Random images from my flickr stream...



जय बद्री विशाल (Jai Badri Vishaal)

Have been planning the Badrinath trip for a very long time now... more than 6 months, but just could not go for some reason or the other!

Before the US trip, my travel plans were getting changed every week and I just could not go! When I was in the US, mom dad for some reason did not go either! So we decided that we could go as soon as I am back!

We did!

I reached Noida on Saturday and left for Badrinath on Monday afternoon. We took a long break in Meerut where I met Naani after a while. She is not doing well at all these days. Not even able to speak :( I hope she recovers soon! The improvement in her voice and movement was seen after we were back from our trip, so that makes me feel good and better!

The drive was very long and mostly uneventful except the extremely bad roads at a lot of places, 4 pit stops and a forced break at Rishikesh. We had reached Rishikesh at 0300 hrs and there is a restriction on driving ahead on the hilly area between 2030 hrs and 0500 hrs, hence we had to wait before we could move ahead! This forced break was kind of good as it gave our cabbie, Kamal a couple of hours to catch his nap and prepare him for the long 12-14 hour drive ahead!

Pa never stops getting surprised at what all I keep clicking :P

Some flowers on the one of our pit stops

Just after his bath, praying !

I have always respected the hill drivers for their discipline and decent driving, but this time it was very different. All the local cabs seems to be in a rush to catch a train which they had already missed, and were almost breathing down our necks with continuous honking and idiotic over takes ! This was the first time that I have seen such reckless driving on the hills. And I could not help but notice the laaaarge number of cabs as well on the route... The last time when I went to Govindghat with Arobindo, we did not find many cabs on the way, but this time around there was one every five minutes!!!

Thankfully on the way there were no fresh landslides to stop the traffic and we kept moving slowly but with ease. The road condition really got worse after Chamoli, and after Joshimath till Badrinath, it was practically no roads for at least 80% of the 44 kms. This was the toughest part of the entire drive, for us and I am sure for Kamal as well, because even at on single lane paths, we had the assoholotic local cabbies making our lives tough with constant honking and overtaking. We had to stop for the gate system at Joshimath and then there was another forced stop at Pandukeshwar (another gate system for the same reasons as Joshimath)

The Gate time-table at Joshimath

This is from the Panasonic I mentioned in the last post about Badrinath. I like the amount of things in this picture, the boards, the punjabi, the hindi, the jeep, the walking man, the clothes !

One of the chat-wallas at Joshimath gate ! The yummy matar chaat ( very typical of UP)

Our second forced pit stop was at Joshimath, where you have to pass through a gate system. The traffic ahead of Joshimath usually travels one way, because of the narrow roads and the tough and dangerous terrain. We waited there for about 90 minutes before the last gate for the day open at 1630 hrs. This is when I finally took my camera out and made an effort to take a few pictures. Rest of the time I was more than happy just enjoying the views and breathing deep, with a few clicks here and there!

The Joshimath gate make a good sales opportunities for a lot of people there. This lady was selling sphatik malas, rudraksh malas and what not...

One of the old boards of the Mount View HOTel

It took us a good 2.5 hours before we reached the holy town of Shri Badrinath. It was freaking cold already, and I had to brave the chill in my shorts and a shawl (was just too lazy to take out my lowers). We checked into a cheap hotel with the bare minimum facilities. Changed and rushed to the temple for darshan before the doors were closed for the night. It had started drizzling, and it just made it colder! Brrrrr!!!

Papa was the last and lucky one to enter the main temple door after much requests to the priest, while the rest of us (ME, Mom, my two cousins) waiting outside in the compound. The priest then closed the main door of the temple giving Pa and Uncle God some decent time together! He came out after a few minutes and we rushed back to our hotel with wet and freezing feet. The next action item was to have dinner. Shops close early in the small town; however we did manage to eat well at a restaurant nearby. I was very tired and sleepy with the long day and almost slept on the dinner table itself: P I was not even sure of the menu the next morning!!! : P We rushed back to our rooms after dinner and it took me two quilts, my shawl, and 2 minutes to take off to my dreamland.

I was the first one to get up the next morning and this was around 0230 hrs, only to sleep again and wake up around 0500 hrs. I got up and went out of the hotel only to see one of the best views I had seen in my entire life! A majestic mountain with snow all around, overlooking the town in that dark blue morning sky!!! I just could not take my eyes off it. Went back in, took the camera out and just waited for the light to be good enough to take a few pictures. I roaming around in that freezing temperature loving the entire feel of the Indian cold, and the view of the majestic Mt. Neelkanth in front of me. The town was also getting up with people walking around the streets, the tea stalls warming up milk and preparing vegetables, the cabbies trying to start, jump start and fire start (See one of the pictures in the Badrinath set on Flickr) their vehicles.

The first view of the Mount Neelkanth ! It does not look half as good in the picture, as it was in real ! Grand, Majestic, Royal, Larger than Life !

Dew converted to frost and ice over car tops!

Mount Neelkanth after a while with the sun shining bright on it !

Bhagwan Singh, our hotel attendent. Very prompt and quick!

One of the many segregated dustbins for organic/ inorganic waste in the town !

We finally got ready to go to the temple around 0700 hrs. The skies were clear and the temperature was getting better every minute. Had a lovely walk around the temple with the sun shining all nice and bright. I took a few pictures and we were ready to head back home by 0900 hrs.

Way to the temple !

Shri Badrinath Temple

Uttarakhand Police on duty (They were not too keen on getting a picture clicked, but agreed when I told them that I was not from the media but just a photographer)

Another view of the temple!

Natural hot water springs (Tapt Kund) are another attractions of the town. While there must exist a perfect scientific explaination to it, most people are happy believing that its an act of God that hot boiling water comes from within the surface of earth at this high altitude ( over 3000 mtrs from sea level)

Pa again :)

Some another temple not too far away ! not sure about its name or relevance!

The usual daily life of any small town. Road side salons for that perfect hair-cut!

One of the many tea stalls; and the tea essentials, Ginger and Cardomom (Elaichi)

We left the town around 0930 hrs (There is a gate system for vehicles going back as well and we had missed the gate by some 30 minutes and the next gate was at 1130 hrs). We were still allowed to pass through I guess because the traffic from the other side would take sometime before they bump into us. The rest of the drive was pretty bumpy as expected till Chamoli and got slightly better post that.

Mt. Neelkanth once again with some clouds visiting for breakfast !

The beginning of the long road back home!

View of the National Highway 58 towards Badrinath from Joshimath. The driving distance between the point where picture was taken from and the road below is approx 6 kms. Its the Govindghat ( 22 kms) that is the first town on this road, from where you can trek to Ghangria and consequenty to Valley of Flowers and Hemkund Sahib. Then Pandukeshwar and then Badrinath. The highway ends in the Mana Village which is the last village on this route and is the end of road for civilian traffic.

We visited another temple called the Dhara Devi Mandir just before RudraPrayag on our way back, and were at my Mama's place near Meerut around 0300 hrs after a long drive of approximately 18 hours. Kudos to our driver Kamal who managed to drive for this long, and saved us at least two night halts which I had earlier planned. All in all a wonderful trip.

Bells at the Dhara Devi Mandir

Time for some objective information:

Route : New Delhi - Meerut - Haridwar - Rishikesh(No traffic allowed before 0500 hrs or after 2030 hrs) - DevPrayag (Another check post for night traffic) - Srinagar - RudraPrayag - KarnaPrayag - Chamoli - Nand Prayag - Joshimath(Gate System; Last Gate 1603 hrs) - (Govindghat/Vishnu Prayag/Pandukeshwar) - Badrinath
Distance to Badrinath from Haridwar: Approx 350 kms
Time: Minimum 12 hrs ex. Haridwar (Add buffer for landslides and pit stops and the total off-road experience after Joshimath)
Transport: Many buses from Haridwar around 0400 hrs/ Local taxies run at 11.50-12.50 Rs/Km (plains/hills)
Food on the way: Carry your own biscuits and snacks and water. Decent road side stalls and small restaurants at all major towns enroute
Route very prone to Landslides to plan your journey in non-rainy times

Link to : Badrinath Set on Flickr

Hope you enjoyed ! Please excuse any grammer or other silly english mistakes. The small blogger editing window takes a lot more patience than I have to ensure everything is good in the post ! Relook at a picture you like, when you find an english mistake and let me know of it too, so that I can correct it :P


  1. Sir jee welcome back!!

    and chai ki dukaan is up again....and at its best!!

    have never been to Shri badrinath but had a virtual darshan right in here..:-)

    Would definately visit it once i am done with my exams...:-(

    Hope Your Naniji gets well soon.... Plz d keep us all posted about her health.!


  2. Before you could get out of your jet lag you were on your next trip..hats off to you.

    Narration was good and loved the picture of Mt. Neelkanth and the bells.

    I love road trips and especially sleepy old towns.


  3. will come back to read your post...lovely pics...my instant fave has to be the bells :)

  4. Great account of a trip man.
    Loved the images and the description.
    Get well soon for Nani ji.

    Travel docs by you are one of the best indeed.

    Keep them coming bro.

  5. As always, a beautiful detailed description this time as well(Iam sure now you are tired and bored of such compliments :D)

    Must appreciate!it seriously requires some hell lotta dedication to go on a trip like this after almost an equally tiring flight..Hats off!!

    Good to know that your naaniji is better, may be because of all your prayers and Uncle God Blessing's..
    God Bless Naaniji

    And now my favourites:-
    Really like the "Scooter" waali pic..somehow the blue-brown contrasts really look b'ful,not to mention the amazing old worked out look of the door..
    Those lovely little dew drops
    Sun peeping out of the gateway and the clouds (both)
    the textured look on the plate containing Ginder and cardamom
    Bells at the Dhara Devi Mandir
    Last, but not the least!!
    The look on uncle's face..a genuine beautiful soul, offering his prayer!!

    Really enjoyed reading it all..

    Just noticed something in the beginning :-
    "Before the US trip, my travel plans were getting changed every week and I just could not go! When I was in the US, mom dad for some reason did not go either! So we decided that we could (would) go as soon as I am back!"

    I really got engrossed reading it after then..didint realise it anything else!!
    But for sure..nice post!!

  6. did not get time to read the writeup but the pics are nice ghar yaad agaya :)

    The last shot reminded me of the Alaknanda and Mandakini confluence on the way to Badrinath...


  7. # Ankit...

    Shri Badrinath is a lovely place to be in, however I am not really sure if the long and ultra tiring drive is really worth it !!!

    Do make a plan to go... do not take my word :)

    Nani is getting better. Hoping !

    # Vinita
    This trip was important :) so had to go ! and loved it... I guess the jet lag got taken care of during the trip itself :P

    yes road trips to sleepy old towns :) lovey !

    # Shilpa
    good to see you here :) come back and read too :P

    # Kshitiz
    thank you hai bro :)

    # Vaishali
    one is never tired of nice things said to him :) so will take this compliment too :P

    It was actually could only, because the plan was still not fixed ! do you think i still need to change it?

    thanks !

    # Tanu
    galat baat ! thanks anyway :)

    Alaknanda and Mandakini confluence is much before that picture was taken :)

  8. all i have to do first is to repet the comment i made at the otehr blog for the last snap...

    love the snaps.. all of them... :)

    You are showcasing places for me to visit... :)

  9. english is much better these days

    and travel post is good and engrossing as usual

  10. Ya..it still looks a little out of place to me..
    "So we thought if we could go as soon as I am back!"
    "Decided"is something strong and definite wherein "could" is a mere tentativenessabout something..so the use of both the words together looks a little tacky to me..

    Better to use "would" with "decided"
    and "if" with "could"

    Does it make sense?Sorry if iam wrong...

  11. your travelogue is simple n honest :) the no frills, make for an engaging read, and the pics make it real.

    the sincerity in writing em, renders any grammatical mistake insignificant :)...were there any??? did not notice :)

    jlt: "would" and "could" are modal verbs: used to add texture and color to language..the ones under discussion pretty much describe intent...and are doing that rather well as used in this piece of writing --- a certain decided-ness of intention of the family, yet a helplessness in face of unpredictable circumstances...

    and talkn abt colorful language, love "assholotic" - english is it :P....but hey conveys well what you wanted to express..and that is what language is all about..no?

    only problem is every time you refer to badrinath i some how feel like eating samosas ...wonder why!!??! :)

  12. i cant tell you how much i enjoyed reading this post.one day i would love to Badrinath,my husband has done all these pilgrimages and has the fondest memories of them.
    great post prashant :)

  13. wow!!!! mind blowing!!!! the pictures are fantastic!!!!! cheers!!!!!1

  14. Awesome, Awesome awesome pics...one day I hope to take pics like you do....your Indian pics rock Mr Prashant!!!

  15. your travelogue is simple n honest :) the no frills, make for an engaging read, and the pics make it real.

  16. your travelogue is simple n honest :) the no frills, make for an engaging read, and the pics make it real.

  17. Breathtaking pics re Shant and kya description tha....awesome!!!!!!the mountain peak jahan pe Suraj baghwan ka kiran hai that is an amazing pic...

  18. # Anoop...
    thanks a ton bro :) I am just going first and checking if everything is alright :D

    now you may proceed :P

    # Tushar...
    glad to hear this from you ! seriously !

    thanks !

    # Vaishali...
    hmm... fair enough :)

    Not sure if I can tell you if you are wrong or right :P my angrezi is not the best around you see :P

    # Jyoti...
    English as your first language clearly shows in your comment... you lost me a couple of times while I was reading this, but I read again and realised what you were saying :)

    thanks for the nicey nice words !

    Assoholotic is a word that I realised that fits in just fine with the behaviour of a lot of people who can be term arseholes ! and act like Ass'

    Samosa :D hehehe... will sure get some, next time !!!

    # Megha...
    I am so glad that you enjoyed this post :) I was kinda short of words writing it, but I did manage to complete it with some effort !!!

    I would love to travel with you and your husbad, along with the two rockstars you have in Arth and Nitya sometime !

    thank you Megha !

    # Ram Krishna Gopi Yadav
    thank you very much !

    # Archana !
    thanks and you just embarrassed me to the core :) what do you mean by take pictures like me ! I feel that I am not half as good as a photographer as you are lady :)

    but thanks :)
    # Swati...
    :P :)
    # Sapna...
    glad to see you here :) happy that you liked the post :)

  19. usual detailed post :)
    good set of pics.....

    i am glad that the plan worked out for uncle and aunty without any hiccups......

  20. This makes SO nostalgic! I had been to Badrinath (just once) when I was maybe 12 or 13. Awesome trip that was, and I distinctly remember Joshimath and Rudraprayag and the COLD town of Badrinath!

    The roads were exactly as you describe, am surprised (and in a way glad) that nothing has changed.

    Naniji kaisi hain ab?

  21. btw, do ppl actually differentiate between jaivik and ajaivik kooda?

  22. Bhai... this brings a strange concocted feeling of happiness, jealousy and helplessness. But mostly happy, for you. The pictures were nice as always.

    And since in 21 comments the English mistakes were not pointed out, I won't start it now. Phir baad mein sunaega :)

  23. hi Om,

    i like your photography n cotinously follow ur blog. i want to know which camera do u use. i m looking to buy new DSLR camera which one i should buy as a new photographer.


  24. # Deepu...

    thanks bro.. detailed yes :)

    I am glad too this trip happened without any issues ! very smooth and comfortable !

    The land has not changed, and even though BRO does a lot of brilliant work in the entire area, every year the roads get messed up !

    Nani is getting better ! :/

    And I think and hope people do !!! two types of dustbins were all around the place and the streets were really clean of waste !

    you know how much I would like to travel with you... future aayega phir karenge, Inshahallah !


    and thanks ( for the angrezi)

    # MyBlog...
    I use a canon 400D... There are many new dSLRs in the market that give you the kind of freedom a compact camera would not, and once you have a dSLR all matters is the lenses and not really the camera ( which is a continuous investment for a while, till you freeze on what you want to click)

    Tell me more about what you click, what camera have you been using so far and we would take it from there. write to me at prashantbhardwaj[at]gmail[dot]com

  25. Very nice post ji...when I read such posts with such pictures I can forget and forgive (LOL) the spelling mishtakes etc for sure :)
    Keep writing and clicking...

  26. It's always wonderful to read your travelogues. Since i don't travel as much as you do, it feels great to see and get a feel of these places through your posts.

    Hope to see more of this world with you :)

  27. @ Reeta...
    thanks and glad you can forgive my english writing sins :P

    @ Bhoomi...
    thank you dearo!

    I hope to keep showing whatever I see :)

  28. Simply superb post!!! and amazing pictures that you have captured from one the most beautiful place, Badrinath.