Joshimath, which is also known as Jyotirmath, is a sacred place in the state of Uttarakhand. It is the winter seat of Lord Badri and is highly revered due to the fact that Adi Shankaracharya established one of the four ‘Maths’ here in the 8th century. He witnessed the holy Kalpvriksha, which is believed to be more than 1200 years old. There are several temples in the city, primary of them being devoted to Narsimha and Gaurishankar, which attracts lakhs of devotees here annually. This establishes the city as one of the most significant cities of Uttarakhand for pilgrims. Thus, temples are the key places to visit in Joshimath.
The city of Joshimath is also the pivot of activities such as mountain climbing, trekking, and other exciting happenings for people who like the pump of adrenaline. This is also the starting point of one of the most scenic places in Uttarakhand, the Valley of Flowers. One is also required to cross the city of Joshimath to reach Hemkund. Also, the city of Auli, which is a popular destination for skiing, is very close to Joshimath, and several travelers treat this as their relaxing spot. It serves as the gate to Malari and Niti Valley, the landscapes of which are strikingly similar to Ladakh. One may catch alluring views of the Himalayas from the city, and it is filled with rich flora and fauna all across.
While every part of the land in Joshimath is a pleasant experience, like many other hill stations, there are several places that you should definitely visit when you’re in the city. Let us find out which are these places and what are the most important activities here.
One of the most popular attractions of the city, Ropeway connects the town with Auli. It is known to be the longest ropeway in Asia and attracts the attention of thousands of visitors annually. Ropeway services are only available in the summers and the ticket prices for 1 person can go up to Rs. 500. Of course, the experience is very rewarding as one can see snow-clad mountains and lush green surroundings on the way to Auli on the ropeway.
Some very interesting treks have their starting points as Joshimath. Trekking trails to Kuari Pass, Valley of Flowers, Bagini Glacier, and several others start from Joshimath or nearby areas. The most popular among these is the Valley of Flowers trek. The treks originating here belong to all categories from easy to difficult and maybe tried by people of all ages, considering their medical conditions.
Lord Narsingh is the presiding deity who is worshipped by many locals as well as people who reside in the neighborhood areas. The temple is believed to be the home of Lord Badrinath. It is popularly believed that Lord Narshingh is an incarnation of Lord Vishnu. The idol of Lord Narsingh is said to be installed by Shankaracharya himself in this temple.
The holy tree of Kalpavriksha is said to be more than 1200 years old. It has a great history and is a revered sight in the city of Joshimath. Hindu scriptures suggest that Lord Shankaracharya worshipped Lord Shiva at the base of the mulberry tree. Thus, there is a temple at the base of the tree, which is known as Jyoteshwar Mahadev Temple, and it is dedicated to Lord Shiva. The Kalpavriksha tree is one of the oldest trees existing in India. It is said that the tree grants wishes because of which there are several people who visit the tree to make their wish come true. The temple of Lord Shiva, which exists at the base of the tree, is quite simple, yet charming. It is also possible for visitors to witness the cave in which Shankaracharya lived for a short duration.
The magical confluence of the Alaknanda and Dhauliganga is in a pristine location which is known by the name Vishnuprayag. There are numerous Ashrams in this place, as well as the Vishnuprayag Temple, which is highly revered. Vishnuprayag is also popular for river rafting, offering ferocious waves in the water and greenery all around it. Vishnuprayag is one of the Panch Prayags, and is a natural phenomenon. It is believed that Lord Vishnu appeared at this spot to give his blessings to Rishimuni Narad, and that is how Vishnuprayag got its name. Vishnuprayag is located right in the lap of the mountains and is a must-visit place for adventure enthusiasts as well as devotees.
There are several points in and around the city of Joshimath where one can take up camping. Apart from camping just for fun, pilgrims also camp near Joshimath during their Chardham Yatra on their way to Badrinath. Vasundhara Waterfall is another interesting area where tourists can choose to set up a camp.
This temple is especially known for its architecture. It is located approximately 6 km from the main city center on the Rishikesh highway.
Riding a bike in the mountains is such an exhilarating experience that it cannot be matched by another. There are roads with different terrains leading from Joshimath and during the journey, one gets a chance to experience this. One can bring own bike or rent a motorcycle from the different options available here.
Joshimath experiences pleasant summers and chilly winters. The winters bring along with it heavy snowfall, and tourists visit the place to experience the lovely weather during this time. Summer is the right time to visit if one expects to take part in some interesting activities like trekking and camping. Sightseeing is also best done during the summers when the sky is clear and temperatures are low enough to take a stroll around the city.
On the hottest days, Joshimath experiences temperatures of not more than 26 or 27 degrees. Monsoons let the city to cool down further, and temperatures fall to under 15-degrees Celsius. The rains are heavy in this part of the country, and there are chances of a roadblock. So, if you’re willing to travel during monsoons, you should keep a day or 2 extra in the itinerary. During the winters, the city experiences sub-zero temperatures. However, tourists hoard Joshimath even in December and January as they visit to witness snowfall. Yet again, tourists are advised to keep a couple of days extra in their itinerary to make up for any inconvenience caused due to the weather.
There are several means of transport if you’re willing to visit Joshimath. However, the last leg of the journey can only be done by bus. Here are the options you have via different modes.
By Air: Jolly Grant Airport in Dehradun is the nearest airport from Joshimath and it takes approx. 9 hours to cover the 270 km by road. Hence, it is a good idea if you consider a taxi or take a bus.
By Rail: The nearest railway stations from Joshimath are in Haridwar and Rishikesh at distances of 277 km and 250 km respectively. It is again an overnight journey from these 2 cities and one can decide to take a taxi or board a bus.
By Road: The National Highway 58 connects Joshimath with other cities of the state. It is also well connected with Delhi, and one can get taxis easily for the to and fro journey.
There are several places that one can visit around the city of Joshimath. Almost all of these are scenic, and some have pilgrimage value. It is the perfect place to relax and get away from the hustle and bustle of city life. During your stay at Joshimath, here are some of the nearby areas where you can visit over the weekend.
Badrinath Temple: It is located at a distance of approximately 45 km and can be reached in just over an hour. The temple is part of the Chardham Yatra, and witnesses lakhs of devotees every year. It is dedicated to Lord Vishnu in his incarnation as Badri.
Valley of Flowers: This is one of the most picturesque regions in the whole of Uttarakhand. Located just at a distance of 20 km from Joshimath, Valley of Flowers has a huge variety of flora as is indicated by the name. There are also several wild animals to be witnessed during the trek in this beautiful backdrop.
Joshimath is the central point to many places that are worth every minute spent in this heavenly abode. There are waterfalls, lakes, towering mountains, national parks and, of course, pilgrim sites. This is certainly the perfect plan for a family outing. However, because of the numerous activity options available here, young tourists have been attracted to the area as well. In a nutshell, it is a certain choice on the bucket list of every traveler willing to explore North India.
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