himAlayAtrA – Call of the Mountain – Part 6

So there we were, four of us, and the driver, the morning of 16th-August…

It had rained the whole night… And there was no sign of the rain letting even now… Out co-yatris were out in the cold…. Trapped in the mountain road… They had had no food… And they were ill equipped to bear the cold… Thanks to cell phone communication, we could be in touch with them… But we did not want to tax the phone much, for fear that the battery may run out, and where would they charge the phone…

We called the authorities, we called every one who we thought could help… A few local folks came with a long step ladder that could stand like an isosceles triangle, and they said they could put it across the road breach and help the folks climb across… They tried… Except the local rescuer was nearly washed away himself… That attempt came to naught… We managed to talk to different Government bodies…

While the Government moved slowly and surely, we had our first Darshan of Badrinath…. The temple…

We had a wonderful Darshan…

And then we met Sri Rawal, the chief priest, who promised us all help in the rescue… He called the authorities too… Finally, sometime around lunch time, our folks were rescued… They came across in trucks… The cars could not come…

So, how was it for the folks who were out in the cold? Here’s a first person account, from Smt Leela Ravindran, one of the senior Yatris of our group. She was in the Yatra, accompanied by her son and daughter in law, who had come from Australia…

Here’s what Smt Leela writes….

Begin-post

A lifetime experience at Deva Bhoomi (Badrinath)

 By Leela Ravindran

 Badrinath Yatra has been an unfulfilled dream which I have been longing for years but my love for the lord grew immensely and I was not able to hold my emotions any longer. Day by day I became impatient and my heart poured with emotions to be at the lotus feet of Lord Narayanan. My thoughts pondered continuously of the lord and I wondered how joyous it would be to have a glimpse of the divine. I was extremely happy just as Akruran’s was joyous on his journey to meet Lord Krishna. Years of sacrifice to the lord have finally bore fruit and I became eager to experience the divine shakti. The thought of his presence created extreme bliss in my heart which I cannot explain in words.

Our Yatra commenced from Dwarahat at 5:30am and initially there were no issues to reach Badrinath in 5.5 hours. As our journey continued we collided with several obstructions which caused slight delays to reach our destination. Due to landsides and heavy rain the curvy roads to Badrinath became life threatening for us all. The rocks fell continuously which disrupted our journey but with God’s grace it was cleared in a reasonable time frame for the Yatra to continue. The Vishudi Prayanam group continually remained optimistic and ensured everyone was motivated by singing Sai Bhajans, chanting Rudram and discussing their spiritual experiences. Heavy rain continued through out the day and the condition of the roads worsened. The drivers feared the safety of their passengers and were being extremely cautious.

Only 1 km to go before our arrival at Badrinath and I was not able to contain my excitement. I continued my prayers to the lord and suddenly our vehicle was caught by a rock while crossing the Kunchnjanga waterfall. The force of the waterfall continually pushed more rocks towards our vehicle and I was able to clearly hear the flow of the water coming down from the mountains which created fear in my heart. The driver was not able to move the vehicle as the front wheel was severely trapped in the mud. Ajay, Balaji, Shalu, VB and me were still in the vehicle and continually chanted the Rudram for everyone’s safety. To assist in moving the vehicle Ajay & Balaji went to the rescue by walking through the force of the Kunchnjanga waterfall. The temperature of the water dropped to zero degree Celsius and our savior, Sudheer, opened the car door and requested VB, Shalu and me to leave the car immediately. Sudheer bravely assisted me & Shalu through the force of the Kunchnjanga waterfall to ensure our safety and my heartfelt gratitude to Lord Narayan for giving us the strength and courage to face this ordeal. This experience has given an opportunity for the Rudrapreetam family to unite as one and prove the humanity which God has created on Earth. Possibly this could have been an opportunity created by Lord Naryanan which has touched my soul immensely and I am extremely grateful for providing this implausible experience.

The vehicle continued to drench in water and thanks to Rajesh, JK & Kamesh the rescue team had arrived. The force of the water was tremendously strong so the rescue team assessed the situation. Unfortunately due to the extreme weather conditions it was not possible to for the rescue team to allow further vehicles to pass through the Kunchnjanga waterfall until morning hence the journey was at a halt for the night. The hours of darkness was vigorous and the trees were swaying drastically due to the strong winds. Ajay, Shalu and Suresh were sleeping well but due to the intense weather conditions and improper heating I was finding it difficult to get sleep. I was extremely lonely and felt as if I were in a deserted island but did not loose hope. I continued my prayers to Lord Narayan and maybe he was testing my faith. Throughout the night my thoughts were with Shri Badrinath Ji and possibly I had to burn my previous karma’s before entering the heavenly world. I bowed my head to the lord and requested him “To give me strength to face this torment with courage”. The morning had finally arrived and after an impeccable night I hoped to arrive safe at Badrinath soon.

My prayers were finally answered and a truck arrived to assist in taking us past the Kunchnjanga waterfall. Swami has kindly sent his messenger to take me home. I was amazed at the size of the truck and feared on how I will enter. Through some force I managed to enter the truck and could not help but notice the dark red eyes of the messenger (Truck driver). He immediately greeted me & requested to sit next to him. I felt as though we were longterm friends and he was humbly waiting an eternity to meet me. I still remember his words “Sister, Do not panic. Jai Hanuman Ji” and we started our journey smoothly. To our surprise the next morning the road was non existent due to the heavy rains and clearly Hanuman ji has escorted the Rudrapreetam family pass the Kunchnjanga waterfall. Due to the extreme cold conditions in Badrinath it was a must to wear warm clothing. My lovely slippers kindly assisted me in extreme conditions throughout the journey and I was extremely upset as it was lost in Kunchnjanga waterfall due to the force. I considered this as though my previous karmas were burnt and a new life waits ahead for me.

We arrived at our hotel in Badrinath and I was extremely tired due to the unforeseen circumstances the previous night. I hoped for the morning to arrive soon and after a good nights rest, the wait for finally over. The Rudrapreetam family arrived at Badrinath temple for the darshan of Lord Naryana which was exceptionally fulfilling. We did our heartfelt prayers to Badrinath ji and recited Vishnu sarasanaam sincerely. By the grace of God we were blessed to be part of the Archana in the temple and the joy in my heart brought tears which I was not able to control. With blurry eyes I saw the Statue of Lord Narayan and I bowed my head with full devotion. To my surprise a garland fell over my neck and I was extremely happy. I felt as though Lord Narayan had made this garland especially for me. All my worries and pain had vanished instantly and I was relieved that my prayers were answered.

**end-post**

                                                         ** To be continued **

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