The road between Gopeshwar and Badrinath is quite narrow and operates on a one way system, so we left Gopeshwar early in the morning so as to catch the uphill going traffic towards Badrinath post Joshimath stopping enroute at Gauchar on the banks of Alaknanda to have our breakfast and then it was a straight drive to Badrinath where we drove straight to the GMVN Hotel to have lunch. Post lunch we walked and did some sight seeing and shopping in the so small town of Badrinath and took in the sights and sounds of beautiful mountain views, waterfalls and snow peaked caps.
Apparently tradition dictates that one steps into the temple only after doing the ceremonial pooja for the anscestors and that was to be done the next day morning as per the pandit. The temple is so very beautiful and I was itching to go in there, sit and meditate. The Alaknanda gushes out in full steam in front of the temple and then there is the hot water streams outside the temple. The plan was to go the temple at 4AM, but once we got a taste of freezing cold sub zero temperature, all the plans went straight out of the window, we stepped out post 6AM, completed the ceremonies and stepped into the temple to have a beautiful darshan of Badri-Vishala and then in the temple complex in a corner, is the statue of Adi Shankaracharya and Swami Brahmanand Saraswati – And then I got the opportunity to sit and meditate. I did the Guru Pooja chanting…..the vibrations of the place were so powerful that I slipped into a deep meditation so effortlessly.
Then it was time to wrap up the visit and head down hill to Gauchar for overnight stay before we headed out to Dehradun touching RudraPrayag, Devaprayag, Rishikesh etc.
All in all, it was a fabulous trip for several reasons that I will write in another post sometime later!
At the same time, what was the biggest disappointment for us was the total and complete devastation of the entire ecological system that we witnessed all the way from Rishikesh to Kedarnath and then all the way from Gopeshwar to Badrinath. A river tamed and the majestic mountains blasted all the way, little greenery, hot weather – all signs of a upcoming disaster. More about that in the next post.