The time would have been around four am in the morning when I woke up from my last night slumber. I heard the sound of the temple bells ringing at a distance. The morning was still damp because of the downpour the last night. I readied myself starting with organizing my stuffs and taking a bath. The old man and his guruji were no where to be seen. They must have left the place a bit early. To know more on my previous day ordeal and how a meet an amazing person during my stay at the lodge, Please read by clicking on the below my blog.
I reached the taxi stand by 4.30 am to catch a taxi for my onwards trip to Badrinath Dham. The whole distance from the holy land of Joshimath to Badrinath is around 45 Kms with roughly one and half mins of journey time. Upon enquiring, I came to know that all taxis towards Badrinath Dham were fully booked and not a single seat was available. The public buses that ply between Dehradun/ Delhi to Badrinath have a very late timings, I lost hope of getting a seat to reach Badrinath. I had only that day with me for completing my Darshan as my return flight to home was late night the very next day .It seemed true with the old man words “pain and suffering is part of a Dham and one cannot find a comfortable way to reach near to the almighty “.I decided to not to worry and I continued to wait in the queue for the taxi. Some operators were saying the next taxi will be here soon . I wished that taxi to reach there as soon as possible. Standing in the queue, it must have passed another one hours, which seemed like an eternity. My legs went shaky. I desperately needed a place to rest my legs, but could not leave the place. The fear of leaving the queue and loosing my turn to get a seat on the next taxi made me to restrain myself in the queue.
Finally after another hours of waiting, a 12 seater Mahindra Bolero came into the stand. Seeing it, the public got haywire and everyone got desperate to secure a seat. Clinging to my backpack, I made some frantic gymnastic moves, shoved aside a few and finally got myself a seat next to the taxi driver. It was totally a war like crisis. Everyone wanted to have a seat to go onwards. And in order to maximize profit the taxi driver forcefully made all to be more accommodative. Final count in the taxi was 17 people, all cramped up. The mountain roads were as simply torturous like it always used to be. The cramped taxi was choking me from inside. Only respite was the exhilarating view of fir, birches and rhododendron trees all along the highway.
It took around two hours of torturous taxi ride to reach Badrinath bus stop . Ah ! what a relief, finally I felt like I am able to breath again, otherwise it was too suffocating inside the taxi. At 9 am, the sky upon Badrinath town was still heavy with the fog and the chilling wind felt like a whip lashing my face. The Sun was still behind the dark clouds and then it suddenly it started to snowfall. It took no time for the snow to drape up the whole landscape with a white blanket. The accompanying cold sent me shivers down to the spine. I had no gloves or a proper muffler to save me from sudden turn of climatic event. I felt very pathetic on me with that state of helplessness.
Although it was early in the morning and although there was snowfall, there I saw so many people. At first it seemed I have reached a place where there is some sort of ongoing carnival. People in large groups, families with kids and old couples with sticks all were chanting Jai ! Badri Maharaj ki Jai ! Even if the morning temperature was hovering around 2-3 degrees, it didn’t damped their spirits. There I saw every people with happy faces and with a big smile on their elated faces. Quite a charged up place it was. We are at Lord’s adobe and that what it should be. Quite an amazing sight for me. The Badrinath main temple was few paces up from the bus stop. I decided to first look for an lodge where I can crash my heavy rucksack, before heading to the temple.
The whole Badrinath town place was mushroomed with all sort of hotels and restaurants catering for fooding and lodging of pilgrims. Crossing over the bridge over the mighty Alaknanda river from the Bus stop side was the Main Badrinath Temple to the left and the Tapta Kund or the hot water spring on to my right side. In a distance I could see huge waves of pilgrims queuing up all along the driveway for the darshan. It took me a while to find and reach to the end of the queue of the human queue. Quite a morning task to pace downhill for more then one kilometers just to get to the end person of the queue. Phew !
All around the walking path leading to the temple, the pathways were covered up with steel sheets shades. And on every 10fts distance on the walkway, there were flat tops where one can sit down to take rest. There were people from all age groups and all ethnicity from throughout the country. Yes, there was a rush in me to reach the temple before the door close at around 1pm. The time was around 11.30pm and the serpentine queue before me was a never ending one. Spontaneous thoughts were bewildering me on whether I can have the darshan of my Lord. The sight of the long queue was quiet hopeless. But I had my faith and he said what ever the pain and whatever time it takes, endure the pain and Prabhu will reward with his darshan. To distract myself from the pain of shaky legs due to long hours of standing in the queue I chanted out loud with the crowd. It soothed my nerves and the diminishing thoughts and hopelessness faded up.
Jai Jai Badri Maharaj !
Some miracle happened at around 12.30pm. The queue got short and the police of temple administration asked all the pilgrims to double up pace, before the door closes at around 1 PM. I could now see the temple main doors. I was huffing and puffing due to the steep climb and pacing up, but more than that I now know my lord will bestow me with his darshan. It took me a long time of around 5 hours to reach to the main doors called Singhdwar of the Badrinath temple.
Once inside the Singhdwar, Badarinath Mandir Gate, the first sight will be of the seated idol of Lord Garuda, who in sitting position and with folding hand right before the Lord. The temple walls and its every pillars are intricately covered with carvings and paintings. The Garbha Griha of the holy sanctum are where Lord Badri presides has a golden canopy covered with a sheet of gold. It was so heavenly and beautifully molded, throughout I was in a state of wow. My Lord Vishnu is seen seated in a meditative pose called Padmasan armed with Conch and Chakra in two arms in a lifted posture and two arms rested in Yogic Pose. Lord Badarinarayan was seen under the Badari tree and is flanked by Lord Kuber, Lord Garuda, Lord Narad and Lord Narayan and Nar. The Lord’s image is a meter high and is said to be sculpted in black stone, which is made of Saligram stone found from the banks of the Holy Alaknanda River. The temple complex has 15 idols of other deities like Kuber (God of wealth), Narad rishi, Udhava, Nar and Narayan.
I didn’t want to take away the heavenly sight before me but the other pilgrims were also waiting for their turn . With heavy heart yet contentful heart, I finally came out of the inner sanctorum and then the temple itself. Walking down the lane towards the Tapta Kund or the hot springs my mind was all, in peace. Was thinking of all the hardship has come to an meaningful and happy end. Overwhelmed by the overwhelming experience I continued further, thanking my Lord for all the blessings. And with a promise to meet him again in his different incarnation and in a different location, in near future.
My pilgrimage to Badrinath Dham, has lead me to undertake the holy trip to the holy land of Dwarka in the westernmost part of India. My travel diary will continue with my heavenly spiritual experience. My trip to Somnath Dham is going to be in a different Blog with my Spiritual experience. Do read…