Joshimath is a popular hill station and a famous centre for pilgrimage at a height of 1,890mts above sea level in Chamoli district of Garhwal division in Uttarakhand. In ancient scriptures Joshimath is described as Kartikeyapura as it has been named after Kartikeya, the God of Katyuri kings. Joshimath is one of the four maths or monasteries established in the 8th century by Adi Guru Sri Shankaracharya. The rivers Alkananda and Dhauliganga meet at the confluence of Vishnuprayag located just below Joshimath.
Joshimath is the base for trekking to the famous Valley of Flowers. The best time to visit Joshimath and for the trek is from mid July till end-August. Among the important attractions of Joshimath includes a temple dedicated to Narashima, an incarnation of Lord Vishnu. Some other temples are dedicated to Hanuman, Gaurishankar, Ganesha, and Naudevi and Surya.
In winters, the town becomes home to Lord Badri who is brought down from Badrinath to Vasudeva temple at Joshimath. Some nearby places of excursion are Auli, one of the best skiing destinations in India and Nanda Devi National Park which is 23kms from Joshimath. You can also trek up to the exotic Valley of Flowers from Joshimath. One of the routes used for the trek is from Govindghat till a small market at Ghangaria. Overnight accommodation is available at Ghangaria. Camping at the Valley of Flowers is not allowed. An alternative route is from Hemkund Saheb, a Sikh pilgrimage centre to Ghangaria which is about five and a half kms.
Joshimath is connected with a 4km cable car upto Auli making it the longest and highest trolley of Asia. Joshimath is the also the home of the oldest tree of India, Kalpavriksha which is stood at Joshimath from the time of Adi Shankaracharya. Joshimath is also called as Jyotirmath. The average literacy rate of Joshimath is 77% which is higher than the literacy rate of India. Joshimath is a traveler’s delight and devotees temple as well. The view of the Hathi Parbat (Elephant Mountain) from Joshimath is mystifying.
Places to See in Joshimath
Kalpavriksha : It is a forgotten tree which holds unsurpassed and unparalleled significance. Kalpavriksha is the oldest tree of India with an age of more than 1200 years. The great 8th century explorer Adi Shankaracharya used to meditate in the shades of this comely tree and the cave where he lived is also situated here. The circumference of this mulberry tree is 21.5mts. This historic tree is now only able to bear flowers and not fruits, but the leaves are still young and fresh. Millions of people visit Badrinath every year unknowingly that the tree they pass through has same age as the Badrinath temple.
Joshimath During Snow Fall
Narsingh Temple: This is an ancient temple dedicated to Nasringh Devta at Joshimath which is the home of Shri Badrinathji in winters. The statue of God Narsingh is shrinking day by day and it is said that the day when it will fall, the route to Badrinath will get closed permanently by a major land slide. Narsingh is one of the several avatars’ of Lord Vishnu.
Auli: Auli is the most popular skiing and paragliding spot of Uttarakhand situated at an elevation of 3050mts above sea level. Auli affords astounding and celestial views of the enchanting snow laden Himalayan range. Asia’s highest and longest cable car is situated in Auli connecting it with Joshimath. Auli will be hosting SAF winter games in 2010. Auli - The Ski Resort of Uttarakhand is also connected with motorable roads, situated 14kms from Joshimath.
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