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Badrinath Temple of Vishnu

Listed under Sacred Spaces in Uttar Pradesh, India.

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There are several ways in which pilgrimage sites are categorized in Hinduism. One of these concerns the four Dhamas, or the 'abodes' of the gods at the four compass points of India. While no specific legend explains the grouping of these four sites together, they were each highly regarded by the time of the Mahabharata in 500 BC. The four Dhamas are the Krishna temple of Jagannath in Puri, Orissa; the Vishnu temple in Badrinath, Uttar Pradesh; the Shiva temple of Rameshvaram in Tamil Nadu; and the Krishna temple of Dwarka in Gujarat.

The temple of Badrinath, perched above a headstream of the Ganges in the Himalayan Mountains, is at 10,248 feet (3050meters). Because of the extreme cold of the high mountain winter the shrine is only open in the summer months. When the first snows fall the sacred statue of Vishnu is covered in a woolen blanket, the temple is closed and locked, and the priests move down the mountain to the town of Joshimath for the winter. Badrinath has been a well known pilgrimage site for over 2000 years and Buddhist architectural influence in the shrine indicates that Badrinath has also been venerated by Buddhists since early times. Adjacent to the shrine is the hot spring pool of Taptakund in which pilgrims take a dip before worshipping Sri Badrinatha.

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Written by  Martin Gray.

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