Monday, August 1, 2022

The Abode of Gods (Part 5-Badrinath)


Route Map of Badrinath

At daybreak,  Rishikesh was slightly chilly in the month of October! The air was fresh and the crystal clear water of Ganga at Muni Ki Reti, seeped in tranquillity when we boarded the bus heading to Badrinath. It is almost a 300 km distance. We had to break the journey as it would take nine hours, which would be strenuous at a single stretch. After crossing Shivpuri the ascent started getting steeper. The views of lush green mountains, and cold winds were inviting. The cascading Ganga is a sight from which it is difficult to look away, After almost three hours the bus halted at Devprayag, where we had a sumptuous breakfast at a small stall that overlooked the river thundering below at an incredible pace.

The Neelkanth Peak at Badrinath
The journey continued through the day along some of the most memorable stretches through small hamlets and towns like Srinagar, Karnprayag,Rudraprayag and Gauchar till it was almost sunset. We alighted at Chamoli for the halt at night. While I was still looking around at a few small shops, I spotted an Army jeep where a jawan was loading some vegetables. On enquiry, he revealed that he had come from an Army Transit Mess nearby to buy some groceries. I disclosed my identity as a man in a uniform like him. He readily offered my family and me a lift to the tiny mess a little distance away. The Subedar Major was kind and helped us with accommodation, The food was simple daal and roti with a cup of tea. At that hour it all seemed heavenly after a long journey. The next morning we boarded a bus again heading to Badrinath. As the day was breaking we could see the mighty snow-clad peaks of the Himalayas at a great distance as these peeked from the dense foliage The bus slowly trudged, often panting due to the stress on the engine. We passed by Nandprayag, Pipalkoti and Gopeshwar to arrive at Joshimath. The unhindered views of the Himalayas now were a treat that we had been waiting for. The small roadside Dhaba offered the most succulent 'aloo paratha' and chai that we had tasted lately. Around, lunchtime we reached Badrinath.  The sight of the two snow-covered peaks of Nar and Narayan said to be the dual forms of Lord Vishnu as referred to in religious texts was an awesome sight. The Neelkanth peak in another direction gave us a feeling that we have literally landed in heaven. In the vicinity was a PWD Guest House, which after a little coaxing, the caretaker agreed to give us for the night.

The Badrinath Temple
Badrinath temple has been in existence since the 7th century and has seen calamities like rains, earthquakes, landslides and more and has been razed down several times to be rebuilt again, It is said that the Pandavas after the victory in the war with Kauravas had come to exile in this region and slowly left for their heavenly abode.

My daughter at the PWD Guest House Badrinath

We refreshed ourselves in the hot spring known as 'Tapt Kund' which was  refreshing after a long journey, The tiredness that had set in just vanished in a jiffy. We visited the beautiful Badrinath temple, where the priest offered us Badri/ Tulsi/Basil leaves as the 'prasad'. We were blessed to have reached the place to meet the divinity. It was a surreal experience.

My daughter and I at the Badrinath town

The dome of the temple is almost 50 feet tall with a small cupola on the top, covered with a gold gilt roof. A broad stone stairway with an arched doorway and majestic windows forms the imposing facade. The architecture also resembles a Buddhist vihara with brightly coloured walls, a feature of Buddhist temples. The main hall or the ' Garbhgraha' has a large stone pillared hall. The shrine remains closed for almost six months of winter as it remains inaccessible due to hostile weather.

It was an experience of a lifetime to have a brush with divinity ensconced in the high Himalayan reaches, The next morning we were ready to head back to Gaurikund for the next adventure.

PS- This trip was undertaken in Oct 1992 so all images have been digitally enhanced.


  1. Your daughter is fortunate to have come along on these trips at a very young age. :)

    1. Thanks a lot Dee, for your kind comment. Indeed we are fortunate that she endured this and more in the subsequent trips even more demanding:)

  2. the route map (in all your posts) gives us an idea of how long and strenuous the journey was and so many important places in between.
    the Badrinath temple, for a second, I mistook it for a Buddhist monastery
    blessed family!

    1. Thank you Sujatha for that beautiful comment. The purpose of adding the route maps in such post is to make the post relatable with the places. I am blessed for sure, to have readers like you!