himAlayAtrA – Call of the Mountain – Part 7

Early morning… 16/August/2011… Badrinath… Its been raining all night… Morning mist….  A view of high heavens… Have a look…

Welcome to Himalaya!

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Its a nice hotel we are in…. The Sarovar hotel…

On one of the mountains opposite the hotel, we spot a red colored dwelling high up, halfway up one of the tall mountains. Considering that Badrinath is at a height of over 10,000 feet, the red dwelling is probably a few thousand feet higher… Zooming with my lil camera, here’s a hazy picture…

We ask one of the hotel boys what that place is.

He tells us a Baba stays there. “There?” we ask, incredulously. “Yes… The Baba stays there the whole year around. Once in a while he comes down to Badrinath for a bath in Alakananda, and then goes back…”..  Welcome to Devabhoomi!

Morning sees us doing whatever we can to organize a rescue… Our co-yatris eventually get rescued by lunch time….

But in the meanwhile, the four of us who are safe in Badrinath, go for our first darshan of the holy temple, and the Lord…

The temple is on the right bank of the river Alakananda. One has to cross a foot bridge from the town side, go across Alakananda, to the temple complex…

Here is a view of the temple…. The temple stands between Nara and Narayana mountains…

The  mountain seen above, behind the temple is the Narayana mountain…

Nara and Narayana, who are but twin aspects of Vishnu, performed tremendous penance here. Absorbed in Nirvikalpa Samadhi, Badrinath was their abode…. The temple of Badrinath has the main idol of Badri Narayana, showing Narayana in Yogasana, absorbed in meditation… On the left are two idols of Nara and Narayana…

It was Nara and Narayana who came as Arjuna and Krishna, to rescue the mother earth from its massive burden of oppressive human population… And so happened the great war of Mahabharata…. The mighty epic has many a reference to Badrinath… Known also as Vishala, the Lord here is referred to as Badri Vishaal too…. Jai Badri Vishaal! Hail Nara and Narayana!

Opposite the temple is the Nara mountain…

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Here’s a closer picture of Badrinath temple…

And a side view…

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Badrinath is cut off from the rest of the world today… Due to the rains and the landslides… So throng of devotees is not so much…. And we have a very relaxed and nice darshan of the Lord….

Here is a view of Alakananda river, on whose banks is the great temple…

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Lets bring this picture to life, shall we…

Here’s a lil video clip… Of Alakananda, as it thunders down this mountainside, next to the holy temple of Badri Vishal.

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After darshan of Lord Badri Narayana, we walk down the steps towards the river, and visit the residence of Shri Raawal, the chief priest of Badrinath temple. We are ushered into a nice hall, where Shri Raawal meets with devotees…. We wait for a short while in this room…

There is a statue of Adi Shankaracharya in a glass case, in the centre above.

Adi Shankaracharya, who walked the length and breadth of the country, established the Badrinath temple, and appointed Namboodri priests from Kerala to be the chief priests here, and this tradition carries on to this day. The Rawal who is chosen to be the chief priest would be a Brahmachari and only he can offer personal worship to the idol of Badri Narayana…

We have an audience with the Rawal…

A very nice, soft spoken gentleman.. My co-yatris are from Kerala, and they strike a good rapport with him straightaway, and we tell Shri Raawal about our other co-yatris who are caught in the mountain. Raawalji calls up a few people and assures us that help would be on its way…. And it is… He is kind enough to see to our accommodation at Neelkant Guest house…

Its raining again…. From Shri Raawal’s place steps lead down to the river….

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Down below, next to the river, on the left is the Tapta Kund… Hot water spring… A bathing place has been constructed there, and one can see the steam from the hot springs…


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Very near the Taptakund is a rock, marked as Narada Shila – where Devarshi Narada is said to have performed Tapasya. Next to this rock is the Narada Kund, from where Adi Shankaracharya is said to have recovered the idol of Badri Narayana, and then established the temple…

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After our Darshan, we get back to the hotel. We are four of us. Rajesh, JK, Mini and I. Rajesh and JK leave for the rescue mission. Mini has not eaten since yesterday afternoon… Waiting for the others to come across safely…. Which they do by around 1 pm… They go directly to Neelkant guest house… Mini and I check out of Sarovar… And meet with the whole team in one of the bazaars, as they are busy buying windsheeters, sweaters, caps and jackets…. We then have a good meal… Get to Neelkant guest house for a short break and are back in the evening for Darshan of Badrinath, and more audience with Shri Raawal…

Signing off this post with a picture of Badrinath temple that evening…

Click on it, and see it full-screen…

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** To be continued **

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