Badrinath is a Hindu holy city and a Nagar panchayat in Chamoli district in the state of Uttarakhand, India. Badrinath Temple situated at an altitude of 11204 feet (3415 m) in the shadow of the Neelkanth Peak and is a sacred Hindu shrine situated on the banks of the Alaknanda River, amidst the Nar-Narayan hills.
From Rishikesh down there is a journey uphill with high winding turns of roads clinging precariously to the sides of the hills with deep valleys. Badrinath is 300 km from Rishikesh and at an altitude of 10,000 feet, it situated between two hills of Nar Parvat, a man’s mountain, and Narayan Parvat, the God’s mountain. The site is an ancient one, mentioned in the Srimad Bhagavatam as the place chosen by the sages for their ashrams where they composed many of the sacred texts of the Vedas. It also called Narada Kshetram because Narada Rishi attained salvation here.
One of the myths of Badrinath tries to explain the unusual symbol of Vishnu in the temple. The weathered black stone idol seated in a yogic, cross-legged Padmasana posture commonly seen in the symbol of a meditating Shiva and Buddha. According to the story, once the Lord allowed his wife Lakshmi to massage his feet and punished by a sage for such worldly pleasures. An ascetic Vishnu fled to Badrinath and began to meditate in the yoga posture of Padmasana. He eventually abandoned his ascetic path at the request of Lakshmi, but on the condition that the Badrinath region remained a valley reserved for meditating ascetics.
Legend has it that an ancient Vishnu temple standing here destroyed 1200 years ago. The original temple dates back to the 8th century when the peripatetic sage Swami Shankaracharya arrived here after traveling across India. His journey had started in Kerala and he had come here to meet a famous scholar named Badrayana, who wrote the Vedanta Sutras. Shankaracharya wrote a commentary, commentary on the text. At Badrinath he and his disciple Padmapadacharya established first maath, a Vidya Mahavidyalaya, and then the temple. Even today the priests of the temple come from the Brahmin community of Rawal Namboodiris of Kerala.