Joshimath, also known as Jyotirmath, is a part of the Chamoli district of the newly formed state, Uttaranchal, India. It is a gateway to several adventurous mountaineering expeditions, trekking trails, pilgrimages such as Badrinath and the Guru Gobind Ghat or the Valley of Flowers National Park. It has one of the four cardinal peethas established by Jagatguru Shankaracharya, while the others are located in Shringeri, Puri and Dwaraka. The math is believed to be in charge of Atharvaveda. The nearest railway station to Joshimath is at Rishikesh, 251 kilometers from the town. According to the ancient Hindu scriptures, this place was also known as ‘Kartikeyapura’.
The following are some of the ancient temples to visit in the holy town of Joshimath:
This temple is home to Lord Badrinarayan and several other deities accompany him, in this abode. This is a temple dedicated to Lord Narasimha, an incarnation of Vishnu, established by Adi Guru Shankaracharya. It is one of the 108 temples, known as ‘Divya Desams’, of Lord Vishnu. It is the oldest and main temple of the God. It is said that the right hand of the statue of Lord Narasimha is becoming thinner and at present is as thin as hair! On the breaking day, a landslide will close down the access to the Badrinath shrine. The Jay and Vijay mountains will unite and become one and Lord Badrinath will appear as Shaligram in the Bhavishya Badri Temple. For 6 months in winters, Lord Badrinath is worshipped in this temple.
This math was established by Adi Guru Shankaracharya. It is a temple dedicated to Lord Badrinarayan and Rajrajeshwari Devi. There is also a cave attached to this temple, where Shankaracharya had performed meditation.
Bhavishya Kedar Temple
There is a small shivling worshipped in this temple. It is distanced at 10 kilometers from Joshimath. According to the above mentioned myth, Lord Badrinath will re-appear at this temple, in the form of Shaligram.
Located 10 kilometers from Joshimath, Tapovan has a beautiful view of the Dhauliganga River. It has natural hot water springs in its vicinity.
The ropeway from Joshimath to Auli is Asia’s longest and highest ropeway. Tourists and locals go there for an excursion trip. It is a famous skiing and paragliding destination.
Joshimath was named Kartikeyapura after the God of the Katyuri kings, Kartikeya. Alaknanda and Dhauliganga rivers meet at Vishnu Prayag, which lies below Joshimath. The ideal time to go trekking on the trails of Joshimath, is in the months of July and August only. There are several other temples in Joshimath dedicated to Hanuman, Gaurishankar, Ganesha, Naudevi and Surya. The oldest tree ‘kalpavriksha’ also stands high at the grounds of Joshimath, from the time of Adi Guru Shankaracharya, dating back to the 8th Century. The view of the majestic Hathi Parbat has a mystifying effect on the spectator. A sacred jyotirlinga of Lord Shiva is also located in Joshimath, which is the reason why it is also known as Jyotirmath.