Monday, November 9, 2009

Badrinath Dham...... a legend, a journey : Part 1

This had been a strong wish for many years……. A trip to Badrinath ( One of the “Char Dhams”), considered to be very sacred amongst all the pilgrims in India by the Hindus.
Having taken a flight from Mumbai to Delhi on 6th Nov'09 evening, I drove straight from the airport to reach Kashipur around 1.30am, a small hamlet in Uttaranchal via Delhi, where we all had to assemble.

We were six people….Two couples, a driver & I, deciding to make this trip. After a quick shower & rest for a couple of hours, we took off on a Innova. The journey was arduous but extremely exciting, through the rocky & narrow roads. The fresh air of the mountains slapped against our cheeks, as the vehicle lumbered its way through, as if keeping us awake & aware of the terrains ahead. The winding road had huge mountains on one side, & deep gorging ravines on the other. We had started in the early hours of the morning, around 3.30am, just to beat the traffic & get a head start. The sound was the engine of the car & the wind outside, kept us in a trance, broken occasionally by a hooting owl & the crickets in the jungle…….in dark the mountains looked even larger & intimidating, yet serene & quiet.
Gradually, the eastern horizon broke into a crimson & birds started their morning chitter – chatter as if waking up the world….. we stopped first at Chakhautia, for hot ‘jalebis & chai’, as the mercury started dipping outside, & then at Girsain to have a proper breakfast at the Govt Guest House. Hot paranthas, along with another round of hot brewing tea, was just the right potion to get us rejuvenated.
Since the roads were not so good, we decided to save time by skipping lunch & continued driving. The view was just breathtaking…..the Ganges( in various forms & names)flowing deep down in the valley, sometimes broad & gurgling, sometimes quiet & slow, & sometimes thin, but charging its way through rocks & boulders…..always on the move…….the unending terrains, the mountains, got me to singing as usual, & time kept moving… the time we reached Joshirmath, it was already late afternoon. We took a short tea break by the roadside, & inhaled a lungful of fresh cool breeze, as we stepped out & stretched our cramped limbs for a while.
The rest of the journey was an eager rush to reach Badrinath, as if an invisible magnet was drawing us close to the pilgrim. The river, Alaknanda, kept gurgling down the ravines between the huge boulders, the mountains looked indomitably huge & the first specs of snow looked inviting & pleasing on top, as if telling us to gear up for the dipping temperatures. While the car lumbered on, there seemed to be a serene calm around, & each one of us looked lost in some private thought…….not wanting to be disturbed.

The rest of the journey was almost as if we were in silence. We reached Badrinath almost around twilight. Amazingly, the long trip through the treacherous terrains had not made us tired. We quickly settled in the Guest House & each one of us took a splash from the hot waters of the Tapt Kund(hot water spring). As if by miracle, all the fatigue of the journey evaporated, as we all changed into white clothes & made our way to the main shrine. The evening rituals started moments after we reached the place. The ambience was just so brilliantly radiant & pure. The chantings of the mantras & the mellifluous sounds of the conch shell & the temple bells in an amazing synergy transported us to a very different world……it was as if the time had come to a virtual stop & some invisible Divine aura was cleansing us all……I felt so very humble. We got to watch the Puja & the Aarti from very close to the shrine. There seemed to be something very mystical & enchanting about the whole ritual.

to be continued...........


Anonymous said...

bahut achha explain karte hai nahi gaya hai wo bhi mahshush kar payega ush feeling ko.

Vishnu said...