The five holy confluxes – Panch Prayag
The religious state Uttarakhand has many holy abodes and spots. Panch Prayags are among them. The five meeting points of the holy river waters is the uniqueness of this divine state. So, let’s throw a sight on these five Prayag and understand its importance in the Hindu religion.
The state Uttarakhand has a great religious and spiritual importance. The state has the highest number of abodes than any other state in India. Also, the state is well blessed with an abundance of natural beauty which makes it the vocational destination to spend personal time. Uttarakhand is also the only state in the country that has five Prayagas which are together called as Panch Prayag – the 5 conflux spots where the two rivers meet.
The five major rivers of the state – Bhagirathi, Dhauliganga, Nandakini, Pinder, Mandakini merges into Alaknanda river and finally becomes river Ganga at the end. There are five such spots where these rivers meet with each other differently, these spots are named as Prayag. Prayag is also known as Sangam in Hindi.
Prayag Sthal has a very great significance in the Hindu religion. Religious disciples believe that bathing in the Prayag can remove their sins and wrong deeds of this life. Panch Prayag means a lot to the people following the Hindu religion and it is considered holy. The 5 Prayag in the state are:
Vishnu Prayag, Nanda Prayag, Karna Prayag, Rudra Prayag Dev Prayag.
- Vishnu Prayag –
The first of all, is Vishnu Prayag. This is a holy site because of the Sangam of Western Dhouli Ganga with the Alaknanda. Vishnu Prayag is 15 km far from the Joshimath town in the district of Chamoli.
Alaknanda River is originated from the waters of Bhagirath Kharak and Satopanth. Flowing turbulently along the steep paths of the mountainous regions, Alaknanda river passes through many holy sites Uttarakhand. While Dhauli Ganga having its origin from Niti Pass meets Alaknanda at Vishnu Prayag.
Vishnuprayag is the North-most Prayag in all the five Prayagas. Settled at 1372 metres height, this place got its name after God Vishnu. According to the myth, Narad Muni worshipped Vishnu at this place. Pleased with his sincerity, Lord Vishnu himself appeared to bless the sage. Based on which, the name of the place is Vishnuprayag.
- Nand Prayag –
After the confluence at Vishnuprayag, Alaknanda river moves further to Nandaprayag. This is the second Prayag from the North of Uttarakhand and is the place where the holy waters of Nandakini unite with the Alaknanda river. Nandakini river traces its origin from Trishul mountains. There is a temple of Gopal Ji beside the spot where these two rivers meet.
Nandaprayag is 1358 meters high from sea level. This place was earlier known as Kandasu. Nandprayag was named after Nanda Ji who worshipped here for a long time, after which he got Krishna as his son. The Gopal Mandir here is devoted to Gopal, another name of Lord Krishna. Nandaprayag opens route to the Badrikshetra.
- Karn Prayag –
Karnprayag is the Sangam spot of Alaknanda and Pindar rivers. Pindar river is also known with the name Karnganga. That’s why this place is called Karnprayag. Karn was a warrior from Kaurav side in the epic Mahabharata. The famous Karn Temple in Karinprayag is built in his esteem.
According to the myths, Karna has worshipped the god of seven chariots ‘Sun’ in this place. Karn is said to be the son of Suryadev (the sun) and the Kunti. Karnprayag is a town in Chamoli district settled at 1451 metres altitude. The place is also famous for the Uma Devi Temple.
- Rudra Prayag –
Rudraprayag is where the major rivers of the state Mandakini and Alaknanda amalgamate. Rudraprayag is based on the name Rudra – the scariest form of Shiva. It is believed that Lord Shiva showed his Rudra-avatar here and so the name of this place is Rudraprayag.
Rudraprayag is the important district of the state in terms of religious importance. It is the home of many highly significant temples and abodes, most of them are devoted to the almighty Shiva.
- Dev Prayag –
Devprayag is the fifth and last Prayag in the state. After coming the long way, River Alakananda converges into Bhagirathi in Devprayag and gives birth to the largest and holiest river of India – the Ganga. From a religious point of view, this is the most important Prayag of all five.
Devprayag got its name after a sage Dev Sarma who is said to have meditated in this place for a long time after adopting the life of asceticism. Dev Prayag is also known as the penance land of Rama and Lakshman. It is said that Lord Rama and his brother Lakhan performed their penance at Devprayag to get over the sins of taking the life of a Brahman.
Dev Prayag is among those places in the state that are religiously significant. Dev Prayag has the most famous temple of Rama with the name as Raghunath. This renowned temple has the 15 feet idol of the Lord made with black granite. The temple is accompanied with other temples of Hanuman, Goddess Annapurna, Sage Shankaracharya and Garud. Devprayag also has temples dedicated to other Gods and Goddesses