The COVID-19 pandemic has seen many public places like parks, restaurants, temples, mosques and churches down their shutters for a long time. With the government agreeing to places of worship being opened once again, though not in containment zones, there could be a huge surge of people visiting them. One such place of worship, which is famous among Hindu devotees, is the Badrinath Temple. Also Read - As Temples Reopen, Former Delhi BJP Chief Manoj Tiwari Offers Prayers at Famous 'Hanuman Mandir'

The Badrinath Temple is located in the Indian state of Uttarakhand, and it is dedicated to Lord Vishnu. Opened for six months every year, that is between the end of April and the beginning of November, due to the extreme weather conditions, it forms one of the four Char Dham and Chota Char Dham pilgrimage sites. Also Read - As Nation Begins 'Unlocking', Golden Temple Reopens For Devotees | Watch

Architecture:

The temple consists of a Garbhagriha (sanctum), a Darshan Mandap (worship hall), and a Sabha Mandap (convention hall). It is built of stone and has a wide stairway that leads up to the main entrance where a tall archway stands as its gates. It has a small cupola on top which is painted in mustard yellow with red and blue trimmings, and intricate carvings on its walls and pillars. Once you step inside, you come to a pillared hall that leads to the sanctum. Also Read - Unlock 1: Shopping Malls, Restaurants And Temples All Set to Reopen From Monday | List of Dos And Don'ts Here

It is located in the Garhwal hill tracks of the Himalayan region in the Chamoli district along the banks of Alaknanda River. Set at an elevation of 10,279 feet above the mean sea level, it contains a one foot black stone statue of Vishnu in the form of Badrinarayan. The statue holds a conch and a wheel in two of its hands, while two other arms rest on its lap in a Padmasana posture. Hindu devotees consider it to be one of eight self-manifested statues of Vishnu.

History:

Not much is known about when the temple was built as there are no historical records, but Vedic scriptures (c. 1750–500 BC) do mention about the presiding deity Badrinath. Some accounts say that it was a Buddhist shrine till the 8th century and was converted into a Hindu temple Adi Shankara.

Legends:

There are two legends behind Badrinath Temple, one, as per Hindu legend, is that Vishnu sat in meditation at the location, unaware of the cold weather. His consort, Lakshmi, protected him from the harsh weather in the form of the Badri tree, and pleased with her devotion, he named the place Badrika Ashram.

Another legend, narrated by Vishnu Purana, states that Nar and Narayan, both sons of Dharam chose the place to spread their religion. While searching for a place to set up a hermitage, they came across the other four Badris of the Pancha Badri, namely Dhyan Badri, Bridha Badri, Bhavish Badri and Yog Bhadri. After finding the hot and cold spring behind the Alaknanda River and named it Badri Vishal.

Badrinath temple attracts a number of visitors each year, and it is one of the most visited pilgrimage centers of India. The most prominent festival that is celebrated here is the Mata Murti Ka Melawhich commemorates the descent of river Ganges on mother earth.