Most of the Hindus would have completed the famous four dhams pilgrimage in India. However, there will be very few people who would have visited and stayed at some rare spots of pilgrimage in the Himalaya Mountains. The real natural beauty can only be seen at such rare and less popular spots. Joshimath is one such spot that has a natural virgin beauty of its own. In spite of it, very few visitors come here and stay for at least a night to feel close to the nature. As it falls on the way to famous pilgrimage spot of Badrinath, the pilgrims pass through it on a preset routine and hence, are not be able to enjoy the beauty of this unique spot.
Joshimath is situated at around 25 miles away from Badrinath temple. The best option to reach Joshimath is by buses or hired cars and taxis from Haridwar or Rishikesh. It is situated at the height of around 6000 feet from the mean sea level. The Lord Jagatguru Shankaracharya had come here at Joshimath from Kerala and had performed tap here for eighteen years in the eighth century. He also established the famous Jyotirmath here at Joshimath and hence, the name Joshimath was given to this place. There is an ancient temple of Jyotishwar Mahadev here, which is said to be around 2000 years old. There is also an equally old Shetur tree at this ancient temple. It is a belief in Hindu religion that the Pandava brothers had planted this tree before around 5000 years from today in the Mahabharata times. When there is a very heavy snow fall during winter, the statue of Lord Badrinath is brought here and is worshipped at Joshimath during the whole winter. The holy statue is again shifted to its original place of Badrinath as soon as the winter is over. The Hindu shastra also says that Lord Hanuman had killed Kalnemi Danav here at this holy spot of Joshimath. There is a famous Lord Hanuman temple at this place that reminds all of us the killing of the most evil Danav Kalnemi. The entire area near Joshimath is full of apple, peach, and Malta gardens. The beauty of these gardens is really extremely appealing during the summer months from May to September.
There are many excursions that can be taken from Joshimath. One such most popular excursion is Vishnuprayag. It is situated at only around 6 miles away from Joshimath. The Rivers Vishnuganga (Dhavalganga) and Alakahnanada meet here at Vishnuprayag. This sangam is extremely dangerous as both the Rivers strike with each other at a very high speed, creating tremendously powerful twisters and the large sound at the meeting point. Though, the pilgrims would love to take a holy bath here, it is certainly not advisable to take a bath here in view of the individual safety. There is also a swinging bridge above the sangam point at Vishnuprayag. This shaking bridge is made up of wood and swings a lot when the pilgrims walk on it. The famous historical fort of Rohitpur, which is around 12 miles away from Joshimath, is also worth visiting. The famous temple of Pandukeshwar Mahadev also attracts thousands of tourists. This is the place, where the Pandavas had taken some rest on their way to Kedarnath after their rule of twenty five years on India. This ancient temple is really beautiful and offers peaceful and divine atmosphere to all. In the positive environment of Badrinath, Companies are taking note and offering travel as a reward to the senior citizens. The traveling of the person will be free of cost at the temples.
There are some hotels and the dharmashalas at Joshimath for the pilgrims who would like to stay for the night halt. The reasonably clean rooms are available at these hotels at around Rs.240 ($5) per day. The standard North Indian style vegetarian food items are available here at Joshimath. Though, the standards of hygiene and cleanliness are far below the acceptable limit. It is suggested to carry the supply of drinking mineral water with you as the quality of drinking water is quiet bad here.
In spite of such small limitations, Joshimath offers an excellent natural beauty of snow cladded Himalayan Mountains that is still able to attract thousands of tourists here. I would suggest you to be one of those tourists and visit Joshimath during your next visit to India.