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Author:Laxman Burdak, IFS (R)

Chamoli district map

Badrinath (बद्रीनाथ) is an ancient religious place in Chamoli district in Uttarakhand. It is the most important of the Char Dham pilgrimage and gets its name from the Holy temple of Badrinath.


Origin of name

Badari is the Sanskrit name for the Indian Jujube tree, which has an edible berry. Some scriptural references refer to Jujube trees being abundant in Badrinath.


Badrinath is located 62 km northwest of Nanda Devi peak and 301 km north of Rishikesh. From Gaurikund (near Kedarnath) to Badrinath by road is 233 km.

Badrinath has an average elevation of 3,100 metres (10,170 feet). It is in the Garhwal Himalayas, on the banks of the Alaknanda River. The town lies between the Nar and Narayana mountain ranges 9 km east of Nilkantha peak (6,596m).


According to the Bhagavata Purana, "There in Badrikashrama the supreme being (Vishnu), in his incarnation as the sages Nara and Narayana, had been undergoing great penance since time immemorial for the welfare of all living entities." (Bhagavata Purana 3.4.22)

Badrinath was re-established as a major pilgrimage site by Adi Shankara in the ninth century. In earlier days, pilgrims used to walk hundreds of miles to visit Badrinath temple. The temple in Badrinath is also a sacred pilgrimage site for Vaishnavites. Badrinath is also gateway to several mountaineering expeditions headed to mountains like Nilkantha.

The Badrinath area is referred to as Badari or Badarikashram (बदरिकाश्रम) in Hindu scriptures. It is a place sacred to Vishnu, particularly in Vishnu's dual form of Nara-Narayana. Thus, in the Mahabharata, Krishna, addressing Arjuna, says, "Thou wast Nara in a former body, and, with Narayana for thy companion, didst perform dreadful austerity at Badari for many myriads of years." [1][2]

One legend has it that when the goddess Ganga was requested to descend to earth to help suffering humanity, the earth was unable to withstand the force of her descent. Therefore the mighty Ganga (Ganges) was split into twelve holy channels, with Alaknanda one of them.

Another Legend explains both name and sitting posture as this place was full of Badri bushes and Vishnu meditating for, beloved Lakshmi stood next to him sheltering him from scorching sunlight turned into a Badri herself called 'BADRI VISHAL' and her lord(Nath) became the BadriNath.

The mountains around Badrinath are mentioned in the Mahabharata, when the Pandavas were said to have expired one by one, when ascending the slopes of a peak in western Garhwal called Swargarohini.(literal meaning - the 'Ascent to Heaven'). The Pandavas passed through Badrinath and the town of Mana, 4 km north of Badrinath, on their way to Svarga (heaven). There is also a cave in Mana where Vyasa, according to legend, wrote the Mahabharata.[3]

The area around Badrinath was celebrated in Padma Purana as abounding in spiritual treasures.[4]


विजयेन्द्र कुमार माथुर[5] ने लेख किया है ...2. चक्रतीर्थ (AS, p.325): जिला गढ़वाल उत्तर प्रदेश में बद्रीनाथ से कुछ दूर उत्तर की ओर स्थित है. उसके विषय में पौराणिक किंवदंती है कि यहां रहकर अर्जुन ने तप किया था और वरदान स्वरूप दैवी अस्त्र प्राप्त करके उन्होंने शत्रु पर विजय प्राप्त की थी-- 'चक्रतीर्थस्य महात्मादअर्जुन: परमास्त्रवित् भूत्वा स नाशयामास शत्रून् दुर्योधनादिकान्' स्कंद पुराण, केदारखंड, 58,57


विजयेन्द्र कुमार माथुर[6] ने लेख किया है ...मंदराचल (AS, p.688): 'श्वेतं गिरिं प्रवेक्ष्यामो मंदरं चैव पर्वतं, यत्र मणिवरौ यक्ष: कुबेरश्चैव यक्षराट्'-- महाभारत 139,5. इस उद्धरण में मंदराचल का पांडवों की उत्तराखंड की यात्रा के संबंध में उल्लेख है जिससे यह पर्वत हिमालय में बद्रीनाथ या कैलाश के निकट कोई गिरि-श्रंग जान पड़ता है. विष्णु पुराण 2.2.16 के अनुसार मंदर पर्वत इलावृत के पूर्व में है-- 'पूर्वेण मंदरोनाम दक्षिणे गंधमादन:' मंदराचल का पुराणों में क्षीरसागर-मंथन की कथा में भी वर्णन है. इस आख्यायिका के अनुसार सागर-मंथन के समय देवताओं और दानवों ने मंदराचल को मथनी बनाया था.

Rule of Salivahan descendants in Badrinath

James Tod writes that In the mountains of Badrinath, there was a state, whose princes were of the Yadu race, descended from the first Salivahan (S.72 = AD 16) at the period of the expulsion from Ghazni. At this time, the prince of this state dying without issue, a deputation came to Jaisalmer to obtain a prince to fill the vacant gadi. Hasso (A.D. 1200) was accordingly sent, but died just as he arrived. His wife, who was pregnant, was taken with the pains of labour on the journey, and was delivered of a son under the shade of a palas tree, whence the child was called Palasia. This infant succeeding, the raj (principality) was named after him Palasia. [7]

See also

External links


  1. Dowson's Classical Dictionary of Hindu mythology
  2. Gopal, Madan (1990). K.S. Gautam, ed. India through the ages. Publication Division, Ministry of Information and Broadcasting, Government of India. p. 75.
  3. Nautiyal, Govind Prasad, Call of Badrinath, Shri Badrinath-Kedarnath Temples Committee, 1962.
  4. Nautiyal, Govind Prasad, Call of Badrinath, Shri Badrinath-Kedarnath Temples Committee, 1962.
  5. Aitihasik Sthanavali by Vijayendra Kumar Mathur, p.324-325
  6. Aitihasik Sthanavali by Vijayendra Kumar Mathur, p.688
  7. James Tod: Annals and Antiquities of Rajasthan, Volume II, Annals of Jaisalmer, p.222-223

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