Badrinath, the seat of the god Vishnu in his aspect of Badrinarayan, is the most important of the four sites in India's Char Dham pilgrimage. The route to Badrinath is one of the most arduous one due to the lofty hilly Himalaya terrain, curves and cliffs amidst the most scenically beautiful place on the earth.
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. In recent years its popularity has increased significantly, with an estimated 600,000 pilgrims visiting during the 2006 season, compared to 90,676 in 1961. 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. According to the Bhagavata Purana, "There in Badrikashram 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)
Located only 24 kilometers from the Indo-China (Tibet) border, Badrinath is generally a one dayjourney from either Kedarnath, the site that precedes it in the Char Dham circuit, or one of the main disembarkation points on the plains. The temple and its surrounding village are accessible by road. The best time to visit Badrinath is between June and September.
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