By the time we came back with breakfast, all the kids were awake and hungry. 🙂 D and S had kept themselves entertained with the latest episode of the last season of Game of Thrones. I think that day was the last episode of the series. They were highly disappointed with the ending as was the whole world. They were all ready to talk about that and I wanted to talk about my morning darshan!
We packed up for the next destination, Srinagar, on the way back to Haridwar. We were nearing the end of our trip. But we still had a few places to see. All the way from Mana, to Joshimath to Srinagar, we were followed by Alaknanda. We saw the confluences of Alaknanda with other rivers, like Mandakini, and Pindar. Alaknanda is a fast flowing river which collects a lot of sediments from the hills and hence it is quite brown.
Mana village is 3 kms from Badrinath and is the last Indian village and about 26 kms from there is the India-Tibet border. There are a few interesting places to see in Mana village. All the stories here relate to the Mahabharata. It is said that Sage Veda Vyasa recited the Mahabharata poem to Lord Ganesha who wrote it down verbatim. There is a vyaas gufa and a ganesh gufa where they sat while writing. Mana village is on the banks of River Saraswathi. It is said that River Saraswathi disappears here and flows underground and joins Ganga and Yamuna at Prayagraj. There is a huge rock that lies across two big boulders. It is called Bhim pul or Bhima’s bridge. It is said that Bhima placed this rock to help Draupadi move easily during their journey heaven-ward. To see all this we had to trek some distance. None of us fancied a long walk just then. All of us were too tired to do that. So we contented ourselves with a photo session at the starting point! 🙂 Here it is!
We got back into the bus and headed to the next destination: Joshimath. Joshimath is the place where Lord Badrinath is worshiped in the winter season. The idols of the Lord are brought down from the peaks and taken back in the spring again. It is a beautiful temple that can be reached by walking downhill from the road. The steep slope of the road looks daunting but once we go there, the temple is pretty with great views of the valley below.
Joshimath is the headquarters of the matha established by Sri Adi Shankaracharya. The other three are at Dwarka (west), Puri (east), Sringeri (south). Joshimath is the one in the north of India. Here the presiding deity is Lord Narasimha, believed to have been worshiped by Adi Shankaracharya. There is a small room where it is believed that Sri Shankara meditated. It is a peaceful and divine place.
From Joshimath, we started our way to Srinagar. No, no, not the one in Kashmir! There is a Srinagar in Garhwal. This place is about 150 kms from Joshimath. The journey was very long and tiring and took almost the whole day. It did not help too that there were many repairs on the road that slowed down the traffic considerably. Finally we reached our hotel. By that time we were exhausted with the bus ride. The rooms were quite big and overlooked the Alaknanda flowing furiously away.
We tucked into a good dinner and retired for the night.