Saturday, 22 June 2013

KHEDHARNATH & BADHRINATH YATHRA - MY EXPERIENCE

22, June 2013
Since I had completed the 271 out of 276 Paadal Peta Shiva Sthalangal dharshan, thought of covering the balance 3 temples of Vada Nadu (North India )( KHEDHAR NATH, INDRA NEELA PARVATHAM AND ANEGATHANGAVATHAM ) through some Travel agencies. I came to know that Supper Yathra Agencies, based at Kumbakonam are  arranging this type of Yathra. ( Yamunothiri, Gangothiri, Badhrinath and Khedharnath – These places are called as CHAR DHAM by  Utharakand State Government. )  They had charged Rs 18,000 for Transport, food and accommodation.  Joined with them on 04th June 2013 from Chennai. I had not prepared much in advance for this Yathra like Kailash Yathra. 

DAY -1 04-06-06-2013, TUESDAY.

We 62 members of various parts of Tamil Nadu with 6 cooks and 2 managers started our Yatra from Chennai through Tamil Nadu Express  to New Delhi. Around 22 Hrs.

DAY 2, 05-06-2013, WEDNESDAY.

The day  was spent completely in Train. The temperature was too hot. The train crosses Andhra Pradesh, Maharastra and Madya Pradesh.  There is no rain and the trees are found dry in Andhara Pradesh area. When the train passes  through the forest of Madhya pradesh we could see some green. The train crossed 7 tunnels on the way.  It was pleasant to  see the orange trees on both sides of track after Nagpur

DAY – 3, 06-06- 2013, THURSDAY.

ON reaching New Delhi, the day’s plan was to see Akshar Dhahm and proceed to Rishikesh. The train arrived New Delhi late by 2 Hours. After visiting Akshar dham we proceeded to Rishikesh. On the way there was a dust storm which I had never experienced in my life time. Then it was raining heavily with wind. Most of the sign boards were uprooted and fallen down on the road. At one place one of the ucaliptus  tree branch was fallen on a maruthi wagon R car, which was damaged very heavily. Luckliy nobody was hurt in the car.  When the rain began the ladies started chanting the OM NAMASIVAYA Mandhiram and the rain stopped, incidently the day was a prathosham day.

DAY – 4,  07-06-2013, FRIDAY.

We had spent the whole day in Rishikesh. We went to other side of river Baakirathy through Laxman Jula  bridge. Had a dip in the river and water was too cold with mud. The water current was also too high. Went for the dharshan of Lakshmi Nayarayan.   We had seen more than 600 years old Athi and Aal and Arasa maram which belongs to Lord, Shiva, Brahma and Vishnu in side Lakshmi Narayan Temple premises.There was a formation of Ganapathy in the arasa maram which was very attractive. Also had the dharshan of Lord Shiva on the banks of river.  

In the evening we had been to Sri Venkateswaraswamy and Sri Chandramouleeswarar temples constructed and managed by Thirupathi Thirumala Devasthanam.

DAY – 5, 08-06-2013. SATURDAY.

We had spent the whole day in the bus to reach the Ranachatty, which is about ½ hour journey before Yamunothri. The journey was too tough and the road was too bad ( Almost all the Ghat roads which we crossed are too bad. )

DAY – 6, 09-06-2013, SUNDAY.

Today’s plan was to go to Yamunothri, Which is the starting point of River YAMUNA. We were dropped at the base of the hill and Yamunothiri is 7 KM from base. Eventhough I would like to walk, due to non availability of time I had taken a horse which charged me Rs 1000. After taking hot water bath we had the dharshan of Yamunothiri. On return I came by walk  which took me 1.5 Hrs. Up to top the steps were constructed and the width is small. Walkers has to negotiate with the up coming, on going horses and dolly.

DAY – 7. 10-06-2013, MONDAY

We had spent most of our time in the bus to reach UTHRAKASI. Evening we had been to Kasi Viswanathar Temple  ( Sri Vinayagar, Sakshi Gopal, Markandeyar Lingam are in the temple complex ) and a Kali temple on the banks of river Baakirathy.  The flow of the river was very much threading.

DAY – 8, 11-06-2013, TUESDAY.

To day’s plan is to visit Gangothiri Temple which is the starting point of River Ganga (actually  Baakirathy after joining with Mandhakini river called as River Ganga from Haridwar) The bus went near the temple ( About 2 KM ). On the way we had the hot water bath at GANGNANI  otherwise called as Viyasarkund. There was a long Qqqqq for the dharshan. It took us almost 2 hours  for the dharshan. There are  separate sannadhis for Shiva and Ganapathy  with sidhi and pudhi.

DAY – 9, 12-06-2013, WEDNESDAY

There was a change in the original program. Since there was a strike by the horse  and dolly owners against bringing of pilgrims through helicopter for 3 days. Hence we had changed our route to BADHRINATH. We had stayed at Pipilkot, There was a heavy rain at Pipilkot during night time with thunder and lightning.  On the way we had the problem of bus tire puncture.

DAY – 10, 13-06-2013, THURSDAY

Since there was  systematic allotment of buses to climb, we started little earlier. On the way we had the dharshan of Sri Narasimhar, which is one of the 108 mangala sasanam petra  Vishnu sthalams at JOSHIMUT.

From Joshimut our guide had shown me the back side of Indira neela Parvatham (Ie the hill opposite to Sri Badhrinath Temple ).

There was a long q for ( about 1.5 Km ) for dharshan of Lord Sri Badhrinarayanan. It took us nearly 2 1/2 hours for the dharshan. There are sannadhi for Anjenear and  Mahalakshmi. The temple construction is the combination of both South Indian and North Indian architechture with dwarabalakars and pudai sirpangal on the pillars in the inner mandapam. From the history the temple was constructed constructed by Aadhi Sankarar  and Still the pooja is conducted by the Namboothiris  are from Kerala. 

The hill on the opposite side of the Badhrinath Temple is called as   INDIRA NEELA PARVATHAM We  could see the difference in colour  compared to other hills during day time also ( It will be in blue colour during early morning ).  It was believed that Indiran had worshiped this hill as Lord Shiva.

DAY – 11, 14-06-2013, FRIDAY.

To day’s plan is to reach & stay at Rambara  about 6 KM from   Gowrikund, the base of KHEDHARNATH.  We had stayed at Hotel Nava Durga at SitaPur very near to Rambara.  We three Mr Sridhar of PNB, T. Nagar and Mr Rajendran LIC from Mayavaram want to go to Khedharnath by walk. It was a 14 KM one way to up hill. So we started around 14 Hrs from  lodge, but able to reach around 19.00 hours to  GOWRIKUND due to Traffic jam. The GOWRIKUND the  base of the hill is also a Paadal Petra Shiva Sthalam.   After taking hot water bath in Gowrikund started our trekking around 19.45 Hrs ( Even though GOWRI KUND is a Paadal Petra Shiva sthalam and we could not find a separate Shiva Temple there.) 

The path was too wide and  smooth with steps. Street lights were ON.  While we are going up the horses are returning  after the days hard work. Very few people  (about 20 )  undertook the climbing in the night. After two hours of trekking the rain started. The 10 Rupees rain coat gave way to water and shirt become very wet, With rain and night chillness hands started shivering. No shops were kept open for Tea. There was no shelter on the way and there is no sign of rain to stop. Due to rain water the path became too slippery and found difficult to proceed further.

DAY – 12, 15-06-2013, SATURDAY.

We could take a rest of about 5 minutes in a shelter and continued our trekking. Mr Rajendran exhausted and he could not match our speed. At the final leg he climbed to the shrine with hands on my shoulder. It was 03.45, when we reached the Shrine of Lord Sri Kedharnath. Joined in the q for the dharshan and came out of temple premises around 07.30 Hrs. Still it was drizzling and some times raining. 

It was believed that the Kheharnath temple was built by Pandavas. Moorthams of Pandavar is installed in the inner prakaram. The temple was reconstructed by Aadhi Sankarar. It was also believed that aadhi sankarar was last seen in the valley of Khedharnath.

Then we went to Jeeva Samadhi of Aadhi sankarar and had the opportunity of doing abhishekam to a Lingam there along with the priests. In the mean time Mr Rajendran complained pain  on both sides of stomach below the chest.  We rushed to a doctor and  had the medicine. He was sent to down hill through a dolly. On return self and Mr Sridhar alone climbed down. On the way while we are climbing down  our co yathris are going up for the dharshan. At that time there was no rain. By 12.30 Hrs we reached the Gowrikund  and all the three reached lodge around 16.00 Hrs.  All the Co Yathris returned to lodge safely around 00.30 Hrs and there was a heavy rain throughout the night. Early morning we happened  to watch the river flowing with mud and slush and also boulders are rolling down from the road side towards river

DAY – 13, 16-06-2013, SUNDAY.

We are supposed to start to Haridwar to day. Already there was a long traffic jam in front of our Lodge. As planned we had vacated the lodge and boarded in the bus. The bus moved to about 300 meters and stopped. Land slide occurred few meters from back of our vehicle and the vehicles are caught in between so that we cannot move front or back.  It was raining since night. We could hear a loud sound of  flowing water in the river like a jet engine. We parked our three buses in a safe place and waiting for the  front vehicles to move. We do not know the disaster happened in the GOWRIKUND and KHEDHARNATH. There was no communication and all the cell phone towers were down. We stayed 3 days and 2 nights in the bus. Still it was raining.
 
DAY – 14, 17-06-2013, MONDAY.

Hopping for some sign of relief today. But still raining, Understand that the traffic was hit due a road washed away by the rain and it will be rectified soon, ( How soon, god only knows.) Also the rectification of the road could be done only if the rain stops.  Evening the rain stopped and moon appeared in the sky, with a hope  to move from there.

DAY – 15, 18-06-2013, TUESDAY.

There was no rain to day and we are able to see the moon in the sky and also we  do not know the disaster happened at Khedhar nath and Gowrikund. Understand that the road repair will take another day or two. So we got down from the bus and went the old same lodge. They increased the tariff which we paid. We could stay in the lodge for about 3 hours to stretch our legs. The traffic started moving. So we vacated our lodge and boarded in the bus. The prices of the commodities were shoot up by three to four times by a shop owner and the shop was closed next day due to stockout. Peoples has to wait to 1/2 hour for tea.  ( Only one shop was available near our parking place ).

After we traveled for about 10 KM the bus once again stopped. This time we understand that the road after PATA was completely washed away. The bulldozer does not have the diesel to run. They barrowed the diesel from the  stranded vehicles. Again we had spent one more night and a day in the bus.  Our Yathra services able to provide us food at least two times a day. They got a gas cylinder for about Rs 4000 and vegetables from Rs 150 to 200 per  Kilo from the town PATA. We could not get the drinking water.  Most of us  used the Aruvi ( Falls ) water to drink. It was 5th day that nobody had taken bath or never had a good sleep. The Mobiles are silent for the consecutive 4th day.

It was worst for the passengers who came by cars without preparation. It was pathetic scene to see the people roaming for food, some even begged.

DAY – 16, 19-06-2013, WEDNESDAY.

We expect some good news today. The  helicopters are busy in flying. We thought it is transporting pilgrims to the top of the hill. ( After crossing the PATA,  we are shocked to see that the helicopters are busy in bringing the dead bodies of the  pilgrims), We continued our journey after 14.00 Hrs. The washed out road immediately after PATA was  diverted through a temporary road formed and the traffic was allowed to proceed further.

On reaching GUPTHAKASI, to our bad luck 20 seater buses were not allowed to proceed further. ( May be allowed on Thursday ), Accommodated in a lodge  and the amount was paid by us. Spent our night hoping some good news at least next day.

DAY – 17, 20-06-2013, THURSDAY.

At the dawn of the day BSNL towers started functioning after a gap of 5 days. We informed our relatives of  our whereabouts.  There was an emotional moment at that time. Everybody were weeping over the phone. It was a heart touching moment to see.  The disaster happened at Khedharnath and Gowrikund are known to us only from the relatives, which were telecasted through TV channels.

We had received the good news of proceeding further  through the same vehicle. At 10.00 hrs we had started our journey, but we are diverted through  ghat route to Rishikesh, by passing Joshimut, Uthrakasi, Devapryagai. ( After reaching to Rishikesh we understand the regular route was damaged very heavily.  We had seen land slips occurred in many places  and small bridges were washed away.

At one place the Yathris were asked to get down from the bus to cross the alternate road laid.  On the way we could see the NDTV and TV 18 people proceed to the spots with National Disaster relief force ( NDRF ). The relief personnel are rushing after 4 days of disaster on road. On the way in one village the people offered cool drinks, Tea and Food. When we crossed the Tehri Dam site they offered food to the Yathris. At last 00.30 Hrs we  reached Rishikesh and stayed at the same Chatram, where we left our unwanted luggages. We understand that the bus services  from Rishikesh to New Delhi via Haridwar will resume only from Friday.  

Now the problem of reaching Chennai popped out. Since we had missed both the reserved trains from Haridwar and New Deli, we are very much worried how to proceed further to Chennai from New Delhi. Also we have  received the good news of  arrangement has been made to shift  pilgrims from New Delhi to Chennai by flight, Through Tamil Nadu Government and GO was issued by Chief Minister J Jayalalitha through our relatives who were watching TVs.

DAY – 18, 21-06-2013, FRIDAY.

Started from Rishikesh to New Delhi by Bus around 07.30 Hrs and reached New Delhi around 14.15 Hrs. We were provided with lunch, dinner and accommodation in TAMIL NADU ILLAM. A team of 3 medical Doctors attended us and gave medicines. We could not express our feelings. Thanks to TAMIL Nadu Government and the officials at New Delhi, for taking care of us. I  had fever at that night and the same subsidized in the morning.

DAY – 19, 22-06-2013, SATURDAY

Again we have received the good news of sending us to Chennai though flight. Out of 70 peoples of our group, 41 were send through 06.00 Hrs flight and we 29 were accommodated in the AIR India Flight 492 at 10.00 Hrs. We have landed Chennai around 13.15 Hrs and once again we were provided with lunch. Tamil Nadu Government had made elaborate arrangements to send the balance pilgrims to their native places.

After reaching Chennai I could not recovered immediately from the shock which I felt  / problems which I faced and experienced during this Yathra. I felt Chennai was strange to me. When I go to sleep, I felt that  still I am sleeping in the bus and the ghat roads and Himalayan hills were came in my dream. Hope to recover soon.
OM SIVAYA NAMAHA:
RISHIKESH
Laxman Jula - Bridge
Our group ladies
Achi ( Sister of Mr Nachiappan who is working  with Green Star Fertilizers )  is doing pooja to River Ganga
Formation of Ganapathy in Arasa maram
Shiva Temple on the banks of river Baakirathy

Shiva temple on the banks of river Ganga (( Actually Baakirathy )
Moolavar Gopuram of Shiva Temple maintained by Thirupathi Thirumala Devasthanam
Sri Venkateswaraswamy Temple maintained by T T D

Raja gopuram of the shiva Temple 
YAMUNOTHRI
Yamunothiri Main temple

View of Himalayan hills from Yamunothiri
Pilgrims crossing the river Yamuna
A Sadhu is performing a pooja
( People also transported through this type of dolly also)

GANGOTHRI
View of Gangothri main temple
Mr Raju, his wife and Achi




UTHARAKASI
Moolavar vimanam of Uthira Kasi Sri Viswanathar temple
Ambal temple
Front view of main shrine
Abishekam water of the moolavar  is falling on the Lingam through Nandhi's mouth.
Natural pillayar without chiseled


Hanuman Temple
Kali Temple
A rajasthan private kali temple and the the lingams are installed in a row 
JOSHIMUT
Sri Narasimha Perumal Temple - one of the 108 Vaishnava temples at Joshimut
View of the himalayan mountain from Joshimut 

BADHRINATH
An ice covered mountain at the back of  Sri Badhrinath temple

Sri Badri Nath Temple 
KHEDHARNATH
Moolavar vimanam of Sri Khedhar nath temple
Mandapam view
Front view of Sri Khedhar Nath Temple

Nandhi infront of Main temple
Self and Mr Sridhar - Both climbed the hill ( 14 Km ) by walk.
Ice covered mountains - back side of Khedhar nath Temple 



Back side view of the moolavar gopuram, when we visited
Khedharnath after disaster

Same moolavar vimanam after the disaster- No compound wall on the back, no railings, no shops in front, front steps are not visible, que complex is completely washed out, do not know thw fate of Adhi Snkarar's jeeva samadhi.

http://bharathgyanblog.wordpress.com/ Please click the link to have more details about this disaster






INDRANEELA PARVATHAM
The back side view of Indra Neela Parvatham from Joshimut.
Indra Neela Parvatham - opposite to Sri Badrinath Temple
                                    Indra Neela Parvatham - opposite to Sri Badrinath Temple
                                      Indra Neela Parvatham - opposite to Sri Badrinath Temple
                                       Indra Neela Parvatham - opposite to Sri Badrinath Temple
                                     Indra Neela Parvatham - opposite to Sri Badrinath Temple 
                                        Indra Neela Parvatham - opposite to Sri Badrinath Temple 
                                      Indra Neela Parvatham - opposite to Sri Badrinath Temple 

ANEGATHANGAPATHAM ( GOWRIKUND )
Hot water is falling from the mouth of nandhi at Gowrikund 

HIMALAYAN TSUNAMI
Sunset - during Travel in train
Land slip
The flooded river of Baakirathy
Heavy flow in Baakirathy river
People are waiting to remove the boulder fallen on the road.
Clouds are covering the mountains - rain may start at any time once again.
Tehri Dam

Land slip on the way
Land slip on the way
Land slip on the way
Land slip on the way





Alternate road was laid  by using  JCB and bull dozers at PATA
Helicopters are busy in the relief works
The helipad also damaged due to rain
                                                     The helipad also damaged due to rain 

                                                               Land slip on the way
Land slip on the way
Land slip on the way
Land slip on the way
Land slip on the way
Pilgrims are crossing the damaged road and only bus without passengers are allowed to cross
Pilgrims are crossing the damaged road and only bus without passengers are allowed to cross
Pilgrims are crossing the damaged road and only bus without passengers are allowed to cross
Sunset at Tehridam 

---OM SIVAYA NAMAHA:---

11 comments:

  1. Dear Velu Samy Sir,

    I have read your thrilling experiences of Char Dham Yatra during the toughest times of landslide. It brought tears into my eyes, it was irrepressible. You have posted brilliant info and the pictures are excellent. Keep up your good service, Almighty may shower His choicest blessings on you and your family. Praying to Lord for your Good Health. Take care of yourself. Namashivaya !!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Uma for the comments. Even though I am happy for retuning safely, really I feel very sorry for those Who suffered and suffering due to the man made / natural disaster and lost their lives. One thing I noticed was many people are not taking this pilgrimage seriously. They treat this as picnic, due this many problem arises. Any way Lord Shiva may bring the peace once again...
      OM SIVAYA NAMHA:

      Delete
  2. Dear Velu Samy Sir,

    The landslide or man made disaster whatever we call it for the reason for the mass destruction, at last we have lost the rich natural beauty and treasures of our country. We were counting days to visit this holiest land on Earth so long. Really don't know how long we have to wait for our turn to visit this sacred land. You are absolutely right sir, now a days visiting the places of spiritual interests has become a recreation. Whenever you are free please visit my blog:

    http://www.indiatempletour.blogspot.ae/ and please join us for Free Online Namasankeerthanam. You will get the link and details when you visit to my blog

    Regards, Uma.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Sri Veluswamy,

    Read your experience from the edge of my seat !

    I think Sri Agneeswarar wanted to see you last Sunday and hence brought you back safely !

    anantha krishnan

    ReplyDelete
  4. I have visited various destinations, but whenever i read your blog, my senses are left spell bound for a minute and i'm forced to go weave the imaginative cob webs in my mind. I liked your blog and would like you to explore more on Hindu Pilgrimage Tours.

    ReplyDelete
  5. Sir, your work is wonderful. But in a fair, i read a book which said that Indra Neela Parvatham is The Pashupathy Nathar temple in Nepal

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  6. Sir, I am referring the book through Kanchi Mut..it said like that only...Like this some of the temples are in controversy..The top most is the Mount Kailash..somebody says kailash is not the nodithaan malai..
    Regards

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  7. Dear Sir,

    There is a debate on interpretation of Indraneela Parvatham (Neelkanth Peak - Badrinath vs Pashupathinath). INdraneela Parvatham is widely believed to be Neelkanth peak in Badrinath (and there is an associated Parvati peak which cannot be seen from Badrinath)

    Shiva inhabited Badrinath valley, before Nar-Narayan requested the place for himself. After that Shiva took abode in Kedar valley (Kedarkhand).

    There used to be a mythological route from Kedar to Badri which a priest used to travel on a single day and perform pooja. However as the priest committed sins, Shiva got angry and blocked the path and its called Neelkanth peak now (its beside Badrinath)

    ReplyDelete
  8. You maybe correct Shyam .. There are many controversies about the Paadal Petra Shiva sthalangal.. yes this is also one of this.. I refer a book released through Kanchi mutt. I went to the temple's as given in the book..so I do not bother much.. Aim is to See the Lord Shiva in different forms.. Thanks for the information an the pain you had taken to collect the details
    On Shivaya nama

    ReplyDelete
  9. Studying about this trip to kedharnath after this many years itself brings me to corner of seat...

    Lord Shiva saved you for providing guidance to others...

    Om Namasivaya

    ReplyDelete
  10. Thanks Kannan.. Lord Shiva will be there with us always

    ReplyDelete