Badarinath Dham is considered as one of the most sacred centres of pilgrimage situated in the lofty Himalayan heights in the Garhwal hill tracks (Uttarakhand) at the height of 10,248 feet above sea level. The route to Badarinath is one of the most fascinating one due to the lofty hilly terrain, curves and cliffs amidst the most scenically beautiful place on the earth.
Throughout the route to Badarinath there are numerous pilgrimage sites at Deo Prayag, Rudraprayag, Karana Prayag, Nanda Prayag, and Vishnuprayag; as well as Pandukeswar where king Pandu observed Tapasya with his queen Madri and where his sons Pandavas stayed during their pilgrimage to heaven, and the site where Bhima and Hanuman (sons of Vayu) met.
At Badarinath Lord MahaVishnu is believed to have done his penance. Seeing the Lord doing his penance in the open, Goddess Mahalaxmi is believed to have assumed the form of Badari tree to provide him shelter to face the onslaught of the adverse weather conditions, therefore the name Badari Narayan. It is believed that Lord Vishnu revealed to Narad rishi that Nar & Naryans forms were his own. It is also believed that Narad rishi, who also did his penance here, is even now worshipping the supreme God in the form of Nar and Narayan with Ashtakshara mantras.
The Celestial Jyotirlingam, Lord Shiva manifested in the form of Jyotirlingam or the cosmic light. Kedarnath is highest among the 12 Jyotirlingas. This ancient and magnificient temple is located in the Rudra Himalaya range. This temple, over a thousand years old is built of massive stone slabs over a large rectangular platform. Ascending through the large gray steps leading to the holy sanctums we find inscriptions in Pali on the steps. The present temple was built by Adi Shankaracharya.The inner walls of the temple sanctum are adorned with figures of various deities and scenes from mythology. The origin of the revered temple can be found in the great epic - Mahabharata. According to legends, the Pandavas sought the blessings of lord Shiva to atone their sin after the battle of Mahabharata. Lord Shiva eluded them repeatedly and while fleeing took refuge at Kedarnath in the form of a bull. On being followed, he dived into ground leaving behind his hump on the surface. Outside the temple door a large statue of the Nandi Bull stands as guard. A conical rock formation inside the temple is worshipped as Lord Shiva in his Sadashiva form. The temple, believed to be very ancient, has been continually renovated over the centuries. It is situated at an altitude of 3,581 mt. It is a 14 km trek from Gaurikund.
The shrine of Gangotri situated at an altitude of 3042 m above sea level amidst captivating surroundings, along the right bank of Bhagirathi is 100 km from Uttarkashi. The temple was constructed in the early 18th century by a Gorkha Commander Amar Singh Thapa. The existing temple is said to be the one reconstructed by the Jaipur dynasty. Every year hundred thousands of pilgrims throng the sacred shrine between May & October.
The Shrine of Yamunotri at the source of river Yamuna is the western - most shrine in the Garhwal Himalayas. Atop is a flank of Bandar Poonch peak (3615 m). The actual source, a frozen lake of ice and glacier (Champasar Glacier) located on the Kalind Mountain at the height of 4421 m above sea level is about 1 km further up is not easily accessible. Hence the shrine has been located on the foot of the hill. The Temple of divine mother Yamuna was built by Maharaja Pratap Shah of Tehri Garhwal. The tiny Yamuna has icy cold water and its absolute innocence & the infantile purity heightens that deep feeling of reverence, which Yamunotri has for the devout. According to the legend ancient sage Asit Muni had his hermitage here. The trek to Yamunotri is truly spectacular, dominated by a panorama of rugged peaks and dense forests.