The Five Prayag of Garhwal Himalayas
Location: Located in Dev Bhumi Uttarakhand in northern Himalaya of India, the Panch Prayag must be visit for every Hindu devotee while the sanctity and the glorified fame of the river confluences.
Literally Panch Prayag means five confluences of two or more Rivers. Rivers in India are considered to be highly sacred in the Hindu mythology and are glorified as goddesses, from ancient time these rivers give birth to every civilization and nourishing their life with culture, Tradition and rituals. So everyone called as mother to them. The confluence of these holy rivers typically represent immortal piety and wash away all the sin of mankind.
Legend: The Ganga is the most holy river of India and is worshipped as the life-giving goddess. A holy bathe in the Ganga gives salvation and purifies the soul, mind and rituals of everyone. It is said that when the Goddess Ganga had come down on earth, Her current was so Powerful that the Gods had to be summoned to avert a massive flood. As a remedy, the forceful River was divided into 12 streams to control her power, these 12 streams of great river Ganga , emerging from the icy glaciers of the Himalayas, and the siblings again unite into one single stream after Devprayag, where the two great streams of Alaknanda and Bhagirathi meet. Four other confluences higher up and form the five holy confluences or Panch Prayag.
The five confluences of the holy river Ganga are Deoprayag, Rudraprayag, Karnprayag, Nandprayag and Vishnuprayag.
Best Time to visit the Panch Prayag
All five Panch Prayag lies on the high mountain of Himalayas with low temperatures all through the year. So best time to visit is March to June & September to October.
First Prayag - Dev Prayag
Altitude - 618 mts,
Location: Dev prayag is a Confluence of Hoy river Alaknanda and Bhagirathi, Now the river named as Ganga from here.
Approx 71 km. from Rishikesh on the Haridwar-Badrinath highway, falls at the border of the distric Tehri Garhwal & Pauri Garhwal of Uttrakhand state of India is regarded as first and most secred prayag in ascending order to uphills of Himalayas, Very much famous for its history, legends, heritage and tradition.
Temple - There is a temple named Raghunath temple more than 1000 year old temple dedicated to lord Rama. Enshrines a black-granite idol of Lord Rama. This place is blessed by a vast beauty of surrounding with majestic hills. You can see the meeting of two different colures of water greenish of Bhagirathi and blackish of Alaknanda. The confluence has Brahma Kund on Bhagirathi River and Vashisht Kund on Alaknanda River. There is a place called Baitalshila and it is claimed that a bath in it can cure leprosy.
Legend – According to myth Lord Rama and his father King Dashratha made penance here. Besides this the oldest stone inscriptions in the region can be found here. Other believes is that a Brahmin priest name “Dev Sharma” who meditated here for long years and blessed with a glimpse of god Rama. This confluence is as holy as the Sangam at Allahabad.
How to Get There
By road: Dev prayag has a better linked with road on Haridwar – Badrinath highway 71 km from Rishikesh regular Buses and taxi ply on this route from Rishikesh and Haridwar.
By air: Nearest airport is Jolly Grant 87 Km.
By Rail: Nearest railway station is Rishikesh 71 Km.
Accommodation: Tourist Rest House, Pwd Inspection Bungalow, Dharamshalas and Private Hotels are available.
Second Prayag - Rudra PrayagRudra Prayag
Altitude – 610mts
Location – Rudraprayag falls in Rudraprayag distric of Uttrakhand state India. 137 km short of Rishikesh on Rishikesh –Badrinath highway.
This is the place where River Alaknanda unites with River Mandakini. The confluence gets its name from ‘Rudra’, a form of Lord Shiva who created the musical notes ‘Ragas & Raginis’ here which outline the basis of the Indian music to day. The dense forests around this region are full of wildlife. and were held ransom to a man – eating tiger that was shot by the famous conservationist hunter , Jim Corbett.
Temple - Temples dedicated to Rudranath (Shiva) and goddess Chamunda are located here. Rudraprayag is blessed with too much natural beauty.
Legend: Hindus believe that the sage Narad worshipped Lord Shiva here to be blessed with the mastery of music mysteries. Narad was blessed by Lord Shiva in this place and appeared in Rudra avatar. According to another legend, the consort of Shiva – Sati was reborn as Parvati as the daughter of Himalaya, In spite of Himalaya’s protests, Parvati performed rigorous penance to get the boon of becoming Shiva’s wife in the new birth too.
How to Get There
By road: Rudraprayag has a better linked with road on Haridwar – Badrinath highway 144 km from Rishikesh regular Buses and taxi ply on this route from Rishikesh and Haridwar.
By air: Nearest airport is Jolly Grant 159Km.
By Rail: Nearest railway station is Rishikesh 144 Km.
Accommodation: Tourist Rest House, Dharamshalas and Private Hotels are available.
Third Prayag – Karnaprayag
Altitude - 610mts
Location – Karna Prayag has a confluence of River Alaknanda and River Pindar that originates from the Pindar glacier, below the Nanda Devi hill range. Located approx173 Km from Rishikesh on the Haridwar –Badrinath Highway falls in chamoli distric of Uttaraknad state of India.
Temple - There are two temples here, one dedicated to Uma (the goddess Durga) and the other to Karna, the tragic hero of the Mahabharata. The stone seat where Karna did penance is also seen here. A temple built in recent times to commemorate Karna has the deity of goddess Uma Devi (daughter of the Himalayas) here. The stone temple was rebuilt by guru Adi Shankaracharya. In the sanctum, the images of goddesss Parvati, her consort Shiva and her son Ganesha are installed.
Legend – The epic Mahabharata legend narrates that Karna did penance here and earned the protective gear of Kavacha(armour) and Kundala ear rings) from his father, the Sun god, which gave him indestructible powers. The name of the confluence is thus derived from the name of Karna. The wooded thickets of the hills surrounding Karna Prayag were the meeting ground for Shakuntala and Dushyanta, immortalised in Kalidasa’s immortal book “Meghdutam”.
How to Get There -
By road: Karanprayag has a better linked with road on Haridwar – Badrinath highway 173 km from Rishikesh regular Buses and taxi ply on this route from Rishikesh and Haridwar.
By air: Nearest airport is Jolly Grant 190 Km.
By Rail: Nearest railway station is Rishikesh 173 Km.
Accommodation: A Tourist Rest House, Temple Committee Guest House, Dharamshalas and Private Hotels are available.
Fourth Prayag - Nand Paryag
Altitude - 914 mts.
Location – at Nandprayag, the River Nandakini unites with the Alaknanda. Nandprayag, 190 kms from Rishikesh on the Haridwar-Badrinath highway in chamoli Distric of Uttarakhand of India.
Nand Prayag is the second Prayag in the cascade sequence of the confluences. Trekkers are often seen here on their way to Tapovan across Kunwari pass, or on their way to Roopkund. This beautiful spot is a major tourist point.
Temple – There is temple for Gopal, a form of Krishna, here.
Legend: According to legend, It is said that the confluence is named for a noble Yadava king Nanda the foster-father of god Krishna who performed Yagya (fire-sacrifice) here and sought blessings of God. According to the legend, Vishnu granted a boon of the birth of a son to Nanda and his wife Yashoda and also the same boon to Devaki wife of Vasudeva. Then Lord Krishna was born to Devaki and Vasudeva but was fostered by Yashoda and Nanda. The legends also narrate that sage Kanva did penance here and also made the wedding of King Dushyant and Shakuntalahere.
How to Get There
By road: Nand Prayag has a better linked with road on Haridwar – Badrinath highway 205 km from Rishikesh regular Buses and taxi ply on this route from Rishikesh and Haridwar.
By air: Nearest airport is Jolly Grant 211 Km.
By Rail: Nearest railway station is Rishikesh 205 Km.
Accommodation: A Tourist Rest House, Temple Committee Guest House & Private Hotels are available.
Fifth Prayag - Vishnu Prayag
Altitude - 1,372 mts
Location – Vishnu Prayag is a confluences of holy river Alaknanda and river Dhauliganga. Situated 10 kms north of Joshimath and 268 Km. from Rishikesh on Haridwar – Badrinath highway falls in Chamoli distric of uttarakhand of India.
Temple: An octagonal shaped temple – located near the confluence – made in 1889, is build by Maharani of Indore – Ahalyabai. Though originally built to install a Shiva lingam, it now houses of Vishnu image. A stairway from this temple leads to the Vishnu kund (kund means pool of water or lake) at the confluence.
Legend: It is said that the sage Narada worshipped Vishnu at this sanctified spot, and the Lord, pleased with his austerities, had given him his blessings.
Kagbhusandi lake and Vishnu Kund are main attraction of Vishnu prayag visitors. The Kagbhusandi lake can be approached from either Bhundar village near Ghangaria or from Vishnu Prayag.
How to Get There
By road: Vishnu Prayag has a better linked with road on Haridwar – Badrinath highway 268 km from Rishikesh and 10 kms from Joshimath on motarable road. regular Buses and taxi ply on this route from Rishikesh and Haridwar.
By air: Nearest airport is Jolly Grant 284 Km.
By Rail: Nearest railway station is Rishikesh 268 Km.
Accommodation: All best Tourist Rest House, & Private Hotels are available only at Joshimath.
Pilgrimage Importance of Prayag
Panch Prayag located on the road to Badrinath refer to the Svargarohana (ascend to heaven) route followed by the Pandavas to attain salvation after they completed circumambulation of the earth.