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Pandukeshwar: Winter Abode Of Lord Badrinath

Pandukeshwar village landscape

In the serene embrace of the Vishnu Ganga valley, a mere 23 kilometers downstream from the sacred sanctuary of Badrinath, lies the unassuming town of Pandukeshwar. With the onset of winter, as the chill in the air intensifies, and the first snowflakes descend, a unique ritual unfolds in this tranquil hamlet. Following a grand ceremony, the gates of Badrinath Dham are closed, and mobile images of Kubera (Lord Badrinath’s treasurer) and Uddhava (His childhood friend), as representatives of Lord Badri, embark on a regal procession to Pandukeshwar, their winter seat.

Pandukeshwar village landscape
Landscape of the village in the Himalayas

Pandukeshwar – Winter Abode of Lord Badrinath

In April, just before the onset of the Char-Dham yatra season slated for early May, my expedition brought me to the enchanting hamlet. Following an overnight stay in Joshimath, a once-vibrant town now grappling with the challenge of land sinking, we embarked on the next day for Pandukeshwar. Traveling on the highway to Badrinath, a narrow rugged path on the right led downward with a board announcing the sacred temple complex. After parking the car along the highway, we descended a series of substantial stairs, roughly carved into the mountain, guiding us toward the dense village of Pandukeshwar.

Nestled along the Alakananda River, the village resonated with the gushing of the river Alakananda (also called Vishnu Ganga). The temple complex housing the images of Kubera and Uddhava is a small, ancient site with two adjacent temples. Mainly Yog Dhyan Badri temple and the adjoining Vasudev temple.

Temple in the villageTemple in the village
Stone temple in the village


The priest of Badrinath Dham belongs to the Dimri clan of Brahmins and oversees its management. They assist the chief Rawal, who hails from Kerala. When the temple gates are closed in winter, he returns to his native place. While the Dimri Brahmins descend to Pandukeshwar and Joshimath. During our visit, Kubera and Uddhava were on a ritual tour of a nearby village, bestowing their blessings upon the villagers. We offered our worship to Lord Narayana, the presiding deity of the temple complex. We engaged in a meaningful conversation with the chief priest, unraveling the mythological significance of the town and its relation to Badrinath.


This small hamlet’s roots intertwining with the Mahabharata narrative holds great mythological and historical significance. Legend has it that King Pandu, father of the Pandavas, incurred a curse…

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