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Pilgrimages of Devi Ganga

  1. Gangotri (Famous pilgrimage of Devi Ganga) - Uttarakhand
  2. Haridwar (Famous pilgrimage of Devi Ganga) - Uttarakhand


Gangotri:

Gangotri Temple - Source of river Ganga: Gangotri (3140 m) is the source of river Ganga (Bhagirathi) in Uttarakhand Himalayas. The actual source is at the Gaumukh glacier a little further from Gangotri. Gangotri has the famous temple of Devi Ganga where Ganga Ararti is held in the evening.

- Temple of Devi Ganga: The temple of Devi Ganga is situated on the right bank of river Bhagirathi in the Gangotri village. There is a stone slab near the temple where king Bhagirath meditated to bring Ganga to earth. The stone slab is called Bhagirath Shila.

- Gangotri is located in the Uttarkashi district of Uttarakhand.


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Haridwar (Mayapuri):

Haridwar Ganga Aarti, Haridwar - An ancient pilgrimage known as Mayapuri: Haridwar was an ancient pilgrimage known as Mayapuri in ancient times. It is a Mukti Puri as well as a place of Kumbha Mela. It is located in the foothills of the Uttarakhand Himalayas where river Ganga first touches the plains. The famous Ganga Arati is held on the bank of river Ganga in Haridwar every evening. Haridwar is the starting point of the Uttarakhand Char Dham Yatra.

- Mukti Puri: Haridwar is one of the 7 Mukti Puris known by the ancient name of Mayapuri.
(The seven Mukti Puris are: Mathura, Ayodhya, Mayapuri, Kashi, Kanchi, Avantika, Dwarka)

- Place of Kumbha Mela: Haridwar is one of 4 places of Kumbha Mela. It is believed that drops of amrita (nectar) fell from the kumbha (urn) during samudra manthana. So here Kumbha Mela is held every twelve years. Also Ardha Kumbha Mela is held every six years.
(Places of Kumbha Mela are: Prayaga, Haridwar, Ujjain, Nashik)

- Ganga-Dwar: Haridwar is the place where river Ganga first touches the plains after flowing down from the Himalayas. So it is also known as Ganga-Dwar or the gateway of Ganga.

- Ganga Arati: The famous Ganga Arati is held in Haridwar every evening in the Har-ki-Pauri when hundreds of lighted lamps are floated on the river Ganga.

- Hari-Dwar: Haridwar also means the gateway of Hari because the ascent to the Deva Bhoomi of Uttarakhand Himalayas starts from here. Starting from Haridwar, one undertakes the Char Dham Yatra of Badrinath, Kedarnath, Gangotri and Yamunotri.

- Place of Daksha Yagya: According to Skanda Purana - Kedara Khanda, the Daksha Yagya was held in Kankhal in Haridwar. There is a Daksheswar Mahadev temple in Kankhal.

- Temples:
  • Maya Devi: In Haridwar, the temple of Maya Devi is believed to be a Shakti Peetha where the heart and navel of Devi Sati fell. So Haridwar is also called Mayapuri.
  • Chandi Devi: The temple of Chandi Devi located on top of Nila Parvat is believed to be the place where the Devi killed the demons Chanda and Munda.
  • Mansa Devi: There is also a famous temple of Devi Mansa.
  • Daksheswar Mahadev: There is a Daksheswar Mahadev temple in Kankhal.
- Haridwar is located in the Haridwar district of Uttarakhand.
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Kashi:

Kashi Vishwanath Jyotirlinga Kashi Annapoorna Kashi Kalabhairava Ganga Aarti, Kashi - An ancient pilgrimage of Lord Shiva: Kashi is an ancient pilgrimage of Lord Shiva Who is worshipped here as Lord Vishwanath (The Lord of the universe). The ancient city of Kashi is mentioned in various Puranas. Kashi is a Mukti Puri, Jyotirlinga as well as a Shakti Peetha. Kashi is situated on the bank of the holy river Ganga. Every evening Ganga Arati is held in Kashi.

- Mukti Puri: Kashi is one of the 7 Mukti Puris.
(The seven Mukti Puris are: Mathura, Ayodhya, Mayapuri, Kashi, Kanchi, Avantika, Dwarka)

- Jyotirlinga: Kashi is one of the 12 Jyotirlingas known as Vishwanath Jyotirlinga. The Jyotirlinga is identified with the Lord Vishwanath temple of Kashi. According to Shiva Purana (Koti-Rudra Samhita Ch 22), even before creation, Lord Shiva built a beautiful city for Prakriti and Purusha to perform penance. Lord Vishnu meditated there and as a result streams of water kept flowing. A gem from the ear of Vishnu fell on the ground which became the great pilgrim center known as Manikarnika. Manikarnika kept flowing as water for five koshas. Lord Shiva held it on the tip of his trident and that became the city of Kashi. Subsequently Lord Brahma created the other worlds. After a day of Brahma, Kashi does not get destroyed but is held on the tip of the trident of Lord Shiva.
(The 12 Jyotirlingas are: Somnath, Mallikarjuna, Mahakaleshwar, Omkareshwar, Vaidyanath, Bhimashankar, Rameshwaram, Nageshwar, Vishwanath, Tryambakeshwar, Kedarnath and Grishneshwar - Refer to the Jyotirlinga sloka)

- Shakti Peetha: Kashi is one of the 51 Shakti Peethas known as Varanasi Shakti Peetha. The Shakti Peetha is mentioned in the Peetha Nirnaya texts. According to legend the Kundala (Ear-Ring) of Devi had fallen at Varanasi. The Devi is known as Vishalakshi and Bhairava is known as Kalabhairava. The Varanasi Shakti Peetha is identified with the Devi Vishalakshi temple at Kashi. The Manikarnika Ghat is identified with the place where the ear-rings of Devi fell.
(Refer to the Shakti Peetha Stotram)

- Devi Annapoorna Temple: The Devi Annapoorna Temple is located near the Kashi Vishwanath Temple in the Vishwanath lane. Devi Annapoorna is the Goddess of food. Food is served to all devotees daily as prasad in the temple. The festival of Annakut is an important festival associated with the Annapoorna Temple. The festival is performed for three days and only on these days the golden image of Mother Annapoorna is opened for darshan. The festival falls on Karthik Shukla Pratipada.

- Kalabhairava Temple: The Kalabhairava Temple is located in the Visheshwarganj in Kashi, around a km away from the Kashi Vishwanath temple. Kalabhairava is a fearsome aspect of Shiva associated with kala or death. He is considered as the kotwal (guardian angel) of Varanasi. The image of Kalabhairava is shown sitting on his dog vehicle and holding a trident. The silver face of the deity is only revealed and the rest of the body is covered with cloth. This temple was once a popular place of worship mainly by tantriks and ascetics. Now it is visited and patronized by general public as well.

- Ganga Arati: Kashi is the place where the holy river Ganga flows. The famous Ganga Arati is held in Kashi every evening in the Dashashwamedh Ghat.

- Kashi is located in the Varanasi district of Uttar Pradesh.


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Bharatavarsha - The Land of Gods and Sages:

1. Stotras by Deity:
Initial: Ganesha - Hanuman - Gurudeva - Gayatri
Tridevas: Brahma - (Vishnu - Narasimha - Rama - Krishna) - Shiva
Tridevis: Saraswati - (Lakshmi - Tulasi - Bhoomi) - Parvati
Others: Murugan - Surya - Ganga - Yamuna - Narmada - Others
Final: Vedas - Brahman

2. Pilgrimages by Deity:
Initial: Ganesha
Tridevas: Brahma - (Vishnu - Narasimha - Rama - Krishna) - Shiva
Tridevis: Saraswati - Lakshmi - (Parvati - Shakambari)
Others: Murugan - Ganga

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4. Saints: Ramakrishna - Vivekananda - Ramana - Saints

5. Sacred Geography: Forests - Mountains - Rivers - Lakes

6. Puranas: Scriptures

7. Religious Life: Stotras - Puja - Pilgrimages - Festivals - Varnashramas - Samskaras - Traditions

8. Other Aspects: Sanskrit - Arts - Music - Dance - Medicine - Architecture - Astronomy

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Last updated on Oct-2017

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