It all started with a wish to visit ,Badrinath a holy town in Chamoli district of the state of Uttarakhand, India. The place which is named after the temple of Badrinath or Badrinarayan ,is dedicated to Lord Vishnu and is among the most important pilgrimage site of the four sites for Hindus .To reach there One has to cross Joshimath or Jyotirmath and read on my travel experience to reach Badrinath Dham.
I was on way back from my trek to the Roopkund lake in Chamoli district of Uttrakhand. And I had some extra days left with me to spend in the holy lands . So I decided on to travel to Badrinath Dham ,which I had no clue of how to reach .Our taxi driver who was ferrying us back to Haridwar ,said he would drop me at Rudra Prayag bus stop and from there its a 3-4 hours journey to reach Badrinath Dham .
How wrong it was for me who believed on his words .The expected journey hours of 3-4 hours to reach Badrinath turned out for me a long 2 days and one night journey . All sort of unexpected turn of event happened with me in these 2 days long journey. Right from ,not able to find good hotel room I ended up staying in a bug infested gloomy dormitory rooms . Thereafter eating cheap foods at some random unhygienic food stalls and finally hitch hiking on Army trucks to reach Badrinath Dham.
My travel plans went haywire with full of twist and dizzying turns but I kept myself dragging . Only thing that encouraged me to hold back were my Parent’s words:-
“Every pain and sufferings you experience while on a pilgrimage, brings you a step closer to Almighty. It’s a test ,which one has to pass and cannot be escaped. Submit yourself under the feet of God and focus only on the purpose ,not on the journey. The pain will eventually get subdued” .
So here my travel experience right from my Travel Diary
DAY – I : Rudra Prayag to Joshimath
Taxi stopped I alighted and bid a bye to my travel partners at Rudra Prayag and went straight to the bus stop .I walked across the iron bridge over the confluence of river Alaknanda and river Mandakini . Waited for nearly an hour at the bus stop just to find a bus to Badrinath ,which never came . So I boarded a shared local taxi which took me to the district capital town of Chamoli main town . From the Chamoli town I changed to yet another taxi and took on an another back breaking ride on a local taxi to reach the next destination – Pipalkothi town .
My taxi was taking halt on every nooks and every corner, just to wait for more passengers to fill up few empty seats. It was a harrowing travel for 3 hours and I finally Pipalkoti. There I changed to yet another taxi, the third time. I reached the next big town, Joshimath at around 4.30 pm.
The driver asked me to alight at Joshimath and informed me that the roads ahead closes after 4pm in the evening and to reach Badrinath I can only get a taxi only at 5am next morning. Seeing no point of arguing, I was left with the only option at hand i.e to take a night stay at this small town of Joshimath .
Pic credit : Krishna Priya
My body was aching (sharir ke sare purzze purzze hil gaye) and so I was desperately needed to take rest. I started a lookout for any lodge. It was a futile search for next another hour. All decent looking hotels seemed were already booked and with the evening Sun going down fast I tried my luck in a dingy Dormitory. After two to three dormitories I found a good enough dormitory. I settled down. The dormitory charged me Rs 150. The hall where my dorm was having a huge hall with 16 beds arranged in a neat parallel fashion. Seven beds were already occupied. In those four military personnel were in their deep slumber on to the far left corners beds of the hall . Leaving me, only other two were old man in saffron dresses.. After taking few hour of rest ,I went out to have tea and snacks. I was Damn hungry.
Jyotirmath .Pic Credit Ajay Bhatt : https://www.euttaranchal.com/
It may have gone past 8pm and nothing to do I brought out my travel diary so as to pen down my day’s back paining travel experience. I was deeply into my own thoughts when I felt someone behind me .I turned around and got startled to find one of the old man with an amusing face, sitting on the bed next to mine .Looking down on my diary he was trying to read from my diary, with a heavy Hinglish(Hindi-English) accent . He went on reading from my diary which I didn’t mind .But whenever each time I paused writing and looked towards him, he used to stand up and gave me back a sweet smile on his face. It must have happened 2-3 times. I felt it amusing and I had to stop writing on my diary pages. So I closed my Travel diary logs. I confronted him by asking him what is the matter and why he was reading from my dairy. He only said that he got amused what might I be writing so keenly with speed into to my diary, as if I had an exam to appear the very next day. All this he said in an amusing accent of hindi with a mix of Pahadi .My face lighted up with his accented voice and we started a chit chat on my Journey till today Evening . How I reached Joshimath and how I am going to reach Badrinath the next day. And I told him, It was this experience travel experience that I was writing into my travel diary.
We continued with our chat and then he asked me -Where from I am which I replied by saying I belong to the state of Odisha . He went mute for some minutes. Bantering further ,I came to know that he is a local from chamoli district and has never ever ventured outside of Uttrakhand state. But ,interestingly by his intelligent talks he seemed to me quite a knowledgeable man. With every words that he spoke of he gave all credit of his knowledge to his Guru (pointing a finger towards a big fat old guy fast asleep snoring two bed away from us ). Upon asking for other qualities of his Guruji,he said his Guruji is a well traveled person and knows 5-6 Indian languages. It is he who imparted him knowledge, humility and awareness about whole countryand it’s people. His grip on Tamil language was fabulous( I could only guess with few Tamil words that I know). Barely literate, never traveled outside his own home state i,e Uttarakhand ,this man surprisingly possessed immense knowledge about India and its cultural tradition. Marvelous !
Our conversation went on rolling . He told me many things about his Guru and his many good things that he did for him right from raising him from his childhood days when he was an orphan kid and making him the person what he is now .When I curiously asked about his small adventures he narrated about his travel experience of Chota Charm Dham Yatra in Uttarakhand. How he tailed his Guru days and night and how i some days without any food or shelter they used to struggle getting to their next destinations. For him everyday was a new adventure and every day is a new learning . How true was that !!
Our amazing conversation did not limit there .We discussed further on the topics of current Indian politics, weather, road conditions and even topics on cricket were not spared . Quite an amazingly interesting and knowledgeable personality I meet, He was so soft spoken and humble with his sweet words, it kept me glued to his conversation. We might have not finished with our amazing intersting conversations, if his guruji might not have called upon him for some help that he needed. Finally before asking for an excuse, he advised me to pay a visit to Narsingh Temple in Joshimath . As per his advise it’s a must visit temple before moving onward for Badrinath Temple. For It is said that when Badrinath temple closes during winter every year, one idol of Lord Badri is brought down to the Narsingh temple. It is here where Lord is worshiped for six month.
Since, as per my plan next day, I had to catch a taxi early morning for Badrinath. I thought, If I do not go out to visit the temple of Narsingh , I won’t make it while returning and may miss out something in my travel. So I went out and somehow I ws able to find my way down the alleys of Joshimath’s main market area to reach the Narsingh Temple .The temple seemed to be bit prehistoric,with some of the temple complex might be aged more than 1000 years old .Not a big temple complex though but numerous smaller temples for various deities can be seen .The aarti at the temple touched me .While sitting on the temple porch watching the evening aarti I was thinking how eventful and wonderful was my today’s travel experience .
I may not have visited temple if I would not have meet the guy in my dormitory. And here, sitting on the porch of the temple ,I got intrigued with my own question – was it destined ? Do Lord has some reason or impact to leave on me via some unknown people or is it that some unfulfilled purpose of mine was meet here. The answers which God may only know.
My believe on my Lord got stronger tonight, . It would not have been possible without his holy blessing, that I would have reached Joshimath and would not have an adventure Solo traveling and meeting so nice people enroute. Contrary to this, I might have returned with my friends to Haridwar and may not got bestowed by the blessing of Lord Narsingh .
Hoping ,few more surprises are still there for me ,ready to be unfolded, I curled inside my warm and cushiony quilt on my now comfortable dormitory bed.
I soon slept away .It was by far the most peaceful night I have experienced after a long time.