Monday, July 30, 2018

Badrinath and Mana Village

Bolo Badri Vishal ki Jai

Well in the land of Dev Bhoomi and char dhams, you expect this don’t you? yes this was the cry before the tempo traveller rolled on for any and/or all our sojourns. On reflecting back I think it was very apt cause we did need divine intervention to save our bums and our knees in the cramped TT with NO AC when it was ascending. Infact some of us (I wont name, you know who you are) got soooo angry one day that if we had broken an egg on her head it would have scrambled and fried.
The second day en route to Govindghat, though it wasn’t in the itinerary the guide and WOW buddy, weather permitting agreed to take us all to Badrinath. Fortunately the weather was great with a clear sky and shining sun, and off we rolled. We reached around lunch time which was perfect and checked into our Hotel Bhagat.
room with a view 
The rooms were nothing to talk home about but omg the view from my window was breathtaking with a small stream flowing into the gurgling river and just flowing onwards and a helipad on one side. Couldn’t go dip in my feet in the rivers here due to paucity of time but the way it roared at night when it rained was both, beautiful and scary.

Post lunch we headed to meet the lord at Badrinath and reached the temple premises around 3.45pm. our timing was perfect as the lord had just woken up from his siesta and the crowds had not yet descended. The temple looked beautiful with myriad colours and patterns on its façade, more like a Buddhist monastery rather than any temple I had seen before. Beautiful gorgeous colours and a lovely dome with Om sculpture, topped off with glistening golden spires. The architecture of the temple was a symphony joining in two distinct temple architectures and bringing them together. As we climbed up the steps to enter the garbha griha we were greeted by the bells and sounds of the hymns. We requested the priest to tell us about the temple a bit and he obliged. The darshans were relaxed with no jostling around as I am told does happen on certain busy days. Prasads and circumambulation later, we stepped down to the sulphur kunds and dipped in our hands in the very warm water.
As is on any place of popular interest there were many vendors and photographers and we got a group picture done. On our way back, Abhimanyu pointed out to the NeelKanth mountain top covered with snow, visible only on clear days.

Feeling blessed and lucky for all that we saw and did in Badrinath, the happy lot now proceeded to the last village Mana.
This village on the Indo-Tibet border is a characterized by small houses opening up on the trekable road and with smiling women knitting woolen caps and small rugs. A cave called the Ved Vyas cave and a Ganesha cave at the end of the trek upwards is considered to be the cave where Ved Vyas is said to have composed the Mahabharata.

We trekked up to the Ved Vyas cave and found a small tea shop that is considered to be the last chai ki dukan this side of the border. The climb up was not difficult on retrospect considering the trekking we all eventually accomplished but on that day it looked pretty much.
Pic Courtesy: Tanya Gupta 

On the way up our guide pointed out the Vasudhara falls in the distance that looked like a ribbon fall and reminded me of Brides Veil of Niagara. This fall is the fall that lore says was the one crossed by the Pandavas to reach heaven. On one corner also lies the Bheem bridge which is actually a huge boulder that Bheem is supposed to have kept so that Draupadi could cross the river. There are many tales attached with the entire thing and we enjoyed each one as was narrated by Abhimanyu, our guide.

I­­n the evening on our way to the hotel, we stopped at yet another temple which is the abode of Nar Narayan in the winters.
Yog Badri 
At the twilight, looking at this small ancient temple in the hills with its black stone, a red flag flying high and sounds of small streams and waterfalls standing testimony to the ravages and beauty of nature was a sight I cannot forget in a hurry. Away from the family, facing and living with many questions and the unknown of the days ahead, a conversation with the deity was an experience I cannot even put to words. All I can say is, this was the beautiful beginning of what would turn out to be some of our most memorable days together. And what a beginning it was.

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