Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Other Places in Badrinath (Part I) - The Alaknanda River, Brahma Kapal Ghat

Day 4 : Badrinath - ALAKNANDA RIVER AND BRAHMA KAPAL GHAT - Tapt Kund and Panch Shilas - Badrinath Temple - Mana Village (Here and There) - Mana Village (Places to visit)  - Diwali celebrations in the Badrinath Temple

10000 FEET… I never did understand this dimension until I reached the Mountain of the Gods - BADRINATH! Standing at 3133 mtrs that’s 10270 ft above sea level, this was the highest point in our Char Dham trip after Gangotri (which stands at a slightly lower level)… My cell phone’s network signal had dwarfed to a blank hours ago, hours back and everything seemed a million miles away...it felt like being on top of the world, literally!

It was 10 am and the sun was already out but with winters having set up here, icy winds blowing across were hitting us like a big cold wave. We were on our way to the Tapt kund – the natural hot thermal spring at Badrinath – to take our bath for the day. The way to the kund, a 5 min walk from the GMVN guest House Hotel Devlok, is a very scenic one and passes through a narrow lane. On one side of the way stand shops brimming with colorful trinkets and temple ware, pictures of Gods and Goddesses, charming amulets all of which are tantalizing enough for the believer to sense the presence of the Gods.


Shops selling trikets and temple ware on the way to the 
Badrinath temple
Shops selling trinkets and temple ware on the way to the temple

On the other side, at a slightly lower level, flows the Alaknanda River across which stands the majestic Badrinath Temple. The Alaknanda Bridge, the connect between the holy town and the temple, only adds a different dimension to the overall beauty!


Alaknanda bridge connecting the Badrinath town and the 
Badrinath Temple
The Alaknanda Bridge on the far left,
The Badrinath Temple can be spotted somewhere towards the upper-centre,
And the Alaknanda River flows below

A pool of magnificent aqua blue cradled by a string of rugged, cold mountains surrounded by exquisite natural beauty… The view that I had while standing on the bridge was…… it felt like someone having torn a page out of my junior art book and pasted it at 10000 ft! And I was feeling so fortunate, so very blessed to be actually feeling and breathing it all!

Alaknanda river and the mountains- view from the bridge in
 Badrinath

The smell of purity wafting through the cool crisp mountain airs... the Alaknanda waters crashing in against the rocks having its own exceptional force,

The Alaknanda waters at the Badrinath Tirtha
"Uddhava, Take my order and go to my ashram called Badrika, purify yourself by touching and also bathing in the holy waters there, which have emanated from My Lotus Feet, rid yourself of all sinful thoughts with the sight of this sacred Alaknanda river" - 
Lord Krishna

the rugged mountain peaks standing guard to the temple…



And the home of the Lord, The Badrinath Temple, cuddled up carefully in the grooves, placed at a slightly higher level but still very much within the common man’s reach…



...Every feature here was so delicately crafted, in such detail… this was an amazing view of nature’s own canvas and this heavenly sight for one long moment just took my breath away! However, my reflections of the spectacular marvels of the moment were quickly interrupted by the continuous chatter of pilgrims all around. The bridge was lined with beggars who, on the occasion of Diwali, were enjoying their day in the sun.

Charity to the poor and needy in Badrinath
Charity - Anna Daan in Badrinath
Charity being done on the big day of Diwali festival in Badrinath

Charity (daan) done especially on the auspicious Diwali occasion as well as otherwise at this holy place is said to give a lot of returns in the form of prosperity and goodwill. Hence, there were many pilgrims who could be seen donating money, eateries, woolies and other items to the poor.

From the bridge, one can see the Brahma Kapal Ghat, a flat platform on the river bank where pilgrims worship their ancestors by performing certain rites and rituals like pinddaan, shraddha, etc.


Brahma Kapal Ghat with the Brahma Kapal temple in red
Brahma Kapal Temple in red meaning Brahma’s forehead which had supposedly fallen here after an argument with Lord Shiva

From this elevated vantage point, I could also see the Tapt Kund and how the pilgrim crowd was swelling up there with every passing minute. Just reminded me to close my camera and speed up!



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50 comments:

  1. Beautiful photography Aarthi thank u so much for the lovely comment at my space ya I miss u all and blog world was busy these days so couldn't blog for a long time ..hope very things well at ur end:)...regarding the post u always amaze me by ur photography and lovely informative write up !!!

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  2. how breathtaking!...I could feel the snap of the cold air and hear the crash of the water....stunning views....amazing holy place!

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  3. What beautiful colours, to see all those houses and shops nestled here is nothing short of breath taking.

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  4. Even if i have neved visited such wonderful places, i can still visualize what if feels to be there....thanks for sharing such wonderful experiences!!!

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  5. This is really a nice place... hoping I'll be visiting it soon !!

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  6. this was a lovely tour. the spot is so exotic and majestic. I'm looking forward to the rest of your journey. especially Tapt kund – the hot thermal spring at Badrinath part. the water in your photos looks so clear and clean. I love the colors. this is an excellent post. thanks for sharing. I'm hooked.

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  7. OMG, these pictures are beautiful, so wild and free! Would love to see this one day! I bet God is very close to you in this landscape! xx

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  8. Amazing pictures as usual. Great Diwali it was, then. Flowing Alaknanda looks stunning!

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  9. Dear Arti
    Thoroughly enjoyed the writing and the photos. I dont see much change really.
    What cellphone connection did you carry ? Normally when I go to Himalayas , I carry a BSNL, nothing else works at remote places. Or may be they might not have provided cell connection as Badrinath is shut down during winter. I remember long back they used to carry a portable antenna, mounted on a vehicle for communication through satellites , but there were no cellphone then..
    will be waiting eagerly for the next post
    Have a nice week

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  10. It looks very similar to the Swiss Alps but with a lot more flair! :)

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  11. What wonderful pictures! The first one so pretty, it actually looks like it was taken at night. i love the beautiful water and the force of it that you captured.

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  12. I love your posts and the photographs. The photos are not only lovely they help my minds eye to vividly see your area of the world. I'm following you via email so I won't miss anything :D

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  13. i find your char dham trip fascinating. the places sound so foreign, yet when you describe them they feel inviting.are there foreigners who do this route, or is it strictly for local pilgrims?

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  14. I am so loving it Arti .The place looks so serene and beautiful.Thanks for this wonderful post.Waiting for the next part.....

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  15. A really beautiful place. I always enjoy seeing these places on your blog. I always learn something new. A good thing.

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  16. Amazing the virtual tour continues and getting better with new posts .The photography is impeccable.

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  17. @ Ushnish
    I use Vodafone, even during the journey on the road there is no signal at most places... But it gives you time off the phone which is good in a way.

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  18. @ Angeli
    There are a lot of foreign tourists who visit here. But this is a recent phenomenon since about 50-60 years there were no roads and and people had to walk for months to reach these places in upper reaches of the Himalayas.

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  19. What clarity and crisp air. So lovely!

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  20. What amazing shots.I enjoyed all of them which are clear water, blue sky and crowded shops.
    I want to travel somewhere.

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  21. My dear friend Arti
    Exciting journey in 3500!!!!
    Fascinated by the beauty of nature!
    Your photos and report, amazing!!!!
    Thank you for the interesting trip!
    ╬ťany greetings

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  22. Hello Arti, Your travels have taken you to high altitude - my own home in CO is above 10,000' so I know the crisp air you were experiencing. The pretty colors of the temple contrast beautifully with the high peaks. I feel as though I have walked with you on this journey, Thank you!

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  23. Thank you for the tour Arti! We're in Colorado, and have been above 10,000 feet a few times.

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  24. Hello Arti.
    Thank you for your imformative post! It is interesting. I think that a trip to your country has to be put in my list.
    It is surprising that your country always has blue beautiful sky! Also the water splashing is stunning! The eighth photo is peaceful. Thanks!!

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  25. delightful post!
    lovely images!

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  26. Consistently, your photos are beautiful...and seeing charity works is always a heartfelt experience.

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  27. beautiful Arti, the pics are awesome. The azure alakananda is enchanting.

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  28. Congrats Arti for such a good blog! I have visited many places that have been mentioned in your blog, but I wasn't a photo-taker then. It looks awesome here. Refreshing memories. Also, your idea of talking about the pilgrimages is well appreciated. Keep up the good work!

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  29. I loved the pics Arti! :) I hope to visit this place sometime soon.....

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  30. 10000 ft above the sea level..really awesome..! Very nice pictures and interesting bit of info.. You are always increasing my motivation to visit Himalayas.. I guess, I will make a trip sooner than later..!

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  31. good post and pictures were wonderful... the city looks amazing... closely packed houses varying in size.... amazing place to live in...

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  32. Wow, the pictures are so vivid. Thanks for being unselfish enough to share this amazing experience with us. I'd like to go on a vacation like that one day. -Lola http://www.dharmakilleddogma.blogspot.com

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  33. Thanks for your wonderful words Arti..

    This is a delightful post..

    Btw Arti,have you ever been to Brindavan or Mathura?
    If so..please make me know it dear..

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  34. @ Gowthami
    Yes I visited Mathura and Vrindavan about a year ago.

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  35. Arti,please leave the link to the posts of Brindavan and Mathura,in my blog...

    Hope you won't mind doing this favor to me..

    Thanks:)

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  36. Hi, Arti, thanks for this trip report as always because I'm not confident of walking in fit at that high altitude. I especially like the first photo of a way to the temple in the twilight and am amazed with indigo blue color of the sky. Have a nice weekend.

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  37. @Gowthami Though I have visited the places but I haven't yet blogged about it yet. But if you do have any queries, you sure can let me know about it and I will try to help you out to the best of my knowledge :)

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  38. Thanks so much Arti..
    I like to know more about those places,though I am not going to visit now,I just wish to know about them!

    So I searched ur posts,but did not find any on them,and I asked you if you ever visited them...and I say You are really really very blessed to be on land of brindavan!

    Why did not you write about them?
    Kk...hmmm...it would be very nice if you put down ur experience there,I feel happy as if I myself went there :) Ofcrse,it's not a problem..hmm leave it!Sorry if I troubled you..

    keep going dear... :)
    May god bless you more 'yatras' :)

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  39. Arti,
    Thanks for such a beautiful blog. I am always amazed with rich nature of your country. In this height there is no summer?? Every color is so vivid; I suppose it is because of air transparency. In Japan, high mountains themselves are worshiped as divine objects. And a pilgrim wears white uniform and straw hat. Even though the way of pilgrimage is different, the deep prayers in heart are same.
    Have a great weekend.

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  40. Thank u for the extremely useful info :)

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  41. @Gowthami
    No problem, not at all! In fact thank you so much for your kind comments :)

    Just when I was to write about the Vrindavan yatra, this Char dham trip came along and hence thought of penning this down first. May be once this gets over, God willing, it will be Mathura - Vridavan next...

    Hope to see you often :)

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  42. @snowwhite Yes, you are so right! In these regions, there is no such season as summer. The mountains are covered in snow the year round, only that it is more in some months and lesser in the others. The temples close down in the snowing months and the pilgrims visit the region in the non snowing season.

    I love your blog too, its always so nice to learn more about different countries, their customs, cultures and traditions. Thanks so much for sharing it here.

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  43. Wow! Nice post :) I loved the images. And the Alaknanda river looks awesome :) So many colors of nature! I feel like going there right now. And you are indeed fortunate Arti. :)

    Good luck!

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  44. Breath taking pictures, Arti, you have the eye.

    And yes, thanks for checking out my last post --new to indiblogger or indeed to blogging. Will get the hang soon:)

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  45. Beautiful place, very picturesque.

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  46. You and photography seem to have some spiritual connection! Beautifully captured.....In fact, I have gone through most of your photo posts and have enjoyed them so much.....a wonderful travel blog you have.....God bless...!!

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  47. Great pictures from the place, sure a great experience.

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  48. every weekend i would like to vist some new places this time i choose to visit this place before i vist i read your blog really thanku your inforamtion helps me a lot act i am very new to that place ...next week i am planning to visit Bandipur Resort

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