We started for Badrinath after our unsuccessful attempt to reach Kedarnath Temple from Sitapur. We were a bit disheartened due to our previous experience, but nevertheless, looked forward to the rest of the trip.
Both Kedarnath and Badrinath being high altitude shrines, remain closed during the winter months. At those times, two places become temporary abode of the deities. We wanted to reach Joshimath by the end of the day. Joshimath is where Badrinath is worshipped during winter months. We went through a place called Ukhimath en route, which is the winter stay for the deity of Kedarnath.
Ukhimath: The temple here is smaller but structure wise the same as the Kedarnath temple. Inside the temple there are the place where the “Chari” of the Kedarnath is kept while it is here.
The temple looked reasonabley emplty as the deity is in Kedarnath now. The prasad seller seemed reasonably relaxed as well…
I noticed the entire Joshimath on the opposite side from there..
As with any other temple, there are sadhus sitting looking for prospective visitors. This Babaji was really good at posing however…
The route to Joshimath was really scenic. It had every element of a romantic journey with winding roads, river flowing far below.
The road also seemed to be just cut out of a mountain with portions of it still hanging on the road.
We went through Chopta. It felt like a crime not to stop here for extended period of time. I would definitely need to come back here.
Finally, we reached Joshimath a little before the evening. The room was clearly dirty, but oh..the view.. 🙂
Joshimath to Badrinath:
We stayed at Joshimath, the summer abode of the Badrinath for the night. We started for Badrinath early next morning. This time, as we gained height, we saw what appeared to us to be some frozen streams.
At one place, one of our cars had a flat tire. Fortunately, no one was hurt. We waited for some time for the repair and I clicked some more.
Finally, we reached Badrinath at around 9 AM. We then went to the temple for a darshan. People did a bit of puja. I went to the Tapt Kund (a sulphur hot spring ) and felt the warmth of it.
The temple of Badrinath is situated between the Nar and Narayan mountains. The folk lore says that while Narayan was doing penance here, Lakshmi, the wife , also the goddess of wealth protected him by becoming a Badri (Jamun /Ber / A type of Berry , commonly called Badri ) tree. Umm..there are a few questions in my mind regarding this, but I dare not ask those in the open forum due to the fear of getting bashed on my face…. 😛
The temple looks grand being situated in between the mountains, shimmering in the rays of the sun. We had to wait for a long time for the darshan. While on the line, I noticed some flowers on the sidewalk. It was late May, just summer and the flowers were in full bloom, which made the surrounding walk look beautiful.
Also, noticed devotees sitting on the sidewalk due to the long wait in queue.
I even met a Little Lord Shiva, how cute! 🙂
Finally, we were able to go inside the temple and after a short time, were shoved out as with any other Hindu temple.. 😀
Wohoo! Badrinath done! Having secured our ticket to heaven, we were free for the day!
Mana villege is the last villege on the Indo-China border on this side. This is very close the Badrinath. This scenic village has some places like Ganesh Gompha, Saraswati Gompha, Vim pool etc. The places in this region are associated with the Mahabharata, especially with the story post the great war.
Legend has it , that the Pandavas (consult Mahabharata, the epic), once they decided to renounce family life, went through these places and one by one started their eternal journeys. It is said that Draupadi, the wife of the Pandavas, died here at Mana.
This is also starting point for some treks including the Satopanth lake and Swargarohini glacier and a short one to Vasudhara falls. The legend also has it that the water of the Vasudhara does not fall on the sinner. I would like to see how the water retracts while I stand under it! 😀
We went there during late afternoon. The weather was clear, there was a chilly wind, which made us feel less tired. Visibility was not that bad. I could see the Vasudhara from far.
I wish to go on one these treks someday. Imagine staying here with the mountains by your side… 🙂
Not too far from this place, there is also a high altitude pass, called Mana Pass. Contrary to the popular belief of Khardong La in Ladakh, India, being the highest motorable road in the world, the Mana Pass is the
highest vehicle accessible road in the world Correction! it is NOT the highest motorable road and there are several other higher passes in the word including in the surrounding regions. Thanks @gobnomadic for the info 🙂 . However, Mana pass, often called Dungri La, stands at a higher altitude then the Khardong La in Ladakh, India. The road, however is used by military. Getting permission is necessary to go further from this area due to this being a sensitive border zone.
After loitering through the narrow alleyways of this area for some time, we came back to the place of stay at Badrinath. But while entering, we could see something, a high altitude peak shrouded in clouds in the evening sun.
The night came with beautifully clear sky with umpteen numbers of shiney, bright stars. I missed my Tripod very much, I would have tried something even without it, but there was no open space with less light pollution except for the terrace of the Dharmshala. And even that was closed. 😦 But I was present outside my place before the dawn broke. I wanted to see the Neelkanth , the one that is legendary and beautiful.
I was rewarded. There was some clouds at first, but the clouds parted just in time for the Peak to catch golden light . It was a spectacle to behold. And I watched it standing there, memorised.