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Travel to Badrinath

Badrinath Temple

 

The temple is built by Adi Shankaracharya, is the prominent attraction of tourists.

Badrinath and attracts thousands of visitors every year who come to seek the divine blessings of Lord Vishnu. The main shrine houses the black stone idol of Lord Badri Narayan sitting under a gold canopy, under a Badri tree. Lord Badrinath is the presiding deity but there are several other deities that are worshipped at this temple. Tapt Kund: Believed to be the abode of Agni, the Hindu God of fire, Tapt Kund is a thermal spring that devotees take a holy dip before entering the Badrinath temple. The spring is also said to have curative properties. Other famous natural springs that can be found at Badrinath are Narad Kund and Suraj Kund.

History of Badrinath Temple

Legends says that Adi Shankara found an idol of Badrinath in the Alaknanda river . Later he enshrined the same image in a cave near the hot spring of Tapt Kund, which is now known as the Badrinath Temple. It is also believed that during Satya Yuga Lord Shiva meditated here for many years. And all those years Goddess Lakshmi transformed into a Badri tree to provide shadow to Lord Shiva. This is how the place got its name as Badrinath. It is believed that the whole area in and around Badrinath was abode of Lord Shiva. This is one the reasons that the temple is jam packed during Maha Shivratri.

My Experience of visiting Badrinath temple

As you get close to Badrinath Temple you cannot help but feel a different energy in the air. We parked our vehicle and then started walking towards the temple. The narrow lane towards the temple was filled with small shops with glittering copper idols of different deities. We stop by one shop to buy some offerings for the temple.
The very word that crossed my mind at the first sight of the temple was colorful. Badrinath Temple is painted in various bright colors. The architecture and bright colors of the temple resembles a Buddhist temple. This is one of the reasons why it is believed that the present Badrinath Temple was a Buddhist shrine till 8th century. Post that Adi Shankara played an instrumental role in converting it into a Hindu temple.
The temple was inundated with devotees from all over the country with colorful idols of Lord Krishna and Tulsi garlands. The temple has three sections Garbhagriha (Sanctum), The Darshan Mandap, and Sabha Mandap. The Garbhagriha consists of idols of Lord Badri Narayan, Kuber (God of wealth), Narad Rishi, Uthavar, Nar & Narayan. At the entrance of the temple you can see the idol of Lord Shiva perched on bird Garud. In the main sanctum you can find the idol of Adi Shankaracharya. Apart from the main temple there are many shrines in and around the Badrinath Temple. After the visit to Badrinath Temple I am now keen to visit rest of the dhams as well.

Credit: Incredible India

Travel to Kedarnath

There are so many stories behind Kedarnath temple history and it has been a pilgrimage center since ancient times.
The holy Kedarnath temple is said to have been built in the 8th century AD by Hindu guru Adi Shankaracharya. Shankaracharya rebuilt the place where the Pandavas of the Mahabharat fame are believed to constructed a shiv temple.
The temple not only survived 400 hundred years under the snow, but also avoided any serious damage from the movement of the glacier and flash floods, but its impact can be seen in the form of yellow lines on the stones used in constructing the Kedarnath shrine.

Scientists believe that inside the temple there are many signs of glacial movement and stones are much more polished. They say that the period between 1300-1900 AD is known as Little Ice Age when a huge portion of the Earth was covered by snow (Glacier). And because of this, during that period Kedarnath Temple and neighboring places were covered by snow and became a part of glaciers.

A Visit to Kedarnath Temple

Kedarnath yatra is a dream for every devotee of Lord Shiva. No, matter what the difficulties are devotees reach Kedarnath with love and faith for their lord. I just came back from a 5-day trip. It took us three days to reach Kedarnath, coming from Noida we halted twice, once at Srinagar and then at Barasu just before Soneprayag, which is the last motorable route to Kedarnath, parking our car in Soneprayag. we headed to Gauri Kund which was not a cakewalk at all. we were welcomed with a long queue at soneprayag and after about 45 mins we got a cab that dropped us at Gauri Kund.

After reaching Gauri Kund the trek is roughly 23kms, earlier it used to be 16km but after the 2013 floods, the new route is comparatively longer and exhausting. We took many shortcuts though but still did not reach temple the same day. we started our trek by 12pm on Saturday and by 8 pm we thought of taking rest at the camp. we had no more energy left to continue our journey. we got a tent for a cheaper price as compare to the base camp. That night was really cold and we only had sleeping bags no blankets nothing. somehow we spent that night and started at 6 am the next day, hired a pony and covered the remaining distance which was roughly 5kms.

There was a long queue outside the temple as well but we were fortunate enough as the weather was good, no rain after darshan we came back at 10 am. It took us good 7–8 hrs to reach back to Gauri Kund we preferred walking. Yes, it was exhausting, but the scenic beauty of kedar valley makes you forget all the worries and pain. The whole experience was fun and enjoyable.

we were walking slowly, in no hurry took breaks at various places for refreshment, had a chat with fellow pilgrims, everybody has something to share. It was a fun trip overall. Bholenath took care of everything. It was our first time in Kedarnath. I still can’t believe I was able to walk for that long. Seriously, without his grace it wasn’t possible. JAI BHOLENATH

Credit: Uttarakhand Beauty