"Devaprayaga" means "Godly Confluence" in Sanskrit. As per our scriptures, Devaprayaga is the sacred event of merging two heavenly rivers, Alakananda and Bhagirathi, to form the holy Ganges. In fact it is the place from where the river gets its name “Ganga” which flows throughout the northern part of Bharat and amalgamates with Bay of Bengal at “Ganga Sagar”.
Devprayag is one of the five sacred confluences in the Himalayan region and is an important place of pilgrimage for devout Hindus.
There are twelve Alvars supreme devotees of Lord Vishnu, who had popularisied Vaishnavism. The outpours of devotion in the form of songs on the Lord Vishnu by these Alvars are known as “Divya Prabandham”. There are 108 temples revered in their songs that are classified as “Divya Desam”. In the state of Uttarakhand, there are three Divya Desam, namely Badrinath, Nandaprayag (also known as Joshi Mutt or Tiruppirudi), and Devprayag (also known as TirukkaNDam or Kadinagar).
The Devprayag is surrounded by three peaks, named as Giddhanchal Parvat, Dashrathanchal Parvat, and Narsinghancal Parvat. Giddhanchal Parvat is above Raghunath mandir. Narsinghanchal Parvat is where Sri Raghunath mandir is located and Dashrathanchal Parvat is on right side of the "Sangam".
Devprayag is a small village, and mainly consists of families who are conducting pujas in Bhadrinath. When this shrine is closed during winter, the Pundits come here to stay. These pundits were brought here by Sri Adi Shankaracharya from south for performing pujas at the holy shrine of Bhadrinath. These families live near Sri Raghunath mandir, the shrine in this village.
Sri Raghunath mandir was constructed by the Maharaja of Tehri. It was damaged by an earthquake in 1803 was renovated then. The present temple had been reconstruted by Daulat Rao Scindia.
This simple and beautiful temple set in the background of River Alakananda on one side and Bhagirathi on the other side for Lord Maha Vishnu is a sacred place for the followers of Sanadhana Dharma, especially for those who follow Vaishnavet philosophy. The main deity of this temple is Lord Maha Vishnu named as Raghunath, Puroshothaman. These names denote Sri Rama.
One has to climb nearly fifty steps to reach the mandir prangan. The tall towering Gopuram is seen from the long distance itself. The temple complex is very simple and small. After offering prayers to Garuda one can enter the main hall to have dharshan of Lord Raghunathji. Sri Rama alias Sri Raghunath is in standing posture granting blessings to His devotees. On the right side the shrine of Sri Narashima is present. When in open courtyard one could see Sri Rama’s throne. Any rightful wishes of the devotee when placed in the presence of Sri Rama’s throne is heard and awarded the blessings of Sri Rama.
There is a pepple tree in the complex where it is said that Sri Rama had meditated. It is also here that Sri Rama had perfomed ‘haven’ to get rid of the sins accured during war at Lanka, and ‘tharpan’ to his parents. Therefore devotees consider this kshetra sacred to perform rituals for their deceased parents.
As stated earlier Devprayag is one of the Divya Desams and is known as Tirukandam, Kadinagar etc. Sri Periyalvar who is one of the twelve Alvars had sung eleven pasurams [poem in praise] in praise of the Lord of this kshetra. While he had sung in praise of the Lord, he had described the beauty of the rivers that is flowing here in extraordinary words.
In his words Ganges flows mixed with kondrai [flower] blossoms that decorate the jaṭa of Shiva who shines with goodness and Thulasi that adorns the feet of Narayaṇan. It is carrying shining diamonds from the hands of the four-headed Brahman onto the feet of the four-armed Vishnu to stay in the jaṭa of Sankaran. It descends from the Himalaya mountains and flows to the shore of the great sea, shaking the mountains with its roaring that spreads all over the earth. Ganges whose fragrant water flows mixed with Karpaga flowers [a celestial flower], the sweet-smelling sandal paste of young girls who bathe in it and the fragrant musth of the Indra’s wonderful elephant Airavadam. The banks of the Ganges where the fragrance of yagna spreads on both shores and their smoke continously rises in long streams. The flood of the Ganges flows shaking the mountains with sound, and undermining the earth. The roaring river makes the trees on the banks fall and then joins the ocean stirring up its water.
These words of Sri Periyalvar is true even today, one has to stay in the sangamam to realise how true the words of this Great devotee is. One will be mesmerised by the sound of these two rivers and the sight of the mountains around.
Devprayag is from where the river gets its name Ganga. A nose like pointed projection is the tip where these two rivers meet. When one looks at it from a distance it is a wonderful sight. The sight of the two different colors of the rivers Alaknanda and Bhagirathi and the third color of Ganga will be never be forgotten in one’s life. One has to come down nearly fifty/ sixty steps to have bath in the sangam of these two rivers. The bathing ghat is built with multiple levels to accommodate different water levels during the monsoon.
At the bathing ghat one could see there are two caves on both the sides of the steps through which one had reached the bathing point. One had been marked as Surya Gufa and the other as Hanuman Gufa.
Sri Rama had visited this kshetra and there is an impression of Lord’s lotus feet in this sangam. It is believed that Sri Rama had performed tharpan for His parents here, and hence people consider it auspicious to perform rutials for their forefathers here. There is a place in the Raghunath temple where Sri Rama had meditated. Devotee’s wishes submited in the place where Sri Rama had meditated is sure to come true.
Just near Sri Ganga Maa temple in the sangam, there is a small gufa (cave) in the banks of Sangam named “Sri Hanuman Gufa”. It is said that Lord Hanuman had come here and meditated upon Sri Rama, after taking holy bath in this prayag. On the top of this rock, a deity of Sri Hanuman is embossed. Devotees after holy bath in the sangam, offer their prayers to Sri Ganga Maa, PadmaPadham (Lord Rama’s feet) and then to Sri Hanuman before going to Sri Rangunath temple to offer their prayers to Lord Sri Raghunathji [Sri Rama].
Sri Raghunathji is sure to give His blessings in abundance to those who offer prayers to Sri Ganga Maa, Sri Hanuman at this holy sangam of Devprayag.
Ed [Dec 2015]
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