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The word 'Jyotirmath' literally means the place of Jyotirlinga of Shiva. It is here, Adi Guru Sri Shankaracharya founded ‘Jyotir Math’ along with the others at Sringeri, Puri, & Dwarka for sanyashis in 8th century. Since, it is also close to Badrinath Town, it acts as a halting place for the pilgrims bound for Badrinath. It is considered to be one of the most sacred places by Hindus who believes that Badrinath (The God Vishnu) resides here in winter. Joshimath is described in the ancient scriptures as Kartikeyapura as it has been named after Kartikeya, the God of Katyuri kings.
During winters, the town becomes home of the Lord Badri, who are brought down from Badrinath to Vasudeva temple at Joshimath.
There are many temples and other religious sites that are located in the town as well dedicated to Hanuman, Gaurishankar, Ganesha, and Naudevi and Surya.
Joshimath is the also the home of the oldest tree of India, Kalpavriksha a mythological, wish-fulfilling divine tree, which is stood at Joshimath from the time of Adi Shankaracharya.
The rivers Alkananda and Dhauliganga meet at the confluence of Vishnuprayag located just below Joshimath. Joshimath also offers splendors of scenic of Hathi Parvat and other Himalayan Peaks. It is also the entrance point of Malari and Niti Valley, which has very similar vegetation and mountains as in Leh-Ladakh and Spiti region.
Best season to visit Joshimath is during summers (July and August) as the climate is pleasant. The region witnesses heavy snowfall and rainfall during winters and monsoons, respectively.
Trekking Around Joshimath
Joshimath is the base for the trekking expedition to the famous Valley of Flowers and Hemkund. The valley becomes accessible from late April onwards. Following are the two routes that can be taken:-
Joshimath - Govindghat - Ghangaria - Valley of Flowers
Joshimath - Govindghat - Ghangaria - Hemkund
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Places to visit near Joshimath
It is the main attraction of Joshimath. The temple is dedicated to Narshimsha, an incarnation of Vishnu. The main diety of Narasimha is made out of the Shaligram stone, in the 8th century during the reign of king Lalitaditya Yukta Pida of Kashmir. According to locals belief, an arm of the idol of this deity is said to be thinning daily and will finally fall off. It is believed that when it breaks, the mountains of Jay-Vijay (which are situated on a way to Badrinath) will fall and the main shrine of Badrinath will be closed to the world and Lord Badrinath will re-appear as a black stone at a new place called Bhavishya Badri, which is 10 km from Joshimath. Besides the idol of Lord Vishnu, the temple also has an image of Badrinath and brass idols of Lord Rama and Sita are also placed in a roofed building inside the temple.
It is situated very close to Narsimha Temple. Dedicated to Vasudeva, an incarnation of Lord Vishnu, the temple is considered to be one of the most sacred in northern India. It is here, during winter, the Lord Badri is brought down and all the daily rituals connected with worship are performed.
It is situated just 10 km from Joshimath. It has natural hot water springs and also offers a fanastic view of river Dhauliganga.
Nanda Devi National Park
It is situated at a distance of around 24 km from Joshimath. Spread over an area of 630sq.km, the park was established in 1980 and declared a National Park in1982. Declared as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in the year 1988, it is dominated by the Peak Nanda Devi (second highest peak in India ) which rises to over 7,800 m.