> Uttarakhand - Haridwar to Kedarnath
Pilgrimages of Uttarakhand - Haridwar to Kedarnath
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Haridwar (Mayapuri) in the foothills of the Uttarakhand Himalayas:
- An ancient place known as Mayapuri which is a Mukti Puri as well as a place of Kumbha Mela in the foothills of the Uttarakhand Himalayas: Haridwar which was known as Mayapuri in ancient times 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.
- Mukti Puri: Haridwar is one of the 7 Mukti Puris known by the ancient name of Mayapuri.
(Sapta 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 & Ganga Arati: Haridwar is the place where river Ganga first touches the plains after flowing down from the Himalayas. So it is also known as Gangadwar or the gateway of Ganga. 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.
- Haridwar is located in the Haridwar district of Uttarakhand.
- 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.
Rishikesh (Dehradun district):
About 20 km from Haridwar.
Rishikesh is the place where river Ganga first touches the plains after flowing down from the Himalayas. It is around 20 km upstream from Haridwar. It is the starting point for the Char Dham pilgrimage.
Hrishikesha is a name of Sri Vishnu literally meaning the Lord of the senses. It is believed that Lord Vishnu appeared here pleased with the penance of Raibhya Rishi. Hence the place is called Hrishikesh.
It is also believed that Sri Rama did penance here after killing Ravana at the advice of sage Vasishtha.
Rihikesh has many ancient temples and ashrams and is a place for meditation and yoga.
Devaprayag at the confluence of rivers Alakananda and Bhagirathi in Uttarakhand Himalayas:
- One of the Pancha Prayag of Uttarakhand Himalayas located at the confluence of rivers Alakananda and Bhagirathi which is also a Divya Desam: Devaprayag (472 m) is one of the Pancha Prayag of Uttarakhand Himalayas. It is located at the confluence of rivers Alakananda and Bhagirathi in Uttarakhand Himalayas. Devaprayag is also a Divya Desams.
- Pancha Prayag: Devaprayag is one of the Pancha Prayag of Uttarakhand Himalayas.
(Pancha Prayag of Uttarakhand are: Devaprayag, Karnaprayag, Nandaprayag, Rudraprayag and Vishnuprayag)
- Divya Desam: Devaprayag is one of the 108 Divya Desams known as Thirukkandam Divya Desam.
(Refer to the list of Divya Desams)
- River Alakananda and Bhagirathi: 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.
Devaprayag has many kundas like Brahma Kunda (Bhagirathi), Vashistha Kunda (Alakananda), Baital Kunda, Surya Kunda, Indradyumna Tirtha, Pushyamal Tirtha, Varaha Tirtha etc.
The temple of Raghunathji (1000 years old) is situated here. Sri Rama is said to have meditated here on Lord Shiva to wipe off the sin of killing Ravana. There are also shrines of Bhairava, Bhushandi, Durga and Vishveshvara.
- Devaprayag is located in the Tehri Garhwal district of Uttarakhand.
Srinagar (Pauri Garhwal district):
About 35 km from Devaprayag.
Srinagar is one of the biggest townships of the Pauri Garhwal district. It is located at a junction of roads from Kotdwar, Rishikesh, Tehri Garhwal, Kedarnath and Badrinath. It serves as main halting point for the pilgrims of "Char Dham Yatra".
Rudra Prayag at the confluence of rivers Alakananda and Mandakini in Uttarakhand Himalayas (610 m):
- One of the Pancha Prayag of Uttarakhand Himalayas located at the confluence of rivers Alakananda and Mandakini: 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 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. 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.
(Pancha Prayag of Uttarakhand are: Dev Prayag, Karna Prayag, Nanda Prayag, Rudra Prayag and Vishnu Prayag)
- 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.
Agastmuni (Rudraprayag district) (1000 m):
About 18 km from Rudraprayag.
Agastmuni is located on the bank of of river Mandakini.
It is believed that sage Agastya meditated here for many years. There is a temple by name Agasteshwar Mahadev.
Guptakashi (Rudraprayag district) (1319 m):
About 27 km from Agastamuni.
Guptakashi is in the northern himalayan belt within the Mandakini river valley with lush green forest.
Guptakashi has an importance like Kashi. According to 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 Guptakashi in the form of a Nandi bull. But the Pandavas pursued Him in Guptakashi. When Bhima tried to catch hold of the Nandi bull, Nandi vanished into an underground cave at Guptakashi. So the place is called Guptakashi or hidden Kashi. Later Shiva reappreared in five diiferent forms in five places which are known as Pancha Kedar.
3 km from Guptakashi is Ramgarh or Ronitpur which is believed to be the place where Aniruddha (grandson of Sri Krishna) met Usha (daughter of Banasur).
Sonprayag (Rudraprayag district) (1829 m):
About 28 km from Guptakashi.
Sonprayag is the confluence of rivers Vasuki and Mandakini.
The confluence of Sonprayag is considered to be a very holy place. Kedarnath is 19 km from here and Triyuginarayan is around 14 km.
Gaurikund (Rudraprayag district) (1982 m):
About 4 km from Sonprayag.
It is believed that Devi Parvati meditated on Lord Shiva here. Gauri Kund is a hot water pond where pilgrims take bath before entering the Gauri Devi temple. This is the last bus station. From here the 14 km trek to Kedarnath starts.
Kedarnath in Uttarakhand Himalayas (3581 m):
- An ancient pilgrimage of Shiva which is a Jyotirlinga situated in ancient Badaryashrama located in the Uttarakhand Himalayas: Kedarnath (3581 m) is an ancient pilgrimage of 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.
(The Jyotirlingas are: Somnath, Mallikarjuna, Mahakaleshwar, Omkareshwar, Vaidyanath, Bhimashankar, Rameshwaram, Nageshwar, Vishwanath, Tryambakeshwar, Kedarnath and Grishneshwar)
- Reference in Shiva Purana: Kedarnath Jyotirlinga is mentioned in Shiva Purana. 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).
- Kedarnath is located in the Rudraprayag district of Uttarakhand.
Bharatavarsha - The Land of Gods and Sages:
1. Stotras by Deity:
Initial: Ganesha -
Tridevas: Brahma - (Vishnu -
Tridevis: Saraswati -
(Lakshmi - Tulasi - Bhoomi) -
Others: Murugan -
Final: Vedas -
2. Pilgrimages by Deity:
Tridevas: Brahma - (Vishnu -
Tridevis: Saraswati -
(Parvati - Shakambari)
3. Saints: Ramakrishna - Vivekananda - Ramana - Saints
4. Sadhana: Sadhana - Penances - Others
5. Sacred Geography:
7. Religious Life:
8. Other Aspects:
Sanskrit - Arts - Music - Dance - Medicine - Architecture - Astronomy