Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Kedar Nath and Badri Nath- A Trip to Heaven and Back.


We decided to go on a pilgrimage to Kedarnath and Badrinath in May 1991.At that time my son was 4 1/2 years. My SIL, BIL, MIL were in our team. Many discouraged me telling that it would be very cold and may be difficult for my son, who was allergic to cold climate. Some teased me that we were undertaking a pilgrimage at a young age. But we went ahead with our decision and let me tell you that we enjoyed every moment of it & the same has etched vivid pictures of that in my memory and even after two decades I am able to recall it very clearly.


We embarked on the journey with so much excitement as this was the first time we were going to see snow covered Himalayas. We took the train to Delhi on May 20th. 21st was uneventful as far as we were concerned as we spent the day by eating, sleeping and chatting in Tamilnad express. But next day i.e. 21st of May, some thing was in store for us. On that day, as we were reaching Delhi station a coach attendant rushed to us and told us to down the shutters of all the windows. We got worried at the sudden turn of events. We did not understand what was happening but we knew that something was wrong. We heard from the coach attendant that Mr. Rajiv Gandhi was assassinated in Chennai and we were shocked. He also said as our train was from Chennai they wanted to avoid any untoward incidents. We really got scared, I called and prayed to, all the Gods I knew and we thought that was the end of our journey.


When we reached Delhi station we heard that all the trains were cancelled and there was a kind of tension in the whole city. We had to catch the Dehradun express that night and we knew we had to resort to some other mode of transport.


First thing we wanted was to get out of the railway station, as we feared some disturbance. No buses or taxis were plying in the city. Every thing had come to a sudden halt. So we went to the Rail yatri niwas which was close by and thankfully got accommodation which gave us great relief. We stayed there anxiously worried, doing nothing as there were no mobile phones then. We wanted to get out of Delhi as early as possible as there was an uneasy calm in the city.


Next day my husband’s colleague helped us to get a taxi up to Haridwar which was our first scheduled halt and we thought we would think about our further journey once we reached there. Our taxi driver was a young cheerful sardar called Balbir. As we were nearing Meerut we heard it was under curfew and we took a by pass on the way to Haridwar. My husband asked Balbir if he would take us to Kedar and Badri. He agreed readily to our great relief, the repercussions of it we had to endure through out our subsequent eight days.


We reached Haridwar in 4-5 hours and we went straight to Kasi Math, where we had planned our stay at Haridwar. They provided us with excellent accommodation and homely food particularly Konkani cuisine. We felt safe in the confines of the Veda Vyasa Mandir which was inside Kasi math . To our great relief the authorities informed us that there was no harm in continuing our journey further up. We stayed in Haridwar visiting Hari Ki Pauri where evening aarti to Ganges is performed. We strolled along the banks of Ganges for a while, taking in all the charm of the river. Next few days We had this river by our side through out our journey up The Himalayas.


Next day was Sunday and we left early morning at 7 am on our Kedar, Badri mission. We just passed Hrishikesh and climbed around 5 kms. and we got the first check post. To our surprise we learnt that all vehicles beyond that check post requires a hill permit which our vehicle did not have and which Balbir conveniently forgot to inform us earlier. To our relief we found that temporary permits could be obtained from an office close by. We turned back to locate the office and promptly found it to be closed, that being a Sunday. On enquiry we found the officer was living close by. With great difficulty we located his house. It was around 9 ‘o clock and our officer was busy sleeping. On knocking his door he got up reluctantly and informed us he would come to the office shortly and asked us to wait in the office. We returned and completed our break fast and waited patiently. It was nearly lunch time when he came and by the time we left completing all the formalities it was noon. With glee in our mind and cheer in our heart finally we set course. “KEDAR BADRI HERE WE COME.”

Cheers.

To be continued….


4 comments:

  1. I don't remember half of it. I remember the attendant on the train,but don't remember the curfew & Balbir forgetting the permit & all that.

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  2. This post which is coming in a series will definitely help you to understand all the details.

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  3. enjoyed reading vivid description of your trip to badri & kedar.regret not having undertaken the trip ourselves at younger age.

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  4. thanks for visiting my page. That really was a wonderful trip.

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