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Pilgrimages of Uttarakhand

  1. Haridwar: Ancient Mayapuri which is a Mukti Puri and place of Kumbha Mela
  2. Dev Prayag (690 m): One of the Pancha Prayag located at the confluence of rivers Alakananda and Bhagirathi which is also a Divya Desam (Thirukkandam Divya Desam)
  3. Karna Prayag (788 m): One of the Pancha Prayag located at the confluence of rivers Alakananda and Pindari
  4. Nanda Prayag (914 m): One of the Pancha Prayag located at the confluence of rivers Alakananda and Nandakini
  5. Rudra Prayag (610 m): One of the Pancha Prayag located at the confluence of rivers Alakananda and Mandakini
  6. Vishnu Prayag (1372 m): One of the Pancha Prayag located at the confluence of rivers Alakananda and Dhauli Ganga
  7. Joshimath: A Divya Desam (Thiruppirudhi Divya Desam) and Math of Adi Shankara
  8. Badrinath: An ancient pilgrimage of Lord Vishnu which is a Divya Desam (Thiruvadhari Ashramam Divya Desam) and Swayam Vyakta Kshetra
  9. Kedarnath (3581 m): An ancient pilgrimage of Lord Shiva which is a Jyotirlinga (Kedarnath Jyotirlinga)
  10. Gangotri (3140 m): The source of river Ganga
  11. Yamunotri (3292 m): The source of river Yamuna
  12. Jageshwar Mahadev (1870 m): A famous temple of Shiva identified with Nageshwar Jyotirlinga



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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Dev Prayag:

Dev Prayag - One of the Pancha Prayag and Divya Desam: Dev Prayag (690 m) is one of the Pancha Prayag of Uttarakhand Himalayas. It is located at the confluence of rivers Alakananda and Bhagirathi. Dev Prayag is a Divya Desam. It is said that Sri Rama and Lakshmana performed a yagya here to atone the killing of Ravana. Dev Prayag is around 70 km from Rishikesh.

- Pancha Prayag: Dev Prayag is one of the Pancha Prayag of Uttarakhand Himalayas. It is located at the confluence of rivers Alakananda and Bhagirathi.
(The Pancha Prayag of Uttarakhand are: Dev Prayag, Karna Prayag, Nanda Prayag, Rudra Prayag and Vishnu Prayag)

- Divya Desam: Dev Prayag is one of the 108 Divya Desams known as Thirukkandam Divya Desam.
(Refer to the list of Divya Desams)

- River Alakananda: The river Alakananda arises from the Bhagirathi Kharak and Satopanth glaciers on the eastern slopes of Chaukhamba Massif. It flows past the famous Badrinath temple.

- River Bhagirathi: The river Bhagirathi arises from the Gangotri glacier at Gaumukh at the base of Shivling mountain. It flows past the famous Gangotri temple.

- Sacred to both Vaishnavites and Shaivites: The river Alakananda flows down from Badrinath (feet of Vishnu) and the river Bhagirathi from Gangotri (matted hair of Shiva). So this is a sacred pilgrimage for both Vaishnavites and Shaivites.

- Kundas: Dev Prayag has many kundas like Brahma Kunda (Bhagirathi), Vashistha Kunda (Alakananda), Baital Kunda, Surya Kunda, Indradyumna Tirtha, Pushyamal Tirtha, Varaha Tirtha etc.

- Temples: There is a temple of Lord Raghunathji (1000 years old) and also Chandreshwar Mahadev. There are also shrines of Bhairava, Bhushandi, Durga and Vishveshvara.

- Dev Prayag is located in the Tehri Garhwal district of Uttarakhand.


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Karna Prayag:

Karna Prayag - One of the Pancha Prayag: Karna Prayag (788 m) is one of the Pancha Prayag of Uttarakhand Himalayas. It is located at the confluence of rivers Alakananda and Pindari. It is associated with the legend of king Karna of Mahabharata. Karna Prayag is around 32 km from Rudra Prayag and 171 km from Rishikesh.

- Pancha Prayag: Karna Prayag is one of the Pancha Prayag of Uttarakhand Himalayas.
(The Pancha Prayag of Uttarakhand are: Dev Prayag, Karna Prayag, Nanda Prayag, Rudra Prayag and Vishnu Prayag)

- Legend of Karna: It is said that Karna (of Mahabharata) meditated here on Suryadeva and obtained his Kavacha and Kundala. There is a temple dedicated to Karna.

- Legend of Shakuntala: This is also said to be the meeting place of Shakuntala and king Dushyanta.

- River Alakananda: The river Alakananda arises from the Bhagirathi Kharak and Satopanth glaciers on the eastern slopes of Chaukhamba Massif. It flows past the famous Badrinath temple.

- River Pindari: The river Pindari arises from the Pindari glacier in Nanda Devi mountain.

- Karna Prayag is located in the Chamoli district of Uttarakhand.


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Nanda Prayag:

Nanda Prayag - One of the Pancha Prayag: Nanda Prayag (914 m) is one of the Pancha Prayag of Uttarakhand Himalayas. It is located at the confluence of rivers Alakananda and Nandakini. It is associated with the legend of king Nanda. Nanda Prayag is around 22 km from Karna Prayag and 193 km from Rishikesh.

- Pancha Prayag: Nanda Prayag is one of the Pancha Prayag of Uttarakhand Himalayas.
(The Pancha Prayag of Uttarakhand are: Dev Prayag, Karna Prayag, Nanda Prayag, Rudra Prayag and Vishnu Prayag)

- Legend of king Nanda: It is said that a king named Nanda performed a great yagya in this place.

- River Alakananda: The river Alakananda arises from the Bhagirathi Kharak and Satopanth glaciers on the eastern slopes of Chaukhamba Massif. It flows past the famous Badrinath temple.

- River Nandakini: The river Nandakini arises from the slopes of Nanda Ghunti (6903 m) near the Nanda Devi sanctuary.

- Nanda Prayag is located in the Chamoli district of Uttarakhand.


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Rudra Prayag:

Rudra Prayag - One of the Pancha Prayag: Rudra Prayag (610 m) is one of the Pancha Prayag of Uttarakhand Himalayas. It is located at the confluence of rivers Alakananda and Mandakini. It is associated with the legend of sage Narada worshipped Lord Shiva. The routes to Kedarnath and Badrinath bifurcates at Rudra Prayag. Rudra Prayag is around 70 km from Dev Prayag and 140 km from Rishikesh.

- Pancha Prayag: Rudra Prayag is one of the Pancha Prayag of Uttarakhand Himalayas.
(The Pancha Prayag of Uttarakhand are: Dev Prayag, Karna Prayag, Nanda Prayag, Rudra Prayag and Vishnu Prayag)

- Legend of sage Narada worshipping Shiva: It is said that sage Narada worshipped Lord Shiva in this place to learn the finer points of music. There is a Narada Shila indicating the place where sage Narada meditated. There are ancient temples of Rudranath and Chamunda Devi in this place.

- River Alakananda: The river Alakananda arises from the Bhagirathi Kharak and Satopanth glaciers on the eastern slopes of Chaukhamba Massif. It flows past the famous Badrinath temple.

- River Mandakini: The river Mandakini arises from the Chorabari glacier near Kedarnath. It flows past the famous Kedarnath temple.

- Rudra Prayag is located in the Rudra Prayag district of Uttarakhand.


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Vishnu Prayag:

Vishnu Prayag - One of the Pancha Prayag: Vishnu Prayag (1372 m) is one of the Pancha Prayag of Uttarakhand Himalayas. It is located at the confluence of rivers Alakananda and Dhauli Ganga. It is associated with the legend of sage Narada worshipping Lord Vishnu. Vishnu Prayag is around 14 km from Joshimath and 260 km from Rishikesh.

- Pancha Prayag: Vishnu Prayag is one of the Pancha Prayag of Uttarakhand Himalayas.
(The Pancha Prayag of Uttarakhand are: Dev Prayag, Karna Prayag, Nanda Prayag, Rudra Prayag and Vishnu Prayag)

- Legend of Narada worshipping Vishnu: It is said that sage Narada meditated here and Lord Vishnu appeared before him. There is a small temple of Lord Vishnu near the sangam.

- River Alakananda: The river Alakananda arises from the Bhagirathi Kharak and Satopanth glaciers on the eastern slopes of Chaukhamba Massif. It flows past the famous Badrinath temple.

- River Dhauli Ganga: The river Dhauli Ganga arises from a glacier of Nita Pass in Garhwal-Tibet border.

- Vishnu Prayag is located in the Chamoli district of Uttarakhand.


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Joshimath:

Joshimath - Divya Desam and Math of Adi Shankara: Joshimath is one of the Divya Desam and place where one of the four Maths of Adi Shankara is situated. Joshimath is located in the Uttarakhand Himalayas near Badrinath.

- Divya Desam: Joshimath is one of the 108 Divya Desams known as Thiruppirudhi Divya Desam.
(Refer to the list of Divya Desams)

- Math of Adi Shankaracharya: Joshimath is one of the four Maths established by Sri Adi Shankaracharya around the four directions of India. It is the Math in Northern India.
(The four Maths of Adi Shankara are: Joshimath in the North, Dwarka in the West, Puri in the East and Sringeri in the South)

- Joshimath is located in the Chamoli district of Uttarakhand.


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Badrinath (Badrikashrama):

Badrinath - Ancient pilgrimage of Lord Vishnu: Badrinath was known as Badrikashrama in ancient times. It is an ancient pilgrimage of Lord Vishnu which is Divya Desam as well as a Swayam Vyakta Kshetra. It is one of the All-India Char Dham as well as one of the Uttarakhand Char Dham. Badrinath is associated with the legend of sages Nara and Narayana who are said to be performing penance there from time immemorial. Badrinath is located in the Uttarakhand Himalayas.

- Divya Desam: Badrinath is one of the 108 Divya Desams known as Thiruvadhari Ashramam Divya Desam.
(Refer to the list of Divya Desams)

- Swayam Vyakta Kshetra: Badrinath is one of the 8 Swayam Vyakta Kshetras.
(The Swayam Vyakta Kshetras are: Sri Rangam, Tirumala, Sri Mushnam, Thotadri, Shalagram, Pushkara, Naimisharanya, Badrinath)

- All India Char Dham: Badrinath is one of the 4 All India Char Dhams.
(All India Char Dhams are: Badrinath, Dwarka, Puri, Rameshwaram)

- Uttarakhand Char Dham: Badrinath is one of the 4 Uttarakhand Char Dhams.
(Uttarakhand Char Dhams are: Badrinath, Kedarnath, Gangotri, Yamunotri)

- Badarikashrama Mahatmya: The Skanda Purana - Badarikashrama Mahatmya lists many holy places of Badrinath where Agni, Narada, Markandeya and Garuda had performed penances. Refer to excerpts from Badarikashrama Mahatmya.

- Penance of sages Nara and Narayana: According to Srimad Bhagavatam, Sri Vishnu in his incarnation as sages Nara and Narayana has been undergoing great penance since time immemorial for the welfare of the living beings.

- Badrinath is located in the Chamoli district of Uttarakhand.


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Kedarnath:

Kedarnath Kedarnath - An ancient pilgrimage of Shiva and Jyotirlinga: Kedarnath (3581 m) is an ancient pilgrimage of Lord Shiva which is a Jyotirlinga. Shiva Purana mentions its location as Badaryashrama. Kedarnath is located in Uttarakhand Himalayas.

- Jyotirlinga: Kedarnath is one of the 12 Jyotirlingas known as Kedarnath Jyotirlinga. The Jyotirlinga is mentioned in Shiva Purana (Koti-Rudra Samhita Ch 19). It is identified with the famous Kedarnath temple in the Rudraprayag district of Uttarakhand.
(The 12 Jyotirlingas are: Somnath, Mallikarjuna, Mahakaleshwar, Omkareshwar, Vaidyanath, Bhimashankar, Rameshwaram, Nageshwar, Vishwanath, Tryambakeshwar, Kedarnath and Grishneshwar. Refer to the Jyotirlinga sloka)

- Legend of Nara and Narayana: According to Shiva Purana Kedarnath is situated in Badaryashrama. Nara and Narayana, two incarnations of Lord Vishnu worshipped Lord Shiva there. Lord Shiva appeared before them and granted the boon of staying there as Jyotirlinga (from Shiva Purana, Koti-Rudra Samhita - Ch 19).

- Legend of the Pandavas: According to another legend, after the Kurukshetra battle the Pandavas wanted to meet Shiva and seek His blessings. But Lord Shiva evaded them again and again due to the unjust events of the battle. The Lord hid himself in Kedarnath in the form of a bull. But when the Pandavas pursued Him in Kedarnath, the Lord dived inside the ground leaving the hump on the surface. Lord Shiva reappeared at four other places which together form the Pancha Kedar (Hump at Kedarnath, Arms at Tunganath, Face at Rudranath, Navel at Madmaheshwar and locks with the head at Kalpeshwar).

- Kedarnath is located in the Rudraprayag district of Uttarakhand.


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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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Yamunotri:

Yamunotri - Source of river Yamuna: Yamunotri (3292 m) is the source of river Yamuna in Uttarakhand Himalayas. The river actually flows from Kalindi Parvat in the Bandar Poonch range. Yamunotri has the famous temple of Devi Yamuna.

- Temple of Devi Yamuna: The temple of Devi Yamuna is situated here. One has to trek from Hanuman Chatti to Yamunotri, a distance of 13 km along the right bank of the river. The route on the left bank goes to Kharsali. Between Hanuman Chatti and Yamunotri is Markandeya Tirtha where Rishi Markandeya is believed to have written the Markandeya Purana.

- Yamunotri is located in the Uttarkashi district of Uttarakhand.


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Jageshwar Mahadev:

Jageshwar temple - A famous temple of Shiva: Jageshwar Mahadev (1870 m) is a famous temple of Lord Shiva in Uttarakhand Himalayas which is identified with Nageshwar Jyotirlinga. The temple is situated in the confluence of streams Nandini and Surabhi which flow down the hills and meet here. It is a narrow and beautiful valley with dense cedar trees.

- Jyotirlinga: Jageshwar Mahadev temple is identified with Nageshwar Jyotirlinga. (The other temples identified with the Nageshwar Jyotirlinga are the Nageshwar temple in Saurashtra, Devbhoomi Dwarka district of Gujrat and Aundha Nagnath temple in Hingoli district of Maharashtra). Nageshwar Jyotirlinga is mentioned in the Shiva Purana (Koti-Rudra Samhita Ch 30).
(The 12 Jyotirlingas are: Somnath, Mallikarjuna, Mahakaleshwar, Omkareshwar, Vaidyanath, Bhimashankar, Rameshwaram, Nageshwar, Vishwanath, Tryambakeshwar, Kedarnath and Grishneshwar. Refer to the Jyotirlinga sloka)

- Legend: According to Shiva Purana, the Nageshwara Jyotirlinga is situated in Darukavana. Lord Shiva saved his disciple Supriya (a vaishya) from demon Daruka in this place. Daruka was very proud of his strength and harassed people. He imprisoned Supriya and other merchants. Supriya, a great devotee of Shiva, along with other merchants worshipped Shiva in the prison devoutedly. When the demons tried to kill him, Lord Shiva appeared before Supriya and gave him the Pasupata Astra, with which Supriya killed all the demons.

- Jageshwar is located in the Almora district of Uttarakhand.


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Pilgrimages by States:

North India: Jammu and Kashmir - Himachal Pradesh - Uttarakhand - Punjab - Haryana - Rajasthan - Uttar Pradesh

West India: Gujarat - Maharashtra

Central India: Madhya Pradesh

East India: Assam - Meghalaya - Tripura - Jharkhand - Odisha - West Bengal

South India: Karnataka - Andhra Pradesh - Telangana - Kerala - Tamil Nadu



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

3. Sadhana: Sadhana - Hermitages - Penances

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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Om, May there be Peace in Heaven,
May there be Peace in the Sky,
May there be Peace in the Earth,
May there be Peace in the Water,
May there be Peace in the Plants,
May there be Peace in the Trees,
May there be Peace in the Gods in the various Worlds,
May there be Peace in Brahman,
May there be Peace in All,
May there be Peace Indeed within Peace,
Giving Me the Peace which Grows within Me,
Om, Peace, Peace, Peace.

(Shanti Mantra of Upanishad)

Preserve Nature,
And Nature will preserve Us,
Simplify Life,
And make the Nature thrive,
Plant Trees,
And make our planet Green.

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Last updated on Oct-2017

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