Guest blogger Arti shares her photos and experiences of a trip to Badrinath in Uttarakhand to celebrate the festival of Diwali.
Silent tones greeted me as I took my first steps in the town. The lanes were quiet. Shopkeepers lazily put up their wares on display. A scant number of people populated the streets. Such quietness… I had wondered to myself? But then, it was reasonably justified as well…
It was the off season and we were on a pilgrimage to the holy town of Badrinath to celebrate the festival of Diwali. Most of the people had moved to the warmer lower locales of the Himalayas and there were just two more days left before the town would be completely shutting down activity, hence in a way the reason for the quietness was acceptable but still I felt, a festival like Diwali for a place like Badrinath, called for more… And then, as I realized later, I wasn’t entirely wrong…
Soon after unpacking in the GMVN Devlok hotel, we set out to explore the town towards the temple and take a bath in the Tapt Kund. One look at the peaceful landscape of Badrinath was enough to give me a sense of overwhelming piety and convince me that the place was indeed, as our elders have said the abode of the Lord.
The town stood sandwiched between the mythical Nar-Narayan mountains; the gushing waters of the pure stream of the Alaknanda river created a heavenly music that were orchestra to the soul;
and the Neelkanth peak garbed in gleaming whites looked like it were specially chiseled by a celestial pair of hands.
Marvelling at the beauty, I inched closer towards the temple area. Soon, the quiet and tranquil scenes begin to haze giving way to some noise and activity. Lining the way were dozens of small and big stalls with music blaring out of some, while others selling pictures and books with all the legends and lore of the place.
The narrow Alaknanda Bridge was lined with beggars and sages dressed in saffron robes and people were heartily seen participating in charity.
Moving through them, on the other side of the Bridge was the tapt kund area.
The kund area seemed very crowded at first but once I subsumed myself to the sight and faith of pilgrims all around us, their faces aglow with religious fervor; I was transported to a different world.
The resonant chants, the silent hums, the echo of the mantras by the priests all worked in unison to energize and restore my mind, body and soul.
After the bath, we paid our obeisance’s to the Panch Shilas and moved to the temple.
Here, the brightly colored façade of the temple, in all its magnificence, drew me irresistibly.
I stood there, static for a few minutes watching the people move to and fro… most of them looked deeply submerged in an ocean of thoughts… perhaps trying to strike a conversation with the supreme… With this thought, I entered the temple to offer my prayers.
On the same day, on the full moon night of Diwali, the temple doors beckoned me again.
I was awestruck and captivated by the splendid sight of the glittering environs, sparkling like millions of diamonds in the evening light.
I was celebrating Diwali with HIS fellow-men; I was celebrating Diwali with Him!
After hours of festivity and fervour, tired and exhausted, I returned back to my hotel room with an experience of tranquillity that I will always cherish and treasure in the confines of my soul…
About the guest blogger: Arti is a writer and photographer who loves travelling to spiritual destinations in India and chronicles them on her blog, My Yatra Diary.
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