Panch Prayag

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India >> Uttarakhand >> Rishikesh >> Attractions >> Panch Prayag

Panch Prayag

History

Ganga, that most sacred of Indian rivers, is worshipped as the life-giving goddess who brought salvation to this land. Pilgrims bathe in the Ganga on auspicious days and her waters are used for purification rituals. This great river, emerging from the icy glaciers of the Himalayas, descended to earth with such force that the gods had to be called in to prevent a complete deluge. The mighty Ganga was split into 12 channels to temper her force 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 add up to form the five holy confluences or Panch Prayag, which pilgrims visit for worship.

The river Alaknanda, the main tributary of the Ganga, rises near Badrinath and flows down to meet the Dhauli Ganga River, 10 kms north of Joshimath at Vishnuprayag. Cutting a deep gorge into the mountains, the confluence is dark and mostly in the shadows.

At Nandprayag, 190 kms short of Rishikesh on the Uttarkashi road, the River Mandakini joins the Alaknanda. A temple dedicated to Gopalji (a form of Lord Krishna) marks the confluence.

21 kms below is Karnaprayag, the confluence of Alaknanda and the Pindar River which flows out of the Nanda Devi glacier. There are two temples here, one dedicated to Uma (the goddess Durga) and the other to Karna, the tragic hero of the Mahabharata.

At Rudraprayag, 137 kms short of Rishikesh, the Alaknanda meets the other major stream of Mandakini. This is an important commercial centre from where a road leads to Kedarnath, the source of the River Mandakini. Temples of Rudranath and Chamunda Devi mark the confluence.

Finally, 68 kms north of Rishikesh the Alaknanda meets the Bhagirathi emanating from Gomukh to form the mighty Ganga. Known as Devprayag, this is the most spectacular of all the confluences, with a huge promontory of rock marking the meeting point.

Best time to visit

The area which encompasses the Panch Prayag is one of high mountains, with low temperatures through much of the year. Although all the Prayags can be reached by road throughout the year, it’s better to give them a miss during the winter months, when it gets very cold.

Trivia

Panch Prayag means "Five Confluences" referring to the five confluences of river Alaknanda. So enjoy the scenic beauty of all the five prayags- Vishnu Prayag, NandaPrayag, KarnPrayag, RudraPrayag and Devprayag!

Timing

You can visit Panch Prayag anytime of the day.


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