Badrinath is considered the holiest of the four main shrines of Uttarakhand. The town, situated on the left bank of the Alaknanda, is equidistant from the Twin Mountains of Nara and Narayan. Badrinath Temple is on the itinerary of every devout Hindu. The place is also known as Badri Van after the forest of Badri trees, which grow here. The present temple was built about two centuries ago by the kings of Garhwal. The principal idol in the temple is of black stone and represents Vishnu seated in a meditative pose, and flanked by Nara-Narayan. Badrinath is also known as Vishal Badri and is one of the Panch Badris.
The Badrinath temple remains closed from October to April due to severe winter conditions. During this period the idols of Utsavo Murti are taken to Pandukeshwar. It is said that 'There are many sacred spots of pilgrimage in the heavens, earth and the nether world, but there has been none equal to Badri, nor shall there be'
The temple shows an unmistakable resemblance to Buddhist shrines. In front of the temple is the Tapt Kund, a tank where the Alaknanda and Rishi Ganga rivers meet. It is a hot water spring with medicinal properties.