Badrinath Yatra

By Sanjeev Nayyar | 2001

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Welcome to Badrinath 3413 mtrs. Badrikashram was the sacred place where Nara & Narayana performed their penance. In the temple by the side of the image of Sri Narayana are installed the figures of Nara & Narayana. However, there are no shrines dedicated to Vyasa or Gaupada who once lived at this spot. Badrinath is accessible by road only, by bus is about a twelve-hour drive from Rishikesh. What you see is temple entrance.

A closer view of the Badrinath temple entrance. A mile to the north of the temple is a famous rock called Gaudapadasila. It is said to have been the favourite seat of Rishi Gaudapada, disciple of Suka. There is a tradition that Sri Sankara actually met Gaudapada here. Also visit the Vyasa Guha or cave.

Thaptha Kunda Hot water Springs are great and very clean. We came here after the Valley of Flowers trek. Our body was aching, the hot water made all the pain vanish. There are separate enclosures for men and women. The steam makes you feel like you are sitting in a modern day health club having a steam bath.

Alakananda river flowing through Badrinath, at Devprayag joins the Bhagirathi to become the Holy Ganga. To your right see the steam coming out of the hot water springs. A few kms away from Badrinath is the last village on the Indian side of the border, is called Mana. Near Mana is a waterfall called Vasudhara. In the same direction is Swargarohini. It was here that Dharamraj Yudhishtir was taken away to heaven by Lord Indira s charioteer, Mathali.

Badrinath Post Office is the best I have ever seen.

Badrinath Bus stand is very futuristic and well laid out.

Terrace farming at Guptkashi enroute to Kedarnath

Mother Nature

Sunrise at Neelkanth peak in Badrinath. If you look at the peak closely it resembles Lord Ganesh. Locals say that the rising sun’s rays always first fall on this peak. It is a pyramidal shaped snowy peak (6,597mt) towering over Badrinath. It is popularly known as the ‘Garhwal Queen’.

6 kms from Badrinath is Mana village. It is the last border town after which is Tibet. From here Mansrovar Lake is only about 250 kms. If the Chinese allowed us to use this route the number of Indians visiting Mansrovar would go up manifold. What you see is the Lord Ganesh temple. Inside the temple is a small cave where Bhagwan Ganesh took dictations from the Guru of all times, Ved Vyasa.

This is the entrance to the Gufa or cave where Ved Vyasa sat and composed the Mahabharat / Paurani commentaries. There is a distance of nearly 200-300 metres between the Ved Vyasa and Lord Ganesh’s cave. Vyas’s cave is at a higher level then Ganesha’s. Ved Vyasa recited on the condition that Lord Ganesh would not stop Vyas’s recitation meaning he would be writing continuously.

This is the source of the holy river Saraswati. The story goes that Saraswati was jealous that she the embodiment of knowledge was not made to note down Vyasa’s words of wisdom, instead Lord Ganesh was asked to do so. She expressed her anger by making a lot of noise while flowing past the cave. This angered Ved Vyasa who cursed her and so she disappeared only 200 metres after her source. She realized her mistake and pleaded to Vyasa who granted her wish and said she would reappear only in Prayag (Allahabad).

This is called Bhim’s Rock. Bhim was one of the five Pandav brothers in the great epic Mahabharat. Story has it that when the Pandavs were walking towards swarag (heaven) with their mother Kunti, at this point the rocks were falling preventing her from crossing so Bhim put his palm there to stop the rocks from falling. So what you see is an imprint of his palm.

Landslide at Alakananda river. If we do not protect nature we will see more landslides.

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