Amongst the popular ‘Char Dhams’ (four pilgrimage places) in the country, this is the most famous one, situated in Uttarakhand. The popular Badrinath temple is the main attraction of the city, and a pilgrimage to the place includes many other places, holy rivers and temples in the neighboring areas.
Badrinath Temple, also called Badrinarayan Temple, situated along the Alaknanda river, in the hill town of Badrinath in Uttarakhand state in India, is a Hindu temple dedicated to Vishnu. The temple and town are one of the four Char Dham and Chota Char Dham pilgrimage sites. It is also one of the 108 Divya Desams, holy shrines for Vaishnavites. The temple is open only six months every year (between the end of April and the beginning of November), due to extreme weather conditions in the Himalayan region. The temple is located in Garhwal hill tracks, along the banks of Alakanda river at an elevation of 3,133 m (10,279 ft) above the mean sea level. The temple is one of the most visited pilgrimage centres of India, with a recorded number of visitors of 1,060,000.
The image of the presiding deity worshipped in the temple is a 1 m (3.3 ft) tall statue of Vishnu in the form Badrinarayan, made of black stone. The statue is considered by many Hindus to be one of eight swayam vyakta kshetras, or self-manifested statues of Vishnu.
Mata Murti Ka Mela is the most prominent festival celebrated in Badrinath Temple to commemorate the descent of river Ganga on mother earth. Although Badrinath is located in North India, the head priest, or Rawal, is traditionally a Namboodri Brahmin chosen from the South Indian state of Kerala. The temple was included in the Uttar Pradesh state government Act No. 30/1948 as Act no. 16,1939, which later came to be known as Shri Badarinath and Shri Kedarnath Mandir Act. The committee nominated by the state government administers both the temples that has a total of seventeen members in the board.
The temple finds mention in ancient religious texts like Vishnu Purana and in the works of 5th century poet Kalidasa. The temple is glorified in the Divya Prabandha, the early medieval Tamil canon of the Azhwar saints from the 6th–9th centuries AD. It is one of the 108 Divyadesamdedicated to Vishnu, who is worshipped as Badrinath and his consort Lakshmi as Aravindavalli.