Panch Prayag, Part 7


Devprayag - Confluence of Bhagirathi and Alaknanda

Jan 03, 2013 — CANADA (SUN) — Places of Pilgrimage: The last in a serial exploration of the Pancha Prayag.


Devprayag is the most southernmost, therefore the last of the five sacred river confluences of the Ganges, originating in the Garhwal Himalayas. Situated at an elevation of 830 metres (2,723 feet) above sea level, Devprayag is 70 km from Rishikesh. And while many tourists visit Rishikesh and Haridwar, relatively few take darshan of Devprayag.

Devprayag is the confluence of two holy rivers, the Bhagirathi and the Alaknanda. The Bhagirathi, coming down from Gangotri-dhama, is considered the foremost stream of the Ganges. Like all five of the Panch Prayag, the holiness of this place is considered equal to Triveni Sangam at Allahabad where the Ganges, Yamuna and Saraswati Rivers merge.


At this confluence, the Bhagirathi flows in rapids with strong currents, meeting a much calmer Alaknanda River, which is slower and more sediment-laden. For this reason, there is a strong visual contrast where the two rivers join together. The Bhagirathi runs down a steep declivity with rapid force, roaring and foaming over large rock fragments in its bed, while the placid Alakananda flows smoothly and gently until the point of its turbulent confluence.

Confluence of the Alaknanda (left) and Bhagirathi (right) Rivers form the Ganges at Devprayag

Devprayag is considered by Vaishnavas to be one of the 108 Divya Desams (sacred abodes of Vishnu). After his victorious return from Sri Lanka, Lord Rama performed yajna here, doing penance to atone for killing the demon-king Ravana, a brahmin. Some say that Rama disappeared from this place when His manifest lila ended.

Lord Rama at Devprayag
Photo courtesy

Devprayag is said to be named for a poor Maharastrian brahmin, Deva Sharma, who performed rigorous austerities here and was blessed by Lord Rama. By his long meditation, Deva Sharma is said to have encouraged Narayan to manifest in the form of Raghunath. There is a famous temple dedicated to Rama called Raghunath Math, located above the confluence. Lord Raghunath and His consort Janaki are the presiding Deities. The large black granite image of Rama was installed in the temple by Adi Shankaracarya about 1,250 years ago. Stone inscriptions date the temple to the first century AD.

The Bhagirathi (left joins the Alaknanda (right) at Devprayag

At the yearly temple festivals of Ram Navami, Vasant Panchami and Baisakhi, Lord Raghunath is dressed in opulent gold jewelry and is seated outside, in the temple courtyard, on a sacred stone that Lord Rama is said to have sat on. From this throne, Sri Raghunath gives darshan to the devotees at Devprayag.

The temple was built with huge stones in a quadrilateral pyramidal shape, narrowing to a temple tower with white cupola. The sloping roof over the cupola is supported by wooden pillars. The roof is covered in copper plates adorned by plated ball with a spire. Sri Garuda is also present. Following the long stairway to the river confluence, there is a murti of Ganga Ma on her makara-vahana.

Ganga Ma at Devprayag
Photo courtesy

The Puranas say that Lord Brahma meditated at Devprayag for thousands of years to obtain permission for engaging in his work of creation. It is also said that Devprayag is the place where Lord Vamana entreated the demon-king Bali for three steps (trivikrama) of land. There are two kunds on the river banks: the Vasistha Kund on the Bhagirathi and Brahma Kund on the Alakananda. Nearby the prayag is the temple of Danda Naggaraja (Lord of the Nagas), and a Chandrabadni temple.

Alaknanda river flowing into Devprayag

Devprayag was also home to the late Acharya Shri Pt. Chakradhar Joshi, a famous scholar of Vedic Astronomy and Astrology. He established the Nakshatra Vedh Shala observatory in 1946, on a mountain known as Dashrathanchal. The well-equipped observatory has two telescopes, and a library of books on astronomy, including some 3,000 manuscripts on the subject from as early as 1677 A.D. Along with modern gear, the observatory also has a collection of ancient astronomy equipment like Surya Ghati, Jal Ghati and Dhruv Ghati -- technology the represents the height of these Vedic sciences.

Photo courtesy


Charanik@Wordpress,, Wikipedia


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