If you are a religious person or you are a non-religious person…
If you are a spiritual person or you are pure materialistic person..
If you are travelling alone or you are travelling with family / little children
If you are interested in trekking or you are lazy to park your car and enjoy nearby places only
If you love to explore new places or you just wish to remain content with what ever comes your way.
The answer is always Badri Nath ! It is a religious place, has lot of high spiritual energies. Vehicles go almost upto the temple. There are trekking routes all around, difficult ones and comfortable ones. There are great places to stay right from 5 star luxuries to a dormitory (Rs.9000 per night in Sarovar Portico or Rs. 500 in a hotel in market). You can have any type of food there be it Chinese, Punjabi or South Indian. There is no tough trekking to the temple…. a pucca road leading direct up to temple. There are heaps of snow around, magnificent high peaks, the last village of India…. and what Not !!! Clean, Beautiful, and full of Nature’s beauty..
Temples and historical places for the religious & spirituals…. and Auli skiing, valley of flowers trek, Geo-thermal springs of Tapovan and satopanth treks and Nanda Devi bio-sphere park, for the nature lovers but non-religious people.
Yes it is Badrinath. I have already seen so many posts on Badrinath, giving ample description and beautiful photos, but each posts carries a new fragrance of Badri Nath, so I thought I should give my part of the story on Badri Nath, and give another fragrance of this wonderful place.
The great poet Kalidasa has written some great shlokas in his epic “KumarSambhav” depicting the beauty of Himalayas.
अस्त्य् उत्तरस्यां दिशि देवतात्मा हिमालयो नाम नगाधिराजः ।
पूर्वापरौ तोयनिधी विगाह्य स्थितः पृथिव्या इव मानदण्डः॥१.१॥
यं सर्वशैलाः परिकल्प्य वत्सं मेरौ स्थिते दोग्धरि दोहदक्षे ।
भास्वन्ति रत्नानि महौषधीश् च पृथूपदिष्टां दुदुहुर् धरित्रीम्॥१.२॥
अनन्तरत्नप्रभवस्य यस्य हिमं न सौभाग्यविलोपि जातम् ।
एको हि दोषो गुणसंनिपाते निमज्जतीन्दोः किरणेष्व् इवाङ्कः॥१.३॥
‘Kumarasambhava’ describes the marriage of Lord Shiva and his consort Parvati. It begins with a fine description of that giant among mountains, the Himalaya. Kalidasa writes:
“Himalaya is rich in life. Living there are the Siddhas, Kinnaras and Vidyadhara beauties.
Clouds in front of the caves look like curtains.
You can trace the track of lions’ by looking at the precious stones spilled from the heads of elephants and not by bloodstains.
You have to know the paths they tread by recognizing ‘Sarala’ trees against whose stem the elephants rub themselves attracted by the sweet milk exuded by the trees.
All the things needed for a sacrifice (‘Yajna’) are available here. Brahma (the God of creation) himself has made this the king of the mountains.
It is not only a place for lovers who want to find happiness in life; it is also an ideal retreat for those who want to meditate.”
Look at the excerpt from Smythe’s The valley of Flowers “..Even the pilgrimage to Benaras is not as beneficial to the soul as that to the snows of the Himalayas, which bestow so bountifully their sanctity and bliss to the heart of man.
Skanda Puran Says :
‘He who thinks of Himachal though he should not behold him is greater than he who performs all worship in Kashi(Benaras). In a hundred ages of the gods, I could not tell thee of the glories of Himachal. As the dew is dried up by the morning sun, so are the sins of mankind by the sight of Himachal’… ”
Kalidasa in KumarSambhava also writes – The snow on Himalayan Peaks … are actually laughters of Shiva, condensed to keep record of Shiva’s joy of meeting Parvati.
It is only in Himalayas that we find a natural proof of Truth of our religion and our culture where the natural formation of snow writes “AUM” on the highest peaks.
(foto credit: Google images)
Badrinath is one such Beautiful place in this maginificient Himalayas… so hop on and have a virtual tour of this sacred Himalayan Beauty!
Just prior to my moving over to Iceland, my friend JP came to me and asked if I could accompany him to Badrinath. He had not gone to any of the Dhaams and was worried that he may not be able to drive all the way himself. I took this request, as an order from Bhagwan Badri Nath and both of us with our bitter-halves, started the journey.
We started at 0400 hrs in the morning and by 0900 hrs we crossed Haridwar. It was yatra season and the road was full with buses, sumos and jeeps as if everyone in India has suddenly become religious. After taking breakfast near Sapt-dhara we continued our journey slowly but steadily. JP is a very coward and meek driver. He hates to overtake any vehicle going before him. In my next Khatti-meethi post I will tell about his driving skill & hills phobia. Hence I was quite unsure, if I should go with him or not, but seeing that I am soon leaving India for long time, I made up my mind to try his driving skills for the second time. JP had improved a lot in driving, but still he irritated me when he would just follow a bus or truck without any intention of over-taking it. The deep black cloud of smoke from the bus would enter my lungs and give me more irritation. Seeing me more and more irritated, he would, instead of overtaking the bus, stop the car on the side on the pretext of smoking or taking a photo and would let the bus go farther.
Finally we reached Karnaprayag around 6 and stopped for a cup of tea. When last time I had come to Badrinath in 1993, we had stayed in Delhi Tourism’s tent colony just besides the river Alaknanda. That experience was unforgettable due to the great management and food of Delhi Tourism. I enquired if they have their tent colony this time too and we were sad to find that they had stopped putting their tents long ago. Just after Karanprayag came to an end, near the police post, we saw a very small guest house which had 5 rooms only.
In first glance it looked an ordinary and cheap rest house, but it had brand new beds, snow white beds sheets and pillows with very clean attached bathrooms. The ambiance was great with a small garden in front of the hotel and desne forest behind… and rent was just Rs. 500 a room which in this peak yatra season was very reasonable. We had covered 415 Kms out of which 215 in steep hills, and that too with a sloth driver like JP, was not that bad… so we parked our car inside, took rest, and after taking a tasty food brought by waitor from a nearby dhaba, we retired.
Next morning around 0800 hrs we were ready to start. I took the steering so that we could go faster and catch the Joshimath gate of 1130. I was sure that I can do 80 Kms in 3 hours easily, but the System had conspired against us, and we were stuck up in a blasting/land-clearing exercise in the way near Pipal koti. When we reached Joshimath, we saw the gate closing before our eyes and we had to stop our car just at No.2 …as a minibus was there before us. Next gate was at 1400 hrs and we had 2 and half hours, just to sit in the car.
We got out of the car and started strolling here and there. On the left side we saw some temple, perhaps Narasinmha temple. We went inside and strolled here and there aimlessly. There was a big group of south Indians who were enjoying their lunch, freshly cooked idlis, rice and sambhar. The smell of sambhar activated our taste buds, so we decided to go out and eat something. JP is a fun loving and jovial guy. He went to the Madrasi, who was distributing the sambar idli and asked him to let him taste some Sambhar. The man and his colleagues were so rude that despite the rich attire of JP and his smiling face, they rebuked him like a begger and asked him to go away. JP cursed them to get no Punya from Badri Darshan and joined us in our feast of Chholey Kulche, and ice-cream.
The gate opened and we hurled towards Pandukeshwar, where we had to wait for another 20 minutes to let the downcoming traffic pass.
By the time we reached Badri Nath it was 4:30 pm. As we entered the city as you see in the photo below, there was a guest house (pink building on the left), so instead of going further down, we saw the guest house, and found the rooms neat and clean with tidy bathrooms. We took one big room with two double beds for Rs. 1200.
This was very convenient place, as we could park our car before the hotel and place was just on the main road going to Mana and for going towards Joshi Math. It would be mean and ungrateful not to thank the Border Roads Organisation for their untiring efforts to lay road upto such heights and keep them motorable despite the elemental cruelty. Long Live B.R.O. and a BIG Thanks !!!
I looked towards Mana road and drowned in memories of my earlier visit in 1993. We had come here in May,1993 in my Maruti Omni Van with Laxman and our families. There were big heaps of snow all around. In the morning, after darshans, when I wanted to start the car, it was dead. I requested some porters to push it and they did try but the engine kept eternal silence. I asked a driver, if I could get a mechanic there he nodded and said it was difficult but there are mechanics. He then saw the car and told that the battery has gone dead due to extreme cold and the car needs a longer push. He asked the boys to push the car upto Mana Road and there he reversed his own Ambassador car and pushed my Van in his car’s reverse gear. The van was running on pushing, but nothing happened….and suddenly it started coughing like an old man and then the engine came to life. The Ambassador’s driver had pushed the car at least for 200 meters. I got down the car and thanked him and offered him some money, which he refused. He advised me to run the car for some time, in 1st or 2nd gear, so that battery gets recharged. So I aimlessly took the car further and then returned towards BadriNath…. a coolie was crossing the road… I sounded horn. He had almost crossed the road, but on listening my horn ran backwards and my car hit him. He flew in the air and fell down on the side. I rushed towards him. He was wearing many jute bags (boris) and a thick rope on his chest (perhaps to tie luggage)…these things saved him and he was unhurt. I was so nervous and upset ..thinking police will come and trouble me for this accident. I picked up my passangers and without seeing anything around, we left Badri Nath. But this time, I am surely going to make it.
Next morning we woke up and were shocked to see there was no running water in the toilets. I tried to search for the owner, but to no avail. We were worried as to how we would get ready to go to the temple and then the caretaker came and asked if we needed hot water. JP grabbed him and asked him to get water in the toilets first. He went and after checking the system came back with a grin face saying the motor has burnt out and water can not be pumped up the tanks. We asked him to bring a lot of hot water, which he brought carrying in plastic canisters from the Tapta Kund of the temple. Except this little mishap, our stay was comfortable, and would still stay there in future due to its location.
Finally we crossed the market and reached the temple premises. The temple was as magnificient as before, colorful and magical.
The queue was some 300 meters long and we patiently waited for our turn and had the darshan of Shri Badri Nath. We were told that yesterday the que was more than 1.5 Kms long and people had to wait for hours before entering the temple. We thanked god, because I hate ques, crowd and chaos.
After heartful of darshans we strolled here and there. First we passed the Tapta Kunda. I wanted to take bath there, but the other crew members told me everyone has taken bath with the water from same kund, supplied by hotel, there is no need.
So after dropping the idea we roamed around Badrinath. A priest came to us and asked if we wanted “Pinda-Daan” ? My father had died a few months before. Although I had not come to Badrinath, for my father’s rites but thought, when God has sent someone to ask me, let me do it. We went to the place for pinda daan and I sat for the rituals. In my mind I thought, had I taken bath in the Tapta kunda, it would have been better to do Pinda daan…..and the universe conspired again. After half the rituals were done, it started raining… all others went and took shelter under the roof, but I had to continue the rituals and when the pinda daan was finally done, I was drenched with cold rain water. So Pitaji made me take bath before the pindadaan. I smiled and we crossed the river and saw the magnificent scenery from there.
The view of Alaknanda, hitting the Narad Shila and changing course was mind blowing. No photo can explain that feeling but still we took some photos of this place.
Then we went to the market, had a lavish breakfast of Puri & Aloo sabzi, which was tasting great due to use of some extra “Hing” & “Jeera” in it. We went towards the hotel, checked out and proceeded towards Mana, the last village of India on this route.
(Rest in next)