Bansi Narayan Temple: A trek that leads to God

Where is the Bansi Narayan Temple?

The Bansi Narayan temple in Uttarakhand is dedicated to Lord Vishnu, perched amongst the clouds at an elevation of about 3600 meters in the Bugyals (alpine grasslands or meadows) Chamoli district. 

The temple occupies an inhabited spot on the “Shaily Katyuri” (local language) mountain in the Urgam Valley, surrounded by the mighty Himalayan ranges of Nanda Devi, Trishul, and Nanda Ghunti.

Painted with dense oak and rhododendron forest, this is a sight that no nature lover must miss.

The ten-foot-high temple houses a quadrangular statue of Lord Vishnu.

The Bansi Narayan Temple opens only once a year, on Shravan Purnima (Rakshabandhan), and devotees visiting the temple tie Rakshasutra to Lord Narayana. 

History of the Bansi Narayan Temple

This temple is dedicated to Lord Vishnu or Krishna and has its roots in Hindu Mythology.

At the time when Demon King Bali ruled the entire world, Lord Vishnu was sought to help the plight of other gods, troubled by the great conquest of King Bali.

Lord Vishnu attained the Vamana Avtar, a dwarf.

On encountering King Bali, the Vamana asked him for land measuring up to three steps.

King Bali smirked, unknowingly, at the thought and granted the avatar’s wishes.

Shri Hari Vishnu then acquired a gigantic form and covered the entire universe with two strides.

With his pride shattered by the lord, King Bali asked the Vamana to place his third stride on Bali’s head.

King Bali was sent to the underworld with the pressure of the Vamana’s foot.

This form of Lord Narayan is also known as Trivikrama.

Bali requested the Lord for his protection and become his gatekeeper and so Lord

Vishnu accompanied King Bali to the underworld, assuming the role.

Unable to locate Shri Hari Narayana, Mata Lakshmi consulted Shri Narada Muni as to the whereabouts of the lord.

Shri Narada Muni narrated the entire plot to Mata Lakhsmi, suggesting her travel to the underworld on the full moon of the Shravan month and tie a Rakshasutra on King Bali’s wrist.

Goddess Lakshmi then travelled to ‘Patal Lok’ to tie a ‘Rakhi’ to king Bali, thus freeing lord Vishnu.

The Bansi Narayan Temple is believed to be the place where Lord Narayana emerged from the underworld.

Rakshabandhan Celebrations at the Bansi Narayan Temple

It is believed that Devarishi Narada worships Lord Narayana at the Bansi Narayan temple for 364 days and humans have the right to worship here for only one day, the day being Raksha Bandhan.

On the day of Rakshabandhan, each household in the Kalgoth village donates butter to the temple, and festivities are prepared with this butter, which is later had as ‘prasad’.

What makes the Bansi Narayan Temple unique?

The temple has idols of both Lord Narayana and Lord Shiva.  Also, Lord Ganesha and forest goddesses’ sculptures grace this temple.

This is possibly the only temple in Uttarakhand that opens once a year, on the day of Raksha Badhan.  

How to reach Bansi Narayan Temple?

Located in the Chamoli District of Uttarakhand, in the Urgam Valley, the Bansi Narayan Temple can only be reached on foot.

  • Make your way to Joshimath, which is at a distance of about 293 km from Dehradun.
  • From Joshimath, head towards Helang, which is 22 km away, and finally head towards Devgram, 15 km away from Helang.
  • The trek to the Bansi Narayan Temple starts at Devgram and is about 12 to 15 km long.

The Bansi Narayan temple is located approximately 12 kilometres from Kalpeshwar Mahadev temple, the last of Panch Kedar.

Nearest Airport to the Bansi Narayan Temple

The nearest airport to the Bansi Narayan Temple is the Jolly Grant Airport of Dehradun, which is located at a distance of 265 km from Helang (Urgam Road).

From there the route can be traversed by state transport buses, rental bikes, and own car.

Nearest Railway Station to the Bansi Narayan Temple

The nearest railway station to the Bansi Narayan Temple is Haridwar Railway Station, which is at a distance of 283 km. from Devgram. The trek to the Bansi Narayan Temple starts at Devgram.

Road Connectivity to the Bansi Narayan Temple

The road network to Devgram (Urgam Valley) can be accessed from Haridwar, Dehradun, or Rishikesh.

Motorable routes to Bansi Narayan Temple

  • Dehradun-Rishikesh- Devprayag-Rudraprayag-Karnaprayag-Gopeshwar-Joshimath-Helang-Devgram.
  • Haridwar-Rishikesh- Devprayag-Rudraprayag-Karnaprayag-Gopeshwar-Joshimath-Helang-Devgram.

Major Cities Near the Bansi Narayan Temple

Dehradun301 KM
Haridwar282 KM
Rishikesh263 KM
Devprayag192 KM
Rudraprayag113 KM
Karnaprayag81.3 KM
Gopeshwar60 KM
Joshimath28.1 KM
Source: Google Maps

Places to explore near the Bansi Narayan temple

  • Chota Nandi Kund 
  • Uruba Rishi Temple
  • Kalpeshwar Temple
  • Chetarpal Mandir
  • Urgam Village
  • Joshimath

Public Transport to Bansi Narayan Temple

  • Take a bus or shared taxi from either Dehradun/Rishikesh/Haridwar to Joshimath.
  • Get off at Helang.
  • Take a shared taxi (Sumo/Max) to Devgram.

The journey to Joshimath by public transport can be exhausting, and it is suggested that you stay in Joshimath for the night and head toward Devgram early the next morning.

The next morning, take a shared taxi from Joshimath to Devgram.

Trek to Bansi Narayan Temple-Trekking Route to Bansi Narayan Temple

The trek to the Bansi Narayan Temple commences at Devgram, a village in the Urgam Valley. The trek is around 12 to 15 km long and it generally takes about 6 to 8 hours to complete with water and snack breaks.

The trek to Bansi Narayan temple is easy to moderate in difficulty but will challenge you if you are not a regular hiker.

Overlooking great Himalayan peaks of Uttarakhand such as the Barmal, Nanda Devi, Trishul, and Nanda Ghuti, the trek is traversed through oak, pine, and rhododendron forests.

For the mindful, trekking to Bansi Narayan Temple can grant you sights of some rare and beauteous species of birds such as the red-billed blue magpie, Himalayan monal, scaly breasted woodpecker, khalif pheasant, or a streaked laughing thrush.

  • The trek to the Bansi Narayan Temple is divided into two phases,Devgram (6,614 ft) to Mulakharak (8,907 ft) (2-3 hours) via Bansa Village and Uruba Rishi Temple.
  • Mulakharak (8,907 ft) to Bansi Narayan temple (11,772 ft) (4 hours) via Jadgi Mata Temple-Chetarpal Mandir and Nokchuna Dhar

If you wish to enjoy all that is on offer, it is advisable that either you start the trek early in the morning or book a camping trip to the Bansi Narayan Temple, which would be a 3 to 4-day excursion.

Best time to visit the Bansi Narayan Temple.

The best time to visit the Bansi Narayan temple is the spring and summer seasons. The winters are cold and snowy, and the trek can be perilous, especially if you are not accustomed to trekking in such conditions.  

It is highly recommended that you visit the Bansi Narayan Temple on Wednesday, Aug 30, 2023, the day of Raksha Bandhan, since the doors of the temple open on this day only.

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