Panch Badri circuit is a combination of temples and religious spots that are dedicated to Lord Vishnu. In Badri kshetra – the region starting from Satopanth about 24 km above Badrinath extending to Nandprayag in the south, there are five temples in this circuit: Vishal Badri or Badrinath , the most well-known temple dedicated to Lord Vishnu, Yogdhyan Badri, Bhavishya Badri, Vridha Badri and Adi Badri.
A short distance away from Hanuman Chatti and Govind Ghat, Yogdhyan Badri is located in the Pandukeshwar village, around 24 km from Joshimath. Lord Vishnu seen in a meditating pose, is is worshipped here. Thus, the place has been named “yog dhyan’ referring to meditation. It is said that the Yogdhyan Badri temple is as old as the temple of Badrinath. According to the legends, the Pandava brothers from the epic Mahabharata, handed over their kingdom to Raja Parikshit and retired here. Also it is said that king Pandu, the father of the Pandavas, had spent his last days here, doing penance, and hence the name of the village. Copper plates with old inscriptions, providing valuable information on the history of the temple and early Katyuri kings, have been discovered here.
Lying a short distance away from Joshimath is a place that is often predicted to be the future Badrinath. Legend has it that when evil shall spread all over the world, the Nar and the Narayan mountains shall be blocked, and Badrinath would become inaccessible. Lord Vishnu is worshipped here in the form of Narasimha. Since the temple is not connected to any roads, the only way to reach is on foot. It also stays closed during winter and opens along with the Badrinath temple.
Vridha Badri is situated in the Animath village, about 7 km from Joshimath. Legend has it that this was the place where Lord Vishnu appeared as an old man before divine sage Narada and did penance. Thus, the idol in the shrine is that of an old man. Out of the Panch Badri, it is the only temple that remains open throughout the year.
Adi Badri is amongst the first of the Panch Badris. Many say that it is the temple where the devotees of Lord Vishnu offer prayers when Badrinath becomes inaccessible in winters. It is said that Adi Badri was established by sage Adi Shankaracharya. The complex has around seven temples that were built by the Gupta rulers between the 5th and 8th centuries AD. The idol in the main temple is made of black stone and holds a mace, a lotus and a chakra.