Badrinath ..A piligrims diary

NAMO NARAYANAYA

SRIMAN NARAYANAYA CHARANAU SARANAM PRAPATHYE
SRIMATHEY NARAYANAYAH NAMAH
SRI ARAVINDAVALLI NAYIKA SAMETHA SRI BADRINARAYANAYA NAMAH
SRI PUNDARIKAVALLI NAYIKA SAMETHA SRI PURUSHOTHAMAYA NAMAH
SRI PARIMALAVALLI NAYIKA SAMETHA SRI PARAMPURUSHAYA NAMAH
SRIMATHE RAMANUJAYA NAMAH

Due to the grace of the Divya Dampadhigal and Acharyar, Adiyen
was blessed to visit Thiru Badrinath and other divya desams enroute
during October,2003 along with my family. After returning from
Badrinath, Adiyen also visited Tirumala-Tirupati and participated in
Vimsathi darshanam a scheme which allows a family of 6 members to
have Suprabatham, Nijapada and SahasraDeepalankara seva for any 2
consecutive days in a year . It was only due to the abundant grace of
Thiruvengadamudaiyan adiyen was able to vist all the Divya desams
without any difficulty.

Before proceeding further, Adiyen would like to thank all the internet
bhagavathas especially Sri Rangasri group members and M.S.Ramesh
for providing abundant information about these divya desams. I have
uploaded a Map of the hills again downloaded from UP Tourism site for
ready reference . As Adiyen had not planned the trip in advance, it was
not possible to join “package tour”
organised by number of travel
agencies and could not do as it was Off season. Adiyen wishes to
share my experience with all of you and request the bhagavathas to
correct the shortcomings. Adiyen was blessed to take my father aged
about 70 years a heart patient , to this divya desam and it would not
be an exaggeration to say that only because of my acharyar’s and
elders’ blessings , the trip was very comfortable.

Adiyen boarded Secunderabad Rajdhani Express bound to New Delhi
on 1st October,2003 and spent the whole day in train . Chi
Ranganathan my younger brother ,Chi Narayanan and Chi Srinivasan
my nephews had come to see us off. On 2nd , we reached Delhi at

5.15 in the morning . From Hazrat Nizamuddin station, we went to
Delhi station and boarded Dehradun-Shatabdi Express at 6.45 A.M.
Reached Haridwar at 11.30 A.M. The train stops here for about 3
minutes only. We checked in a nearby Hotel Darshan (Rs.175/-per
day) which is on the banks of Holy Ganges . We stayed here on 2nd
night and 3rd morning and visited Brahma Kund, Hari ki Pauri, Chandi
Devi Temple, Saptarishi Ashram, Gayatri Devi temple and went to

Rishikesh by 7 seater auto (fare Rs.20/-per head). There are few
Madrasi hotels like Mysore Hotel where you get South Indian food.

A BRIEF INTRODUCTION TO HARIDWAR :

HARIDWAR is a busy small town with a floating population of
piligrims. The days are hot and the nights are not that cold. This place
is surrounded by SHIVALIK mountains. “HARIDWAR”
is Hari ka Dwar
or Har Ke Dwar “
the Gateway to Heavens”.

This is the starting point to visit the four sacred “dhams”
(sacred places) namely, Gangotri, Yamunotri, Badrinath and Kedarnath. This town is situated at the foot of the Himalayas. Haridwar is the temple town of India. The moment
one reaches Haridwar , THE THOUGHT ABOUT MATERIAL WORLD GETS
DISSOLVED AND WE START LIKING THE PEOPLE AND PLACE .And
after a holy bath in the Ganges, the spirit in us gets charged with
bhakti-ras , all the sins get wiped off. We try to understand Lords
creation and start accepting that in the fast moving world one can find
solace when we visit these Holy places . There are innumerable
ashrams and temples in Haridwar. We can find innumerable saints ,
foreigners and Yogis on the street. If one finds time, one can visit few
temples like Manasi Devi temple, Chandi Devi temple, Hari Ki Pauri,
Brahma Kundam, Bharat Mata temple, Vaishnavo Devi temple,
Saptarishi Ashram, Gayatri Devi temple etc. Other temples of interest
are Maya Devi temple dedicated to Goddess Durga, Shravan nath
temple, Bholagiri temple, Gorakasha nath temple, Kangra Mandir, Gita
Bhavan, Bhairon Akhara, Bilkeshwara Mahadeva, Pawandham temple,
Gurudwara Shri Guru Singh Sabha, Parmath Ashram etc .Few of
which were visted by us .

It is at this place that the holy Ganges enters the plains to atone the
sins of millions of sinners. Once in 12 years, “Kumbh Mela”
takes
place at this place and once in 6 years “Ardh Kumbh Mela (half Kumbh
Mela). The other places where Kumbh Mela takes place are at
Allhaabad, Nasik and Ujjain. The astrological date of Kumbh at
Haridwar falls when Venus (Sukran) and Jupiter(Guru) coincide with
Aquarius (Kumbh) and the Sun and Moon are on the Aries and
Sagittarius respectively. It is believed that few drops of nectar are
believed to have fallen here and hence a dip in Ganges during Kumbh
Mela is considered to be sacred as it bestows longevity and spiritual

upliftment. The preparations for the next Kumbh Mela scheduled to

take place in 2004 has already started. There are innumerable
temples and many sacred places in Haridwar.
Out of this , the most important ones are
1. Hari-Ki-Pauri –
This is near Brahma Kundam. This is the place

where Lord Vishnu’s Thiruvadi are found and is the starting point of
Ganges. The story of Ganges coming down to earth may be briefly
recapitulated. Due to the severe penance of Bhagirathan, Ganges
was brought down to earth and as the earth could not withstand the
pressure, ParamaSivan caught hold of her in his matted lock and
allowed it to split into several tributaries, namely, Alakananda,
Bhagirathi, Nandakini, Garuda Ganga, Bhyur Ganga, Mandakini etc.
All these tributaries traverse through the Himalayas in different
routes , merge with Alakananda at different places which are known
as “PRAYAGS”
and finally join at Haridwar. Here she is known as
Ganges and hence Haridwar is the starting point of Ganges. All of
us had holy dip in Ganges . There are many small temples
situated here and Ganga Aarathi is performed daily in the evening
hours.

2. BRAHMA KUNDAM: This is the place where Brahma welcomed
Ganges to earth and had his first holy dip in Ganges. It is believed
that a dip in this Brahmakund brings salvation from all sins and a
freedom from the bondages of the world. Therefore, pious people
from all over the world come here to have bath in this sacred place.
There are many temples dedicated to Lord Vishnu, Ganga Maatha,
Durga Devi, Sri Ramar, Sri Krishnar etc. on the banks of the river.
It is believed that any “dhaanam”
(sacrifice) done here fetches
multifold benefits, especially, pooja and dhaanam done to cows
(Gomatha). Also, it is believed that if one performs “pithru
kaaryam” at this place it is very beneficial.
All of us had holy bath at Brahma Kundam near Hari Ki Pauri on 3rd
October,2003. We performed “GOPOOJA”
(pooja to cow), offered
some hay laddus specially made for these cows (You get 25 laddus for
Rs.10/-) and left the place.

MANASA DEVI TEMPLE: This Goddess, daughter of Shiva and
form of Shakti fulfills the desires of the true and sacred souls. This
temple which is one km away from Haridwar is situated on top of
Shivalik Hills on the western side. Usually, piligrims pray to this
Goddess for completing their yaatrai successfully. Trekking this hill
would take about half an hour. There is also a rope way to this
temple from Ratan Cinema Hall. The charge for the same is Rs.30/

CHANDI DEVI TEMPLE: This temple is situated on the eastern
summit of Shiwalik Hills on top of Neelkant Parvath. This temple is 6
km off the city on the other side of Ganges. It may take about an hour
or so to climb this hill. There is a ropeway to this temple also and it is
essential to carry water as there is no drinking water on top of the hill.
The charge for the ropeway is Rs.60/-. One has to travel for about 15
minutes by vehicle to reach the foot of this hill and then start trekking.

The ropeway facility organised by Uttaranchal state is called as

UDDANKOTLA” . They operate ropeway service to both Manasi Devi
and Chandi Devi temples. The fare for this package tour is Rs.120/-.
If the height of a child is above 3 feet, then full fare is charged. In this
package tour, a drinking water bottle, a cap, pooja materials etc , a
brochure giving the details about the temples are given. The visitors
are taken by a van to the starting point of this Udaan Kotla service
and from there the ropeway starts. It takes about 15 minutes to reach
Chandi Devi temple by ropeway. Then , one has to climb few steep
steps which may take about 10 minutes to reach Chandi Devi temple.
We were welcomed by many monkeys as in Ayodhya and Brindavan.
We could see devotees tying some piece of cloth as “praarthanai”
After
having darshan of the Goddess, we went to Anjani Devi temple,
mother of Hanuman. There are other temples dedicated to Durga,
Maa Kali etc. Came back to the ropeway junction and returned to the
original starting point. There is another ropeway in another direction
to go to Manasi Devi temple. As we didn’t have time, we didn’t visit
this temple.We visited these temples on 2nd (took package tour for
Rs.120/-) and attended evening Ganga Aarthi at Hari Ki Pauri which is
a feast to the eyes.

On 3rd morning, after having holy dip at Brahma Kundam ,we hired an
auto for Rs.150/-to visit Saptarishi Ashram, Gayatri temple, Bharat
Matha temple, Vaishnavo Devi temple.

GAYATRI DEVI TEMPLE:-First, we visited Gayatri Devi temple which
is enroute to Rishikesh. After 20 minutes drive, we reached this
temple. There are 3 entrances to this temple. Near the entrance,
there are life-size idols of 7 rishis. There is a temple dedicated to
Gayatri Matha. In a separate hall, continuous chanting of Gayatri
Mantram goes on right from 5 in the morning to 7 in the evening. We
could see many devotees including ladies doing japam without any
disturbance. The temple committee provides free anna dhanam (food)
to the visiting devotees daily.

SAPTARISHI ASHRAM: (10 minutes drive from Gayatri Devi mandir).
This place was known as “Kamandulu”
. This place is also connected
to the story of Ganges coming down to earth. When Ganges was
following King Bhagirath in his chariot, it passed by an ashram where
the sapta rishis were engrossed in deep penance and stopped its flow.
When questioned by Bhagirath, Ganges replied that she was caught in
the kamandalam (water pot) of the sapta rishis and was unable to
move further. Bhaigrath prayed to the sapta rishis who then allowed
her to flow in 7 streams. This place is very calm and serene. There
are temples dedicated to Goddess Saraswati, Lord Srinivasar, Radha-
Krishna, Sita-Ram along with Lakshmanan and Hanumar, Siva in
the centre which are artistically built.This ashram was inaugurated by
Late Rajendra Prasad during his Presidency. This was built and is
being maintained by Sanatana Dharma Sabha of Punjab.

From Sapta rishi ashram, we went to Bharat Matha temple which is 4
kms away from the city.

VAISHNAVO DEVI TEMPLE: This temple is near Bharath Matha
temple. This is a replica of the famous Vaishnavo Devi Temple at
Jammu. The caves , sannidhis have been artistically built. In the
entrance, you can find huge idols of Vinayaka and Hanumar. Apart
from there, there are beautiful idols of other Gods and Goddesses – a
model of Kailash mountains, Kedarnath, Ganges flowing from matted
locks of Shiva are worth mentioning. There is also a replica of
Amarnath temple in the same premises. You can find replica of
lingams found in Srisailam, Kedarnath, Rameswaram etc. This temple
is worth seeing.After visiting the above temples, we came back to
Haridwar at 1 P.M and packed up to Rishikesh.

RISHIKESH:-We went to Rishikesh by seven-seater auto/tempo
(Rs.20/-per head) from Haridwar. Rishikesh houses innumerable
ashrams . It has a floating population of many piligrims going to
Badrinath and Kedarnath and many foreign tourists who are interested
in mountaineering. The details about the important places to be visited
are mentioned later .

We reached Rishikesh at 3.15 P.M. From Rishikesh, we had to take
another tempo to go to JET .Jeeyar Mutt which is near to Lakshman
Jhoola. We were told by our co-passengers that it was not possible to
go to Badrinath due to transport strike . The Uttaranchal
Government has passed a rule that vehicles which were more than 10
years old would not be allowed to travel in Ghat section. Hence, the
vehicle owners were on strike. We were totally dejected on hearing

this and prayed to Perumal. As we had planned to stay at Jeeyar Mutt,
we asked the driver to stop in front of Jeeyar Mutt. But the driver
stopped on the main road itself and said that we have to walk for 5
minutes in a lane to reach the Jeeyar Mutt. The day was really hot
and we were hesitating to go by walk along with our luggage and
children. On enquiry, we were told that Andhra Bhavan owned by TTD
was on the main road itself. Hence, we decided to go to Andhra
Bhavan directly. The moment we saw the divya mangala vigraham of
Lord Srinivasar, all our hopes were revived and we were fully confident
about our journey because we have ultimately reached
Thiruvengadamudaiyan’s Thiruvadigal. Luckily, accomodation was
available and the room rent per day is Rs.30/-. As we opted for VIP
room, we had to pay Rs.75/- as room rent. The advantage is you get a
furnished room with geyser facility . There is a temple of Lord
Srinivasar just beside the guest house and here all the sevas,
aaradhanais are done exactly as in Tirumala. After refreshing
ourselves, we went to temple to attend the evening pooja at 5 P.M.
Divya Prabhandam was being recited. TTD also maintains a Saivaite
temple which is beside Andhra Bhavan.

Every morning at 5 , the Lord is awakened with the recitation of
Suprabhatham. This seva is followed by Thomala Seva at 6 A.M.
During this seva, the utsava vigraham “Bhoga Srinivasar”
is given
Thirumanjanam (holy bath), flowers are adorned to the Moolavirat
while reciting Thiruppavai; Sahasranaama Archana is performed to
Lord and this seva is followed by Saatrumarai at 7 A.M. As in
Tirumala, the Saivaite priest recites Suprabhatham and Archanai. This
priest is also incharge of the Shiva temple which is maintained by TTD.
Another priest aged about 60 who is exclusively employed for reciting
Naalayira Divya Prabhandham recites Thiruppavai. After
Suprabhatham, the Lord enjoys Annamacharya kirthanas played with
the help of Naadaswaram(. The tickets for all the above sevas is Rs.5/per
head per seva. The second Saatrumarai is at 11 A.M. and after
this, the temple is closed. The rate for bhogam (offering) starts from
Rs.250/-) We were told that even the proportion of ingredients for
cooking prasadams are followed exactly as in Tirumala.The temple
re-opens at 4 P.M. Daily divya prabhandham is recited in the
evenings. Ekantha Seva is the best seva and the last seva in the
evening . Like in Tirumala, during this sevai, all the flower garments
are removed and lullaby annamaya kirtanas are played by the troup. I
request the bhagavathas visiting Badrinath to spend atleast a day in
this temple and attend all the sevas . The phone number is
0135-2430353.

In the evening, we went to Sriman Narayana Ramanuja Chinna Jeeyar
Mutt which is very near to Andhra Ashram. The advantage in staying in
Chinna Jeeyar Mutt is you are provided with both boarding and
Lodging, whereas in Andhra Bhavan, we don’t have this facility. We
went there to enquire about the stay facilities at Badrinath in Jeeyar
Mutt. We were told that as winter was about to begin, the volunteers
in Jeeyar Mutt were preparing to shift from Badrinath to Joshirmutt
and hence no accomodation would be given . Usually soon after
Vijayadasami, the mutt would be closed for winter. As only 3 days
were left for Vijayadasami, accomodation would not be given. It may
be mentioned here that in Haridwar and Rishikesh, there are
innumerable tourist offices which offer you to take to Badrinath,
Kedarnath, Gangotri, Yamunotri and other hill stations. So, if anyone
is planning to go on own to Badrinath, we can very well go to
Rishikesh and book either bus ticket or arrange a cab to go to
Badrinath. The bus fare is Rs.225/-per head and car hire charges for
3 days and 2 nights costs about Rs.3,000/-.We went to one of the
tourist offices situated right opposite to Andhra Bhavan and booked
bus tickets to go to Badrinath. It takes about 12 hours to go to Jyothi
Mutt locally known as Joshirmutt and after night stay at Jyothi Mutt ,
the bus would proceed to Badrinath the next day. The decision was
taken as Elders advised it was wise to travel in a Bus as in case of any
landslide etc the bus will return with the passengers from the opposite
direction and the passengers proceeding will board the bus which will
go back upwards saving time and ensuring continuity. As we were
interested in covering all the prayags,(namely , Dev Prayag, Karna
Prayag, Rudra Prayag, Nand Prayag and Vishnu Prayag), we enquired
whether the bus would stop at the places already mentioned above for
which the reply was in affirmative. We were told that the bus would
leave at 8 A.M. We once again went to Srinivasar kovil, and prayed
LORD for his grace. (attended Ekantha Seva at 9 P.M., paid for next
day’s dhadhiaaradhanai in the morning and after praying to Perumal
for safe journey , we did a bit of last minute shopping and retired for
the day.)

A BRIEF INTRODUCTION ABOUT THE HIMALAYAS:

The Himalayan mountains are divided into various mountain ranges,
Garhwal Himalayas, Central Himalayas, Annapurna ranges and so on.
They stretch from Jammu upto Nepal. The Himalayas are the abode of
Gods and innumerable saints contemplate on the Lord at this place.
There are 4 Vaishnava divya desams in the Himalayas itself. “
Kandam ennum Kadinagar”
popularly known as Dev Prayag,

Thirupiridhi popularly known as Joshirmutt and Badrinath are
located in the Garhwal Himalayas.

“Saaligramam”
is located in the Annapurna ranges. Other important
places are Vaishnavo Devi Temple, Kedarnath, Mount Kailash,
Amarnath temple to name a few.

There are many hill stations like Dehradun, Nainital, Mussourie etc.

A brief description of the route is mentioned below:

The routes to the 4 dhams are different. The routes to Kedarnath,
Gangotri, Yamunotri closes by September whereas the route to
Badrinath is accessible upto October.

Gangotri is the place where Ganges descended from Heavens. The
rock on which Bhagirathan did penance is known as Bhagiratha Shila.
Gaumukh from where the Ganges flows is of importance. There is a
temple dedicated to Ganges. There is a motorable road to approach
this place from Rishikesh. There are 2 routes to go to Kedarnath –via
Uttar Khashi and via Rudra Prayag . A dip at Gaumukh absolves one
of all the sins.

Yamunotri is the starting point of Yamuna. There are many hot water
springs here. Can be approached from Gangotri but one has to walk
for atleast 13 kms as there is no motorable road.

Kedarnath : The route to Kedarnath diverges at Rudra Prayag. One
has to trek for 14 kms from Gauri Kund. This is at an higher altitude
than Badrinath. The routes to the above 3 places closes by September.

Badrinath: There is motorable road upto the temple. From mid April
to October, the temple is open for public. The route is given in detail:

The route to Badrinath from Rishikesh is as follows:

Rishikesh-Dev Prayag (45miles )-Srinagar (19 miles from Dev
Prayag)-Rudra Prayag (19 miles from Srinagar)-Karna Prayag (20
miles from Gauchar)-Nand Prayag (13 miles from Karna Prayag)Chamoli-
Pipal Kote-Garuda Ganga-Helang-Joshirmutt-Govind Ghat-
Hanuman Chatti –Deva Darshani-Badrinath

Legends connected with the characters in Ramayanam and
Mahabharatam find place in the Himalayas as Lord Rama, Lakshmana,
Hanumar, Pandavas resorted to Himalayas for their penance.

All the above places are enroute to Badrinath. A brief description of the
above places is given below:

1. DEV PRAYAG: Situated at a height of 1700 feet, this is one of the
Vaishnavite divya desams known as “Kandum Ennum Kadinagar”.
Here, Alakananda (after joining with other tributaries) joins with
Bhagirathi to become Ganges. It takes about 2-3 hours to reach
this place from Rishikesh. Lord Rama is the presiding deity here
(there is no temple for Perumal described by Azhwars )-Banyan
tree in front of the temple is of importance-Anna dhanam fetches
manifold benefits-A detailed description of our visit to this divya
desam is mentioned later)
2. SRI NAGAR: Previously this was the capital of the Garhwali kings-
A small town at a height of 1800 feet -There is a temple for
Kamaleshwar Mahadev who was worshipped by Lord Rama with
1008 flowers. Shiva who wanted to test Sri Rama’s bhakti, removed
one flower. When Lord Rama found that one flower was missing,
unhesitatingly he removed his eyes (as He was Kamalakannan) and
offered the same to the Lord. Shiva was pleased with this and
appeared before Rama and blessed him. Hence, this Lord is known
as Kamaleshwar Mahadev. To visit this temple, one must take
diversion from the bus route. It is better to go by car as there is no
other transport facility.
3. RUDRA PRAYAG: This is 19 miles away from Srinagar at an
altitude of 2000 feet. The confluence of the rivers Mandakini
emergine from Kedarnath and Alakananda takes place. There is a
small temple dedicated to Rudra, one of the forms of Shiva. The
routes to Kedarnath and Badrinath are the same upto this place and
here the routes diverge. Narada Rishi did penance at this place and
was blessed with the knowledge of sangeetham at this place.
4. KARNA PRAYAG: This is 20 miles from Gauchar and appl 40 miles
from Rudra Prayag. This is a small town with boarding and lodging
facilities. There is a Tourist guest house and some wayside hotels
too. As Karna did penance here, this place has been named so. The
confluence of Alakananda and Pindar river from Pindar glacier
takes place. As there is no proper route, it is difficult to go and

sprinkle water from this Prayag. One has to go by foot and the
path is slippery.

5. NAND PRAYAG: 13 miles from Karna Prayag with some wayside
hotels. River Alakananda mingles with Nandakini at this place.
As there is no proper route, it is difficult to go and sprinkle water
from this Prayag. One has to go by foot and the path is slippery.
Mount Trisul can be seen from here.
6. CHAMOLI: This is the district headquarters and hence has all the
facilities like hotels, lodges, phones etc. Here, Birahi Ganga
meets with Alakananda . One can only watch the confluence.
7. PIPAL KOTE:-As piligrims going to Badrinath usually stay at either
Pipal Kote or Joshirmutt , it has many facilities. Garuda Ganga is
near this place. As Garuda did penance here to atone for the sins
committed by killing snakes, this place has come to be known thus.
There are 2 small temples dedicated to Lord Vishnu along with
Mahalakshmi and a separate temple for Garudazhwar. A narrow
steep path way leads to the river which flows very silently . It is
believed that the pebbles collected from this river wards off snakes
and other evil spirits. Usually, these pebbles are carried by
pregnant woman for a safe delivery. Nagadosham gets wiped off if
one consumes the sacred waters of the river.
8. HELANG: A small town with minimum facilities. Vruddha Badri
(one of the Pancha Badris) and Kalpeshwar (one of the Pancha
Kedars) are near this place.
9. JOSHIRMUTT: Situated at a height of 6000 feet, this is a busy
place. This is treated as “
TIRUPIRIDHI”
divya desam by some
whereas others are of the opinion that Thirupiridhi is situated in the
midst of Himalayas on the banks of Manasa sarovaram beyond
Badrinath. It has many stay facilities. There is a temple dedicated
to Lord Narasimhar worshipped by Adi Sankaracharyar who was
bestowed jnanam (knowledge) to write a commentary on the
Vedanta Sutras. A detailed description of this divya desam is given
later. Vishnu Prayag (one of the Pancha Prayags), the confluence
of Dahuli Ganga with Alakananda is below Joshirmutt off the
normal route.
10. GOVIND GHAT: At this place, there is a gate to go to Badrinath .
It is named after Sikh guru Sri Guru Govind, the 10th guru in their guru

parampara ,as he visited this place. As already mentioned the way to
Badrinath is one way. The gates open at specific timings (4 times )
starting from 8 A.M. and closes by 4 P.M. Bhyunder Ganga joins
with Hem ganga. The world famous “VALLEY OF FLOWERS”
is 20
miles away from this place. Here, flowers of the rarest varieties are
grown here There is no motorable road and has to be approached by
foot . Due to insufficient time, we didn’t visit this place. Also, the lake
of ice known as “HEM KUND”
is near Govind Ghat at an altitude of
15000 feet. It is surrounded by seven snowy peaks known as “SAPTA
SHRUNG”
. If one is prepared to spare a day or two, one can visit
these places. (We couldn’t visit this place)

10.
PANDUKESHWAR : This is one of the Pancha Badris known as
“Yoga Badri”
As Pandavas were born here, it has been named so.
This is the winter abode of Lord Badrinarayanan. (But we were told
by the priest at Joshirmutt that Joshirmutt is the winter abode of
the Lord) (Adiyen requests for clarification.
11.
HANUMAN CHATTI: A small temple on the roadside itself
dedicated to Hanumar. Hanumar humbled Bheema who was
filled with pride to shed his ego and Hanumar blessed Bheema that
he would accompany them in the forthcoming Mahabharata war by
sitting on Arjuna’s flag.
12.
DEVADARSHINI: Situated at a height of 10,000 feet, one can
have a view of Badrinath.The wonderful snow capped Neelkant
Parvath can be viewed right from Joshirmutt.
BADRINATH :

Badrinath, more popularly known as “
VISHAL BADRI”, is one of the
four most important dhaams(piligrim centres-mukti tharum
kshetrams), a Vada naadu divya desam which every Srivaishnavite
desires to visit atleast once . It is the final destination for any seeker
aiming for salvation. The temple is surrounded by Nara and Narayana
mountains on either sides and river Alakananda (the most beautiful)
flows chanting the pious rhyms Har-Har after touching Perumal’s
Thiruvadi. The temple which is at an altitude of app. 3583 metres
from sea level is on Narayana parvatham. Guest houses and lodges
are situated in Nara parvatham. The Himalayan range consisting of
Gangotri, Yamunotri, Badrinath and Kedarnath was known as
Kedarkhand in Puranic age. The whole area is charged with spiritual
aura and it is advised to continously chant Perumal’s holy names in
this place. Full details about this kshetram has been given later.

Lord Narayana manifested Himself at this place to teach the world
about penance. When He was asked by Narada as to on whom
Perumal was meditating, Perumal replied that He was contemplating
on Himself. Only at this divya desam, Perumal is seen as Acharya
swaroopam. It was here Perumal expounded the Thirumantram to
Naran. Also, Thayar is not seen along with Perumal. She has spread
Herself as Badri vruksham to protect Perumal from nature. Hence,
Perumal is known as BADRI NARAYANAN.

Perumal is residing Here since ages. In Satya yugam, Perumal was
visible to everyone and devas and rishis offered prayers. In Treta
yugam, He was visible through penance. In Dwapara yugam, it was
becoming difficult even for sages to have His darshan. Perumal
answered their request that in Kali yugam, He would not be visible to
the mortal eyes and added that His vigraham was under Narad Shila in
Alakananda and ordered to perform pooja to the idol. If one sees that
idol, one gets the same reward of seeing Perumal in visible form.
Accordingly, the vigraham was taken out and a temple was
constructed by Viswakarma. Over a period of time, Buddhists
captured this temple, threw away the idol in Narad Kund and installed
their own idol. This idol was later recovered by Adi Sankaracharyar,
the details of which has been given later .

There are pancha Badris, namely, Adi Badri(19 kms from Karna Prayag
off the normal route), Yoga Badri(also known as Pandukeshwar at a
distance of 8 miles from Joshirmutt), Vridha Baddri (on Joshirmutt-
Animath route –off the main route),Bhavishya Badri ( entirely different
route from Joshirmutt via Saldhar( 19 kms from Joshirmutt) and from
there to go by walk (6 kms), also can be accessed from Badrinath) and
Vishal Badri which is the main temple.

The temple has been named as “VISHAL BADRI”
because the Lord
answered the prayers of a king named “VISHAL”
The Lord blessed the
king that he would be remembered by everyone as his name would be
attached to the Lord’s name. Hereafter , Badrinath means “VISHAl
BADRI”.

There are many places of interest in and around Badrinath-Vyas Gufa,
Ganesh Gufa, Vasundhara Falls, River Saraswathi, Swarg Dhwar.

Bhavishya Badri (future Badri) is near Badrinath in the thick Tapovan
forests. When the present Badriaksramam becomes inaccessible , the
Lord would be worshipped at Bhavishya Badri. We are told that it
takes a full day to go there and come back as one has to walk the 16
kms (to and fro) path with the help of a guide.

Not only Srivaishnavites, even people belonging to other castes visit
this place to offer “PINDA DHAANAM”
to the departed souls. It is
considered to be more sacred than Kashi and Gaya. Usually, after
offering pinda dhaanam at Kashi and Gaya people visit this place.

At this juncture, I am briefly giving a checklist of luggage to be carried
to Badrinath.

Clothing:-Thick woolen sweaters, woolen caps,gloves (if required),
socks, shawls, an overcoat, 2 sets of clothes (depends on number of
days of stay at Badri), cotton Some supari, mint chocolates, sour
chocolates etc in case you suffer from giddiness while travelling (The
route is full of ‘U’
turns), minimum medicines like Crocin, cough syrup,
tablets for cold and regular medicines if you are a patient.

Food:-In case you are not that particular to have food prepared by
only Srivaishnavar, you get all types of food , including South Indian
food and coffee though it is a bit costly enroute . To digest rice in
that weather is a bit difficult . Hence, one can have chapattis during
the stay.

Though the temple is opened from mid-April to mid-November, the
best time to visit the temple would be between May –June and Sep-
Oct. It rains during July and August and hence one has to face land
slides. It is snow-capped from Nov to April; May , June, Oct, Nov are
cold.

Though we were advised to get incolculated against cholera (3 doses)
before setting in for piligrimage, we didn’t get vaccinated and by His
grace, we didn’t fall sick.

The local people speak Hindi, Garhwali and few speak English.

DETAILS OF OUR TRIP:

On 4/10/3, had holy dip in Triveni Ghat (the confluence of Ganges,
Yamuna, Saraswathi-Triveni Sangamam) which is at Rishikesh and half
a kilometer from Andhra bhavan we attended Suprabhata Seva at 5

A.M. and Thomala Seva at 6 A.M at ANDHRA BHAVAN TTD Temple at
Rishikesh. It was Saraswathi Pooja, one day before Vijayadasami.
After attending morning Saatrumarai seva at 7 A.M., we took leave
and boarded bus (UA 07 C-9234) at 9 A.M along with another 15
piligrims. Badrinath is 324 kms away from Haridwar and 298 kms from
Rishikesh. It is situated at an altitude of 3110 metres or 10350 feet
approximately. The road to Badri is so narrow that only one vehicle
can travel at a time. We could see big mountain ranges on either
sides and Alakananda flowing continously. Greenery was at the best
and the weather was splendid. Alakananda which starts beyond
Badrinath at Alakapuri, the kingdom of Lord Kubera is the companion
all through the way.
After travelling continuously for nearly 3 hours, the bus reached Dev
Prayag. This place is 70 kms away from Rishikesh situated at an
altitude of 472 metres. “PRAYAG”
means confluence of 2 rivers. Here,
Alakananda joins with Bhagirathi . This is the divya desam known as


KANDAM ENNUM KADINAGAR as well as THIRUKADIGAI”

There is a temple dedicated to Lord Sri Ramar known as Raghunathji.
The bus stopped for morning refreshments. We were deceived by the
bus agent as were not taken to the Divya desa temple. We continued
our journey to Jyothi Mutt via Srinagar (579 metres), Rudra Prayag
(610 m) where we had lunch, Karna Prayag, Nand Prayag,
Chamoli(1069 m), Pipalkote. On one side bluish water of Alakananda
flows continously. It looks as if the Lord has sent this river to
accompany us. Like the joy of a person who visits his motherland after
many years, we experienced similar feeling. This river mingles with
Mandakini at Rudra Prayag, with Pindar river at Karna Prayag, with
Nandakini at Nanda Prayag,with Birahi Ganga at Chamoli, with Garuda
Ganga near Pipal kote. The confluence of the rivers (different colours)
is a feast to the eyes.We were struck with wonder as to how the driver
could drive in such a narrow lane. There are no proper roads and a
peep through the window is sure to raise chills in a person. The “U”
turns would make everyone recite Lord’s names. Thirumangai
Azhwar’s pasurams on Lord Badrinarayanan advising us to visit the
divya desam before we become old were on our lips. We were totally
bewildered to see the beautiful nature. The scenic beauty is beyond
the scope of my description. Only Thirumangai Azhwar and great
poets can describe the beauty of the Himalayas. It is wonderful to see

Lord’s creation. While in Himalayas, one gets spiritually elavated and
one can really experience God. The spirit soul in us really dances with
joy. We can feel a sense of happiness, which is indescribable. We get a
feeling that one experiences when one sees his/her relatives after a
very long gap. This hilly area is developing and we could find rich
vegetation of apple trees, pine trees, akroot, potatoes , tea, medicinal
herbs etc. Added to this, road widening is in progress and we were told
that by next year, the ghat road would be broadened and walls would
be built. Though Uttaranchal is a newly formed small state, the
developmental activities are going in a fast pace. We reached Jyothi
Mutt at 8.30 P.M. For the first time, we experienced biting cold. As
expected, the bus driver said that we wouldn’t be visiting the divya
desam temple. We prayed to the Lord to bless with His darshan on
our return journey.As soon as we got down from the bus, we were
thronged by the local people who were ready to let out their room.
The room rent starts from Rs.150/-. All of them have both boarding
and lodging facilities. We checked in one of the nameless hotels.

On 05/10/03 , we left Joshimutt at 6.15 A.M. and reached Badrinath
at 8.30A.M. It was only due to our poorva janma sukrutam and
elders’
blessings that we were in the holiest of all the places, the
abode of the Supreme Lord, the Ashtakshara kshetram (Lord
Narayanan initiated the Thirumanthram to Naran at this place) .This is
one of the four “mukti tharum kshetrams”, the others being
Rameswaram in the South, Dwaraka in the west, Puri in the east. This
is the place where every Srivaishnavite longs to visit. Any punyam
including chanting of holy names will fetch manifold benefit. We were
advised by Sri.Somayajulu of TTD,Hyderabad to chant Vishnu
Sahasranamam as reciting Sahasranamam once at Badrinath is
equivalent to recitation of the same for 1000 times in other place.
This is the place where innumerable sages have done penance and
their presence and vibration could be felt.

The place where the bus stops is known as “Deva Darshan”
as one can
view the Nara,Narayana mountains from here. The sight of ice capped
Neelkant Parvath was a feast to the eyes. We were at an altitude of
10,350 feet from the sea level. It was a sunny day with cold winds
blowing. We were overexcited to see the place serene with only
devotees around. The nights are extremely cold . My kids and
especially my father was too delighted to look around the beautiful
Nara Narayan Mountains and the Alakananda river. As soon as we got
down from the bus, a Nepali coolie with dandie (a basket tied to his
back) was prepared to carry our luggages for Rs.20/-. A young
brahmin youth was prepared to guide us. He offered to take us to all

the temples in and around Badri and make arrangements for poojas
etc. We sincerely thank him for his guidance and the help he extended
to us during our stay without expecting anything in return. The guide
took us first to Andhra Ashram (the mutt maintained by Sri Sri
Narayana Ramanuja Chinna Jeeyar of JET fame). As expected, we
were told that it was not possible for us to stay there as they were
preparing to leave Badrinath within a couple of days. But the
volunteers offered us to have lunch. A good hospitality. Almost all the
residents let out rooms for rent and in one such house, we checked in
Baba Kamali Ashram for Rs.200/-as room rent. This is on the way to
the temple. The owners were very very hospitable. They helped us by
giving milk, chapatis, hot water etc. for which they didn’t expect
anything in return. Though the help they extended cannot be weighed
in monetary terms, yet for our satisfaction we paid them before
leaving.

The anxiety to visit the temple was expected and we quickly marched
towards the temple. We left the room with a set of clothes to have
bath in Tapta Kund. It is customary to have bath in Tupta Kund and
then visit Badrinath temple.

TAPTA KUND is a hot water spring , the temperature of the water
could be easily 55 to 60 degrees . Through out the day it was cold,
(the night temperature was –2 degrees) the water was steaming hot.
It is believed that a dip in this water instigates bhakthi and accept
Lords creation. There are separate places for men and women to have
bath. Nearly 4 bathing places have been built by the temple authorities
to facilitate the crowd to have bath. There is a continuous flow of
steaming hot water. The scientific aspect that the water is sulphur rich
etc needs to be kept aside and accept the fact that we are at Lord
Bhadris abode and Lord has arranged for a bath as we have travelled a
long distance in the cold.

The myth behind it is as follows : Agni was cursed by Bhrigu rishi
that he would consume everything and continuously generate heat.
Agni prayed to Perumal that no one was allowing him to come near as
he was generating heat. At that time, Perumal blessed him saying
that He has decided to manifest Himself at Badrinath and Agni could
reside with him in the form of water. He also conferred a boon saying
that devotees could have darshan of Perumal only after bathing in this
hot water spring. This is one of the reasons for the water being so hot.
We were told about this by one of the pujaris while doing Dampathi
Pooja.

In front of the temple, we could see the bluish Alakananda flowing .
We were told that this river touches the Thiruvadigal of Perumal at this
place. The water is ice cold and is not used for rituals etc.

After having bath in Tapta Kund, all of us went to temple around 11.30

A.M. First, we had darshan of Kedareswar as it was He who vacated
this place for Lord Narayanan to reside as per Puranas As in all the
Saivaite temples, Siva is in lingam form which is very small. We
were told an interesting story by the guide quoting from some
Purana. which is as follows: This was the residence of Shiva and
Parvathi . As Perumal had decided to manifest Himself at this place,
He wanted Shiva to vacate this place and hence He disguised
Himself as a small boy and came to Shiva’s residence. Goddess
Parvathi out of her motherly affection, took the child on her lap and
asked what He wanted. The boy said that He wanted to relax in their
house for some time. Shiva who knew with his divya drushti as to
who the boy was prevented Parvathi from doing so. But as it was ’s
wish to stay here, Parvathi didn’t agree with Shiva and let the child
go inside and relax inside. The moment the child went inside, the
doors got locked automatically . The efforts of Shiva in trying to
open the doors became invain. At that time, Lord proclaimed from
inside that to save the people from the grips of Kali , He has decided
to stay Here and impart upadesam to the mortals to help them get rid
of the cruel Kali. He also instructed Shiva to move to a nearby place
and continue his penance. He also added that a piligrimage to
Badrinath would be deemed to be completed only after one has
darshan of Kedareswar. In case it is not possible for the devotees to
go to Kedarnath, they could worship this lingam and then obtain Lord
Narayanan’s blessings. Hence, we first went to this sannidhi and
offered our prayers.
Lord Narayanan sat in Padamsana posture as a Tapaswi and was in
deep meditation. As Lord is seen as Tapasvi, Aravindavalli Thayar is
not seen in the garbagriham. However, there is a sannidhi in the
temple premises. The devas headed by Narada rishi used to offer
prayers daily. Naradar is the chief priest and hence only in this divya
desam we can find his vigraham.

There are some similarities between Badrinath and Thirukurungudi
Perumals . Thirukurungudi is the Pandya Naadu divya desam situated
near Tirunelveli. In this place, Perumal is seen as 5 Nambis. The
Perumal who incarnated Himself as Nammazwar, gave moksham to
Thirumangai Azhwar, Nampaduvan etc. got Thirumantra upadesam

from our great Acharyar, Sri Ramanujar. And hence this place has
come to be known as DAKSHINA BADRI.

In Badri, Lord Narayanan initiated Naran( a mortal) into
Thirumanthram whereas in Thirukurungudi, Naran (Sri Ramanujar)
gave Thirumantra upadesam to Perumal.

At Badrinath, one has to visit Kedareswar first before taking the
blessings of Lord Badrinarayanan. Only then the yaatrai is deemed to
be complete. At Thirukurungudi , there is a sannidhi for Shiva at
the entrance and one has to first take his blessings before going to
Nambi’s sannidhi.

ADI SANKARACHARYAR’S SANNIDHI : After having darshan of
Shiva, we went to Adi Sankaracharyar’s sannidhi. It is due to the
efforts of Shri Adi Sankaracharyar who was an amsam of Shiva, the
temple of Badrinath is existing today. He has contributed to a great
extent.

In order to revive Vaishnavism , Lord chose Sri Adi Sankaracharyar,
who was an amsam of Shiva, to fulfill His mission. When Sri Adi
Sankaracharyar was residing in Joshirmutt (the place has come to be
known thus because it was here Sankaracharyar was enlightened and
was instructed to write Bhasyam-a commentary based on Sri Veda
Vyasar’s 18 puranas) he had a dream in which Perumal gave him His
whereabouts and instructed him to construct a temple. Accordingly,
Sri Adi Sankaracharyar went to Badrinath and followed Perumal’s
instructions. When he had a dip in Narad Kund, he emerged with a
vigraham. He heard an asareeri say that Lord has decided to manifest
in the same form and people could offer their prayers to this vigraham.
With the help of the native king, Sri Sankaracharyar got a temple built,
appointed priests for daily Thiruvaradhanam and laid out rules and
regulations to be followed in worship. As this place is in the cold
region, he instructed that on Deepavali day (Aippasi maasam), the
temple would be closed and would be re-opened in mid April-May
(Chithirai maasam). He also ordered that the priest who performs
Thiruvaaradhanai should be a strict bachelor. He chose one of his
disciples who was a Kerala Namboodri to continue worship. Hence
even to this day, only Kerala Namboodri bachelor does
Thiruvaaradhanai. He is known as REWAL. He presides over all the
temple activities . We happened to see him during our poojas . He
wears a woolen coat, turban etc . His face shines with Thejas. Other
priests help him in passing on the offerings, reciting Bhagavath

Geetha, Vishnu Sahasranaamam etc. but they are not allowed to go
very near to the Lord.

We then entered the temple premises which is divided into three. The
outer most prakaram is known as Singh Dwar where there is an idol of
Garuda. After crossing the Singh Dwar, we enter Sabha Mandap.
Piligrims do pradakshinam around the Sabha Mandap. We were told
that this was renovated some few years ago. The third section is the
Garba griham which houses Perumal and other dieties.

SRI ARAVINDAVALLI NAYIKA SAMETHA SRI BADRI NARAYANA
PARABRAHMANE NAMAH

MOOLAVAR : SRI BADRI NARAYANAN IN PADMASANAM
POSTURE (MEDITATING)
THAYAR : ARAVINDAVALLI THAYAR )SEPARATE TEMPLE
VIMANAM : TAPTA KANCHANA VIMANAM
THEERTHAM : TAPTA KUND, NARADA KUND
PRATHYEKSHAM : GARUDA, KUBERA, NARAN, NARAYANAN,
UDDHAVAR AND NARADAR

MANGALASAASANAM: THIRUMANGAI AZWAR (968-987)
PERIAZHWAR 1 PASURAM
STHALA VRUKSHAM : BADRI TREE (ILANDHI MARAM INVISIBLE TO
THE MORTAL EYES)

Being Vijayadasami there was a huge rush in the temple. It took
about 10 minutes for us to have darshanam. Here, the Lord is seen in
Padmasanam (veetruirundha Thirukkolam)-sitting posture in the
middle. To Perumal’s right, Vinayaka, Garuda, Kubera are seen. To
Perumal’s left, Uddhavar, Naradar, Naran and Narayanan are seen.
Kubera who is on the right side in front covered with golden kavacham
attracts everyone as it is he who bestows prosperity. It is the practice
of the devotees to carry some new coins with them, place it in front of
Kubera, take them back and keep in their pooja room or cash box for
their prosperity. The moment one has darshan of the Lord, one
forgets the hardships, if any, he faced during the journey and the
biting cold. The heart is filled with inexplicable joy and one can indeed
feel the atma within us dancing with joy and contentment. One can
have darsanam of Perumal peacefully as many times as one wants to.

A brief note about the presiding deities :

BADRI NARAYANAN: This vigraham engraved on a white
Saligramam is in the middle of the sannidhi. It is swayambhu (not

sculpted by any mortal)-seen in Padmasanam (meditative posture)-
Perumal has chathurbhujam (4 hands) holding the divine conch,
sudarshana chakram in the two upper hands and the two in
meditation. He is adorned with diamond Thiruman kaapu and
Navaratna necklace apart from other jewellery. The divya mangala
swaroopam of Perumal can be seen only during Nirmalaya darshan at
8 P.M. when all the floral decorations and ornaments are removed. He
is an embodiment of peace. A silver replica of the Moolavar is kept in
a separate sannidhi and when the temple is closed for 6 months during
winter, this utsavar is taken to Joshirmutt for performing
nityaaaradhanai by mortals. During day time, we cannot make out
anything as all the vigrahams are fully bedecked with flowers. Plates
containing sweets, dry fruits of varying rates are sold outside the
temple. After offering the same to the Lord, half of it is seen taken by
the temple authorities for distribution and the remaining part is given
to us as prashad.

Lord Narayanan left His celestial abode Sri Vaikuntam and has chosen
the Himalayas as His permanent abode to release all the souls from
affliction,sorrow, ego etc . When Lord Narayanan started doing
penance in Himalayas, Goddess Mahalakshmi who is an embodiment of
compassion wanted to protect Perumal from the harsh weather
conditions and so she spread Herself as a Badri Tree (Ilandhai Maram).
As Perumal is seated under this Badri tree, He is known as “Badri”
Narayanan. In Kali yugam, this Badri tree will not be visible to the
mortal eyes. (This reminds me of Ananda nilaya vimanam in Tirumala
which is also not visible to the mortal eyes. The gold plated vimanam
what we see today is man-made)

PERIATHIRUVADI : When Garuda was encountered by Perumal while
he was taking Amrutham to save his mother from his aunt’s clutches,
he was defeated by Perumal. When Perumal conferred boons, he
prayed to Perumal that he should always be (1) Perumal’s vaahanam
and (2) he should be on the kodi (flag) on Perumal’s chariot. Hence,
Peria Thiruvadi is seen in the Garbagriham itself. The other place
where he is seen in the Garbagriham is at Srivilliputtur(Samaasaanam)
as Andal had promised Garuda that if he brought Perumal to her for
marriage within the stipulated time, she would offer him
Samaaasanam (place on par with Perumal). In all other places, he is
in his usual place ,outside the garbagriham, to carry out Perumal’s
orders.

KUBERA :-As Kubera , the Lord of wealth, does aaradhanai to
Perumal , he is seen here. Also, Kubera’s residence Alakapuri is near
Badrinath. It is from Alakapuri that Alakananda river originates.

NARAN AND NARAYANAN : There are 2 stories connected with this :

1) They were the grandchildren of Brahma and children of Dharma
devathai and his wife, Moorthi. At a very young age, they left their
parents, came to Himalayas and started meditating. To withstand
their parental pressure, they transformed into 2 mountains.
Perumal who was pleased with their devotion asked them to choose
a boon for which they prayed that Perumal should always reside
with them. Perumal conceded their request and said that He would
reside there as a Tapasvi and meditate. He also initiated the
Thirumantram to them. Lord Narayanan also bestowed a boon upon
Naran saying that though Naran was younger to Him, he would be
addressed first. Hence , they are known as Nara-Narayanan.

To the dejected parents of Naran and Narayanan, Lord assured that
every year Puratasi Dwadasi (Balabhadra Dwadashi), Perumal would
come to their temple and spend a day with them. Mela is conducted
here . This festival is known as “Maata Moorthi Ka Mela”
. It is
believed that when the Nara and Narayana mountains collide with each
other probably due to landslide, Badrinath would become inaccessible.

One who visits Badrinath must definitely go to Maata Moorthi temple
which is situated about 4 kms away from the main temple on the way
to Mana village. There is a rock near the temple known as “Dharma
Shila”

2) Perumal manifested Himself as both Naran and Narayanan and
killed an asura named Sahasrakavacha. In tune with the vedic
tradition of “Guru-sishya parampara, Perumal incarnated Himself as
Narayanan, the preceptor and Naran,the perceiver to propate the
most powerful and the ultimate “Ashtakshari Manthram”
which is
the quintessence of the Vedas. In Bhagavad Geeta, Lord Krishna
says to Arjuna, that both of them took several births together and
informs this incident to Arjuna while imparting Geethopodesam in
Kurukshetra.

The Naran and Narayana mountains have an over powering presence
at Badrinath. Nara Parvath is on the eastern bank of the river
Alakananda whereas Narayana Parvath is on the western bank. Nara
Parvat also known as Kubera Bandar bestows prosperity and

Narayana Parvat bestows spiritual upliftment. Behind Narayana
Parvath is the Neelkant Parvat at an altitude of 21,600 feet fully snow
capped. When sunlight falls on it, it glitters like silver.

The temple is on the banks of Alakananda river between Nara and
Narayanan mountains on Urvashi Peetam. Urvashi Peetam is a
small hillock on which Perumal is seated. There is an interesting
incident connected with this. Indra was unaware that Perumal was
meditating here. As usual, he was worried about his kingdom and sent
damsels headed by Ramba, Menaka to distract the penance of the
Lord. At that time, Lord Narayanan who was in deep meditation
opened His eyes, created a beautiful lady from His thigh . As she
emerged from Perumal’s thigh, she came to be known as URVASHI.
Looking at her beauty, they were mesmerised and ashamed of
themselves. Perumal ordered the damsels to present Urvashi to Indra.
The damsels were so captivated with Perumal’s roopam that they
requested Him to marry them. The Lord refused saying that in this
avataar , He is in tapasvi form but promised to fulfill their desire in
Krishna avataram. These damsels were born as Gopikas during
Krishna avataram and how they attained Supreme bliss by enacting
Rasa leela is too well known to bear repetition.

NARADAR: This deva rishi who always meditates on the Lord is the
chief priest. When the temple is closed for 6 months in winter, the
devas headed by Naradar perform worship to Perumal.

UDDHAVAR : This great devotee of Lord Krishna to whom Krishna
preached Gita finds a place in the garbagriham.

It was decided that human beings could perfrom pooja to Perumal for
6 months during summer, rainy seasons starting from May upto
Deepavali (Oct-Nov) and devas for another 6 months during winter
from Deepavali upto Apr-May. The dates of opening and closing the
temple are decided by Rewal and the temple authorities.

An evidence to prove that bhagavath aaradhanam is done to Perumal
by devas is seen even today.
1) The ghee lamp which is lit while closing the temple continues to

glow brightly. Hence on the opening day, there is usually heavy

rush to watch the Akandajyothi burning.
2) Fresh smelling flowers are seen in the garbagriham proving that

devas have worshipped the Lord during these 6 months.

After having a wonderful darshan of Perumal and theertha prasadam,
we went to Thayar sannidhi. The sannidhi is very small. We offered
some bangles, kumkum,a piece of cloth and some sweets a north
Indian tradition . . These were kept near the garbagriham and given
back to us. It is considered to be very auspicious to wear the bangles
which have been kept near Thayar. We had theertha prasadam and
proceeded to Hanumar sannidhi. Here, Siria Thirivadi is seen carrying
Sanjeevani Parvatham. From there, we went to utsavar sannidhi and
there we recited Vishnu Sahasranaamam.

While doing pradakshinam, we came across the sannidhi of
Ghantakarnan, a staunch Siva devotee and an enemy of Vishnu. We
were told that he used to hang bells around his neck to avoid hearing
the name of Vishnu. But when he did propitated Shiva to give him
moksham, Shiva advised him to pray to Perumal as He alone can give
moksham. Shiva advised him to go to Dwaraka and meet Sri Krishna.
But on reaching Dwaraka, he learnt that Krishna has gone to
Badrikasramam and hence he went there and offered prayers. Pleased
with his single minded devotion, Krishna granted the boon that
Ghantakarna could reside there as “Kshetra paalakar.”

As it was an auspicious day, there was some gathering and special
discourse headed by Rewal. We were told that on Vijayadasami, they
decide the date for closure of the temple for the calender year. Very
near to utsavar’s sannidhi, there are five life-size idols of Sri Adi
Sankaracharayar and his four disciples.

There is a separate shrine for Srivaishnavite acharyars. In the
sannidhi, there are vigrahams of Manavala Maamuni (seen in the
center) and Arjunan (left of Manavala Maamuni). To the right of
Manavala Maamuni, Sri Ramanujar is seen.We were later told that His
Holiness Shri Tridandi Jeeyer Swami had brought Udaivar and
Manavalamamunis vigraham with austerities and installed at this holy
place.

We booked tickets for Sahasranaamavali seva (Rs.301/-for 2
persons) and Geet Govind Paat also known as Nirmalaya darshanam
(Rs.501/- for 2 persons)

At 1 P.M., all of us went to Andhra Ashram (Chinna Jeeyar Mutt) to
have prasadam . Though there are several mutts established at
various divya desams by Sri Sri Chinna Jeeyar Swami, it has gained
wide reputation at this kshetram. At Badrinath being Ashtakshari

kshetram, nitya anna dhanam (free food) is offered to all the
devotees. Annam (food) is para brahma swaroopam and anna dhanam
done at Badrinath is a rare virtue and privilege. This anna dhanam is
being done by this mutt since late 1950s . We were told by the
volunteers that Jeeyar Swami has ordered to perform Anna dhaanam
till the last day of closure. The services done by the volunteers
cannot be mentioned in words. Hot water is served for drinking and
even for washing hands.

We were told that Pedda Jeeyar Swami when he was in Poorvasram
(before taking sanyasam) came to this holy place in 1940, performed
penance for 3 months and attained manthra siddhi. After taking
sanyasam in 1954, he once again came to this divya desam and
performed Koti Havana Maha Krathu yagam when Ashtakshara
manthram was chanted for 10 crore times. He also installed
vigrahams of Lord Srinivasar and Udayavar for nitya Thiruvaaradhanai
and made arrangements for anna dhanam to devotees which is being
continued even today.

There are also stay facilities here. There are 2 buildings, one
constructed by Pedda Jeeyar Swami and the other by Chinna Jeeyar
Swami which has 36 rooms and was built at a cost of Rs.70 lakhs.

Around 3 P.m. , we arranged a van to visit Mana village for Rs.200/-.
Mana village is the last Indian village on the Indo-China border which
is again at an altitude. This is approximately 4 kms away from
Badrinath. This place has some historical significance because Vyas
Gufa, Ganesh Gufa are found here. Also, this is the starting point of
River Saraswati . Previously, trade between India and China used to
be in full swing. But now there is no trading at this place. We saw
some vegetation of cabbage, apples, akroot etc. We also saw sign
boards showing that Vasundhara falls was just few kilometres away.
As my father didn’t accompany us and was taking rest in the car itself,
we didn’t visit this place. On the way to Mana village, we saw Maatha
Moorthi temple which is very very small.

We first went to Ganesh Gufa. “Gufa”
in Hindi means “cave”. There is
a small shrine of Vinayakar/Ganesh. It was here that Vinayakar
wrote Mahabharatham by using his tusk which was dictated by Veda
Vyasar. We did pradakshinam around the cave, took few photographs
and left the place. Bought a soft drink bottle from the nearby last
Indian Tea shop with the intention of filling the bottle with Saraswathi
river.

After 10 minutes of trekking, we reached Vyas Gufa. There is a life-
size image of Veda Vyasar. Veda Vyasar was an amsam of Lord
Vishnu and it was he who compiled the Vedas and 18 puranas at this
place. A pujari offered us some theetha prasadam. We were
prohibited from using Camcorder . He narrated the following incident
to a group of devotees who had assembled there.

Veda Vyasar wanted a person who could write Mahabharatham to
which Vinayakar agreed. Ganesh laid down the condition that
the sage should uninterruptedly recite the Mahabharatham and Veda
Vyasar laid down the condition that he wouldn’t repeat anything and
Ganesh was supposed to repeat and write. This cave is situated near
the starting point of River Saraswathi. This river was flowing with a
roaring sound which was disturbing the sage. Hence, he cursed
Saraswathi that she has to disappear from that place. River Saraswathi
repented for her folly and begged the sage to revoke the curse. Veda
Vyasar said that she would become invisible in the nearnby
surrounding areas and flow as underground river by mingling with
other rivers. At this place, River Saraswathi mingles with Alakananda
and this place is known as “KESHAV PRAYAG “
.From there, after 5
minutes of trekking, we reached the place from which River
Saraswathi originates. The sight of this river originating from the
mountains is spectacular. The gushing water sound is deafening .The
water flows down ferociously and tremendously with full force. There
is a small shrine for Goddess Saraswathi. We could neither sprinkle
any water nor collect water which is usually sold there as the vendor
was not available.

From there, on our way back, we saw “SWARG DHWAR “
a mountain
which is the way to go to Heavens. We were told by our guide that
when Pancha Pandavas along with Draupadi were going to Heaven,
they had to cross River Saraswathi who was then flowing ferociously
and uninterruptedly. (before she was cursed by Veda Vyasar) As she
didn’t give way for them, (it seems she envied Draupadi) Bhima who
was known for his strength made a bridge by throwing a hillock from a
nearby place on the river and thus helped the Pandavas in crossing the
river. Hence, this place is known as “Bheem Koop”

On the way, we saw local people selling sweaters, caps etc., many
soldiers patrolling.We came back to Badrinath at 5 P.M. and after
giving refreshments to Father who was already tired as he couldn’t
withstand the cold, we left for shopping.

It is worth mentioning here that in Himalayas, you get original
Rudrakshams (as the tree grows only in cold areas), Spatikams etc.
We bought some Navratna maalais, Eka Rudraksham(not found in rest
of India), Srichakram made of spatikam , Vishnu Paadam , photos etc
for all our friends who had made a plea to bring them from the holy
place.

As my father was engrossed in reciting Divya Prabhandham(during his
stay here, my father completed prabhandham paarayanam and was
continously doing japam of Ashtaksharam), and as the temperature
was 2 degrees ,I left with my wife and children to attend
Sahasranaamavali Sevai. When we went to the temple, Vishnu
Sahasranaamam was being recited . We also joined them and were
continously reciting Sahasranamam. There were few more people
standing along with us in the queue to attend this seva. We were the
ones to come first and hence had the opportunity to sit right in front of
the Kulasekhara padi and watch the seva.

SAHASRANAMAVALI :-(Charge Rs.301/- for 2 persons)

The Rewal who was sitting inside the garbagriham was offering
flowers to the Lord while four priests sitting outside the garbagriham
very near to us were reciting the 1000 names of the Lord. It took
some time for us to understand their pronunciation. For nearly 20
minutes, we were in front of the Lord experiencing spiritual ecstasy.

After this, all of us were asked to leave the place as bhogam for the
night was being offered to Perumal. Since we booked for Geet Govind
Paat also, we were waiting outside. For this seva, the tickets are
numbered and as per the numbers the devotees are allowed to enter
inside. Anyway , our guide who is also one of the priests played a vital
role in making us sit in front.

The offering of bhogam was a peaceful affair . After this, we were
allowed to get inside.

GEET GOVIND PAAT/NIRMALYA DARSHAN: This is the most
important seva in this temple. During this seva which takes place
around 8 in the night, Geet Govindham sung by Jayadevar is recited
and some slokas from Bhagavath Geeta are recited by the four priests
who were sitting outside the garbagriham. Amidst the chanting of the
slokas, the Rewal started removing the flower garlands which adorned
the Lord the whole day. Diamond Thiruman kaapu, navaratna
haaram presented by one of the Nepalese kings, and other ornaments
were removed. These were shown to us before putting them in the

box. Chandan was applied to the Lord’s forehead . At this time, the
Lord is seen in His pristine glory which is a feast to the eyes. Only due
to poorvajanma punyam , one can have this darshan. This vigraham
engraved on a white Saligramam is in the middle of the sannidhi. He
is swayambhu (not sculpted by any mortal)-seen in Padmasanam
(meditative posture)-Perumal has chathurbhujam (4 hands) holding
the divine conch, sudarshana chakram in the two upper hands and the
two in meditation. We also saw the idols of Naran,Narayanan, Garuda,
Udhavar, Naradar . Perumal along with others was covered with a
thick woolen blanket. We were indeed blessed to watch this
vaibhavam for 20 minutes without any disatraction. The chandan
which is applied on the Lord’s forehead is distributed as prasadam the
next morning. (Please remember one has to ask for it)

After thanking Perumal , all of us left the temple. It was pitch dark
and the temperature must have fallen further ,all the shops etc were
closed. Apart from the shops which sell pooja items, there is a
medical shop near the temple . There are very few roadside hotels
selling chapatis but these were already closed.

On 06/10/03, being Ekadasi, all of us directly went to Tapta Kund. My
father stayed back to perform pithru kaaryam . The charge for the
same is Rs.350/-. Only at Badrinath, pinda dhaanam to the departed
souls is done by using Perumal’s prasadam. Hence, after neivedyam is
done to Perumal, this kaaryam takes place around 9 A.M. The guide
who had accompanied us made all the arrangements for this
programme. He was made to do for all the departed souls whom he
knew. This lasted for an hour or so. My father was fully contended
and was full of appreciation.

Meantime, myself and my wife did Dampathi pooja near Tapta Kund,
the rate for which is Rs.250/-. First, Vinayakar is invoked followed by
invocations to Himalayas and Tapta Kund. During this pooja, we were
given the reason for the hot waters in the Tapta Kund which has
already been mentioned. This was followed by pooja to Mahalakshmi,
Nara-Narayanan and Badri Narayanan. A dhoti and a small piece of
saree as an offering to the Divya Dampadhigal was given to the
brahmin who did the pooja. This lasted for about half an hour or so.

After finished the pooja, we went to the temple and had a wonderful
darshan. There was no rush and we were allowed to stand in front of
the Perumal. As we were advised by my brother in law to visit
Thirunaamam as many times as possible, we sat in front of utsavar
sannidhi,recited Vishnu Sahasranamam (we could complete only 5

rounds), and recited pasurams sung by Thirumangai Azwar.
Thirumangai Azhwar has composed 20 pasurams on this Lord. IN the
first set of 10 pasurams starting with “Mutru Moothu Kol Thuniya….”,
he advises us to visit Badrikasramam before we become old adding
that young girls would tease by commenting whether it is necessary
for the old man to visit this kshetram at this ripe age when he is
unable to withstand the biting cold. Usually, Azhwar’s pasurams
reflects on people like me who wander aimlessly, running behind
materialistic pleasures, and who finally repent for having forgotten the
Lotus feet of the Lord. These pasurams fill our hearts with repentance.
In the next set of 10 pasurams, Azhwar glorifies the Lord at
Badrikasramam who resides on the banks of Ganges (each pasuram
ends with “Gangaiyin karai mel Badrikasramathullane”)and is
worshipped by all the devas and mortals.

My father who completed his rituals at Brahmakapalam which is at the
northern side of the temple ( few minutes walk from the temple
)joined us and once again went to the temple. As were supposed to
leave this holy place in the afternoon, we prayed to Perumal to bless
by giving us another chance to visit this temple.

Luckily, we could get sandal paste which was applied on Perumal’s
Thirumeni on the previous night and some Thirumanjana Theertham .

We signed off at Andhra bhavan and thanked all the volunteers for
their service and left back. The same coolie who had earlier carried
our luggage was once again ready with his dandie. Went to the bus
stop where we learnt that the next bus would be at 4 P.M. only. As it
was getting dark and we wanted to visit Thiurpiridhi divya desam
we decided to hire a taxi for Rs.800/-to go to Joshirmutt. Left
Badrinath at 2 P.M. after thanking whole heartedly the guide for all the
help he had extended to us.

After visiting Hanuman Chatti, we reached Joshirmutt around 4.30

P.M. Joshirmutt is a small town with a continuous flow of piligrims. As
mentioned already, there are many lodges in Upper Bazar and few
hotels and lodges in lower bazar. When we were proceeding to
Badrinath, we took room in one of the hotels in Upper Bazar (this is
like the main road) but now we decided to go directly to Lower Bazar
where Lord Narasimhar’s temple is located. It takes about 10 minutes
drive to reach this place. Luckily, we checked in Yatri Nivas, a Tourist
Guest House in Lower Bazar which is situated right in front of the
temple. (Room rent Rs.200/- ).

We left for the temple at 5 P.M. We learnt from some book that we
have to walk for 3 quarters a mile to reach the place and hence
hurriedly left the temple. We started getting down the steps which
aren’t that steep. There are only 40 steps to go to the temple. After
passing by various sannidhis, we reached the main sannidhi of Lord
Narasimhar.

TIRUPIRIDHI

DIVYA DESAM : TIRUPIRIDHI (Joshirmutt is considered by some as
Tirupiridhi divya desam)

MOOLAVAR : PARAMAPURUSHA
NARASIMHAR
THAYAR : PARIMALAVALLI
THEERTHAM : GANGES
VIMANAM :

MANGALAASAASANAM : THIRUMANGAI AZHWAR –10 pasurams
The Perumal and the kovil as described in our Prabhandham are not in
existence. Lord Narasimhar is treated as the main deity.

VAIBHAVAM: Adi Sankaracharyar who stayed here for more than 4
months was enlightened by this Perumal and was instructed to write a
commentary based on Vedanta Sutrams. It is believed that Sage Veda
Vyasar Himself taught Sri Sankaracharyar the vedanta Sutras. Also, in
his dream, Lord Badri Narayanan appeared and advised the saint to
retrieve Him from Tapta Kund and build a temple for him. This
incident has already been mentioned earlier. As the saint was
enlightened , this place came to be known as JYOTHIR MUTT which
later got corrupted as Joshirmutt and Joshimutt. Sankaracharyar
established 4 mutts, in the extreme north at Joshirmutt to prevent
infiltration by non-Hindus.

GARBAGRIHAM: The garbagriham houses various deities apart from
Lord Narasimhar. Though the garbagriham is closed, the deities can be
viewed through the iron gates. Lord Narasimhar who is a Swayambhu
is seen in the centre. To the Lord’s right, there are vigrahams of Lord
Badri Narayanan, Udhavar, Kubera, Chandidevi (local goddess). To
the Lor’s left, Garuda, Lakshmanar, Ramar, Sita are seen. The idol of
Lakshmanar is made of white marble whereas Lord Rama’s idol is in
dark blue/black colour (On enquiry, we were told that these vigrahams
were installed at a later date and as Ramar has dark complexion, the
vigraham has been carved so.)

MOOLAVAR: Lord Narasimhar is seen in yogasanam posture . He is a
swayambhu black saalagrama murthi. We approached the priest to
open the sannidhi and do karpoora aarthi for which the priest said that
the sannidhi would be open only in the mornings and all the poojas
would be done in the morning only. However, he asked us to attend
abhishekam (Thirumanjana seva ) at 7 A.M. on the next day to have a
glimpse of the Lord.

When we asked him to tell us more about the Perumal, he told us
about Adi Sankaracharyar’s enlightenment and an interesting feature
about Perumal’s Thirumeni. He said that the Lord’s left wrist is
thinning and when it falls down, the way to Badrinath would be closed.

All of us recited Sri Vishnu Sahasranaamam and the 10 pasurams
sung by Thirumangai Azhwar on “Thirupiridhi” divya desam. In the set
of 10 pasurams each ending with “THIRUPIRIDHI ADAI NENJHE”,
Azhwar describes the location of the divya desam and advises to go to
the divya desam when one is still young. Azhwar’s pasurams
describing the location forms the basis for argument as to where the
divya desam is located. According to the pasurams, this divya desam
is located amidst the Himalayas in thick forests near Manasa
Sarovaram .

Adiyen is not even sure whether any temple is in existence near
Manasa Sarovaram. Due to the difficulty in travelling to such a far
place and based on some Srivaishnavites’
advise that Jothirmutt can
be considered as the Thirupiridhi divya desam, Adiyen satisfied myself
as having visited this divya desam located at Jothirmutt.

After having darshanam of Perumal to heart’s contentment and doing
some pradakshinas, Adiyen with family left the temple after spending
an hour or so. We had a wonderful view of the temple from our room
which we captured in our camcorder.

On 07/10/03, we went to the temple. Ekantha Thirumanjanam was
just over. But the kind priest removed the yellow vastram of Perumal
and showed us the left hand. He also gave us some milk which was
used for Lord’s Thirumanjanam, some sandal paste and theertha
prasadam. Went to Vasudevar’s sannidhi. Here Lord is seen in Nindra
Thirukkolam with chathurbhujam. He is seen with Subhadra and
Balaramar. Thanking Lord for his grace we left the place and hired a
jeep for Rs.2,700/-at 8.30 A.M. to go to Rishikesh.

On the way, we visited Vridha Badri, a small temple which was closed
and reached Helang at 9.20 A.M. From there, we proceeded to Garuda
Ganga as we were very particular to collect the sacred waters and
pebbles. Worshipped Lord Lakshmi Narayanan and Garuda at this
place and from there via Nanda Prayag we reached Karna Prayag at

1.30 P.M. We couldn’t sprinkle waters at both these places because
there of improper route Via Rudra Prayag, Srinagar, we reached Dev
Prayag at 5.30 P.M. We didn’t visit Kamaleshwar Mahadev mandir at
Srinagar as the route was completely different and we were told that
the temple would be closed at that time. From Srinagar, we rang up
to TTD, Rishikesh for confirming our room booking.
DEV PRAYAG :

This divya desam is known as “THIRUKADIGAI”and “KANDUM ENNUM
KADINAGAR”
LOCATION: 1700 feet above sea level on Rishikesh-Badri route
MOOLAVAR:NEELAMEGA PERUMAL/ PURUSHOTHAMAN/ VENU
MADHAVAN BUT POPULAR AS RAGHUNATHJI -CHATHURBHUJAM
THAYAR : PUNDARIKAVALLI THAYAR/VIMALA
VIMANAM : MANGALA
THEERTHAM: MANGALA THEERTHAM, GANGA
PRATHYEKSHAM : BHARADWAJA, BRAHMA

The deities as described in the Prabhandham are not found.

We parked the jeep on the roadside and had to walk down for nearly
15 minutes. The steps were steep . We crossed over a bridge (a
concrete swing similar to Lakshman Jhoola) and had to climb 106
steps to reach the temple.

VAIBHAVAM:

1)
To atone for the Brahma hathi dosham committed by killing
Ravana, Lord Rama came to this place for doing penance. He
selected this place because this was the starting point of Ganges
and hence is sacred. The place where Lord Rama did penance is in
the temple premises and is known as “RAM GADDI”(the place
where Ram sat). We were told by the priests that on important
occasions like Vijayadasami, Basant Panchami, Sriramanavami
etc., the utsavar is brought outside and is placed on this Ram
gaddi for the public to have darshan. As the place is thus
associated with Rama, the deity is also addressed as Raghunathji.

2)
We have read that during Pralayam (when the mass devastation
takes place at Lord’s will), the Lord rests on banyan leaf
(“AALAMAA MARATHINMEL ORU BALAGANAAYE…
sung by
Thiruppanazwar. The banyan tree on which the Lord rests is at
Dev Prayag. It is believed that the Trinities-Brahma, Vishnu and
Shiva reside in this tree and hence it is considered to be very
sacred. (There are 2 banyan trees in front of the temple. When
we enquired about the particular banyan tree, the residents were
unable to guide us as they themselves were not aware about this.)
We offered our obeisance to both the trees.

3) Anna dhanam is of great significance.

4)
The temple is located in a serene surrounding. This temple was
renovated by Adi Sankaracharyar. As a brahmin named Deva
Sarma did penance here and attained Lord’s blessings, this place
has come to be known as Dev Prayag.

5)
This temple is surrounded by hills on three sides. The hill in front
is known as Dasaratanchal, right side is known as Narasimacahl,
the temple itself is located on Giridhachal.

OUR EXPERIENCE: After trekking 106 steps ,we reached the temple.
When we went inside there was no illumination due to power failure .
We requested a priest who was sitting in the garbagriham and reciting
Sahasranaamam to show us Karpoora Aarthi to which he said that only
after evening Thiruvaaradhanai scheduled to take place at 6.30 P.M.,
he would give Aarthi. He said that every evening , the Lord’s
Thiruvadi are washed with Ganga water (there is another priest who is
entrusted with this job), archanai is performed to the Lord and only
then Aarthi is given to the Lord. However, he advised us to lit a small
deepam and have darshan of the Lord. The moment the deepam was
lit, the current was restored and we had darshan to our heart’s
contentment.

The Moolavar is in Nindra Thirukkolam with chathurbhujam . He is the
Perumal described by Periazwar in his pasurams but locally He is
known as “Raghunathji”. He is seen holding Panchayudhams and his
height is more than 6 and a half feet. A bow and arrow which doesn’t
form part of the Moolavar is kept near the Lord. To His right, Thayar
who is addressed as Goddess Sita is seen. There is no vigraham for
Lakshmanan. As per the priest, this is the tallest vigraham of Sri Rama
in India (the vigraham in Ramaswamy’s temple at Kumbakonam is
also gigantic . This vigraham is in veetruirundha Thirukkolam (sitting
posture)) The garbagriham also houses vigrahams of Badri
Narayanan. Perumal’s Thirumukham reminded us of Dwaraka

Krishnar. Everyday Thirumanjanam with sacred Ganges and milk is
performed to the Lord at 6 in the morning. The priest told that this
seva is worth seeing . Unfortunately, we didn’t have the bhaagyam as
we had hired a van to go upto Rishikesh. The priest comforted us
saying that we could have this darshan during our next trip.

The priest informed us that the Lord is adorned with new clothes
everyday. He also gave us the details of the colour of vastrams which
adorn the Lord.

DAYS OF THE WEEK COLOUR OF VASTRAM
SUNDAY RED
MONDAY WHITE
TUESDAY RED
WEDNESDAY GREEN
THURSDAY YELLOW
FRIDAY WHITE
SATURDAY BLACK

The utsava murthi is Sri Rama accompanied by Sita, Lakshmana,
Hanumar. There is also a utsava vigraham of Badri Narayanan. The
utsava murthis are kept in Ram Gaddi during important festive days.

Just outside the garbagriham on the right side there are idols of
Vinayaka and Bhuvaneswari. On the left side, there is an idol of
Hanuman holding Sanjeevani Parvatham. Opposite to Hanumar, there
is a small idol of Vamana. He is seen placing His feet on Bali’s head.
On the outer side of the Prakaaram, there are idols of Lord Narasimhar
and Annapurna. We were told that devotees who are not able to have
darshanam of Raghunathji satisfy themselves by having darshan of
Narasimhar who can be viewed through the iron gates. There are
shrines for Hanumar, Adi Sankaracharyar (near Ram gaddi),
Sivalingam (as Rama was Shiva’s devotee)

After doing pradakshinam and after offering rice and jaggery for next
day’s bhogam, we left the place with a prayer to the Lord that He
should give us another chance to visit Badrikasramam and other divya
desams.

The temple timings are as follows:

Summer – 6 A.M.-12 noon; 5 P.M. to 9 P.M.
Winter -7 A.M.–12 noon; 4 P.M. to 8 P.M.

Resumed our journey at 6.15 P.M. and reached Rishikesh at 8.15 P.M.
Checked in the same room (Room No. 11) where we had stayed earlier
at Andhra Ashram. Attended Ekantha Seva, thanked Perumal for the
comfortable journey which we had without any hurdle anywhere and
retired for the day.

On 08/10/03, we attended Suprabhatam, Thomala, Archana and
Saatrumarai sevas and spent the morning in the temple itself.

RISHIKESH:

Situated at a distance of 24 kms from Haridwar, this is a busy town
with floating population of piligrims and tourists as this is the starting
point to go to Chaar dhams (4 holy places-namely, Badrinath,
Kedarnath, Gangotri, Yamunotri) and other nearby hill stations. It is
world famous as the abode of saints and rishis. As Raibhya rishi did
penance here, this place has come to be known as “RISHIKESH”. This
forms part of Dehradun district. Muni Ki Reeti where many ashrams
are found forms part of Rishikesh. This comes under their Garhwal
Administration. Few areas come under Pauri Garhwal Administration.

There are many places of interest in Rishikesh-Triveni ghat , Gita
Bhavan, Kanva rishi Ashram, Neelkant Parvath, Kunja Puri, Vashista
guha, Swarg Ashram, Pushkar temple,Bharat Temple, Lakshman
Jhoola and temple of Lakshman attached to it, Ram Jhoola, Baba
Kambilivaala Ashram, Bhairav temple, Kali temple etc and many
ashrams like Hare Krishna Ashram, Swami Chinmayananda Ashram,
Sivananda Ashram etc.

We visited the following places on the way:

1. MAKAR
VAAHINI GANGA MAIYA TEMPLE: This is a temple
dedicated to Ganga river. At Haridwar and Rishikesh, it is Ganga
who is worshipped by everyone. Makaram (crocodile) is the
vaahanam of Ganges and hence she is known by this name. Other
temples for Lord Radha-Krishna, Sita-Rama, Shiv-Parvathi etc. is
being constructed.
2. RADHA KRISHNA TEMPLE: Here, apart from the main idol,there are
idols of Sri Ramakrisha Paramahansa, Vivekananda, Ganesh,

Durga, Vishnu-Lakshmi, Brahma-Saraswathi,Ram,Sita,Hanumar,
Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, Kabirdas, Shiv-Parvathi, Buddha, Guru
Nanak, Garib Acharya, Adi Sankaracharya, Sant Gneya Acharya,
Ramadas. Outside the temple on either sides there are idols of
Shiv-Ganga, Vishnu-Lakshmi,Meera-Krishna , Hanumar etc. This
temple is situated on the way to Lakshman Jhoola.

3. LAKSHMAN TEMPLE: To atone for the Brahma hathi dosham
by
killing Indrajit during war, Lakshmana , brother of Rama , did
penance at this place. Hence, there is a temple dedicated to him
and the swing is named after him.
4. SACHA
AKILESHWAR MAHADEV TEMPLE: Temple dedicated to
Shiva built by Sage Sacha . Hence, named so. The height of the
gigantic lingam is 11 ft 11 inch tall and its breadth is 6 feet. Around
the lingam, there are idols of Sita Ram, Radha Krishna, Karthikeyan
(Murugan), Durga, Shiv Parvathi, Vinayaka. Outside there are idols
of Lakshmi Narayana and Shiva Parvathi. Donated some money
and left the temple. The sculptures at all these places are
beautifully carved which needs to be appreciated.
5. RUDRAKSH MUSEUM: This is a state owned museum.
Here, all
types of rudraksham, spatikam, nava ratna gems etc are sold.
Above all, they give us good guidance , guarantee and explain as to
how to identify original ones.
LAKSHMAN JHOOLA: This is at a distance of 3 kms from Rishikesh.
Previously, this way was used by piligrims going by foot to cross the
bridge. This hanging bridge made of jute ropes was built by British in
1889 to help the piligrims cross over Ganges. It was rebuilt later with
iron ropes and concrete. The artisitic construction of this bridge by
engineers needs appreciation. Though there are other bridges like the
ones in Ram Jhoola, and at Prayags, the engineering skill needs to be
appreciated. We can find vendors selling Machali “Pori”
for a rupee
which is thrown in the river for fishes to swallow. Now, pedastrians, 2
wheelers, horses etc use their bridge. Near this there are temples for
Lord Rama and a recently built 13 storey temple which houses various
Gods and Goddesses. It also has a big shopping complex. This is the
main way for people going up the hill and to go to Geeta Ashram and
Swarg Ashram.

Geeta Ashram run by Geeta Press,Gorakhpur the publishers of
spiritual magazines like Kalyana Kalpataaru, is worth seeing. There are
lovely inscriptions from Ramayanam and Mahabharatham. Also, it has
a reliable shop attached to it which sells woollen sweaters, blankets,
shawls etc. Of course, you can’t bargain. But nearby there are other
shops which sell the same material for a bit competitive price.

After crossing Lakshman Jhoola, we hired an auto for Rs.4/-per
person to go to Ram Jhoola. On the way, we visited Swarg Ashram
built by a saint named Baba Kaali Kambiliwaala . Since this place was
serene and rishis did penance here, it has been named as Swarg
Ashram. Photography is strictly prohibited. Outside this temple there
are 2 sculptures which is worth mentioning. One is that of Lord Rama
giving His paduka to Bharath and the other one is of Ganga seated on
a crocodile.

Ram Jhoola is also known as Sivananda Jhoola .It has been named
after Saint Sivananda who was responsible in its construction. This is
bigger than Lakshman Jhoola. There are many shops here. After doing
a bit of shopping , we took 7-seater auto to go back to Andhra
Ashram. It took only 2 hours for us to visit all these places.

We couldn’t visit Neelkant Parvath as it was far away. A small hillock
which houses Shiva’s temple. It has been named so as Shiva after
drinking Halahala poison came to this place. Usually, the car driver
charges about Rs.300/- to go to this place. As the temple would be
closed in the afternoon, we didn’t visit this place.

Another place of interest is Kunja Puri where the sunset is worth
seeing. As this is in the other end, we didn’t visit this place.

In the evening, we went to Rishikesh station to book our tickets to
Haridwar. We had booked the tickets to Delhi from Haridwar whereas
our father booked it from Rishikesh itself.

On 09/10/03, we spent the day peacefully in the temple. Adiyen’s
daughters were blessed to sing His glories (Annamacharya kirtanas)
on the dias in front of the Lord). In the evening we left Haridwar. The
train in which we had booked the tickets to go to Haridwar was
supposed to leave Rishikesh at 6.30 P.M. But the train didn’t arrive
and at 8 P.M. we were advised to board another passenger train to
Rishikesh. At 11 P.M., we boarded Train NO. 4042 Mussourie Express
(luckily our RAC tickets got confirmed in the last minute) and reached
Delhi at 7 A.M. on 10/10/03. (The train was delayed by an hour or so)

On 10/10/03, after reaching Delhi at 7 in the morning, we hired an
auto to go to Hazrat Nizamuddin (usually trains towards South India
leave from this station) . As we were supposed to leave for
Secunderabad from Delhi by Bangalore-Rajdhani Express scheduled to
leave at 8.50 P.M. , we decided to go to the station directly.

Since we had the whole day left, we decided to visit Kurukshetra. It
takes about 3 hours from Delhi to go to Kurukshetra. The auto driver
took us to one of the tourist office . We hired a car (TATA INDICA) for
Rs.2,000/- to go to Kurukshetra and come back to Delhi.

We didn’t know that Kurukshetra is very near from Haridwar . We
were told that it takes about 1 and a half hours from Haridwar.

KURUKSHETRA:-

Kurukshetra is the place where the great Mahabharata war took place.
If one dies at Kurukshetra, he is sure to attain salvation. The area
extends for 18 yojanas over 96 kms. This place was prominent even
before the war. Lord Krishna along with His parents , Nanda Maharaja
and Yasodha Devi visited this place to have holy dip in Suryakund after
an eclipse. In this place Kuru, the founder of Kuru dynasty , the
forefather of Pandavas and Kauravas did penance here. When he was
blessed with a boon, he said that whoever leaves his mortals here
must get rid of the cycle of births and deaths and should directly attain
moksham . Lord conceded this request and hence Lord Krishna
selected this place .Also, Kaal (Time) resides here. Kurukshetra is now
a major centre of learning with many colleges and world famous
Kurukshetra University. The whole yuddha bhoomi is now flooded with
educational institutions.

First, we went to Surya Kund. The significance of this place is
mentioned on a board. The first sunrays fell at this place. A dip in
Surya kund after an eclipse , especially, solar eclipse is considered to
be very sacred . Lord Krishna visited this place before Mahabharata
war. He brought His parents to this holy place to have sacred dip in
the waters. At that time, He met the gopis. This incident is
mentioned in Srimad Bhagavatham. Atleast once in a lifetime, one has
to have a dip in this holy waters. This has been proclaimed by the
Lord Himself. All of us sprinkled some waters and filled a bottle with
the sacred waters. We then went to a nearby Shiva temple which was
worshipped by Arjuna. Everyday, before going to the war, Arjuna
used to worship Shiva in this temple. Every evening, after war,
Kauravas and Pandavas used to meet here . The priest said that the
other important places of interest are as follows:

PLACE LOCATION IMPORTANCE
JYOTISHWAR 6 kms from Surya Kund Lord Krishna imparted
Bhagavath Geetha

BAN GANGA Near Jyotishwar Arjuna quenched Bhishma’s
thirst –arrow pierced the
ground and Ganges
emerged
BADRAKALI
TEMPLE, THAAN
THEERTH
Local deity-didn’t visit
NAAB KAMAL VAMANA DWADASI IS IMP.
MUSEUM WORTH SEEING
BRAHMA
SAROVAR
Near Surya Kund Brahma’s penance
GEETA BHAVAN GEETA DEPICTED

The local guides charge around Rs.200/-to visit these places but the
rates are negotiable. As we were interested in covering only important
places, we didn’t take any help and went on our own.

After sprinkling waters from Surya Kund , we visited Suryanarayana
Swamy and Radha Krishna temples situated on the banks of the Kund.
Opposite to this, there is a temple for Sita-Ram. From there, we
directly went to Brahma Sarovar.

This sarovaram is there since many yugas and Brahma did yaagam on
the banks of this lake and acquired special powers to create the world.
He started His creation here. Now, this lake is filled with the waters of
Chandrabhaga river. In Treta yugam, sri Rama visited this places,
Sravan who was very dedicated to his parents performed Pithru
Kaaryam here. Hence, people perform Pithru Kaaryam at this place.
The steps near the sarovar are slippery and one has to get down
carefully. We wanted to visit Geeta Bhawan which was closed. On the
way, we visited a Science Panorama and Museum which is worth
seeing. The ticket for the same is Rs.20/-per head. The ground floor
is full of science exhibition-details about inventions, physics,
chemistry, evolution of man right from old stone age , latest
inventions etc. are there. This is very informative to science students.

In the first floor, one can view sound and light show of the
Mahabharata war. The life size images of the warriors, stalwarts from
both the sides (Kauravas and Pandavas), horses, elephants,soldiers
etc., the vultures eating their prey (the dead warriors) is fantastically
sculpted . The sound effect and the life size images of the warriors
makes one think that he is in the battle field. Abhimanyu being killed
by Kauravas, Arjuna killing Jayadrathan, Krishna attacking Bheeshma

with His chakrayudham, Bheeshma lying on a bed of arrows,
Ghatothkachan destructing the Kauravas even while dying to name a
few are very very interesting. Notes containing important incidents
along with references from Mahabharatham are kept and against it the
incident on the big screen is visible.

One who visits Kurukshetra must definitely visit this place.

We were told that in Geeta Bhawan, images of incidents from Krishna
leelas are kept. Unfortunately, as it was closed, we didn’t visit this
place.From there, we went to Jyotishwar. 10 minutes drive took us to
the temple. We were running short of time and had to hurry.

JYOTISHWAR: This is the place where the Lord gave Geetopadesam
to Arjuna and through him to the whole world. When Arjuna was not
convinced, Lord showed His Viswaroopam to Arjuna and advised
Arjuna to carry out action without expecting result. Hence, this is
considered to be the MOST SACRED PLACE . The banyan tree under
which Lord Krishna gave upadesam to Arjuna is still existing. We were
told by the priest that since that day, the tree has neither grown nor
withered. It is remaining as it is. He said that they don’t even allow
the leaves to fall down and hence the entire tree is covered with net.
He also added that only the most fortunate people get a chance to see
this tree. Thanking Perumal for bestowing His grace on us , we did
pradakshinam around the tree. Luckily, we picked 2 leaves and took
some holy earth which is equally sacred. It was on this part of the
earth the Lord gave Viswaroopa darsanam and as it has come into
contact with Perumal’s Thiruvadi, it is the most sacred soil. Picked up
some soil to keep in our Kovilazhwar. The Geetopadesam is
beautifully depicted and the image of Geetacharyar and Arjuna sitting
in the chariot made of marble is carved fantastically. Took some
photos and video. Near this place, there is a pond which is known as
“BAN GANGA”
These are the sacred waters of Ganges which emerged
from the ground when Arjuna quenched Bheeshma’s thirst.

We considered ourselves lucky and blessed as our dream to visit this
punya kshetram was fulfilled. With heart full of contentment and
reverence, we left the place.

Adiyen who is entangled in this material world is definitely not as pious
as Arjuna but feels that I am priveleged to have Perumal’s grace which
made us visit these places.

With a prayer to Perumal to bestow the gnanam to understand His
Geetopodesam and to implement the same in my life, we left the
place with sweet memories with us.

As it was already 5 P.M., we didn’t have time to visit Birla Mandir and
rushed back to Delhi. Reached Delhi at 8 P.m. and boarded
Bangalore-Rajdhani Express at 8.50 P.M.

Reached Secunderabad on 11/11/03 at 7.40 P.M. and after spending
3 days with our elders , we took their blessings and left for Tirumala to
thank our Thiruvengadamudaiyan for His abundant grace. As we had
paid for Vimsathi Darshanam scheme, we had good darshan of
Perumal. We spent 4 days in His holy abode and returned to our place
on 20/10/03.

IT WAS ONLY DUE TO THE ABUNDANT GRACE OF PERUMAL, WE
COULD VISIT THE HOLY PLACES WITHOUT ANY HINDRANCE.

WE FELL AT THE LOTUS FEET OF THE DIVYA DAMPADHIGAL FOR
GRACING US AND GIVE US OPPORTUNITIES TO VISIT SAALAGRAMAM
AS SOON AS POSSIBLE.

SARVAM SRI NARAYANAYETHE SAMARPAYAAMI

DASAN VARADAN

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About Kazhiyur Varadan

Am seeker of true knowledge , aspiring to serve and share the divine pastimes of Lord and HIS devotees . Interested in meeting devotees and love traveling to all holy places . Major interest is to interact with devotees and be of some use to the world in spreading Lord's divine play . This blog is an attempt of knotting a garland of priceless pearls from Sri vaishnava Divya desam . .....Divya leelai .. .......and .Divyaanubhuthee shared by zillions of hari bhaktaas . Though Adiyen is neither competent or qualified in sharing this elixir of spiritual world , out of abundant mercy from asmath Acharyar His Holiness Sri Sri MudaliAnddan swamigal ,adiyen is attempting to reproduce the same which is done purely by the grace of AchAryar and the Lordships by hearing from various advanced devotees . Am like a bee collecting the nectar from sacred flowers and posting the same in this honey comb blog .. There can be few photographs which would have been uploaded from google images to practically have the feel of the holy place and be of some service to the devotees . In case the owner of the pictures /images, videos has any objections for this adiyen shall remove the same . If any of the images presented here violates copyright issues or infringes anyone copyright or are not under "Fair use" the same shall be removed ASAP . Anything erroneous in adiyens post is completely my fault/ignorance and anything noteworthy goes to the spiritual masters . Any faults are solely due to my poor understanding and seek pardon for my poor expression . All the divine pastimes shared are from the lectures and the ones shared by several advance devotees .All the compliments and praise belong to the great Spiritual masters for their mercy on adiyen ( your servant ) to share and re share in this blog to remain that bliss always ...... Seeking your blessings in this small service of sharing the divine posts .. Adiyen Ramanuja dasan Jai Sriman Narayana IMPORTANT 1) Spiritual Material posted in this blog are just for information purpose and for spreading awareness. Few divine pastimes which was shared in discourses and the holy place is being re shared which are subject to mistakes or discrepancies with time . So, kindly , don't be offensive and don't post any aggressive or illegitimate comments on the blogs due to the differences in opinions. 2) This blog may contain links to other sites through advertisement, user comments, articles. While Adiyen tries to link only to sites that are safe and secure, Adiyen am not responsible for the content or the privacy practices employed by other sites., since the linked site is not under the control of me, am not responsible for the contents of any linked site or contents of the links mentioned in the links site. Adiyen am providing this link just for informational and academic purposes only. 3) This blog may contain inaccurate, incorrect and clerical errors. Adiyen do not warrant nor assure the accuracy/correctness/completeness of the materials/articles or the reliability of any advice, opinion, comment or other information displayed or distributed through this blog . 4) We are in the service of spreading the divine pastimes of LORD and HIS devotees .Please correct adiyen in any shortcomings .
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2 Responses to Badrinath ..A piligrims diary

  1. N.Seetharamu. says:

    Namaskarams,
    Probably, this is the the best pilgrimage report I have read. It is I guide for aged family men like me planing visit to Badrinath Perumal. My pranaams to you for such a detailed report. May The Perumal shower his choisest blessings on your devine family.
    Regards, Seetharam

    Liked by 1 person

  2. sumitbajaj45 says:

    i need guidance regarding my upcoming Dwarka Somnath trip.Kindly email my ur id
    My id id sumit.bajaj45@gmail.com

    Like

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