanda and River Pinder
Nandaprayag: River Alaknanda and River Nandakani
Vishnuprayag: River Alaknanda and River Dhauli Ganga
After taking a break of 30 minutes for photography and lunch I again resumed my ride and my next destination was the town of Rudraprayag. Rudraprayag is 69km from Devprayag and it’s from Rudraprayag the road divides into two parts one leading towards Badrinath and other towards Kedarnath. I reached Rudraprayag around 5 PM and when I checked in google map the next Prayag i.e. Karnaprayag was only 33km away. I decided to drive further as it would give me an option to explore more of Badrinath and nearby areas rather than riding the next day. I reached Karnaprayag by 6:30 PM and by the time I had already driven 390 Km. In mountainous regions driving is not allowed after 8PM and after a little search I found “Hotel Krishna Palace”. It is a nice hotel constructed just beside the confluence of River Alaknanda and River Pinder. You can see the spectacular view of confluence from the hotel balcony and the splashing water hitting the rocks will give you a soothing experience.
Next day I resumed by trip to Badrinath at 6 AM and I had to cover 130Km more to reach Badrinath. I planned my next halt at Nandaprayag which is 22 Km from Karnaprayag. I reached Nandaprayag at 7 and after a 15 min of Photography break I resumed my driving. After 65Km of drive I reached Joshimath and it is the last town on route to Badrinath, this is also the last point where you get Petrol Pump and ATM service (there is only one ATM of State Bank of India at Badrinath). After a 30min of Breakfast break my motorcycle was again ascending the slopes of Joshimath and after 14 km of further driving I reached Vishnuprayag, the last of Panch Parayag.
VishnuPrayag To Badrinath Temple: Badrinath Temple is 32km from Vishnuprayag and it took approximately one more hour to reach there. Throughout 525Km from Noida to Badrinath you will find pitched road and even 60% of the route is double laned. But the last 25 Km from Govindghat to Badrinath is real test of your driving skills. Road in this leg of journey is not in a good condition and you have to ride your bike through steeper slopes. At mid-way between Badrinath Temple and Govindghat you will see an old temple dedicated to Lord Hanuman called Hanuman Chatti. According to the story from Mahabharata it is believed that at Hanuman Chatti Lord Hanuman taught a lesson to Bhima who was very proud of his strength. After crossing Hanuman Chatti and driving further 12km I finally reached Badrinath at 12 noon.
Badrinath Darshan: Once I reached Badrinath I explored the surrounding for about an hour and then booked one decent hotel. Since it was the month of June number pilgrims visiting holy shrine has increased exponentially. I checked with local shopkeepers and they informed that it will take one –two hours to complete the Darshan.
Timings for Visiting The Badrinath Temple: The temple opens for devotees from 4 A.M in the morning till 10 P.M at night. There is a break of two hours from 1 PM to 3 PM. As it was already 1 PM I decided to take rest for 2 hours, take bath and gather other necessary information like other places that can be explored in Badrinath.
Below Video: Video of Badrinath Temple and nearby surrounding.
Badrinath Temple and its Surrounding: Situated at an altitude of 3133 meters the place is much cooler than any other hill station. You can see the Himalayan Mountain peaks covered with snow and mighty Alaknanda River flowing nearby to the temple. The Neelkhant Peak (6596 Meters) is only 9 Km from Badrinath and it can be seen by naked eyes. There is Tapt Kund in the Temple premises which is a Hot water spring. The temperature of water coming out of Tapt Kund is approximately 55°C whereas entire area has an average temperature of 10 °C. It is believed that one should bathe in water of Tapt Kund before offering their prayers to Lord Badrinath. The Temple has main idol of Lord Badrinarayan along with God Kubera, sage Narada, Uddhava, Nar and Narayan. Temple premises also features idols of Adi Shankaracharya and Ramanujacharya.
Other Places to Explore in Badrinath and Return of Journey: It took 1 hour and 45 minutes to do the darshan, usually pilgrims get nearly 10 seconds and then they have to move forward for other devotees. It was 5 P.M in the evening and after performing prayers and other rituals it was time for photography. You would be amazed to see the weather and cold breeze passing by you and the temple surrounded by mountains and their peaks covered with snow. The fast flowing water of River Alaknanda and the sound it produces when the water hits the rocks will give you one of the best experience of your life. Once the photography session was over it was time for me to go for dinner and then take a proper sleep as I have to visit other places nearby Badrinath.
Return of Journey from Badrinath to Devprayag: Next morning I was again ready for driving by 6A.M and I started my journey by visiting the Mana Village. Mana Village is 4 Km from Badrinath and it is the last village before India-China Border. There are many historical places in Mana Village and then it took 40 minutes to reach Govindghat. From Govindghat another route takes you to Shri Hemkund Shaib, a famous Sikhs Pilgrimage site and Valley of Flowers National Park. It is to be noted that visiting both sites require a trekking of 17Km and it’s not an easy task. I reached Joshimath by 9:30A.M and after a small breakfast I went to visit Tapovan and Auli. Once I covered both the areas now it was again a 250 Km of drive on mountainous region and by 7PM in evening I was drinking Lemon Soda at Devprayag. I rented a room at Devprayag, bathed in holy water of Ganges River and decided to resume my journey on next day.
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Devprayag to Noida: The total distance from Devprayag to Noida is 300 Km out of which 70 km drive is through mountainous region. I started again in morning and took at least 3-4 brakes for photography and reached Rishikesh at 9 A.M. After a 30 minutes breakfast break I was driving on Rishikesh-Gaziabad highway and by 2P.M I was in Noida. The temperatue in Noida was 45°C and I was recalling that in Badrinath temperature was 10°C. Anyways it was a memorable experience, both in terms of adventure and devotion and I recommend all my readers to visit the holy shrine once in their life time. My next destination? Gangorti and Kedarnath.
Do’s & Don’t in Trip to Badrinath:
- Take ample amount of sleep and rest, especially for drivers.
- Entire route has a lot of hairpin bends so drive under speed limits and experienced drivers should be preferred.
- The roads in entire route are in very good condition, thanks to the Border Road Organization (B.R.O) except from Govindghat to Badrinath and special care should be taken.
- Although in entire route you will find filling stations, make sure to check your fuel meter before crossing Joshimath as there is no filling station after Joshimath.
- Always keep good amount of cash with you and if you don’t have then withdraw from ATM before crossing Joshimath as there is only one ATM available at Bartinath Temple.
- The route has spectacular natural scenery and if you are interested in photography park your vehicle at appropriately.
- The best part of entire journey is River Alaknanda. Throughout 300Km of Driving you will find Alaknanda River acting as a companion flowing through the gorge.