Badrinath is also called the valley of flowers and it was such an enchanting experience seeing the flowers of different hues in full bloom. It is 11000 feet above sea level.
Valley View - Badri Nath
In Badrinath the tributary of Ganges is Alakananda. We have to cross a bridge to reach the temple and river Alkananda was flowing with all her might beneath it. It was really a scene worth watching and we stayed on the bridge for a while. Here too there is a hot water spring called Tapt Kund (which means boiling water) and pilgrims were taking a dip (no chance of taking a dip only one can take mugs full and splash it little by little, it will be striking hot when it hits you and biting cold next moment because of the strong shivery breeze) ‘a natural Jacuzzi’, before paying obeisance to lord Badri Narayan. My husband and my son also had a refreshing bath in the hot waters, only thing was there was no mug and they had to use their hands which were like a red Bangalore tomato after the bath. It was so hot that we could see the steam emanating. We found all places were very clean though thousands of people were using the Tapt Kund.
The temple was established by Swami Sankaracharaya and has an entrance attractively painted with myriad colours. We had a darshan in the evening itself and went for grub. Here we could find many restaurants offering even South Indian cuisine. My SIL ordered idli delightedly which was served with sambar and chutney. When she sunk her teeth in the idli for the first bite one of her teeth started shaking and after effect of the chutney left her making her day miserable till we reached Haridwar, the next day evening. Those who skipped chutney were spared. Fruits were rare sight here. We could very easily get to see red, yellow and green bananas in many parts of India, here we got to see black bananas. (Over ripe & shriveled with black skin). Night we stayed in a dharamsala which offered us a big room end to end carpeted and only quilts. We retired early as usual because there was no power. When we woke up next day we found that there had been a snowfall during the night which we unfortunately missed to see and it was not very heavy as well, to affect our return journey.
The ride down was pleasant for a couple of hours until we missed a speed breaker near a bridge and pretty soon our car started giving peculiar music. Balbir a very sharp driver he is promptly diagnosed the problem as the plug below the engine casing had given off emptying the whole of engine oil. Though the upward journey had many stoppages for watering we never had hiccup like this and every body was anxious.
Balbir went to the nearby town and got a mechanic for repairs and we rested under the comforting shades of a tree and enjoyed the presence of Alakananda flowing by our side.
Then we headed straight to Haridwar as my SIL fell sick. We skipped Hrishikesh but we could get a glimpse of the famous Lakshman Jhula, the hanging bridge at Hrishikesh.
We reached Haridwar in the evening and we stayed at Kashi Math. We could see the Ganga arthi that evening and next day we spent some time in shallow part of the Ganges enjoying its coolness.
We had Delhi and Agra on our itinerary and left for the same. SIL, MIL & BIL, wanted to spend some more time at Haridwar and later they visited Hrishikesh also.
We saw Birla Mandir and Bahai temple in Delhi along with other tourist places & had a brief visit to Agra. Later our Haridwar team joined us for the return journey to Chennai. The return journey was uneventful; and we relaxed very well.
Many had asked me before I started the journey Why pilgrimage at such a young age? I had answers for all of them. Go and enjoy the pilgrimage if you are interested especially to Himalayas when you are young and kicking as the journey is tough. It’s altogether a different kind of experience.
This was only a beginning. My husband and I decided that we should visit as many temples as possible and indeed we did. So keep watching for my interesting travel posts.