Thoughts & Ideas

Friday, August 01, 2014

The Trip to the Valley of Flowers IV - Badrinath & Back

The Entrance to the Badrinath Shrine
The next day (day 7) found us totally exhausted and it was pouring heavily since morning. We were concerned as to how we would be able to walk down the 13 kms to Govindghat. As soon as it cleared up a little we decided to make a dash for it on ponies and returned to Govindghat by early afternoon. There, while we were figuring out as to what kind of transport we could get to take us back to Joshimath, we found that Badrinath was only about 30 kms away by good metalled roads. We took an impromptu decision to visit Badrinath and managed two seats in an already cramped Sumo which agreed to take us to Badrinath and then back to Joshimath by late evening the same day. 

The most memorable incident of this detour to Badrinath took place inside the Sumo. It was a cramped Sumo filled with pilgrims, both Hindus and Sikhs, and as is usual we got talking. These folks were really surprised to know that our visit to Badrinath was not part of our main plan, but an impromptu decision. As the conversation progressed, it soon became clear to the other occupants in the Sumo that we had little clue as to the importance to Badrinath. And then one gentleman just took off. He first lectured us on our immoral lifestyle, the root of all that is wrong in our society and finally filled us with the mythology surrounding Badrinath. Later research on the net revealed something really interesting. The traditional mahants of this temple are Namboodri Brahmins from Kerala since the last 1200 years at least. Every year they travel in spring to Joshimath, where the deity is kept for safekeeping during the winter months, from where they take the deities to Badrinath where they are kept till early autumn. Then the deities are returned to Joshimath and the mahants return to Kerala.

The Sumo dropped us quite near the Badrinath shrine which was less than half a km away. We went and had a hurried visit of the shrine though we avoided bathing in the hot water pools for which the place is famous. The two things which most interested me were the wooden tiles by which the temple courtyard was paved and the site of the majestic Mount Neelkanth. The Chinese border was only about 8 kms away at a village named Manna, and though we were keen on visiting that place, the paucity of time left us no choice as the Sumo was waiting to take us back to Joshimath, the idea being that we had to make that part of the trip before sunset. We reached Joshimath by 8 pm and found ourselves a small cheap hotel room and put up for the night. 

View of Mount Neelkanth from Badrinath

Early next morning (day 9) we got a bus to take us to Haridwar. We encountered a number of road blocks due to land-slides and the bus got held up for hours at a couple of places. By the time we reached Srinagar, it was quite late in the evening and the bus driver informed that the bus would continue the journey only the next morning. We had no other option but to find a place to put up for the night and fortunately found a good clean hotel. Next morning (day 10) we started for Haridwar at about 5 am and reached there by mid morning (11 am). We were tired and famished and the first thought in our minds was to have some decent food. We found a nice place near the bus-stand where we had breakfast and then took a UP Roadways bus to Delhi. It was a nice, sturdy, clean bus which dropped us to Delhi by evening, and so tired but happy we accomplished one of my life’s missions!

On the way back to Delhi


  • At 2:30 AM , Blogger Harry said...

    I love this place too much and also i belong from this place


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