ॐDivinity of Devprayag
|Dev prayag - close up of Alaknanda & Bhagirati confluence - where from holy River Ganga flows|
Having enjoyed the serene Ganga aarti on the banks of the holy River in Rishikesh the night before, we were all geared up for our day’s journey heading for our next destination i.e. Syalsaur, which was to remain our base camp of sort for exploring some destinations nearby.
|Beyond Rishikesh - view of Ganga River valley - shot in 2001 (using Yaschica FX2000 SLR)|
|Rafting in Ganga River|
|Close up of Ganga River|
Devprayag is situated at a distance of 70 odd kilometres from Rishikesh and as I had instructed the driver to keep a steady pace, so that we could imbue the scenic fragrance of the hills, we expected to reach the destination in about two hours’ time. Devprayag is a small town snuggled amidst three mountains, whose peaks are considered sacred, named Giddhanchal Parvat, Dashrathanchal Parvat, and Narsinghancal Parvat. Giddhanchal Parvat is on top of Raghunnath Ji temple. Narsinghanchal Parvat is in front of Giddhanchal Parvat and Dashrathanchal Parvat is on top right side of "Sangam". Devprayag is one of the five prayags that dot the holy River Ganga and the first one while headings from the plains towards the mountains. Perched at an altitude of about 472 meters, Devprayag is a small but religiously significant township in the Tehri District of Uttarakhand. Devprayag, as the name suggests and literal translation would be ‘God’s confluence’, is the site of the confluence of the two rivers - Bhagirathi and Alakananda and from thence it flows out of as the sacred river Ganga. The Alaknanda flows from the left, and is an eye-catching shade of light blue or a powder blue from Badrinath side; whereas the Bhagirathi is of a light shade of green that flows in from Gangotri. However, the colours change with the change of weather and the colours seem to alternate.
|Meandering in the upper reaches - Ganga River|
|Panoramic view of the Ganga River valley|
Devprayag is also otherwise a significant township, as all the Devprayag is 47 Kms from Pauri, 74 Kms from Rishikesh, 80 Kms from New Tehri, 93 Kms from Haridwar, 112 Kms from Dehradun, 150 Kms from Kotdwara, 230 Kms from Ranikhet, 303 Kms from Nainital,322 Kms from Kathgodam
|A village perched atop a hill side|
Devprayag finds mention in mythological texts also and according to the Ramayana, Lord Rama and King Dasharatha did penance at Devpraryag, to relieve themselves of their sins of Brahmahatya. It is also believed that the Pandavas also performed ablutions at Devprayag before visiting Badrinath to attain salvation, during their journey towards heaver through Swargarohini valley. The religious significance of Devprayag is further enhanced, as according to the Vaishnavism, Devprayag is one among the 108 Divya Desams or the sacred abodes of Lord Vishnu. Devprayag holds the fifth place among the five sacred river confluences or the Panch Prayag, the other four being Vishnu Prayag, Nand Prayag, Karn Prayag and Rudra Prayag. The piousness of Devprayag is considered equivalent to the Triveni Sangam located at Allahabad.
|Panoramic view of Devprayag - shot in 2001 (using Yaschica FX2000 SLR)|
|Panoramic view of Devprayag - shot in 2018 (using Nikon D5300 DSLR)|
Devprayag houses many temples within its precincts and the temple of Raghunathji is dedicated to lord Rama. The temple is claimed to be 10,000 years old. It is one of the oldest existing temples of India. Raghunathji temple is built of huge stones, meticulously placed one over the other, in a pyramid shape. The temple was destroyed during an earthquake in 1803, and was later rebuilt by Daulat Rao Scindia. The temple compound also hosts Annapurna Devi temple, Hanuman temple, Shankaracharya temple and Garud temple. Another temple is of Chandrabadani, which is dedicated to the Goddess of power. As per legends, Sati, a consort of Shiva, who had committed suicide due to insults heaped on Lord Shiva by her father and Lord Shiva had picked up her body and started the tandava, the dance of destruction. Finding no other way to stop Lord Shiva, the Gods decided to decimate the body of Sati into pieces, as the Gods cut off her body parts, her torso fell at this place. Her weapons got scattered in the locality. There are some old statues and lots of iron trishuls (tridents) outside the temple. A fine view of the Sirkanda, Kedarnath and Badrinath peaks can be enjoyed from here. The other main temple is that of Dashrathshila, which is supposed to be the place where Dashrath, father of lord Rama, performed penance. A small water stream, Shanta, is named after the daughter of Dashratha. The seat of Dashrath is one a small hillock called Dashrathachal Peak. Besides these temples, there are many other smaller temples, like the Baital Kund, Brahm Kund, Surya Kund, Vashisth Kund, the Indradyumna Tirth, Pushyamal Tirth, Varah Tirth, Pushpavatika, Baitalshila, Varahishila, the shrines of Bhairava, Bhushandi, Durga and Vishveshvara, and a temple dedicated to Bharata. A bath at Baithalshila is claimed to cure leprosy.
Here is a short video of the destination -