Being a local, the author knows Bhadraj Temple well enough to offer experiential insights.
Welcome to Bhadraj Temple, Mussoorie. Attributed to Lord Balram (Lord Krishna’s elder sibling), it is a small yet iconic temple with an idyllic location on a hilltop. The temple blends religion, culture, and nature to create an experience that stays with you forever. It’s a worth-visiting off-beat destination.
|Town: Mussoorie||State: Uttarakhand|
|Country: India||Closest Town: Mussoorie (11 km)|
|Closest Airport: Jolly Grant, Dehradun (78 km)||Closest Rail Station: Dehradun (52 km)|
Bhadraj Temple: Etymology
“Bhadra” (भद्र) in the name, “Bhadraj,” stands for “auspicious” or “fortunate” in Sanskrit. Whereas, the Raj (राज) means “King.” Therefore, the name translates to “the auspicious place of the king.” But in the context of the temple, Bhadraj is another name for Lord Balarama, the presiding deity of the temple. As Lord Krishna’s elder brother, he stayed with him through thick and thin.
Bhadraj Temple, Mussoorie: Location
You will find the Bhadraj Temple perched atop a 2450-meter-high hillock, about 11 km from the Cloud’s End, Mussoorie. It falls between the 30°26′11.38 North latitude and 78°4′38.77 East longitude. The temple is a vantage point for some stunning views of the lush Doon Valley, the Jaunsar Bawar region, and the Chakrata ranges of the Himalayas.
You can either self-drive to this location or trek your way through the Milkman’s trail. The winding path takes you through remote villages, lush greenery, small ponds, and splendid landscapes. The trail is moderately easy and can be completed in a day or two.
|Elevation: 2450 meters||Distance from Mussoorie: 11 km|
|Latitude: 30°26′11.38 north||Longitude: 78°4′38.77 east|
|Engagement Time: Full Day (Including the trek)||Transportation Options: Car, Bike, & Trek|
Bhadraj Temple, Mussoorie: Legends
Shri Mohan Lal Tiwari, the temple’s head priest, narrates an interesting legend that links the temple to Lord Balarama. According to him, “Once the Kurukshetra battle ended, Lord Balarama ventured into this area to seek absolution of sins through meditation.”
“A cow herder himself, he was impressed by the way the locals here took care of their cows. He stayed here temporarily and taught the locals the art and philosophy of warfare before leaving for Badrinath. The locals insisted on him staying there forever. Even though Lord Balarama denied their request, he promised to return in the form of an idol to protect and bless the region and its people forever.”
“A few years later, a local shepherd, Nandu Mehra, while wandering near the Yamuna River, heard a call for help from beneath the ground. Afraid, he fled the site but returned with a couple of fellow villagers and started digging. To their surprise, they stumbled upon an idol of Lord Balarama. Another voice from nowhere instructed him to transport the idol to the hillock. Reluctantly though, he complied.”
“However, before carrying the idol, Nandu was apprehensive about whether he could bear the weight of such a massive idol. As such, the voice asked him to place the idol where the weight would get unbearable. Surprisingly, the idol was featherweight at the start but assumed weight as the journey progressed. Just when he reached the spot where Bhadraj Temple is, the idol became virtually immovable.”
As the other folklore goes, “During his journey, thirst became hard on Nandu. The divine voice asked him to start digging at a place where Matogi Village is located. He did as asked only to find fresh water to quench his thirst. The source of water is still there. Regardless of the season, the water level there remains constant.”
Lord Bhadraj: An Overview
Bhadraj Temple’s presiding deity, Lord Balarama is more than just the elder half-brother of Lord Krishna. He is a part and parcel of the Mahabharata epic and a prominent figure in Hindu mythology. The Indic holy scriptures refer to him as the incarnation of Adisesha, the serpent deity who serves as Lord Vishnu’s divine couch. While Lord Balarama is a revered figure for all schools of Indic thought, the Jagannath tradition treats him as one of the triad deities.
The Bala (बल) in the name Balarama, means “strength,” or “might” in Sanskrit while Rama (राम) refers to Lord Rama, who stands for virtue, righteousness, and divine qualities. True to his name, Lord Balarama was a mighty warrior known for his valor, ethics, and loyalty. You will find him depicted as a tall, strong man with a serene demeanor, holding a plow or a mace as his characteristic weapon. Different scriptures refer to him by different names, such as Haladhara, Halayudha, Baladeva, Balabhadra, and Sankarshana.
While Lord Krishna was born to Vasudeva and Devaki, Balarama was a son of Vasudeva and Rohini. Though half-brothers, Krishna and Balarama shared great love, devotion, loyalty, and companionship between them. As an elder brother, he was overprotective of his younger sibling, protecting him from various dangers throughout their childhood.
While every Yodha (warrior) picked sides during the Kurukshetra battle, Lord Balarama preferred to stay neutral. He served as a mentor to both the Pandava and Kaurava princes and even taught the art of sparring (Malyudha) to Duryodhna. His impartiality, wisdom, and unwavering devotion make him a respected figure. His companionship with Lord Krishna serves as an inspiration for cultivating strong sibling bonds and upholding principles.
|Parents: Vasudeva and Rohini||Relationship to Krishna: Elder Half-brother|
|Incarnation: Adisesha||Death: Jal samadhi in Saraswati River|
|Wife: Princess Revati||AKA: Haladhara, Halayudha, Baladeva, Balabhadra, Sankarshana|
Bhadraj Temple: Significance
Bhadraj Temple holds immense cultural and religious significance to the locals. The atmosphere of devotion and religious observance here will captivate you and might put you on the path of reflection.
The Badrinath Connection
If Shri Mohan Lal Tiwari is to be believed, “The temple’s deity brings blessings, protection, and spiritual guidance to anyone visiting him. It’s a place where you offer prayers and Lord Balarama is kind enough to answer them. The temple keeps a constant stream of devotees and pilgrims from Mussoorie, Dehradun, and other parts of Uttarakhand and beyond. The Bhadraj Temple is also a part of Badrinath Temple. It gives you the same “Punya” (पुण्य) that Badrinath Temple offers.”
Sacred Rituals: Pooja
In Bhadraj Temple, the traditional customs and rituals come alive twice every day during the Pooja. Each morning before the pooja, the priests purify the idol with milk, considered pure in Hindu scriptures. You can spot devotees offering Rot (Indian flatbread), milk, ghee, butter, and other milk products to the deity. The pooja ends with chantings and Aartis of different deities, including that of Lord Krishna. Don’t leave the premises without savoring the Prasad, which often includes Rot and Mishri.
From 15 to 17 August, the Bhadraj Temple hosts an annual fair, attended by locals and tourists in large numbers. The otherwise sleepy little temple suddenly comes alive with customs and people during this time of the year. Some devotees even cover the entire 11-kilometer trek barefooted to please their deity and partake in festivities. Temporary stalls selling tea, snacks, food, local handicrafts, and more crop up in the fairground.
Bhadraj Temple: Architecture
The Bhadraj Temple in Mussoorie features a simple yet captivating architecture that blends North Indian and Gharwali styles. Unlike many temples in Uttarakhand, the temple has minimal ornamentation but a lovely disposition. While not elaborate in design and size, the architecture gels well with the calm and natural surroundings of the region. The lush green surroundings and blue sky complement the temple’s pure white marble exterior, making it a sight to behold. The mist enveloping the area adds to the temple’s overall charm.
A flight of stairs will take you into the temple’s courtyard through a small yet graceful main gate. Once inside, the Garbagriha (sanctum sanctorum) greets you. Bound by steel gates, the Garbagriha houses three main idols sitting side by side and covered by an intricately carved wooden structure. The Kalasha, a symbol of divinity and sacredness in Hinduism, rises above the Garbagriha, as is the case with most temples in the region. The decorative elements are, however, missing in the Kalasha and it’s more of a dome shape.
Things to Do: Bhadraj Temple
When visiting Bhadraj Temple, there are several things you can do to make the most of your experience. Here’s what to do:
Soak in the Beauty:
Take your time to explore the temple premises, its architecture, and the serene atmosphere. Don’t forget to marvel at the mesmerizing views of the Doon Valley, the Jaunsar Bawar region, and the Chakrata ranges of the Himalayas.
Participate in the temple’s spiritual ambiance by offering your prayers and seeking blessings. Feel free to ask for your wishes. The benevolent lord might answer them.
Enjoy the Trek:
If you’re trekking to the temple, enjoy the journey through lush forests, meadows, and panoramic viewpoints.
Bhadraj Temple: Weather
Bhadraj Temple, located at an impressive elevation of 2450 meters above sea level, experiences a typical hill station climate. Here’s an overview of the yearly climate you can expect in and around the temple:
Spring (March to Mid-May):
The spring months come with mild temperatures, blue skies, and blooming flowers. It’s suitable for outdoor activities and trekking. The temperature averages between 10°C to 25°C and the rainfall ranges between 60 to 68 mm.
Summer (Mid-May to Early July):
You can expect mild to moderately warm summers. June marks the onset of summer, and occasional rain showers are common during the monsoon season. At this time of the year, the mercury hovers around 15°C to 30°C, and the area receives about 68 to 195 mm of rain, mostly in June.
Monsoon (Mid-July to Early Sep):
The orographic lift of the monsoonal winds brings plenty of rain to this region. August is the wettest month, receiving about 464 mm of precipitation, followed by July (412 mm), and September (226 mm). The average temperature stays between 23°C and 28°C but the humidity levels exceeding 88% can be troubling.
Autumn (Mid-Sep to Nov):
In autumn months, the mercury might stay between 10°C and 20°C but the sky is mostly clear. The driest month is November with just 2.53 rainy days and about 11mm of rainfall.
Winter (December to February):
The winters receive more precipitation than the autumn months and are way cooler and partly cloudy. The temperature might dip to -2°C but seldom exceeds 15°C. Spells of snow are expected in late December and January.
Note that, the weather conditions are subject to change. So, you should check local weather forecasts before planning your trip.
Data Source: Here.
Best Time to Visit
Bhadraj Temple is an all-year destination, offering different experiences in different seasons. However, I suggest against planning a trip during the wet season. Depending on your vacation goals, here’s a season-specific guide to help you choose the right time.
This is a popular time to visit the temple. At this time of the year, the weather is mild and refreshing, and the surrounding landscapes are adorned with blooming flowers and lush greenery. It is an ideal time to trek into the wilderness and indulge in outdoor activities.
This is the peak season, as people from the plains throng Mussoorie and other hill stations in Uttarakhand to beat the heat. The pleasant weather and greenery support trekking and other outdoor activities. However, be prepared for occasional rain showers, especially by June-end. Also, you might end up paying more for hotel and airfare in the peak season.
The temple and its surroundings acquire a renewed vibrancy due to heavy rains. The fresh rainfall enhances the natural beauty, and the misty atmosphere adds to the mystique of the area. Even the famous, Bhadraaj Fair takes place during monsoons. However, incessant rains, bad roads, and the risk of landslides can dampen your spirits. If possible, avoid planning a trip at this time.
Autumn brings clear skies, cooler temperatures, and great visibility. Trust me, this is the most favorable time to visit the temple, as the weather is ideal for outdoor activities, and the post-monsoon views are particularly stunning. Even the airfare and accommodations come at a discount.
While the temple remains open during winter, trekking can be challenging due to snowfall in higher altitudes. If you’re comfortable with cold weather and want to experience the white-marble temple sitting amidst snow-clad surroundings, winter is a unique option.
Who Should Visit?
|Spiritual Seekers,||Nature Enthusiasts||Shutterbugs|
|Trekkers & Hikers||Cultural Explorers||Families & Picnickers|
|History & Mythology Buffs||Peace Seekers||Those Visiting Mussoorie, Dehradun|
How to Reach Bhadraj Temple?
Mussoorie, a popular tourist destination, is well-connected by road and can be reached from various nearby cities. Here’s how you can reach Mussoorie and then proceed to the Bhadraj Temple.
By air, you can reach Mussoorie through Jolly Grant Airport in Dehradun, about 60 kilometers away. From the airport, you can hire a taxi or take a bus, which will take about 2 hours via Thano Rd and Mussoorie Rd to get to Mussoorie.
The town is reachable via train through the Dehradun Railway Station, just 34 kilometers away. From the railway station, taxis and buses are readily available for Mussoorie. The journey will take 1 hr 36 min via Mussoorie Rd.
Mussoorie is well-connected by road and can be reached by bus, car, or taxi from various nearby cities.
- From Delhi: Mussoorie is approximately 290 kilometers from Delhi. You can take a direct bus or drive via NH 709B to reach Mussoorie in 6 hours and 45 minutes.
- From Dehradun: Mussoorie is 33.8 kilometers from Dehradun via Mussoorie Rd, accomplishable in 1 hour and 33 minutes. You can take a taxi or bus from Dehradun to Mussoorie.
If self-driving, you can follow the route that best suits your starting location. Roads leading to Mussoorie are generally well-maintained and offer picturesque views.
Bhadraj Temple: Trek
Once in Mussoorie, head straight to the Cloud’s End, the starting point of the Bhadraj Temple trek.
You have two options to trek to Bhadraj Temple from Mussoorie.
One, you can take the Cloud’s End-Dudhli-Bhadraj trail, which takes you through the Dudhli (Milkman’s) Village, about 3 km away. As the name says, this small hamlet in the lap of the Himalayas is famous for milk production. From here, the temple is an 8 km trek.
The second option, the Sahaspur-Magoti-Bhadraj trail, is ideal if you are looking for a shorter trek. You will be covering the 11-km distance to Magoti via a car and then trekking the remaining 4 km. Both trails take you through dense forests with a chance to spot local flora and fauna.
The Cloud’s End-Dudhli-Bhadraj trek is moderately difficult and suitable for beginners with basic fitness levels. The trail is well-defined and offers a mix of ascending and descending stretches. You can hire a local guide from Mussoorie if unsure about the trail.
The trek from Cloud’s End to Bhadraj Temple is approximately 14 kilometers one way, making it a full-day trek. You have the option to complete the trek in a single day or, if time permits, spread it across two days. A two-day trek allows you to camp overnight at Dudhli village, enjoying bonfires and stargazing.
Bhadraj Temple: Traveler Tips
The Bhadraj Temple is a sacred place and visitors are expected to respect its sanctity.
- Begin the trek early in the morning to ensure you have ample time to reach the temple.
- Be careful with what you consume before visiting the temple. Consuming non-veg or alcohol before the visit is considered disrespectful.
- You can sit, relax, and take photographs on the temple premises. However, eating is strictly prohibited.
- The temple management is particular about cleanliness. So, do not litter. Carry out what you carry in.
- The road leading to the temple is in bad shape. Avoid driving to the temple, especially during the wet season.
- The weather can change drastically at such a height. So, carry a raincoat or umbrella even during summer. Also, carry a windcheater or a light jacket to beat the chill.
- Whether you are trekking or driving to the temple, pack snacks and food. You won’t find any food joints in the entire path.
Distance From Other Local Attractions:
- Gun Hill: 57 min (14.8 km) via Mall Rd
- Kempty Falls: 1 hr 23 min (26.8 km) via NH 707A
- Lal Tibba: 1 hr 19 min (21.0 km) via NH 707A
- Camel’s Back Road: 58 min (15.2 km) via Mall Rd
- Mussoorie Lake: 1 hr 6 min (21.8 km) via Mussoorie Rd
- Christ Church: 51 min (13.7 km) via Mall Rd
Mussoorie — 11 km from Cloud’s End
Dehradun — 1 hr 27 min (33.8 km) via Mussoorie Rd
Rishikesh — 2 hr 39 min (75.2 km) via Rishikesh Rd and Mussoorie Rd
Haridwar — 3 hr 6 min (88.0 km) via Ambala-Dehradun-Haridwar Rd/Haridwar Rd
Roorkee — 3 hr 13 min (103.7 km) via NH307
Chandigarh — 5 hr 23 min (201.7 km) via NH 7
Shimla — 7 hr 32 min (254.2 km) via SH 2 and NH 7
Saharanpur — 3 hr 9 min (102.0 km) via NH307
Ambala — 4 hr 56 min (213.0 km) via NH307
Karnal — 4 hr 54 min (186.4 km) via NH307
Haldwani — 7 hr (302.8 km) via NH734
Almora — 9 hr 57 min (380.6 km) via NH734
Nainital — 7 hr 44 min (313.3 km) via NH734
Ghaziabad — 5 hr 34 min (261.6 km) via Saharanpur Rd
Delhi — 6 hr 43 min (283.2 km) via NH 709B
Ludhiana — 6 hr 33 min (321.3 km) via NH 44
Noida — 6 hr 9 min (283.8 km) via Saharanpur Rd
Patiala — 5 hr 57 min (266.6 km) via NH307
Meerut — 4 hr 54 min (210.8 km) via NH334 and Saharanpur Rd
Moradabad — 6 hr 6 min (235.9 km) via NH 34
Rohtak — 6 hr 24 min (280.6 km) via NH709
So, that was my take on the Bhadraj Temple, Mussoorie. In a nutshell, it is a special place where spirituality and natural beauty come together to create a peaceful hideaway in the mountains. The temple is dedicated to Lord Balbhadra and has a calming atmosphere where you can pray, find peace, and enjoy some quality time with family and friends.
The trek to the temple is an adventure with the cool breeze and breathtaking views of the forests, meadows, valleys, and peaks keeping you company. Whether you’re looking for a spiritual experience or just a nice trek, Bhadraj Temple has something for everyone. It’s a place where the mountains and the divine meet, leaving you with a sense of awe and respect.
So, plan your trip and let us know how it went. If you need help planning the trip, feel free to ask in the comment section below. I will personally answer your queries and assist you in making the most of the trip.
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Frequently Asked Questions
1. Where is Bhadraj Temple located?
Bhadraj Temple is located near Mussoorie, a popular hill station in the state of Uttarakhand, India.
2. What is the significance of the Bhadraj Temple?
Bhadraj Temple is dedicated to Lord Balbhadra, the brother of Lord Krishna. It holds cultural, religious, and mythological importance.
3. How can I reach Bhadraj Temple?
You can reach Bhadraj Temple by trekking from Cloud’s End in Mussoorie. The trek is approximately 14 kilometers long and offers scenic views. You can also consider driving to it on a four-wheeler or a two-wheeler.
4. Is Bhadraj Temple accessible throughout the year?
Yes, Bhadraj Temple is accessible year-round. However, the already bad road worsens during monsoons and there’s a risk of landslides. The best time to visit is from March to June and September to November.
5. What is the Bhadraj Fair?
A: The Bhadraj Fair is an annual cultural and religious event celebrated near the temple. It features local dances, music, and festivities.
6. Are there accommodation options near Bhadraj Temple?
Accommodation options are available in Mussoorie, which is the nearest town. You can find hotels, resorts, and guesthouses there.
7. Can I take my family to Bhadraj Temple?
Yes, Bhadraj Temple is family-friendly and suitable for picnics and outdoor activities with family members, including children. However, the family members should be physically fit enough to endure the trek.
8. Is photography allowed at the temple?
Yes, photography is generally allowed at Bhadraj Temple. The natural surroundings provide excellent opportunities for photography.
9. Can I trek to Bhadraj Temple in winter?
While trekking to Bhadraj Temple in winter is possible, the trek might be more challenging due to snowfall and cold temperatures.
10. Is there an entry fee to Bhadraj Temple?
A: No, there is usually no entry fee to visit Bhadraj Temple. However, donations for the temple’s upkeep are appreciated.
11. Are there any precautions I should take during the trek?
It’s advisable to carry water, snacks, comfortable trekking shoes, and appropriate clothing. Check weather conditions before starting the trek.
12. What is the best time to witness the sunrise from Bhadraj Temple?
Early morning, around sunrise, is the best time to witness breathtaking views of the sunrise from Bhadraj Temple.
13. Are there any nearby attractions to visit along with Bhadraj Temple?
Yes, you can explore nearby attractions in Mussoorie, such as Kempty Falls, Gun Hill, and Camel’s Back Road.
14. Is there a particular dress code to visit the temple?
While there is no strict dress code, it’s recommended to dress modestly and respectfully when visiting religious sites.
15. Can I visit Bhadraj Temple for meditation?
Yes, Bhadraj Temple’s serene surroundings make it a suitable place for meditation and quiet reflection, allowing you to connect with nature and spirituality.