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Thursday, January 27, 2011

Day 4 - Oct 21st, Thursday. Badrinath



Day 4 - Oct 21st, Thursday. Joshi Math to Badrinath

जय श्री बदरीनाथजी
जय श्री बद्रीनारायण जी

Started the day at 6:30 as usual. The road from Joshi math to Badrinath is not very good and is narrow, therefore the traffic is supposed to go in one direction for a certain interval and then in the other. So the question everyone has is ‘gate kab kholega’, when is the gate going to open? We had heard that the gate was going to open at 9:30,so our driver suggested that we get in queue by 9, which translated to leaving the hotel by 8:30.

We left on time and reached the gate before 9. There were some cars ahead of us, queued to be the first out of the gate, we were around number 10. 

Everyone parks, gets out of the car, walks around or stands and talks, while the hawkers selling shawls, chana and other stuff try to get some business. It was a beautiful, bright morning and we enjoyed the scenery and did some walking around. Didi got some Chana for us, although I had the rule of not eating anything raw outside, the chana looked to and smelled to tasty and made me succumb, it was delicious. We could see some cars coming from the other side, but none passed us, must have taken another road. Finally it was our turn, everyone rushed into the van to get going (if you don’t rush someone behind you will go past and fill up the space in front that you did not occupy in the seconds that it opened up). We were on our way soon.

The road to Badrinath was majestic and at the same time treacherous, it had all the perils we talked about earlier - landslides, collapsed lanes, rocky overhangs, dirt roads. To our dismay we found that the traffic was not in one direction only, but there were vehicles coming from the other side too. These were possibly from towns in the stretch between the two gates and was not regulated. There were the usual construction earth moving vehicles also. Some of the vista points were just amazing. The scale of the mountains and valleys is unimaginable, and so picturesque. The weather was perfect, blue skies, warm, no wind. We reached Badrinath around 11:30 a.m.

Badrinath was cold and slightly windy. People were bundled up, with sweaters and monkey caps and mufflers. We checked into the hotel and left for a walk to the temple area. The temple closes at noon and reopens at 3.

We visited the shops near the temple, bought some books, music, gifts etc. and walked back to the hotel to have lunch. By this time of the year there are hardly any tourists and everything had almost shut down. Many items on the menu were not available because the chef and some staff had already left. Nearby, we saw many other hotels that had closed down for the season. The hotel rooms were okay, very small rooms, with windows that were not airtight and made the room cold. We got some room heaters from the hotel but that did not help much either. The bathrooms were tiny with doors that looked like they were made out of packing boxes (and probably were because the back side had the stamps you see on the plywood packing boxes).


The view from the hotel is quite good and the restaurant has a nice view too. From the restaurant you can see the three mountains - the Nar, Narayan and Neelkanth peaks. Very close to the hotel on the slope you can see a red flag, under the flag is a small hut. It seems there is baba who lives there, he has been silent for twelve years - maun baba. He does not eat either, the army drops him supplies every once in a while and when he needs it he has some atta and water. When we were there our driver saw the baba waiting at a bus station, don’t know what the significance was.


We left the hotel around 2:30 and drove in to a place from where we did not have to walk much to reach the temple. Badrinath temple is much more grand and colorful compared to Kedarnath and the area is much more developed, with nice roads, and better quality shops. We crossed the bridge across Alaknanda and entered the temple. 

It was too cold for us to take a dip in the hot water spring ‘tapt kund’, although it was not too cold for many other people! (Our driver had already visited the temple in the afternoon, and taken a dip in the pool.) It was not very crowded, so we walked right in and went in to the main temple. It was such a great experience to be able to be so close to Badrinathji and not be rushed. This was the second goal of the trip and we had accomplished our mission for the trip. The two ladies, sat in front of Sri Badrinathji and sang a bhajan. The priests were gracious enough to let them go in and sit down. Overall, it was a great experience. Unlike Kedarnath, Badrinath is not stuffy, it is a well ventilated and open place and brightly lit and can accomodate more people. After the darshan, we walked around the temple to see the other idols - Ganesh etc. At the entry is a giant bell, I was able to jump and ring the bell.

video


The gate to the temple is guarded by an armed police. Spent some more time in the area in front of the temple taking in the scenery, and taking photographs. (Unlike Kedarnath, you did not have to buy the offerings from a store and store the shoes there, you leave the shoes outside the temple in shoe racks.)

On the way back we crossed the bridge and did some more shopping for gifts. The lack of oxygen and the cold weather is tough on the lungs, especially on the way back because you have to walk uphill. Ma was exhausted and had to sit down for breath,  and we had to get the van in to pick her up. 

From here we went to Mana village, it was getting dark and people were not very interested in going out so we missed out on some sights that we later learnt were worth doing. Mana is the last Indian village, after that it is controlled by the army and after 30 kilometers or so is the border with China. This entire area has a lot of military presence, in the winter months all the civilian population moves down to Joshi math and only the army remains. Before they go they plant potatoes and when they return in spring the plants are ready for harvesting. Even here everywhere you see terrace farming. What I was amazed to see was a wide variety of what looked like tropical plants, I would have expected only conifers, but no, you could even see banana trees!

Back at the hotel we freshened up and went for dinner down to the restaurant. Food was good. The next day was going to be a long travel day. We had received information that the rains were coming and decided to go all the way down to Rishikesh, instead of the previous plan to stop for the night at Rudraprayag.

जय श्री बदरीनाथजी
जय श्री बद्रीनारायण जी

2 comments:

  1. Builder in Rishikesh
    Satyam Properties, Builder in Rishikesh, Uttaranchal state, India deals in sale and purchase of properties of every description, viz. Lands suitable for various purposes- industrial, residential, agricultural and for ashrams, dharamshalas, yoga institute, hotels, resorts, buildings, shops and residential flats etc.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Builder in Rishikesh
    Satyam Properties, Builder in Rishikesh, Uttaranchal state, India deals in sale and purchase of properties of every description, viz. Lands suitable for various purposes- industrial, residential, agricultural and for ashrams, dharamshalas, yoga institute, hotels, resorts, buildings, shops and residential flats etc.

    ReplyDelete