Badrinath Temple is one of the holiest Hindu shrines in India. It is situated in the hill town of Badrinath in the Chamoli district of Uttarakhand state. Along the river Alaknanda, the temple is essentially a Lord Vishnu shrine. Also known by the names Badri Vishal and Badrinarayan, it is one of the Char Dham sites and the one amongst 108 Divya Desams. This has contributed to the fact that Badrinath is vital with reference to travel and tourism. The gates of the temple are open only for a period of six months, due to extreme weather conditions in Himalayas. There are a number of hot water pools here namely Tapt Kund, Narad Kund etc. These pools are filled with hot steaming water in the winter months also and are considered to posses medicinal properties. Many people even perform the last rites of the departed souls at Brahm Kapal. It is a flat platform on the banks of river Alaknanda. Sheshnetra and Chandrapaduka are other rock boulders present along the river, which are believed to have footprints of Shesh Nag and Lord Vishnu. Another important temple here is the Mata Murti Temple. These temples are also considered as evidences of the rich historical past of Badrinath. Referring the mythological facts, it is believed that Lord Vishnu was practicing penance at this place. In order to save him from the harmful rays of the sun, his divine consort Lakshmi took the form of a Badri plant and provided shade to him. Pleased by her fervor and devotion, the Lord told her that this place would be famous by her name. Hence, it came to be known as Badrinath. Splashed by Alaknanda, the divine site serves as an ideal location to experience the eternal bliss associated with spirituality.
The Badrinath temple is the main attraction in the town. According to legend Shankara discovered a black stone image of Lord Badrinarayan made of Saligram stone in the Alaknanda. He originally enshrined it in a cave near the Tapt Kund hot springs.In the sixteenth century, the King of Garhwal moved the murti to the present temple. River
The temple has undergone several major renovations because of age and damage by avalanche. In the 17th century, the temple was expanded by the kings of Garhwal. After significant damage in the great 1803 Himalayan earthquake, it was rebuilt by the King of Jaipur.
The temple is approximately 50 ft (15 metres) tall with a small cupola on top, covered with a gold gilt roof.The facade is built of stone, with arched windows. A broad stairway leads up to a tall arched gateway, which is the main entrance. The architecture resembles a Buddhist vihara (temple), with the brightly painted facade also more typical of Buddhist temples. Just inside is the mandapa, a large pillared hall that leads to the garbha grha, or main shrine area. The walls and pillars of the mandapa are covered with intricate carvings.