Tourists, both foreign and local, flock to the temple of Badrinath, which was built by Adiguru Shankaracharya in the early ninth century AD. This acclaimed abode of Lord Vishnu is one of North India's "Four Holy Temple Cities" or dhams along with Puri, Rameswaram and Dwaraka. Badrinath is also known as Tapobhumi (land of meditation and penance) and Bhubaikunth (heaven on earth). It is situated at an altitude of 3133 meters above sea level. Besides the main temple itself, the entrance to the shrine is of special significance. The temple of Badrinathji remains closed from October to April due to the winter snow, when temperatures fall to sub-zero degrees.
Before entering the temple itself, the pilgrims take a holy dip in the Tapt Kund, where there are thermal springs with natural curative properties. It is supposed to be the abode of Agni, the Hindu God of fire. Other famous natural spring sites are Narad Kund and Surya Kund.
The pilgrims generally perform the rites of remembrance and reverence for the departed souls of their near ones in the Brahma Kapal, a flat platform on the banks of the river Alakananda. A rock boulder with the impression of Sheshnag, a mythological serpent, called Sheshnetra, is also a place to visit. The footprints of Lord Vishnu are present on a boulder called Charanpaduka, and are of religious significance. Another important temple is the Mata Murti temple, dedicated to the mother of Badrinathji.
The origin of Alakananda River, Alka Puri, is of special interest to the daring tourists. Satopanth, a triangular lake, is located at a height of 4402 meters above the sea level and is one of the sources of the Alakananda River. It is named after the Hindu trinity-Lord Brahma, Lord Vishnu and Lord Shiva.
At the convergence of the rivers, there are pilgrim sites that are collectively called the Panch Prayag. Devprayag, at the confluence of Bhagirathi and Alakananda, is famous for its rock inscriptions and the temples dedicated to Lord Shiva and Raghunath. Rudraprayag, at the meeting point of Alakananda and Mandakani, is known for the Rudranath and Chamunda Devi temples. Nandaprayag is known for the Gopalji temple. Karnaprayag is the confluence of Alakananda and Pindar rivers and is famous for its temples dedicated to Uma and Karna. The fifth pilgrimage spot is Vishnuprayag, at the confluence of Alakananda and Dhauliganga, where there is a very ancient temple dedicated to Lord Vishnu, besides the pool of Vishnu Kund.
Another pilgrim site is the Panch Badri. Yogadhyan Badri, where there is a meditative idol of Lord Vishnu, Bhavishya Badri, where there are forests nearby, Adi Badri, where there are 16 temples and one big temple of Lord Vishnu.