On the 6th June, H.H.Srimad Sudhindra Teertha Swamiji of Sri Kashi Math Samasthan, camping in Bangalore, announced that the newly built Kashi Math branch of Sri Badrinath, would be inaugurated on 19th June. His Holiness extended an invitation to all to attend the function. I decided to attend this historical programme with a few of my friends. From Bangalore we went to Delhi and from there to Haridwar. We left Haridwar early morning on the 17th June by 4:30 AM on our way to Sri Badrinath. Our Swamiji was camping at Kali Kamblivala Ashram in Rudraprayag, which is 163 km away from Haridwar. We reached Rudraprayag at about 9:30 AM passing through picturesque hilly territories of Rishikesh,Deo Prayag and Srinagar. Rudra Prayag is at an altitude of 610 mtrs at the confluence of the river Mandakini flowing from Kedarnath and Alakananda from Badrinath.
We left along with Swamiji in a convoy at 10:45 AM. This 159 km long route full of picturesque hills and valleys and some of the towns enroute are Gholtir, Gauchar ,Karnaprayag , Nandaprayag , Chamoli, Birahi , Pipalkoti , Garud Ganga , Tangani, Joshimath, Vishnuprayag , Govinda Ghat , Nandukeshwar, Hanuman Hatti and Dev Darshini. At the end of this 159km route the altitude rises from 610 mtrs at Rudraprayag to 3110 mtrs at Badrinath. From Joshimath to Sri Badrinath (48km) the road is narrow and the traffic is one way, allowed in a convoy and our convoy reached Sri Badrinath at 7:30 PM. We straight away drove to the Bangad Dharmashala in Sri Badrinath where the Mumbai GSB seva Mandal,the organisers of the event, had made arrangements for stay.
H.H swamiji arrived at the place around 8.30 P.M. There were around 200 people of our Samaj, mainly from Mumbai but also from Bangalore, Kerala and South Kanara.
Sri Badrinath is situated at the confluence of Rishi Ganga and Alakananda rivers, at the foot of Nar and Narayana moutains. One can clearly see the ice capped Nilkanth peak at a distance. Sri Badrinath temple is at the bank of the River Alakananda near a hot water spring, Tapta Kund also known as Agni Tirth. The idol of Lord Vishnu (Badrinath) made of Shaligrama Sila in padmasana posture was installed by Sri Adishankaracharya in the Eighth century. On the 18th morning we visited the temple after a dip in the holy Tapta Kunda and Agni Teerth. Later during the day, His Holiness was given an official welcome by the trustees of the temple and we had the privilege of accompanying Swamiji to have a darshan of the Lord.
On 19th June, in a procession from Bangad Dharmashala we went to the newly construsted Kashi Math on the Mana road, which is within walking distance of temple. The Math building has two floors. There are twelve rooms on the ground floor for the pilgrims and on the first floor, there is a hall that has a seating capacity of around 400, Swamiji’s pooja room, along with quarters for Swamiji and the Math staff. The kitchen, how ever is separately built in front of the main building. At 11.30 A.M dwara pooja was performed by the priests in the august presence of His Holiness, followed by inauguration by Sri Swamiji. Thereafter Swamiji’s deity was placed in the proper place and the pooja ensued simultaneously with a havan on the ground floor by the priests. After samaradhana, there was a Mahasabha. His Holiness in the ashrivachan, expressed that with the opening of a Branch in Badri, Kashi Math has branches right from southern tip of Rameshwaram to the Northern peaks of Badrinath. people from all important centers of the community such as Mumbai, Bangalore, Delhi, Mangalore, Cochin, etc have participated making this an all India event. That people have come at a short notice shows the love and affection of the Samaj towards Kashi Math and Swamiji. Badrinath, which is a part of Aryavarta is the place from where our ancestors had migrated to the south. In a sense, the opening of the Math in Badri, represents the return of the migrants to his roots. By a pleasant coincidence , 19th June happened to be the Punya Thithi of Srimad Varadendra Theertha Swamiji and His significant contribution for the growth of Kashi Math Samsthan.
On 20th, next morning, we left Badri at 8.30 AM in a convoy along with His Holiness and reached Vyasashram, Haridwar at 8.30 PM covering a total of 333 Kms. On the 21st . We left Haridwar and returned to Bangalore via Delhi. The journey through the undulating terrain of the Himalayas, made up of valleys,rivers,gorges,hills,mountain peaks,greenary, etc was not only exhilarating but also memorable from all counts. A week before our journey, we had read in the paper about landslides, heavy rain, accidents etc. Fortunately, our journey was smooth from the start to the end by the grace of Shri Vedavyas and blessings of Guru Maharaj, Srimad Sudhindra Teertha Swamiji of Sri Kashi Math Samsthan.
(This event took place in June of 2004. This report is taken from our Archives- Courtsey Samyuktha Saraswath )