Srimathey Ramanujaya namah
Sri Kumudavalli sametha Thirumangai Azhwar Thiruvadigaley saranam
Sri Aravindavalli Nayika sametha Sri Badri Narayanaya namah :
—————————————————————— Saptha BAdri are a a group of seven temples dedicated to Lord Maha Vishnu which are located in the Garhwal Himalayas. (Some consider ARdha Badri as one of the Sapta Badri and omit Narsing Badri) . However , the entire Garhwal Himalayas are BhadriNarayana Kshetram. The area spreading from Satopanth 24 kms above Badrinath to Nand Prayag is known as Badri Kshetram as this area was once Badri vanam and as these temples of Lord Maha Vishnu are in this area, they are popularly known as Sapta Badri Kshetram.
The Seven temples are listed as below •
Badri Vishal- the main temple which is located at 3133 mtrs.-23 kms from Yogdhyan Badri
• Yogdhyan Badri – enroute from Joshirmutt to Badri Vishal at Pandukeshwar at an atltitude of 1920 mtrs.
• Narasing Badri– also known as Thirupiridhi vaishnava divya desam.
. • Vridha Badri– located at Animath village between JOshirmutt and Helang. About 7 kms from Joshirmutt on the way to Urgam
• Dhyan Badri-located 1 km from Urgam village.
• Bhavishya Badri– 20 kms from Joshirmutt near Tapovan by vehicle and from there 6 kms trek up the hill at an altitude of 2744 mtrs. THE FUTURE BHADRINATH temple will be at this place . •
Adi Badri is located 17 kms from Karna Prayag. The cluster of 16 temples constructed by Adi Sankaracharyar. Dhyan Badri and Narasing Badri(Joshirmutt) are not included in Pancha Badri kshetrams. Yogdhyan Badri,Vridha Badri,Dhayan Badri, Bhavishya Badri can be accessed from Joshirmutt as base.
Badrikshetram also has Theertha mahimai as the Pancha Prayags –confluence of holy rivers are located in this area. An important information is except for the main temple, Badri Vishal the other temples scattered in remote villages remain open all through the year because they are at a lesser altitude.
Badrinath is one of the eight swayam vyakta kshetrams located in Garhwal Himalyas , referred as Gandha Madhana Parvatham in our scriptures like Srimad Bhagavatam.
It is also one of the 108 vaishnava divya desams glorified by Thirumangai Azhwar in his 20 pasurams .
In one of the pasuram , Azhwar advises us to seek and have a darshan of Lord Bhadri Vishaal in our youth itself , as
later the KALA (TIME) swallows our age invisibly
thus it will be too late for an old person to visit the holy bhadri
associated knee pain , joint pains and the body does not cooperate making a mockery of ones self for wasting ones precious life .
Here Lord incarnated as Narayanan and graced the sacred ashtakshara mantram upadesam to Naran. Naran and Narayanan are believed to be meditating at this place for the welfare of the world.
The temple is situated on Urvashi peetam between Nara and Narayanan mountains on the banks of River Alakananda.
The temple is open during April-October (starting from Akshaya thrithiyai and closed during Deepavali) and is closed during peak winter. Ganesh Gufa, Vyas Gufa, Mata murthi temple, Vasudhaara Falls, Satopanth,Bhim pool, origin of River Saraswathi are near Badrinath.
There are jeeps and cars plying from Badrinath temple to visit the above places which are situated in Mana village-the last village on Indo-China Border. It takes 3 hours to and fro to visit Mana village. There is a Mata Murthi temple is on the way to Mana village.
As per legend, Dharma and Murthi were the parents of Naran and Narayanan (who were the incarnations of Lord Vishnu).
They transformed themselves into mountains to avoid distraction. To fulfill the desire of HIS mother Mata Murthi, once in a year, the Lord visits this temple. Uddhavar who is considered as the utsava murthi in the temple is brought to this place with paraphernalia.
The famous Vyas Gufa is the place where Sage Vyasar compiled the four Vedas, recited Mahabharatam while Yaanai Mugathaan(Lord Ganesha) penned the same while the former dictated. Ganesh Gufa is beside Vyas Gufa. Nearby, we can find the origin of River Saraswathi who flows as Antharvahini till she reaches Triveni Sangamam. River Saraswathi darshanam can be had here only . There is a small temple dedicated to the River Goddess. The flow with which she appears on this earth in inexplicable.
Near to Badrinath temple , Bheem Phool and Satopanth are places associated with Pandavas . Pandukeshwar,also known as Yogdhyan Badri is on the way to Badrinath is the birth place of Pandavas. Vyas Gufa and Ganesh Gufa are related to Mahabharatam. Pandavas along with Draupadi on their way to Swargam (satopanth) reached this place and when Draupadi could not cross River Saraswathi, Bheem is belived to have thrown a boulder across the river to enable her to cross over.
This is Bheem pool. This is located on the way to Satopanth- Draupadi,Sahadeva,Nakula, Arjuna, Bheema left their bodies on the way whereas Dharmaraja Yudhistira was able to go to Swargam from Satopanth. VAsudhaara Falls is about 3-4 kms from Mana village on a higher altitude. Villagers believe that if a drop of water falls on us, we get redeemed from all our sins. It will take about 4-5 hours to go to Vasudhaara Falls and return to Mana village due to the altitude and climatic conditions.
To visit Vasudhaara Falls, we must allocate one full day.WE planned to visit Vasudhaara Falls from Badri but due to time constraint,we couldn’t visit. But the ever merciful compassionate Perumal blessed us by giving HIS darshan in the evening and to watch (Abhisheka seva) Thirumanjana seva.
Our pilgrimage lasted for about five days
First day :- Entire day driving from Haridwar to Joshirmutt-Night stay at Joshirmutt
Second day :- Entire day at BAdrinath
Third day – Visited Badri Vishal, Yogadhyan Badri, Vridha Badri,Dhyan Badri, Narasing Badri, Vishnu Prayag-Temples
Fourth day :- Visited Bhavishya Badri, Karna Prayag Temples-night stay at Karna Prayag
We had darshan of Sri Bhadri Narayana Perumal during 2003 but were not conversant with the other temples . The travel details was done in pdf format for piligrims convenience and is available in the below link
We boarded the evening flight to New Delhi and reached Delhi at 10 P.M. The flight was delayed by half an hour. From airport, we took a Metro to New Delhi railway station to board Dehradun AC train at 2355 hours. Reached Haridwar at 4 .M. Our cab driver , Narendra was waiting to pick us up at Haridwar station.
We had already booked a cab and fixed the tour plan. We drove to ISKCON, Haridwar where we had actually planned to check in and then go to Hari Ki Pauri for purification . Being a small ashram and as there was no response from ISKCON, we straightaway drove to Hari KI Pauri which was already crowded.. After purification and cow_puja, we drove to Rishikesh as we wanted to have darshan of Lord Venkateswara Swamy before proceeding further.
Wayback in 2003, only after praying to Lord Srinivasar, we could get bus tickets to go to Badrinath and on our return, we stayed at Andhra Bhavan for 2 days and participated in all the sevas. So, this time also we wanted to take the Lord’s darshan. Reached the temple at about 9 A.M., performed archanai and paid for the next day’s abhishekam to the Lord. On the way, we stopped at Lakshman Jhoola to take printouts of our accommodation and for recharging Airtel mobile as BSNL network connectivity was poor.
Hari Naam sankirtan was continuously played in the car all through our journey. Chanting the holy names of the Lord and contemplating on the Lord while admiring the nature’s beauty-the tall peaks covered with thick trees trying to touch the sky and the gentle flowing Alakananda on the other side as if guiding us to her place of origin…. I wish I were a poet to describe the scenic beauty.
WE were happy to note the developments in this lORD’s holy land –construction of Hydel Power projects, dams etc….We learnt from our driver that only experienced and specially qualified persons to drive in the ghat region would be permitted to drive and they are strictly supposed to wear uniform and carry their permit with them always.
After driving for about 2 hours , we reached Dev Prayag about 70 kms away from Rishikesh located at an altitude of 618 m at mid-noon. As the temple would be closed, we proceeded to Rudra Prayag which is about 2 hours drive from Dev Prayag, stopping for a while at Srinagar to fuel our car. GHMVNL has guest houses at all important places.
We had to turn on the AC becoz we couldn’t withstand the sweltering heat . We thought the drive would be pleasant as we were in Himalayas but it turned out to be otherwise. Added to this, construction work was going on all through the way and so there was pollution. Enroute we halted for a while at Rudra Prayag to have lunch and then proceeded with our journey. Reached Joshirmutt and checked in at GMVNL Guest House located in Main Bazaar at about 6.30 p.m..From Rishikesh upto Rudra Prayag , the route to chardham is the same .
The route to Badrinath diverges at Rudra Prayag. Joshirmutt always has floating population of pilgrims and mostly pilgrims halt at this place. So, we can find innumerable lodges in this congested area . As we had prior booking, we checked into this guest house where we were allotted a compact deluxe room which had no ventilation and fan.
WE wanted to have a bigger and better room but as the rooms were not available, we had no option and retired for the night. Joshirmutt is basically a cold place and the rooms are constructed in such a way out of wood with limited or no ventilation so that the room is kept warm. There is no provision for ceiling fans as there is no requirement. The room rates are high during the peak season depending upon the demand. The minimum rent is about Rs.1000/-per day. We can find the room tariffs displayed in the reception mentioning the room rents during various seasons. We practically experienced the impact of global warming. We didn’t have any choice other than having dinner in the restaurant itself. On 15th June, we started our journey to Badrinath at 7 A.M . Had to wait for sometime for the gates to open . Reached Badrinath via Pandukeshwar , Deva Darshani. The snow clad mountains were shining when the sun rays touched them which is a feast to the eyes. We went to Chinna Jeeyar Swami Mutt which is near Ambani’s guest house where we were allotted 2 rooms for Rs.450/- each. We met Sridhar Swami who was referred by our friend and expressed our desire to go to Vasudhaara Falls after having darshan of Lord Badrinath. Sridhar Swami informed that it would take minimum 2 hours to have darshan in the temple due to heavy crowd and it would not be possible for us to go to Vasudhaara Falls which is 4 kms beyond Mana Village as the weather there was unpredictable and it would get dark by 5 P.M.
He said that it would take one full day to go to Vasudhaara Falls and return. So, we dropped the idea of going to Vasudhaara Falls with a heavy heart thinking that he was trying to demotivate us.
With a set of clothes for changeover, we left the Mutt at about 11 A.M. and went to Tapta KUnd in our vehicle to have bath. It is customary to purify ourselves in the hot springs of Tapta Kund before getting inside the temple for darshan. There are separate bathing places for ladies and gents and separate rooms but the entire place was over crowded. Seeing the crowd, we felt as if we were in Tirumala during Brahmotsavam!. We were shocked to see serpentine queue for darshan. While adiyen went to buy some seva ticket, my daughters joined the queue. WE learnt from the authorities that during day time, there is no special ticket and darshan is common for everyone and that the temple would close by 12.30 and everyone would get a chance to take darshan of the Lord. We joined the queue and finally had darshan of Lord Badrinarayanan for few minutes who was beautifully decorated with flowers. One of the pujaris looking at the tilak on adiyen’s daughter’s forehead, allowed her inside for darshan. How fortunate!!!
While we were reciting Sahasranamam, a saintly person whose dressing resembled that of Jada Bharathan(he had jadai and was wearing soiled clothes but his face was glowing ) approached us and advised us to have the Maha Prashadam which would be distributed shortly. WE purchased 2 paper plates for Rs.2/-each and joined the queue . We realized the Lord’s ever compassionate quality when we ,the most fallen souls, were given the mahaprasadam comprising of rice, dal , curry. With tear filled eyes, all five of us partook the prasadam. Adiyen approached the nearby counter where tickets were being issued for special sevas. Tickets for Gita Paat and Nirmalaya darshan were already sold out but only one ticket for Abhishekam for next day morning was available. We booked abhishekam ticket for next day morning seva in which 2 persons are allowed and Sahasranama Archanai Seva for children in the evening. Went back to Chinna Jeeyar Mutt at 2 p.m. and had prasadam. The reporting time for Sahasranama archanai seva was 5 p.m. and hence we didn’t visit Mana Village Instead , we Went to the temple at 5 P.M. for darshan.
There were long queues for various sevas to be conducted in the evening. While our children joined the queue, aidyongal sat in front of the utsavar sannidhi and took a sankalpam to recite Vishnu Sahasranamam atleast 11 times. The utsava murthi who is a replica of the moolavar is made of silver with chatur bhujam. The temple management has recently constructed a separate sannidhi for the utsava murthi within the temple precincts . The new clothes given by devotees to the diety as part of their offering are hung in the sannidhi. Hardly we completed 6 rounds, a group of ISKCON devotees from Delhi entered the temple singing Hare Krishna Maha Mantra. The electrifying kirtan went on for about one hour while everyone present was dancing and chanting in ecstasy the holy names of the Lord . We profusely thanked Perumal for this association to chant the holy names at the holiest place on the holiest day,Ekadasi. After making few purchases, we retired for the night.
On 16th June, at 2 A.M. adiyongal went to Tapta Kund and entered the temple for participating in Thirumanjana seva . The reporting time for the seva is 4 a.m. and we joined the organized queue.
As per the ticket number printed, the incharge allowed us to enter into the temple. The darsana mantapam was jam packed with devotees and we didn’t even get place to sit. After the devotees settled down, adiyen somehow managed to squeeze through and got place to sit right in the centre while my wife was comfortable standing and having darshan of the Lordships. WE felt blessed to be in one of the eight swayam vyakta kshetrams (where the Lord’s image is not sculpted by anyone but Lord out of HIS free WILL manifested in this place) Perumal appeared in this place in Padmasanam posture with chatur bhujam- the two lower hands resting on HIS lap and the remaining 2 hands holding sankhu and chakram. And as he was in meditation, the ever inseparable Thayar (Agalagillene Irayium Endru…) appeared as a badri vruksham to protect Perumal from the harsh weather. Hence, Perumal is known as Badri Narayanan. Lord descended from Sri Vaikuntam to the bhooloka to give mantropadesam to naran(human) at this place. Shiva who was meditating at this place moved to Kedarnath. Lord bestowed a boon upon him that a devotee visiting this place must first have darshan of Siva and then take HIS darshan. Hence , we find a small Siva lingam in front of the temple. This idol of Badri Narayanan was recovered by Adi Sankaracharyar in 8th century from Tapta Kund and was duly installed by him. Also, there is a sannidhi for Adi Sankaracharyar as he retrieved the vigraham.
Before entering the temple, we visited these shrines . Vaikuntanathan resolved to preach the sacred Ashtakshari Thirumantiram to the mortals (Naran) and appeared as Naran and Narayanan- the sons of Dharma Devathai(Yaman) and his wife (Murthi). As they didn’t want to get disturbed and distracted by anyone , they assumed the form of 2 mountains and meditated on the banks of River Alakananda. Indra tried to disturb the penance and sent apsaras from Devalokam little realizing that Perumal is beyond all such illusion. Out of Perumal’s will, a beautiful lady emerged from HIS thigh who surpassed everyone’s beauty and presented her to Indra. As the damsel appeared from Perumal’s thigh, she was known as Urvashi and the place where Perumal meditated is known as “Urvashi Peetam” on which the present day temple is existing .
AS Lord Krishna mentioned in Bhagavad Gita, Lord Narayanan imparted the sacred Tirumantram to Naran at this place. Hence this place is renowned as Ashtakshari kshetram and chanting of the mantram give thousand fold benefit. Contemplating on the Lord and reciting Tirumantram, we waited in the queue until we were ushered in by the authorities. There are about 15 deities inside the garbagriham. All through the day, the beauty of the Lord is hidden as HE is fully bedecked with jewellery and flowers . Only during Nirmalya darsanam and during Thirumanjanam , the Lord’s pristine beauty can be enjoyed. During Nirmalaya darsanam which is the last seva in the night, jewellery is removed and Lord is adorned with fresh chandan and flowers. During thirumanjanam, even those are removed and the dhivya mangala swaroopam of Perumal can be enjoyed. Devotees throng to have these darshans.
At the Centre we can have darshan of Lord Badri Narayanan in meditative posture. As HE is a tapasvi, Thayar is not physically present but is present as Badri Vruksham which cannot be perceived by mortal eyes On HIS right, we have darshan of Garudar- Kuberan on HIS right – the demigod incharge of wealth. Kubera’s capital is Alakapuri which is beyond Badrinath. The materialists usually place few coins in front of Kubera and bring them back for worship. He is predominant amongst others as he is decorated in silver.ON the left side in the front, we can have darisanam of Uddhavar who is treated as Utsava murthi in this temple. He is taken in palanquin to Maata Murthi temple once in a year as Perumal’s representative. In Srimad Bhagavatam, it is mentioned that Lord Krishna instructs Uddhavar to go to Gandhana madhana parvatam (the present Badri Kshetram) and do penance.On the left side, behind Uddhavar , we have Deva rishi Naradar ‘sidol who appeared in the nearby Narada Kund. It is believed that Sage Naradar eternally lives in this place always contemplating on the Lord.Nara- Narayanan –becoz of whom this place became sacred. Lord Narayanan gives darshan with naachiyars- Sridevi, Bhudevi,Niladevi, The deva loka damsel Urvashi who appeared from Lord Narayanan’s thigh is beside Niladevi.
Rewal, the celibate Keralite Namboodri head priest is the only person who is allowed inside the garbagriham. (He is like Ekaangi in Tirumala , the bachelor who alone is allowed to touch the divine Thirumeni of Perumal). The Rewal draped in a dhoti and black long thick Kurta and with his mouth covered with a cloth is the only eligible person to touch the divine idol of the Lord.
He removed carefully the flowers from the Lord’s thirumeni and carefully removed the chandana kaapu from the Lord’s thirumeni and gave it to his assistant. We were fortunate to get some chandan from him. Thirumanjanam to the swayambhu Perumal and HIS associates started amidst chanting of Pancha Suktham by the pundits who were sitting on either sides near the entrance on an elevated seat .
The Rewal , ( priest) who was now playing the role of an affectionate mother Yasodha, gently anointed Til oil to the divya Thirumeni of Perumal and others. Later holy water was poured through sankhu followed by milk ,curd, honey . The dhivya mangala swaroopam of Perumal can be clearly seen doing milk thirumanjanam. Adiyongal recited softly Neeratam pasurams after the priests completed Pancha Suktam recitation .The REwal gently pressed a silk cloth to wipe the Lordships. During alankaram, the priests recited Vishnu Sahasranamam while the Rewal applied sandal oil to the Tirumeni of the Lord and dressed them in new silk clothes. Within no time, the Lord was beautifully bedecked with fine jewellery. The Lord was smeared with chandana kaapu and decorated with flowers. All this is done in the devotees presence .
The holy water was later distributed to the assembled devotees and a small prasadam pack comprising of few sweets, tulasi , chandan etc were given to the participants. The entire process takes about 60-90 minutes. While doing pradakshinam, we purchased a small bottle of holy water for Rs.20/- which is being sold inside the temple . We Came back to Chinna Jeeyar Mutt and after honouring prashadam, left the holy abode with an intense desire to revisit the dhaam in the near future. Sridhar Swamy was very kind to pack lunch for us. Left Badri Vishal at about 8A.M. and drove to Pandukeshwar which is 20 kms away from Badrinath on the way to Joshirmutt. Yogadhyan Badri –one of the Sapta Badri Kshetrams is located in Pandukeshwar at an altitude of 1829 mtrs. .
To reach the temple, we need to get down off the main road , and climb down the steps to reach the temple. This is the place where King Pandu along with his wives,Kunti and Madri did penance and is the birthplace of Pandavas. Pandu who was cursed attained salvation here and after Mahabharata war, the Pandavas after handing over their kingdom to Parishit ,did penance at this place to atone for their sins. This temple was constructed by Pandavas. In the sanctum sanctorum, Lord Lakshmi Narayanan is in the centre with Sridevi towards HIS right and Bhudevi on the left. To the left of Bhudevi is Madri’s idol. We were told that there is a Shiva linga worshipped by Pandu beneath inside the garbagriham.
From there, we visited Vishnu Prayag- the confluence of Alakananda and Dhauli Ganga.
This is on Badrinath-Joshirmutt route in Chamoli district at an altitude of 1372 mtrs. As per legend, Sage Narada did penance and Lord appeared at this place. After having darshan of Lord Vishnu, Goddess Mahalakshmi and Kubera who is on the left side of Perumal , we went down few steep steps to the actual place of confluence to collect the holy water but in vain as the force was more.
Driving past Joshirmutt, on the Joshirmutt –Rishikesh Road, between Joshirmutt and Helang near Pipalkote , we reached Animath village which is about 7 kms from Joshirmutt to visit Vridha Badri at an altitude of 1380 mtrs.. This is on the way to Urgam, our next destination. We had to trek down few steep steps and occasionally climb and get down to reach Vridha Badri.
It takes about 15-20 minutes to walk down from the main road. This temple is neatly maintained surrounded by beautiful garden tended with great care by the priest family. We could see a wide range of beautiful flowers which are used for worshipping the Lord. Lord Vishnu appeared to Sage Narada as an old man and hence this place is known as Vridha Badri. We offered dry fruits to the Lord and the pujari honoured us with tulasi leaves . The serenity induces everyone to meditate on the Lord calmly without any distraction. Here Lord Badrinarayanan is alone in standing posture holding Sankhu, Chakra,Gada Padmam .
We proceeded to Helang and from there drove to Urgam village at an altitude of 2135 mtrs. The roads on the regular route from Rishikesh to Badrinath via Dev Prayag, Srinagar,Chamoli, Joshirmutt are broad, well maintained and secure but the roads on the other parts are not yet developed to that extent. This can be seen while going to Dhyan Badri. One needs to take a diversion from Joshirmutt-Rishikesh road to visit Dhyan Badri.
Here the muddy ghat roads pose threat and driving is challenging due to unleveled roads and obstructions caused due to landslides like boulders on the sides. There are no “taar roads” and a strong wind is enough to engulf the glass with dust and thus obstruct our view fully. The roads get blocked due to the debris caused by landslides which are not immediately attended to by BSFs as there is not much traffic. Occasionally, jeeps and local buses ply from this village to Joshirmutt and nearby villages .Like in Nepal, these buses are over packed with people literally sitting on the bus. The bus tilts towards one side unable to bear the weight. From Urgam , we can visit Dhyan Badri , ARdha Badri which is about 2 kms from Dhyan Badri and beyond 5 kms is Kalpeshwar-one of the Pancha Kedar temples. The drive was really challenging . Our hearts nearly skipped a beat when our driver had to put a sudden break while turning. A chill ran through my spine when the driver pointed to a six seater white car which had a fatal end just recently claiming lives of 5 people. The Lord’s holy names were constantly on our lips which eased out our tension .
We reached Urgam at about 1 P.M. We relaxed in a nearby tea stall . The inmates made some hot rotis for us to have along with puihora prasadam given by Sridhar Swamy, At about 2 P.M., started walking down amidst green fields for about 15 to 20 minutes to reach Dhyan Badri temple which is about 1-1.5 kms from Urgam. The stony path is well laid though it is narrow.
Watching the green fields surrounded by peaked mountains, we reached the temple which was closed. There is a very small pond inside the temple compound which reminded us of the holy Saligramam pond near Melkote which was sanctified by our Acharyar.
The garbagriham houses the main diety of Lord Narayanan in sitting posture in the centre. There are also vigrahams of Lakshmi Narayanan, Kubera and Siva lingam. Beneath we can find small idols of Lord Ranganatha with Sridevi and Bhudevi. Perumal appeared to Shiva who was meditating at this place. Perumal also did penance (dhyan) at this place before manifesting HIMSELF at Badri Vishal. Hence, this place is known as Dhyan Badri.
On enquiry, we learnt that Ardha Badri is a small temple which would be closed for darshan now and hence we returned to Urgam. As we were tired, we didn’t visit Kalpeshwar. WE came back to Urgam and drove back to Joshirmutt and reached the temple at 5 P.M. Joshirmutt is considered as one of the 108 divya desams , known as” Thirupiridhi”. Some count this as one of the sapta badri Kshetrams instead of Ardha Badri where there is only half figure ). Whatever it is , we wanted to have Lord Narasimhar’s darsanam .
Fortunately, the temple was open and the priest offered our dry fruits to Perumal. Here, Lord Narasimhar is in sitting posture and it is believed that when HIS left wrist wanes , the Badri temple would be permanently closed for darshan and Lord would manifest HIMSELF at Bhavishya Badri near Joshirmutt in near future. There are various idols in the sanctum.
From right, we can find Chamundi,Kubera,Udhavar, Badri Narayanana, Narasimhar in the centre, on the left is Garudar, Lakshmana, Rama , Sita . Lakshmana and Goddess Sita are in white whereas the thirumeni of Lord Rama is in black(shyamaa sundaran). The utsava murthi is Narasimhar Hanumar. During winter, when the main shrine at Badri Vishal remains closed for 6 months, the utsava murthi is brought down to this temple. This temple remains open all through the year. We then visited Vasudevar sannidhi who is believed to be the divya desa Perumal. Lord Vasudevar is in Nindra Thirukolam (Standing posture) holding Lotus and Gadam in HIS upper right and left hands and sankhu and chakram in HIS lower hands. There are also sannidhis for Sankarshana, Shiva, asthabhuja Ganesh, Kali and Bharivan around the temple. We were happy to note that one of the pasurams from naalayira divya prabhandham about this divya desam is written in Tamil and hung at the temple entrance. While we were coming out, we happened to have darshan of one of the Shankaracharyars appointed by Adi Sankaracharyar to take care of these temples. WE checked into GMVNL guest house at Main Bazar and fortunately this time we were provided a better accommodation. Thanking Perumal for allowing us to have HIS darshan at 5 places in Badri kshetram, we retired for the night. ON 17th we checked out by 7 .A.M. and drove to Saldhar which is about 19 kms from Joshirmutt. The weather was pleasant and chilly and we were reminded of Tirumala ghat road.. We saw an arc mentioned as Tapovan. This is a serene place for meditation. Driving ahead, we reached the starting point of our trekking. Bhavishya Badri is located in Subhain village and one has to trek the hill for 6 kms in a lonely path . We just found a small arch mentioning Bhavishya Badri.
We five of us were in a lonely place. Initially there were few steep steps laid as a pathway for about a kilometer. Singing Annamacharyar keerthanas and chanting the Tirumantram, we prayed God for HIS darshan in this lonely place and started trekking. There are no sign boards, no indication about the route . The Lord seated as Antharyaami was guiding us..
We didn’t even know whether the route taken by us was right or not. We were enthralled to see a villager from whom we enquired about the route. Felt happy to note that we were on the correct path and as per his directions, we continued our way. Beyond the first settlement, there is no pathway at all. There was greenery everywhere and the different varieties of wild flowers which had blossomed were so colourful and pleasing to our eyes impelling the children to burst into some song. WE could see chameleons, colourful butterflies, squirrels , forest ants and humming sound of bees from far. However, we realized that the forest shrubs and plants which were growing on either sides of this so called tiny footpath was hostile. The leaves were sharp and accidentally if our hands touched the leaves, that part in our hand which came in contact with the leaf would get swollen immediately. WE had to be cautious while trodding the path so as to avoid stamping on some forest snail/snake/ant etc. The path is slippery and my daughter who made a wrong choice of wearing heels had to remove her slippers and walk bare footed all through the way. Of course all these didn’t matter because we were focused on our destination. Once in a while, when we came across some passerby , we used to take directions from him and proceed on our adventurous trip. As we are not used to altitudes, we treaded slowly taking occasional rests . Somehow we were all energetic singing the glories of the Lord and enjoying nature’s beauty. In lighter moments, cracking jokes on each other once in a while to ease out the stress, we kept on ascending the hill. While trekking so, we suddenly got confused as the so called footpath was leading to two ways and we didn’t know which one to take. My niece found a Lays wrapper and suggested that the path would be inhabited. Children were enjoying the adventure guessing the route,pulling each other….It was a real holiday for them. We were imagining as to how Thirumangai Azhwar would have reached Badri Vishal which would have been unexplored like this at that time. There was no one to enquire and we were getting nervous as to whether the path taken by us was right or not. After walking for about half an hour, we met a lady who said that the route taken by us was wrong and she volunterred to take us to the correct path. We felt that it was God in disguise who appeared to help us out. We were once again left to ourselves and continued with our journey. After trekking for about 2 hours, we were exhausted and were searching for a place to relax. Luckily, we found a shop on the way . As we wished to remain light while trekking, we didn’t have breakfast and now the children badly needed something to re-energise themselves. The shop provided all sorts of snacks, cool drinks , medicines, water etc.
After replenishing ourselves, we continued onwards our 2 kms trek journey. This particular settlement was much better compared to other isolated places. We continued trekking and once again left with no one around. WE could not locate any path way and didn’t know which side to take-left or right!! WE took the wrong path and after some time, we saw a person down the hill and screamed for help. He informed that he is the temple priest and he was also going to Bhavishya Badri. Our joy knew no bounds. He accompanied us for some time, and as we couldn’t cope up with his lightning speed, he gave us directions and left. He said that the temple was only one km away . WE were now on a bigger plain surface. Surrounded by snow clad high mountain peaks on all sides, sun rays falling through the tall eucalyptus trees and gentle breeze full of medicinal properties accompanied by Dhauli Ganga flowing as a small stream , green vegetation in the surrounding places and the sound of cuckoos as if welcoming us , we were in ecstasy looking at the marvelous creation of the Lord. We have seen this in movies but now we are here experiencing them with our own eyes but for deers and peacocks.
Even after trekking for hours, we were still energetic and bubbling with joy as we were near to our destination. Two local women farmers were passing by us suggested us to taste the crystal clear cold water from the Dhauli Ganga stream. Pure unadultered tasty water was like nectar. They accompanied us to the temple. We reached the temple past noon.
AS the pujari met us on the way, he was waiting for us.
All of us had very good darshan of the Lord. The pujari explained to us that 10 years ago, there was only a sketch mark on the rock but now we can see the Lord’s figure emerging out of the cave.
The Lord is in the form of Narasimha bhagavan. The pujari pointed us to the various features in the half emerged idol attributing its form to that of Lord Narasimha. How fortunate and blessed we are to have Lord Narasimhar as Bhavishya Badri Narayanan. In the present Badri Vishal, the Lord is in the form of Narayanan whereas here HE is going to assume the form of Bhakthavatsalan, Lord Narasimhar whose avataram is for the sake of devotee. JAI NARASING DEV!! WE offered our dry fruits to the deities and did kirtan for about half an hour.
ADIYEN& FAMILY PERFORMING KIRTAN AT BHAVISHYA BHADRI TEMPLE
A mahamantra sticker is at the entrance which was pasted by ISKCON PAADAYATRA troup who visited this temple some time ago. WE were imagining that when Thirumangai Azhwar visited Badri Vishal few thousands of years ago, that place would have been similar to this one now.
After spending about an hour, we started our return journey which as per the locals would take half the time, but for us it took almost 3 hours to return. WE came down at about 5 P.M. and proceeded to Karna Prayag which is about 3 hours from Saldhar at an elevation of 1450 mtrs.. Checked into GMVNL guest house located near the confluence itself and retired for the night. Excellent room . This was the best guest house where we stayed in our trip. On 18th morning, after witnessing the confluence of River Alakananda with Pindar river , proceeded to Adi Badri which is about 19 kms from Karna Prayag and takes about one hour drive. Adi Badri is not on Rishikesh-Badri route , one needs to visit Adi Badri via Karna Prayag. Adi Badri is the oldest temple comprising of 16 temples . While Adi Sankaracharyar was residing in Himalayas ,somewhere near Karna Prayag, the Lord appeared in his dream and told him about HIS whereabouts and ordered him to construct a temple for him. The place where the Lord appeared to Adi Sankaracharyar is presently known as Adi Badri and is considered as one of the Sapta Badri Kshetrams.
Adi Sankaracharyar spread Hinduism from this place and built a temple. Out of the cluster of 16 temples, many were built under the guidance of Sankaracharyar and about 5 temple were built later during Gupta era. In the olden days, when approach to Badri Vishal was tough, people worshipped Lord Vishnu here. It is believed that in future when Badri Vishal becomes inaccessible and Lord manifests in Bhavishya Badri, Bhavishya Badri would be known as Badri, Badri Vishal would be known as Adi Badri and the present Adi Badri would be known as Yog Badri. The temple is on the main road itself and it is easily approachable. All the temples look similar.
From there, we drove to Dev Prayag and reached the place at about 5 P.M.
We visited Raghunathji temple at Dev Prayag which is one of the 108 divya desams. While ascending the 100+ steps, we recollected our earlier visit to this kshetram along with my father and shared the Lord’s pastimes. Had darshanam of the mantapam where the utsava murthis are placed for public darshan, the banyan tree which is considered to be the one not affected by Pralayam and after thanking Perumal for enabling us to visit Saptha Badri kshetrams , especially Bhavishya Badri , we left the place. The confluence of Alakananda with Bhagirathi at Dev Prayag is eye captivating.
Reached Haridwar at 10 P.M., and after settling the accounts with the car driver, we had our dinner in a nearby Jain hotel and were waiting for our train recollecting our trip to the holy abodes. It was like a dream come true. Boarded Dehradun-New Delhi AC train in the wee hours 0040 hours which was supposed to reach New Delhi at 5 A.M. and take the onward flight to Srinagar at 9 A.M. and return back to Delhi by 3P.M. flight and take the connecting flight to Hyderabad at 7 p.m. Due to technical snag in the train, it was delayed by almost 3.5 hours. WE landed in New Delhi railway station at 08.30 a.m. and rushed to the nearby Metro station to take the train to airport. Reached airport at 9 a.m. and by the time the formalities were completed, we missed the flight . As we availed LTC, it was mandatory to produce Delhi-Srinagar-Delhi boarding passes and hence we had to be in Srinagar at any cost. WE were left with no other option than cancelling this ticket and book in the next flight. The scheduled departure of AI flight was at 11 hours and it takes about 2 hours to reach Srinagar. As we had a breather of an extra hour, we booked the tickets. To add to our dismay, this flight got delayed by 2 hours and now we were really perplexed because if we miss the Delhi bound Srinagar flight at 1500 hours which was the last one, we would miss our connecting flight to Hyderabad!!. Tickets were not available for the next 4-5 days as it was end of LTC season..!!The authorities were surprised to note that we wished to return on the same day without visiting Srinagar. Had to inform that we had visited Kashmir earlier and as there was an emergency, we were constrained to leave on the same day. They informed that it would not be possible for us to take the 3p.m. flight as the formalities would not get completed. I literally pleaded with the top most authority to help me out . He was kind enough to issue a Delhi Boarding pass (which would be issued at Srinagar) from Delhi itself which is against rules using his power. Thanked him for his gesture. Reached Srinagar at 3 p.m. . The scheduled departure of the 3’o clock flight was delayed by half and hour because the same flight returns.
Within this 30 minutes, we had to compulsorily go through all the formalities (especially in Srinagar, there is strict security norms which cannot be skipped)-we had to come out and again get into the airport. We were stopped at the entrance because the time was up and were informed that the time for taking boarding pass was over. When we produced the Boarding Pass, the authorities were surprised and doubted us. Meanwhile,we could hear our names being announced to board the flight as it was about to depart… We were quickly frisked by the authorities and our luggages were put in a hand driven trolley . An official took me aside to enquire as to who issued the boarding pass which was against the rules and I had to request him that due to an emergency , I had to rush back while my perplexed wife was eagerly waiting to join me. The flight didn’t take off for 20 minutes until we boarded it. We safely reached Delhi by 5.30 p.m. and boarded the Hyderabad bound flight at 7 p.m. without any hurdles. Reached our home Thiruvengadam at midnight and the first thing what we did was to open the altar and fall at Divya Dampadhigal and Acharyars’feet for making this possible.
JAI JAI SHRI BADRI VISHAL
Please check all the clips for a clear darshanam of the holy dhaam
Adiyen Ramanuja Dasan