Badrinath is one of the holiest Hindu temples. It's dedicated to god Vishnu. The temple and town are one of the four Char Dham and Chota Char Dham pilgrimage sites. It is also one of the 108 Divya Desams, holy shrines for Vaishnavites.
First established as a pilgrimage site by Adi Shankara in the ninth century, soon rose to prominence in later years. Shankara discovered the image of Badrinarayan in the Alaknanda River and 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.
The temple has undergone several major renovations, due to age and damages by avalanches. 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. It is one of the five Punyakshethras where the Hindus offer Shradddhakarmas-oblations to their 42 line of ancestors from both maternal and paternal side. The other four where Shradddhakarmas are performed are Kashi, Gaya, Prayaga and Rameswaram. It is believed that once the Shraddha Karma is performed here, the descendants have no need to perform the yearly ritual.
This temple being a char dham place, Dhanu, Sinha and Mesh Rashi person should visit once in life here.
Although Badrinath is located in the far north of India, the head priest, or Rawal, is traditionally a Nambudiri Brahmin from the far south of India in Kerala. This tradition was begun by Adi Shankara, who was a Malayali. The Namboothiris are considered to be the most orthodox of all the Brahmins and they consider every other caste as Sudras. The Rawal is assisted by Dimri Pundits belonging to Village Dimmer of Garhwal. Badrinath is one of the few temples in North India that follow the ancient Tantra-Vidhi of Shrauta tradition more common in South India. Devotees of all faiths and all schools of thought of Hinduism visit the place. Many religious heads of various Muths, such as Jeeyar Mutt, Sringeri, Kanchi, Udupi Pejavar and Manthralayam Sri Raghavendra Swamy Muths have their branches/guest houses.
The Rawal-chief priest is selected by erstwhile rulers of Garwhal and Travancore. The Rawal has been accorded high holiness status by Garwhal rifles and also the state governments of Uttarakhand and Uttarapradesh. He is also held in high esteem by Royals of Nepal. For six months in a year, he performs his duties as a temple priest. Thereafter, he either stays in Joshimutt or goes back to his ancestral village in Kerala. The current Rawal belongs to the 27th generation of Badrinath Nambuthiris. The Rawal should not cross the river till Vamana Dwadasi and must be a Brahmachari
Badrinarayan Temple Badrinath
Badrinath is clearly mentioned in religious texts as far back as the Vedic period. Some accounts claim that the temple was built on a former Buddhist temple site.
One legend explains the reason that Vishnu is shown sitting in padmasana, rather than reclining. According to the story, Vishnu was chastised by a sage who saw Vishnu's consort Lakshmi massaging his feet. Vishnu went to Badrinath to perform austerity, meditating for a long time in padmasana. To this day, the area around Badrinath attracts yogis who come for meditation and seclusion.
Another story says that Shiva and Parvati were doing tapas in Badrinath. Vishnu came in disguise as a small boy, crying loudly and disturbing them. Parvati asked the reason for his crying and he replied that he wanted Badrinath for meditation. Shiva and Parvati found that it was Lord Narayan in disguise. They then left Badrinath and moved to Kedarnath.
According to the Bhagavata Purana, "There in Badrikashram the Personality of Godhead-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." The Skanda Purana states that “There are several sacred shrines in heaven, on earth, and in hell; but there is no shrine like Badrinath.” The area around Badrinath was also celebrated in Padma Purana as abounding in spiritual treasures.