On 28th June 2011, I started a journey to one of the religious Dhams “Shree Badrinath Dham”. It was rainy day in Ludhiana. I decided to travel this long journey alone. I had already booked the Cab one day before. Driver arrived at correct time in front of house and he picked me up and dropped at Ludhiana bus stand at 5.30 AM.I boarded the bus of Punjab Roadways which directly headed to Rishikesh. Ludhiana to Rishikesh road was in a very bad condition as we entered U.P. I reached Rishikesh bus stand at around 3.30 PM. Now it was time to search for a good hotel. Laxman Jhula chowk is a famous place in Rishikesh “The Land of Rishis”. Many small hotels are situated here and it provides good rooms in the range of 250/- to 400/- rupees. I decided to stay in YOGA TEACHER TRAINING SCHOOL which also provides rooms on request. Rishikesh is a very peaceful city and is the city of Adhyatam.
The person who managed this school and the hotel was Bengali guy who was very cooperative. He provided me a room at the bank of River GANGA. I had no idea for traveling ahead towards Badrinath. I owe all this to god. Suddenly the Bengali guy told me that 15 people from Assam and West Bengal were coming and that they had already booked 2 Innova Cars for their trip to Valley of flowers and “HEMKUND SAHIB”. He asked me if I wanted to travel with them. Without wasting any time I decided to travel with that group. Next Day early morning we started our journey towards “Govindghat”. Rishikesh to Govindghat is 275km Via Joshimath. This route is very religious for both Hindu’s as well as Sikh’s. There are 5 prayags in this way. Prayag means conjugation point of two rivers.
In that group of 15 people there were 14 men and a lady whose name was Pampi. She was school teacher and a very brave woman.
The journey was very dangerous;while the Ganga was flowing a hundred feet down on one side, landslide mountains were on another side. Deoprayag, Ruderprayag, Karanprayag, Vishnuprayag & Nandprayag are the five prayags. We reached Joshimath at around 4.00 pm where there was a huge traffic jam. The Great Himalayan mountains were in front of us. I felt very happy & comfortable when I saw many Ludhiana guys who were also on this great journey. From Joshimath there is only one way due to small road. We were waiting for our turn. After 30 Min, police men allowed us to move forward towards Govindghat.
After 1 hour we reached at Govindghat. Govindghat is a town in Chamoli district, Uttarakhand. It is the starting point for trekking to Hemkund Sahib and the Valley of Flowers. Located on the confluence of the Alaknanda and Laxman Ganga rivers, it is roughly 22 km from Joshimath on NH58 at an altitude of 6000 feet. Hundreds of people, mostly Sikh pilgrims on way to the holy shrine of Hemkund Sahib and occasional tourists to the Valley of Flowers, arrive here every day. BSNL mobile network is available, but not all the time. The nearest tower is at Pandukeswar about 2 /3 km away. Availability of network depends on availability of power at Pandukeswar.
We all stayed in Nanda hotel. Evening in Govindghat was very pleasant. It gave the feeling of Mini Punjab. From here, people start the trekking towards Valley of flowers and Hemkund sahib which are situated at very high altitude of approximately 12500 feet. On the second day morning there was heavy rain. That was the right time to say good bye to those 14 guys. We had spent time with great enthusiasm. Now I was waiting for the bus inspite of heavy rain and a huge luggage. But I managed very well. Suddenly 2×2 seat bus arrived and I finally boarded it. Only 25 Km Journey was left but this was one of the deadliest routes in this world.
After one hour I reached at my station “Badrinath Dham”. It is situated on 10200 meter from sea level. Dense fog welcomed me there. By luck I found good hotel near river Alaknanda and the main temple for just rupees 400. Without wasting any time, I was ready to appear in front Shree Badrivishal.
Now let me tell you something about Badrinath . Badrinath is a Satyug place. It is about 1000 years old. Badrinath was re-established as a major pilgrimage site by Adi Shankara in the 9 century. In recent years its popularity has increased significantly, with an estimated 600,000 pilgrims visiting during the 2006 season. The temple in Badrinath is also a sacred pilgrimage site for Vaishnavites. Badrinath has been mentioned as a holy place in scriptures and legends for thousands of years.
According to the Bhagavata Purana, “There in Badrikashram the supreme being (Vishnu), in his incarnation as the sages Nara and Narayana, had been undergoing great penance since time immemorial for the welfare of all living entities.” (Bhagavata Purana 3.4.22). Badri refers to a berry that was said to grow abundantly in the area, and nath means “Lord of”.
Badri is also the Sanskrit name for the Indian Jujube tree, which has an edible berry. Some scriptural references refer to Jujube trees being abundant in Badrinath. The Badrinath area is referred to as Badari or Badarikaashram in Hindu scriptures. It is a place sacred to Vishnu, particularly in Vishnu’s dual form of Nara-Narayana.
Thus, in the Mahabharata, Krishna, addressing Arjuna, says, “Thou wast Nara in a former body, and, with Narayana for thy companion, didst perform dreadful austerity at Badari for many myriads of years. One legend has it that when the goddess Ganga was requested to descend to earth to help suffering humanity, the earth was unable to withstand the force of her descent. Therefore the mighty Ganga (Ganges) was split into twelve holy channels, with Alaknanda one of them. The mountains around Badrinath are mentioned in the Mahabharata, when the Pandavas are said to have ended their life by ascending the slopes of a peak in western Garhwal called Swargarohini – literally, the ‘Ascent to Heaven’. Local legend has it that the Pandavas passed through Badrinath and the town of Mana, 4 km north of Badrinath, on their way to Svarga (heaven). There is also a cave in Mana where Vyasa, according to legend, wrote the Mahabharata & 18 purans. The area around Badrinath was celebrated in Padma Purana as abounding in spiritual treasures
After this I took my lunch in a South Indian restaurant. Then I decided to move forward towards India’s last village “Mana”. It is only about 4 km from Badrinath dham and the road is also good. The Chinese Border is only 25 km from this area. It is believed that the village was visited by Pandavas on their way to Heaven, after renouncing their kingdom. At the end of the village there is a bridge called Bhima Pul (Bhima’s bridge) which Bhima is said to have made from a huge stone rock, so his brothers and Draupadi could cross the Sarasvati river safely.
Mana village is full of caves and it is believed that Vyasa composed his famous epic, the Mahabharata, in one of the caves. The rocks on the cave look like layers of paper and are said to represent Mahabharata. Inside the cave there is an idol of Vyasadev and a priest who recites Mahabharata. Nearby is also another cave called Ganesh’s cave where it is said that Ganesh wrote down Mahabharata while Vyasa narrated the story. After leaving Mana Pandava’s continued their journey through a meadow full of flowers before reaching the Vasudhara Falls. I would recommend this place to everyone. This village is situated at the height of 3220 meter.
As I arrived at Mana village, I decided to trek towards Vasudhara falls which is only 5 km from Mana village but this trek is very dangerous trek at altitude of 3700 meter. Suddenly 2 Punjabi guys who were from Nabha, a small town near Patiala met me there. By profession,they both are Advocates at the local court of Nabha. They were ready to trek with me towards Vasudhara falls. This is the same trek which leads towards Heavens “Swargarohini” and Satopanth lake. But without Guide, potters, cook it is not possible .
We purchased the important things which were very useful for us in our trek from last shop of India. The trek starts from Mana village, along a stoned path. The first 2–3 kilometers are comparatively easy to walk but after that the road is quite steep. There are no villages or shops along the route. Closely associated with the legendary Pandas, Vasundhara Falls in the Mana village is merely four kilometres away from the main town.
Encircled by lofty mountain peaks, the falls unfurls a haunting site that lasts for a lifetime. Gushing waters of this cascade falls down with a roaring sound from an elevation of 400 feet. Apart from the gorgeous scenario of a dancing water fall, Vasundhara Falls carries an amazing legend with it. People believe that the water falls turns away from those visitors who are not pure and clean at heart. Though a difficult destination to reach, the falls allures the visitors with its exciting charm and cool ambiance. Carry enough water with you to drink as you feel thirsty on the route there are no shops and the route is quite tough to reach but once you visit the site one would feel like heaven its superb land escape and you will enjoy the cool medicated springs from the falls.
It is proved that water from Badrinath is medicated even on lab testing after storing for 2 years so try to carry some water with you. It is free from bacteria and has medicinal properties proved scientifically and can be stored for years. Hindus believe in using this water for religious customs. After 3 hours we reached there. We rested there for 1 hour. There are some pictures.
We stayed at Badrinath dham one night on next day I boarded the bus for Rishikesh in morning at around 5.00 AM and I reached Rishikesh safely at 7.00 pm and I stayed there in the same hotel owned by the Bengali guy.
I was so tired that I decided to take the Ayurvedic massage from Massage centre. Peace is all around the Ganga Maa. Next day I boarded the Jan Shatbdi from Haridwar to Ludhiana and reached Ludhiana at 7.00pm. This was a great journey for me which I can never forget. This journey gave me very good friends as well as chance to feel the power and peace of Himalayas.