Being located at around seven kilometers away from the mystical town of Joshimath, at the site of Animath is the direction where Pipalkoti before Helang was the place where a number of centuries enshrined Badrinath’s idol and the image was worshipped. Later on the idol came to be known as Vridha Badari or the First Badari which was enshrined within the ancient temple.
The site of Vridha Badri which is also spelled as the Bridha Badri or Vriddha Badri was an austere shrine which is situated in the village of Animath 1,380 mts or 4350 ft. The name of this site is derived from the legend that says Lord Vishnu appeared in this site in the disguise of an old man (Vridha) before the sage Narada which also performed penance in here. Thus, the idol which was installed in this temple took the form of an old man. According to the legend, the Badrinath image was carved by the hands of divine craftsman Vishwakarma and he was also worshipped in this place. During the beginning of Kali Yuga, Lord Vishnu thought of removing himself through this place and later on Adi Shankara also found the partially damaged image in the Narad-kund pond and later it was established it at the site of central Badrinath.
Legend says that Adi Shankaracharya worshipped Lord Badrinath in this place prior to his enshrinement in the temple of Badrinath. The temple of Vridha Badari remains open year wide and Brahmins from South India also serve as the temple’s chief priest.
How To Reach
By Air: The nearest airport to the town of Joshimath is the Jolly Grant Airport which is at a distance of about 270 kms. Daily flights are available to the Jolly Grant Airport.
By Rail: The nearest rail head is the Dehradun railway station from where travellers can get daily trains to Delhi and other places. Dehradun railway station lies at a distance of about 250 kms from the town of Joshimath.
By Road: Travellers can reach Joshimath through the Dehradun Karnaprayag route or Kathgodam – Gwaldam – Karnaprayag route. Travellers can board buses and taxis from Dehradun to Joshimath and for someone who wishes to experience scenic beauty on a long drive can select the Kathgodam route with their own private vehicle.