On our way to Badrinath, we stationed at Joshimath. Joshimath is a popular city in Chamoli district of Uttarakhand located at an altitude of 6150 feet above sea level. This is the base station for travellers going to Badrinath, Guru Gobind Ghat or the Valley of Flowers.
The town Joshimath has got its name from the "Akhanda Jyoti" (light) that is shining ever since the time of Adi Shankaracharya till today in the Jyotirmath (monastery) established by Adi Shankaracharya.
Jyotirmath is the Northern Monastery of one of the four cordial institutions established by Adi Shankaracharya; the others being those at Shringeri, Puri and Dwaraka. The heads of these maths are called 'Shankaracharyas'.
Lord Narasimha is the main deity in the temple of Joshimath which is believed to be established by Adi Shankaracharya. During the time of winter, the Utsava Murthy (festive idol) of Badrinath is brought here to worship.
The image below is going to be the new abode of Lord Narasimha in Jyotirmath. It was under construction when we arrived. It is a beautiful structure with marble stones but can't match the beauty of the ancient one. Anyway, Lord Narasimha is about to move into his new house very soon.
Jyotirmath of Adishankaracharya is established in between some of these beautiful mountains.
If you have followed my previous updates, you would have understood by now why there is no tree on these mountains.
Yes, you guessed it right. These mountains are covered in snow most of the year. It just got cleared when we arrived in the month of May.
The weather is quite unpredictable in these parts of the World. Within few minutes the clouds gathered around the hills and rained heavily. As a result of that we had to stay indoors for a long hours.
Early next morning we visited the place where the Akhanda Jyoti is kept. You see the hut under the big tree? It is where the Akhanda Jyoti is shining for more than 2000 years.
The huge tree with a broad trunk standing tall and broad is the famous Kapataru or Kalpavriksha is a 2000 plus year old tree. It has great importance in Hindu, Jain and Buddhist systems. It is the longest living trees that we find across the world.
It is under this tree the great Adi Shankaracharya did his tapas for most of his life. There is a cave beside this tree where he used to live. Shankaracharya is believed to have lived between 788-820 BCE. The aura of this tree is worth experiencing.
You see how young the tree looks from a distance? Had an amazing experience visiting this giant.Having the feel of this divine tree we headed for our next destination to Badrinath. So, see you again with yet another update on Badrinath.