Anil Ambani’s offer to Badrinath in Uttarakhand

Dehra Dun : With the Badrinath shrine in the Garhwal Himalayas of Uttarakhand at a height of over 3400 metres on the banks of the Alaknanda river, slowly but surely spreading its influence over devotees across the country, the corporate houses are also giving due attention to this shrine dedicated to Lord Vishnu.

Tapt Kund hot springs next to Badrinath Temple, enclosed inside bath house.

None other than well known industrialist and one of the richest persons in the country, Anil Ambani from the house of Reliance has offered to meet the expenses of the sandal wood and saffron that will be applied to the deity. For this he will be giving the Badri-Kedar Temple Committee a sum of Rs 50 lakhs to meet the expenses for the year.

It may be recalled that last year on April 29, when the doors of the Badrinath shrine opened for the pilgrims, Anil Ambani was amongst the first devouts to be present and have darshan. After darshan, he met the chief executive officer of the Committee, B D Singh, and offered the saffron and sandal wood for the current pilgrim season.

Informed sources told Hill Post that about five quintals of sandal wood and five kilograms of saffron are used by the temple every year and this is one of the major expenses that is incurred by the temple committee. The saffron is procured from Karnataka, while the saffron is got from Jammu and Kashmir.

Adi Shankara with disciples, by Raja Ravivarma,1904Badrinath, was re-established as a major pilgrimage site by Adi Shankara in the ninth century. In recent years its popularity has increased significantly, with an estimated lakhs of pilgrims visiting during the last season, compared to 90,676 in 1961. According to the Bhagavata Purana, “There in Badrikashram the supreme being (Vishnu), in his incarnation as the sages Nara and Narayana, had been undergoing great penance since time immemorial for the welfare of all living entities.”

The Badrinath temple is the main attraction in the town. According to legend Shankara discovered a black stone image of Lord Badrinarayan made of Saligram stone in the Alaknanda River. He originally enshrined it in a cave near the Tapt Kund hot springs.  In the sixteenth century, the King of Garhwal moved the idol to the present temple.

The temple has undergone several major renovations because of age and damage by avalanche. In the 17th century, the temple was expanded by the kings of Garhwal. After significant damage in the great 1803 Himalayan earthquake, it was rebuilt by the King of Jaipur.

The mountains around Badrinath are mentioned in the Mahabharata, as the place where the Pandavas are said to have ended their life by ascending the slopes of a peak in western Garhwal called Swargarohini – literally, the ‘Ascent to Heaven’. Local legend has it that the Pandavas passed through Badrinath and the village of Mana, about four kms north of Badrinath, on their way to heaven. There is also a cave in Mana where Vyasa, according to legend, wrote the Mahabharata.

A journalist with over 40 years of experience, Jagdish Bhatt is Editor (Uttarakhand) at Himachal Media. Jagdish has worked with India's leading English dailies, which include Times of India, Indian Express, Pioneer and several other reputed publications. A highly acclaimed journalist, Jagdish is a recipient of many awards, latest being the 2011 Development Journalism Award. He lives in Dehra Dun.

4 Comments

  • Reply March 18, 2013

    Lt Gen Dr Mohan Bhandari

    I had met Anil Ambani in the residence of His Holiness the Rawal. It was so nice to meet him. Humility & excellent demeanour personified ! It is indeed a matter of great happiness that he has donated 50 Lakhs to meet the expenditure of Sandalwood & Saffron in service of Lord Badri Vishal Lal.
    The GARHWALIS guard their Presiding Deity the year around.Even when the temperatures fall below -20 Degrees, brave Bhulas stand sentinels to their Lord. Anil’s gesture is indeed in the best traditions of the Ambanis. Good Luck,God Bless & God Speed !!
    Hopefully, we shall meet again this year when the holy Kapats are flung open for the Darshan of the SUPREME-NARAYANA.
    Jai BADRI VISHAL LAL !

  • Reply March 18, 2013

    lkkapoor

    Nothing like contributing for causes, may some one like or not but while what so called in meditation or talk with almighty, its great and beautiful thought. Further to this, my appeal is for Govt. of Uttrakhand to make plan for beautification of this holy place and for better movement space/ approach to devotees, when such like corporates are coming forward to contribute. They have vision, finances to contribute and take help of best in the world.

  • Reply March 19, 2013

    Dr Bhuwan C Pathak

    Its a welcome offer from Mr Ambani. The offer shall help the shrine committee to divert rest of their resources to generate facilities for Pilgrims. It will also encourage other persons to donate for good cause.

  • Reply April 24, 2013

    anil lal

    Anil Ambani had also visited the shrine way back in 2003 when I was the brigade commander at Joshimath.In fact he had come with Jaya Bachhan.He had lunch at my residence and it was humulity at its best.I feel happy that as usual Anil Ambani ha sagin contributed to a spiritual cause.
    Dr.Maj Gen Anil Lal(retd)

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