Friday, July 30, 2010

Badrinath, is one among the Char Dham, a must visit hindu piligrimage centers and the abode of Lord Vishnu. The idol here is made of a solid black Saligram stone. A self manifested statues of lod Vishnu. Strangely the idol depicts Vishnu sitting in meditative posture, rather than the usual reclined posture. Legend has it that Vishnu was chastised by a sage who saw Vishnu's consort Lakshmi massaging his feet. Vishnu then went to Badrinath to perform austerity, meditating in the padmasana for along period.
Badrinath, village - In winter the temple is closed due to heavy snowfall and the idol is shifted to Joshimath at a lower altitude. Badrinath was enshrined a piligrimage center by Adi Shankaracharya in the ninth century

View of the snow cap mountain just above our tent in Mana.

Following the great Mahabharata, the king Dhritarastra, queen Ghandhari and Kunti (he mother of the pandavas) lived the life of asceticism in the forest and died in a forest fire. Krishna Vasudeva and his unruly clan slaughtered eac other in a drunken brwal 36 years after the war and Krishnas soul went back into the supreme Vishnu. When the Pandavas learnt of this (wonder if they got an sms then !), they decided it was time for them to leave this world as well and they embarked on the great journey to heaven. They walked towards the polar mountains, towards the heavenly worlds, until one's body dropped dead. One by one Draupadi and the younger pandavas died along the way until Yudisthira was left with his companion, a dog that had followed him on his walk all along. Yudi made it to heavens gate, but was ordered to send the dog back but refused! Eventually the dog turns out to be god Dharma (Yudi's actual father), who was there to test his virtue. Once in heaven, Yudi realises that his brothers are in hell and insists on being sent back to hell to join his brothers.... This was hte final test fo rhim! It is revealed that the brothers were really in heaven. So ends the story!

The way to Heavens gate! Somewhere along the path is the Vasundhara falls, the gushing waters of this cascade falls down with a roaring sound from an elevation of 400 feet. It carries an amazing legend with it - People believe that the water falls turns away from those visitors who are not pure and clean at heart. Though a difficult destination to reach, the falls allures the visitors with its exciting charm and cool ambience. I was not to risk the test!

Draupadi Mandir - The place where Draupadi died.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

The heavenly Uttarakhand holds many mysteries and interesting stories . . . one such place of interest is the Mana Village, the last village on the Indian side.

The last tea shop on this side of India too..

Vyas Gufa
From Mana village, climb up the steps and you will reach Rishi Vyas gufa. It is sitting in this cave and on the rocks that Vyasa rishi wrote Mahabarata. It is said that Vyasa rishi wanted an assistant to write so fast that he did not have to repeat a single word again. So he hired Ganesh for the job. Ganesh put forth a condition that he would only scribe it if the entire Mahabharat was said in one go. But nearby, river Saraswati flowed and was terribly noisy.
So he cursed the noisy Saraswati to vanish into Paataal (deep into earth). It is unbelivable but the river just vanishes into earth and does not flow onto the other side of the stream!

Inside the gufa
Below is the noisy river just about 100 meters away from the Vyasa gufa. Play it to believe it! The other side of the bridge is absolutely dry and quiet. The Saraswati river flows underground from here ..


Saraswati vanishes from this point

The Bhim Pul on the way to Heavens door (Swarg ka Dwar). . . . . COMING SOON!

Monday, July 19, 2010