HARIDWAR – ( GANGADWARA ) - Gateway to the abode of gods.
In Hindu mythology it is known as Kapilastan. It rests at the foot of the Shivalik mountains. As the term indicates, it means main door to the place of Hari or Hara. It is through Haridwara that one can go towards Badrinath – the place of Hari or towards Kedarnath – the place of Hara. Brahmakund in Haridwar is the famous Theertha. A visit to Ganga temple is a must to every yatrika. The Aarthi to Gangaji every evening at Har-ki-paudi around sunset time is a most thrilling / must watch sight.
PLACES OF INTEREST HERE:
- Manasa Devi temple ( approach thro steps or ropeway )
- Anusuya Kund (foot of hill)
- Panchamukhi Hanuman temple
- Saptharishi Mandira
- Daksha Mahadev temple
- Many more temples and Ashrams
- Bade hanuman mandira ( palimaru matha )
- Bharat mata mandira
- Baba ramdev’s yoga centre / ashram
– Nearest airport is Jolly grant,Dehradoon(42 km)
– Delhi to Haridwara.
– Well connected by buses
Delhi – 214kms
Dehradoon – 52 kms
ACCOMMODATION at HARIDWAR
Shri Bade Hanuman Mandir, ( palimaru matha )
Devapur Grama, near bairagi camp,
Sri Madhwa ashrama ( pejawara matha )
336, haripur kalan , near university
via raiwala, ph ; 01334-260793
Sri Vyasa Ashrama,
of Sri kashi mutt samstan, (varanasi )
haripur marg , po : sadhubala
2. RISHIKESH (Town of Saints and Scholars)
Surrounded by hills on three sides, it lies along the right bank of the river Ganga. Hrishikesh is the name of Lord Vishnu meaning Hrishika + Isha, i.e., the master of sense organs. The word Hrishika means indriyas, Isha means master. It is an extremely indicative name of the Kshetra which suggests that after we have passed through Haridwar, our eligibility to move further towards the abode of Narayana and Vedavyasa depends upon our ability to keep our sense organs under strict control.
PLACES OF INTEREST HERE
- Lakshmana Jhula and the temple of Lakshmana.
- Temple of Badarinarayana
- Rama Jhoola
- Neelakanta Mahadev temple
- Sri Venkateshwara temple
- Many Ashrams and Meditation centres.
Air – Nearest airport Jolly Grant ( 18 kms )
Rail – Link with Haridwar and Delhi, Dehradoon
RoadBuses in plenty
Distances From Dehradoon – 52 km
Haridwar - 24 km
Delhi - 245 km
Once a yatri crosses Rishikesh & starts his journey to the abode of Badri Narayana enroute he passes towns like Beas, Srinagar ,Chamoli , Gauchar ( a major army base in this region with helipad facilities ) & 5 Prayag’s while the 6th prayag Keshava prayag is in Badrinath ( confluence of major rivers ) A brief description of the prayags are given below .
SIX PRAYAGAS – DEVA PRAYAGA, RUDRA PRAYAGA, NANDA PRAYAGA, KARNA PRAYAGA, VISHNU PRAYAGA & KESHAVA PRAYAG.
- DEVA PRAYAGA – It is the Sangama of the holy rivers Alaknanda and Bhagirathi. It is only after this Sangama that the river gets the name as Ganga, while before this Sangama the river is called Alaknanda.
- RUDRA PRAYAGA – It is the Sangama of the holy rivers Alkananda and Mandakini emanating from Kedarnath which is 240 kms. from Rishikesh and 100 kms. from Devaprayag. Here there is an ancient temple of Lord Ragunath in which Ram, lakshman, and Sita are worshipped.
- NANDA PRAYAGA – At Nanda prayaga we have the Sangama of Alkananda and Mandakini.( the colour of the water here is blue) The Sangama seems to suggest that pure devotion to lord Krishna who is blue in colour would indeed lead to unlimited bliss.
- KARNA PRAYAGA – It has the Sangama of Alkananda and Pindara rivers. It is believed that Karna performed penance here. The word Karna means Indriyas which Perhaps is indicative of the purity of all the indriyas and be able to realise Bhakti on taking bath at this Sangama .
- VISHNU PRAYAGA – It has the sangama of Alkananda and Vishnu Ganga & is the last of the prayagas enroute near Joshimath before one reaches the abode of Lord Narayana.
- KESHAVA PRAYAGA – It has the Sangama of Alkananda and Sarswathi. It is near Vedavyasa Ashram in Badrinath ( about 3 kms from badrinath ) that the river Sarswathi flows very calmly with the gushing waters of Alkananda and becomes subterriterian ( underground or becomes guptagamini ) from there.
It is at Joshi Mutt that we have a very ancient Narasimha temple & a temple dedicated to lord Vasudev. The Utsava Murthy of Badri Narayana is kept here for six months during winter ( approximately post deepavali - akshaya trutheeya ) before being taken back to Badrinath when the doors of the temple are re-opened on the auspicious occasion of AKSHAYA TRUTHEEYA.This is the last town on this route to Badrinath which is accessible throughout the year .
ACCOMMODATION FOR NIGHT HALT
1. Shankar Mutt
2. Ashrams ,Choultries & Hotels.
On the last leg of a Yatri’s journey from Joshi Mutt the traffic is one way & vehicles have a cross-over at gobind ghat from where a path leads to HEMKUND SAB which is a very holy pilgrimage centre of sikhs , the route from Joshimath further suddenly becomes down hill and we reach the base level of the gushing river Alkananda at the foot of the hill. It is here we have the Vishnu Prayaga i,e sangama of river alaknanda & vishnu ganga rivers . We cross the river through a bridge and proceed further to Badrinath through the mountainous terrains where the roads are extremely narrow and there are frequent land-slides here.
Distance on the last leg is 49 kms & the first point after leaving Joshi mutt is Pandukeshwara where it is believed that the Pandavas Performed yagnas while they were proceeding to heaven, here there is a temple dedicated to Lord Narasimha. From Padukeshwara we reach Hanuman chetty after about 20 kms where there is a famous sanathkumar teertha. At Hanuman chetty there is an ancient temple of Hanuman. Then the altitude is up by 3000ft In a short distance of 8-9 kms we have a first glimpse of the Abode of Lord Narayana at Badrinath & the first view itself takes away one’s breath .
The route to Badrinath is one of the most arduous ones due to the lofty hilly terrain, curves and cliffs amidst the most scenically beautiful place on the earth.
Badrinath, the seat of the god Vishnu in his aspect of Badrinarayan, is the most important of the four sites in India's Char Dham pilgrimage,Situated in the hills of Himalaya, at the height of 10,248 feet above sea level.
Temperatures here :
Summer: Max:- 10.C. Min-.0 deg.C.
Winter Max- Sub-Zero, Min-Snowbound
BADRINATH - VISHALA BADRI KSHETRA
Badri Vishala is located between the two mountains called Narayana Parvatha and Nara Parvatha. Badrinath temple is located at the foot of the Narayana Parvatha. At Badrinath we have number of auspicious shilas and teerthas, well-known among them are Narada shila, Vaaraha shila, Narasimha shila, Kubera shila and Garuda shila, Just near the Narada shila is the Narada kunda or Tapta kunda.
The idol of Narayana is in padmasana posture with four hands of the lord. Jata is spread over his shoulders and the chest is visible. The God is surrounded by Goddess Lakshmi, Nara and Narayana, Kubera, Ganesh, Garuda, Uddhava and Narada. It is where Vedavyasa Mahamuni lived and where Sri Madwacharya was permitted to write his immortal work ‘Brahmasutra Bhasya’. Sri Vadiraja swamiji in his ‘Thirtha prabhanda’ writes that there is no parallel to Badri as a kshetra anywhere . The temple is open for only six months in a year. The archaka of Badrinarayana is called as Rawalji. The abhisheka of Lord Narayana in his Vishwaroopa is performed early in the morning at 4’0 clock itself. Sandal paste is smeared on the idol after the abhisheka and the attire of Yogiraj is put on the Lord.
The pilgrimage centre boasts of two natural hot water springs - Tapt Kund and Surya Kund. The sulphurous waters have a temperature of 55 oC. A bath in these springs is believed to purify the body and soul and is done before visiting the temple.
PLACES OF INTEREST HERE
- Keshava Prayaga ( sangama of Alkananda and Saraswathi rivers )
- Sri Raghvendra swamy temple ( alongside the main temple opposite Brahma kapala )
- Ganesha Guha ( Lord Ganapathi ) who wrote with tremendous speed and elegance, all the puranas and shastrik granthas which lord Vedavyasa dictated to him.
- Vyasa Guha (Shamyaprasa - Ashram of Vedavyasa) It is indeed very thrilling and exciting to see the single rocky hillock above the guha of Vedavyasa which appears as though the Thadavali leaves of the voluminous granthas of Vedavyasa have been piled one above the other and have taken the shape of these layered rocks.
- Bhimashila – There is huge stone bridge as the river water is ferociously flowing beneath it. It is believed that Bhimasena lifted with one hand this huge stone and placed it on the river with a view to facilitate the journey of all the Pandavas to Heaven through the Himalayas.
- Vasudhara - It is believed that four Vedas come to earth in the form of dhara ( water falls) here.
- Neelakanta Parvatha – It is the snow clard peaks of the Neelakanta Parvatha which glows like a golden crown of the Himalayan king. It is an enchanting view to see the Bramha Kamal Pushpa is grown here which stays fresh for a year.
- Vishnu Pada – In the middle part of Narayana Parvatha way behind the main temple, there is a Vishnu pada which is supposed to be the other pada of Lord Vishnu where as the other pada is to be found in the Gaya Kshetra. One has to trek uphill in the Narayana mountain to reach this Vishnu pada.
- Valley of flowers ( 19 kms., from Govinda ghat ) – It is believed that Bhimsena had collected Saugandhika Pushpa from here and gave it to Drupadi. ( Season –July to mid August )
- Nearest airport Jollygrant, Dehradoon ( app 315 kms )
- Nearest railhead is Rishikesh : app 292 kms
- From Haridwar ( 310 km ) & from Delhi ( 510 km) App:
ACCOMMODATION AT BADRINATH
1 ) Sri Anantha mutt ( Sri pejawar mutt ).
Ph .no. 01381 – 222251, 094129 61274
2 ) Many Dharmashalas and choultries.