Badrinath- The Abode of Lord Vishnu
Badrinath, one of the Char Dhams, is famously known to be the abode of Lord Vishnu. Located amidst the beautiful Himalayas and enchanting river Alaknanda, the place is tranquil and splendid.
The Road Trip to the Badrinath Vishnu Temple
We reached Rishikesh in around 75 minutes and post that the meandering turns of Himalayan range started. All along the way neither was it rainy nor was it sunny. Peeping out, I was in awe of the white clouds traveling through the mountains. Clouds- white or were they translucent as I could virtually see the sky and mountains behind them!
The First Stop- Teen Dhara
Having already traveled for 100 kilometers and 3.5 hours, we halted at Teen Dhara for a short while to stretch ourselves. While the mobile toilets are everywhere along the way, this beautiful little place had a spick-and-span facility by Sulabh. This place is popular for freshly sliced cucumbers with masala and lemonade. As the old wrinkled fingers squeezed the lemon, our mouth watered and we treated ourselves with this healthy and yummy snack and moved ahead. Along the way on our left, we could see some boys playing cricket on a small patch leveled adequately after the landslide. On the right were now clusters of clouds walking in beauty over the mountain peaks. One could easily mistake them for smoke emitting from chimneys!
As we got closer to Srinagar Garhwal, we could have the first exclusive view of river Alaknanda flowing in its eternity. Around 14.00 hours we reached the valley of Srinagar and had lunch in a dhaba treating our tummy to full with dal-fry, baingan ka bharta and piping hot tandoori rotis for a surprisingly low bill of Rs. 105/- per head!
Joshimath- The Halt
The mountains in this range started getting greener probably owing to the start of monsoons. Here one can see the villages from a distance. The houses are of myriad colors. At places one can see the tribes of goats and herds of sheep. Streams of water gushing out of mountains were a frequent sight with tourists getting down to click photographs alongside. It was after about nine hours of journey that we checked into GMVN guest house at Joshimath only to resume it at 6.00 hours the next morning. Hot pakoras with tea were a treat to the tongue at GMVN. Having read a couple of pages from the Kite Runner, I dozed off for the day.
The Day of the Visit
The alarm shook me up at 5.00 hours and (let me accept, lazily) I slipped out of my cozy bed and got ready. After a light breakfast as we moved out of the guest house. And whoa, there were delighting theta waves of the beautiful chirping of birds in the calm of the dawn. I was happy to have packed a scarf and a sweatshirt as the weather was slightly cold. The route ahead was splendid! The mountains started turning mulberry now and clouds thicker enveloped in a distant layer of fog. The excitement was at all-time high as this was my first trip to the Badrinath shrine.
River Alaknanda was in its full view seemingly dancing at someplace, raging at some but not still anywhere. Some river views were along with huge white stones alone, while some were with multicolored pebbles. At places, the rocks from the mountains seemed to be rolling down due to rains which, it is certainly worth a mention, were being cleared seamlessly.
In an almost ninety minutes of drive through the clouds and the fog, we reached Badrinath. This abode of Lord Vishnu and is one of the four destinations for the Char Dham yatra. The others being Rameshwaram, Dwarka, and Puri while the condensed Chaar Dham yatra includes Kedarnath, Yamnotri, and Gangotri. They say Adi Shankara discovered Badrinath in the 7th Century. It lies between the Nara and the Narayan parvats.
We first hit the ‘Tapt Kund’- the hot (sulphur) water spring. And yes, what a relieving experience it was!
We proceeded to buy ‘prasad’ which included a garland made of ‘tulsi’ leaves and white flowers. It took us not more than fifteen minutes to get into the magnificent Vishnu temple. Incidentally, we got almost a minute’s time to behold the majestic gold-adorned idol of Lord Vishnu. This divine experience is bound to stay with you for a lifetime. The fragrance of the incense sticks was mesmerizing. Fragrant flowers adorned the place. The reverberating ding-dongs and bongs of the temple ghantas enchanted the soul. The huge diya surrounded by
arrays of smaller diyas added grandeur to the might of the mightiest of all Hindu Gods, Vishnu ji.
Outside the temple, there was an old but dedicated saadhu (monk) doing parikramas while lying down. Devotion well it was! And it was amazing! He would first bend and then lie down. Stand up again, fold his hands in prayers and then again repeat till he completed the cycle!
Lastly, I bought some charanamrit, holy water that is used to bathe Badrinath ji in the morning and which can be further used for prayers. There were photographers who clicked the visitors and also handed over the laminated photographs by the time darshan was complete.
Pretty instant service indeed!