SEVEN BADRIS, FIVE KEDARS AND FIVE PRAYAGS - By Shankar Rajaram || Part-2 (Day 2 & 3)

2nd day : 

Continuing with the journey, here is the travelogue from day-2. My first stop today was Badri Vishal and I am visiting this temple for the fourth time. Badri was not much crowded as expected during this season. The climate was very good and well suited to my body condition. After darshan, I went to Mana village and trekked upto Bheem pool. On the way to, Bheem pool, I visited Ganesh mandir, Vashisht mandir, Sheshnag mandir and mata Saraswathy mandir. Here the river flows in full speed and then goes into the earth as antharvahini. The whiteness of the river takes you to mata’s feet.
While coming back from Badri, we had darshan of Yoghyadan Badri at Pandukeshwar. The pandavas came here to repent for killing their cousins’ kauravas. The image is called Yoghyadhan (meditative) Badri.  Legend says that Pandu, the father of pandavas died and attained salvation here. Also, Kunti ws married to Pandu at Pandukeshwar. It is considered to be the winter abode for the Utsav murthy (festival image) of Badrinath, when the temple is closed. The pilgrimage will not be complete without offering prayer and so people take darshan of this murthy (idol) when the temple is closed for worship.
Badri Vishal is the dham of the four sacred dhams and the current structure was built by Adi Sankaracharya. The sanctum of Badri holds the central image of Badrinarayana which is made in black stone and 3.3’ in height. The four armed Vishnu holds the shank and sudhrshana chakra in two arms in raised posture and other two arms rest on the lap in yogamudra. In the sanctum, to the far right side are Nara and Narayana. Naradha is kneeling in front on the right side and on the left side are Kubera and Garuda. The legend states that Vishnu did penance in an open space at the location of Badrinath and his consort Lakshmi created shelter for him in the form of Badri tree to protect him from adverse climatic conditions.  The sage Narada did penance here as well.
Above all, I have seen Maruti mandir, Durga mandir and Shiv mandir constructed by NTPC on the way to my hotel.  My day’s experience was very satisfying.
3rd day :

Bavishya Badri is my next Badri to be seen.  After breakfast we proceeded towards Tapovan, 17 km form Joshimath.  Close to Tapovan, is a hot spring spot that is covered by fence and the sand is red. Bavishya Badri is 2744 mtrs above sea level and it can be reached through dense forest and trekking will be 5 to 6 km from the place called Saldhar. It is situated on an ancient pilgrim route to Mount Kailash along the Dhauli Ganga river. It is believed that in future, Badrinath will appear at the Bavishya Badri temple and Badri will be worshipped here, instead of Badri vishal.  It has an image of Narasimha; the lion faced incarnation of Vishnu. The trek takes through so many villages and the temple is very small.  I have done the pooja myself because nobody was there. The area was beautiful and from there you have a good view of Dronagiri mountains and many other mountains.  While climbing down from Bavishya Badri, we visited Ardh Badri. The size of the deity is very small and this place can be approached by trekking along a steep bridle path. This is the fourth Badri and I returned back to my hotel after taking my lunch.  In the evening I visited all the local temples around Joshimath such as Gauri Shankar temple, Vasudeva temple, Narasing temple, Kalpa Vriksha, Shankaracharya temple and one more temple mentioned as prachin kedar temple, the oldest temple of the area.  My staying in Joshimath is over and I have to move away from Joshimath tomorrow.  I was accompanied by Sandeep till Joshimath and he was very friendly and affectionate.
heck out next post to know more about this 13 days experience...

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