Panch Badri: The Soulful Journey of The 5 Temples of the Lord Vishnu
The city of Uttarakhand is blessed with so many magnificent temples that you will find yourself in a knocking dilemma as to which ones to visit. All of them are unique and special in their own way and hold a kind of significance. From the Neelkanth Mahadev Temple to the Jhula Devi Temple, Uttarakhand is laden with enchanting shrines that give this city such a holy atmosphere. Uttarakhand is like an old pilgrim inviting you to his state and offering you a blessing every time you come and spend time here.
While all of the temples in Uttarakhand have a great significance in the past of India, but, the temples that really sit on the epitome are the Panch Badri Temples- which are essentially five major temples dedicated to Lord Vishnu. The temples are located in various hilly regions across Uttarakhand, and the Panch Badri Yatra is one of the most pious, spiritually enriching and religiously calming pilgrimages that one can ever embark on. Every year thousands of pilgrim take this journey and visit all the five temples of Lord Vishnu.
The five temples are- Vishal Badri, Yogdhyan Badri, Bhavishya Badri, Vridha Badri, and Adi Badri.
The word Badri is common in all of the temples since it is another name of Lord Vishnu. Lord Vishnu is one of the most prevalent and important Gods of the Hindu Religion. Lord Rama, Lord Krishna, Gautam Buddha, are all said to be the reincarnation of Lord Vishnu. He is the one who is responsible for protecting, preserving an sustaining life on Earth.
India is filled with Vishnu Temples, and in every state, you might just find one beautiful Vishnu Shrine. However, the Panch Badri is something so different and so important that you will find yourself admiring the whole journey and not just the temples. It holds a different kind of pedestal in the Indian Religious scenario.
Also known as the Badrinath Temple, this temple is as magnificent as the view that it commands. Nestled amongst the snow-laden Himalayan mountains in Chamoli, this temple is said to be one of the most important and significant temples of Panch Badri. It is said, that in Lord Vishnu, as of now has made this his present abode. This temple is frequented by millions of saffron-clad pilgrims all around the year. Many believe that from here Lord Vishnu is pulling the strings and ensuring everything is in order on the earth.
The architecture of this beautiful temple is different from all the other temples. Decked with colorful arches and pillars, this temple looks radiant among its surroundings. The golden roof just sparkles when the sun gently falls on it, and everything around it just seems holy by its mere presence. It truly feels that Lord Vishnu himself has made the temple glitter with an aura that remains unmatched by anything else.
Vishal Badri is located in the Upper Himalayas, which makes it inaccessible during the harsh winter months that usher in a lot of snowfall. During this time, the stone craved idols of Lord Vishnu are shifted to Yogdhyan Badri in Pandukeshwa.
The name of the temple- Yogdhyan- means mediating, which alludes to the fact that Lord Vishnu in this temple is in a meditative state.
The village of Pandukeshwa also has had its brush with Indian religion and myth, since this was the temple where the father of Pandavas had lived and mediated with full dedication to free himself of the curse that had been put on him. In the tale of Mahabharata, it was Lord Vishnu, who came to Pandu after his mediation- the names Pandukeshwa and Yodhyan remained,
The journey to reach this sacred place is especially intoxicating. The place is filled with a sense of serenity which chills your spine and refreshes your mind. If you are not swayed by the spirituality that this temple is imbued with, you will certainly be swayed away by the breathtaking views of the mountains and the mesmerizing Surya Kund.
It is said to be the next abode of Lord Vishnu, and almost alluding to that is the very fact that the temple is aptly named Bhavishya which means Future. According to the popular legends, the next era will see Lord Vishnu making this his new seat as the two monitions Nar and Narayan will break and block all paths to Badrinath Temple.
If you want to visit this temple, you have to pass through some tantalizing forests and trek almost 6 km to reach The Next Abode Of Lord Vishnu.
Before Badrinath Temple was built, the old and rustic idols of Lord Vishnu was kept at this temple. Yet, even after the advent of the Badrinath Temple, this shrine has not lost his past charm and many devotees still flock here to offer their prayers and devotion. The temple is not grand and sits modestly with an idol of Lord Vishnu which shows him as an old man. There are several stories that believe that the idol had floated away with the river, but was rediscovered many years later. The shrine still as an insane magnetic and magical pull that attracts devotees and visitors alike. It has a queer way of putting your mind to ease and fill you with an overbearing sense of devotion.
The yesteryear abode of Lord Vishnu is also rightly named as Adi since Adi means the past or an era gone by. On this route, you will actually find about 16 small shrines, and the tallest one belongs to Lord Vishnu. The other temples leading up to the tall Vishnu Temple give a sense of mystic to the atmosphere.
While the temple itself still vibrates and echoes with the kind of devotion it once commanded, the surrounding to is frequented by trekker and adventure seekers. Many rejuvenating and refreshing trails start from here.