Friday, 28 October 2016

Badrinath- God's abode in Devlok



I had visited Badrinath temple this month and I wish to confine myself only about Badrinath temple in this post leaving the travel details to my travel blog.
Badrinath, the abode of Sri Badri Narayan is situated at a height of 3133 mts above sea level in the state of Uttarakhand. This temple is nestled between the two mountains Nar and Narayan of the Garhwal range and on the banks of river Alaknanda.
It is believed that Sri Vishnu came down to this earth to meditate and His Consort Sri Lakshmi, took the form of a Badri tree to give him shade and protection from sun and rain. As a result, the lord came to be known as Badrinarayan.
It is held that the Buddhists threw away the idol of Badri Narayan in the Narada kund on the banks of Alaknanda and believed that a divine voice had instructed Adi Shankaracharya to retrieve the idol of the deity and reinstall it in the temple. He carried out the divine wish willingly thus giving the devotees a chance to have the divine darshan.
Here the guru sishya parampara can be seen in a beautiful context. The lord took the forms of both Narayanan –the preceptor and Nara – the perceiver, to propagate the powerful asthakshara mantra.
One can see this overpowering presence of Nar and Narayan as the two mountains on either side of Alaknanda.
This temple is open only from April to November as the winter sets in thereafter with the place fully covered in snow making it impossible for anyone to live here. The day of opening and closing of the temple is decided by the trust. When they close the temple for winter, the Namboodri, the chief priest, does the puja after lighting a lamp with some ghee for it to burn and glow for a while. The uddhav murti is taken down in procession to Joshimath and kept there for the next six months. 
When the opening is announced, the uddhav murti is first taken to the Mata mandir to pray to His mother and from there  the Namboodri and the whole entourage reach the temple that is opened in public view. The most surprising event or a miracle you can say is the phenomenon of the lamp lit six months before still glowing. This defies a rational explanation as the temple was fully closed with no scope of air entering the sanctum. Can anyone explain this marvel except by attributing to the Divine presence? It is believed that sage Narada performs puja for these six months when we cannot enter the terrain and the temple is closed. Hence this is also called as Narada Kshetram
A trip to Badrinath has always been on my mind ever since we embarked on a visit to 106 Divya Desams and I thought what better way to celebrate KK’s 50th birthday than having the darshan of Sri Badri Narayan on that special day and invoking His blessings. Once this thought struck me, I started to plan for the holy trip and with His blessings, things started falling in place. KK could avail the leave and we found a good travel agent, who booked rooms according to my choice. We planned the weeklong trip to ensure we were at Badrinath on KK’s birthday.
The trip was very enjoyable and exciting as we travelled from Dehradun to Badrinath by road visiting many other places along the route. The constant company all the way was the imposing Garhwal range of mountains and the beautiful rivers flowing beneath. Some of the stretches of the roads are really risky but the adept drivers of the vehicles that ply on these ghat sections are equal to the task and of course you have HIS blessings. So our mantra was just to relax and live in the moment, enjoying the scenic beauty and waiting for His darshan!
We reached Badrinath by 12. noon and checked into Sarovar Portico (Sarovar group of hotels). One of the best hotels here, and the service was good too. After lunch, we proceeded to Mana village, which is the last village of Indian Territory, details of which will be on my travel blog soon. We explored the village, saw the pristine beauty of nature and came back to see the temple we were waiting for all these days, the Badrinarayan temple.
You will need to walk 5-7 minutes from the parking lot to reach the temple premises. All along the path, you will see shops selling trinkets, prasad and numerous pictures of the temple and the deity. As we pass these shops, you will see Alaknanda flowing in all her majesty, with its water greenish blue in colour and what a sight to watch her. As you cross her over the bridge, you see on your right side towards the end of the bridge smoke coming down from below, and then we realize that it was coming from the hot Sulphur springs of Tapt kund. Devotees have a dip in the hot spring, before heading for the darshan of Sri Badri Narayan. Then a flight of steps, and you will reach the temple doorway. On the left you can find the temple office kiosk, where you can buy the tickets for the sevas that are offered on that day. It is advisable to be prepared with enough cash as they do not accept credit/debit cards.

That is the steam coming out of the hot springs

The seva tickets range from Rs 250/-to Rs 9000/-. For the evening we bought vishnusaharanamawali tickets. After procuring the tickets we went inside. CLICK HERE TO SEE THE COMPLETE SEVA TIMINGS AND RATE
The temple is way different from what you see in South India. The main entrance of the temple is unique and very colourful and is known as SINGHDWAR. The temple is 50 feet tall and has a cupola on top covered in a golden coloured roof. 
We can see a sankhu (conch), chakram (wheel) and an Aum on the façade of the temple. Tiruman (namam) is conspicuous by its absence. The panels near the door are engraved with dasavatharam. It is said that everyone is allowed in the temple. There is no bar on the basis of religion, caste and creed, reiterating the fact that He is Universal, the supreme and is one for all.

As we waited in the queue, the day was receding and the chilly night was ready to freeze us. Armed with enough winter clothing, we braved the cold weather and the only thing that kept our spirit high was the anticipation of the much awaited darshan.
They let us inside the hall in front of the sanctum sanctorum. Luckily we sat right in front of the deity. I do not remember what happened in the next few minutes. I just kept gazing at Him as if on a mental dialogue between him and me. Nothing else occurred or mattered. I was oblivious of the surroundings till nudged by KK that the puja had started. It was then I started observing everything inside the sanctorum.
In the center is the saligrama idol of the presiding deity decked up in all grandeur and finery. He is seated in Padmasana posture with sankha and chakra in two hands. He is a swayambhu and is dark in colour. On his right side we see a golden face of Sri Kubera and a Garuda in silver praying with folded hands. On his left we see an idol of Uddhav and a small idol of sage Narada. On his extreme left we can see the idols of Nar and Narayan.
The chanting of sahasranamavali started and the priests seated outside started to chant sahasranamam while the Namboodri performed the puja inside. Only the Namboodri, who hails from the same clan as Sri Adi Shankaracharya, is allowed inside the sanctorum. For those unable to see the puja properly inside, they have made arrangements to telecast it live on a big television erected on the either side of the entrance to the sanctum. While you watch the puja on the television sets, your eyes cannot escape the beautiful dwara palakas seen on either side of the entrance of the sanctorum and they look very much like the ones you see in the South Indian temples. 
The walls of the sabha mantap where the devotees assemble are covered with intricately carved designs and is very beautiful
After the puja and the arathi, we were given prasad as we came out of the side entrance to take the darshan of Sri Lakshmi, Durga, Adi Sankara, Ramanuja and Vedanta Desika.
We left for our hotel to have an early dinner and sound sleep to be ready for the Mahabhishekam next morning at 4.30 AM
At the appointed hour we were at the temple and were greeted by the melodious voice of M.S Subbalakshmi chanting Vishnu Sahasranamam. It is a bliss to listen to her chant in her enchanting voice at that hour and place. We then stood in the praharam braving the chill weather till 5.30 am, when we were let inside.
Having found a place to sit and watch the abhishekam, we waited for the sanctorum to open. Now with the learned Brahmins chanting sahasranama, the namboodri also known as Rawal, started to remove all the alankarams/ornaments of the lord. He then bathed him and other idols in the pure water of Alaknanda, then was applied Ihhar or scent followed by sandalwood paste. The priest applied the sandalwood paste to each part of the idol, highlighting the arms, legs, and finally you can see the whole form. Then The lord is decked with a beautiful silk dress and many garlands. Thereafter He is decked up in finery and the mangala aarti takes place and when you see him in full glory, you do not wish to take your eyes away from him. All the devotees are given the scent that is applied to the lord and the sandalwood paste. One can collect the bhog or Prasad later from the temple. It is said that the prasad or bhog is prepared by Mahalakshmi herself and is taken from Her sanctorum to the lord. It is a sight not to be missed. Like I always say, He is so beautiful and I am blessed to have His darshan on this special day with my husband.  I hope you too are blessed to see Him soon too.
The Mahabharata revered this holy place as the one that can give salvation to devotees by merely arriving close to it, while in other holy places they must perform religious ceremonies to obtain His grace.
Periyazhwar and Tirumangai azhwar have sung in praise of Him.
It will be appropriate to read the poems of திருமங்கை ஆழ்வார் here before I end this post
முதல் பத்து - மூன்றாம் திருமொழி (திருவதரி)
திருமங்கை ஆழ்வார் அருளிச்செய்தது
முற்ற மூத்துக், கோல் துணையா முன்னடி நோக்கி வளைந்து
இற்றகால் போல் தள்ளி மெள்ள இருந்து அங்கு இளையாமுன்
பெற்ற தாய் போல் வந்த பேய்ச்சி பெரு முலை ஊடு, உயிரை
வற்ற வாங்கி உண்ட வாயான் வதரி வணங்குதுமே (968)

முதுகு பற்றிக் கைத்தலத்தால் முன் ஒரு கோல் ஊன்றி
விதிர் விதிர்த்துக், கண் சுழன்று மேல் கிளைகொண்டு இருமி
இது என் அப்பர் மூத்த ஆறு! என்று இளையவர் ஏசாமுன்,
மது உண் வண்டு பண்கள் பாடும் வதரி வணங்குதுமே! (969)

முதல் பத்து - நாங்காம் திருமொழி (திருவதரியாச்சிரமம்)

ஏனம் முன் ஆகி, இரு நிலம் இடந்து அன்று
இணை - அடி இமையவர் வணங்க,
தானவன் ஆகம் தரணியில் புரளத்
தடஞ் சிலை குனித்த என் தலைவன்
தேன் அமர் சோலைக் கற்பகம் பயந்த
தெய்வ நல் நறு மலர் கொணர்ந்து
வானவர் வணங்கும் கங்கையின் கரை மேல்
வதரி ஆச்சிரமத்து உள்ளானே (978)

TEMPLE TIMINGS
The temple is open from 4.30 AM with the Mahabhishekam starting at 5.30 AM.
Afternoon 1.00PM- 4PM the temple is closed for any darshan
It opens again from 4.00PM-9.PM when shayana aarthi takes place after the Geet govind is recited
The official website of BADRINATH is  www.badarikedar.org

TO REACH BADARINATH
Nearest airport: Dehradun
Nearest Railway station: Rishikesh
On road: from Joshirmath
MORE DETAILS ABOUT THIS CAN BE SEEN HERE

11 comments:

  1. Nice ! Covering all the key details.

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  2. You have given valuable information on the much revered and celebrated Vaishnavaites shrine,one among the 108 sthalams and one among the four chardham.The reading of the post makes one yearn to visit the holy temple.The pictures are very nice and gives a glimpse of the shrine.
    You both are fortunate to have visited the holy shrine on a special day.It does not come by easily to all and is only due to the grace of lord Badrinarayan

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  3. Very nice . enjoyed reading. Will try to go when the temple opens close to Akshaya tritiya .

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  4. Super veena. Beautiful description of Him, I could close my eyes and think and how glorious the abhishekham must have been!!
    Both are blessed to have his darshan on such a special day!!

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  5. What a fantastic recollection Veena. It felt like I was transported and traveled with you. I wish one gets a chance of this lifetime of praying to Him. Thanks for sharing. Hope to read about the travelogue soon.

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  6. Along with the shrine of Badrinath temple, there are other fascinations that captivate people for thronging across the holy destination and that include Tapt Kund and Surya Kund and famous Panch Badri. Source: Vedic Society

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