Rudraprayag on way to Sri Kedarnath and Sri Badrinath

Rudraprayag is 34 km from Srinagar and 142 km from Rishikesh  situated at a height of 610 meters from sea level surrounded by the Himalayan  mountains it is not only one of the Panch Prayag  ( Five confluence ) or Sangam  with the holy river Alaknanda in Garhwal region of Uttarkhand in Himalayas , the river Mandakini meets the Alaknanda here but also got the religious importance  for the pilgrims travelling to Sri Kedarnath and Sri Badrinath on Yatra Chardham. It is from here the road bifurcate and one goes to Guptkashi then to Gaurikund from here the trek to Sri Kedarnath starts while the other road goes to Joshimath then to Sri Badrinath, in between is Gobind Ghat from here trek to Ghangharia , Valley of Flowers and Hemkund / Lokpal starts

Rudra Prayag

This place is named after the Lord Shiva who appeared here in form of “Rudra” after the Rishi Narad worshiped him and asked for his teachings to learn and master the Music on Rudra Veena ,  the rock where he learned music is called the Narad Shila. Legend is that Lord Shiva meditated here before leaving for Sri Kedarnath the Koteshwar temple on the banks of Alaknanda are the cave temples where the images of Lord are in natural formations of rock (Koti is 10 million, Koteshwar means God of 10 million). It is also said that the  Sati consort of Lord Shiva reborn as Parvati daughter of Himalaya  after she immolated her self in the Yagnakund performed by her father and she could not tolerate the disrespect to her husband the Lord Shiva , Parvati dedicated herself  to be his wife again and to achieve this she performed Tapasya ( Penance ) here. There is a temple dedicated to Ma Chamunda  wife of lord Rudra is worshiped here. It is also said that the Lord Shiva performed the Tandava Nritya  the source of the cycle of creation, preservation and dissolution.

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Yatra Chardham – Hardwar

Yatra Chardham pilgrimage in Gharwal Himalayas Uttrakhand is a devout wish of a Sanatan Hindu since 8th century the establishment of temples or Dhams by the Adi Shankarcharya to make the Sanatan Dharma more strong which was loosing its prominence because of influence from the Jainism and Buddhism which originated from India and had patronage from many kingdoms in the Indian sub continent also because of the strict disciplined form of Sanatan Dharma described by the Brahamins, all these places were rediscovered and reconstructed  by him  which we see as on today, one wonders as to how a man could have reached here and these temples were constructed at  the places with limited resources and the area which are accessible only for about 5 months in a year . Most of the pilgrims visits the main shrines and ignore the other places which are equally important and part of our Purans and Mythology, I will be introducing my readers to these places and associated legends with it.

Hardwar – Har Ki Pauri

Hardwar Har-ki Pauri

This is the place visited by all the pilgrims , a holy dip in the river Ganges here is considered to be absolving of all the sins, legend is, as a result of Churning of Sea by the Asuras and Devs, the Amrit ( Ambrosia) came out and there was a dispute as to who should have it, in between the Garuda took the urn  from the battle field and flew away, the four drops fell on earth at places Ujjain, Nasik, Prayag (Allahabad) and Hardwar , it is at this place in Hardwar the devotes take a bath on the banks of holy river Ma Ganga.

Chandi Devi Temple

It is the most ancient temple of India didicated to Chandi or Chandika , it is said that Ma Parvati assumed the  form of Chandi as a attractive beautiful women to attract the Demon brothers Shumbh and Nishumbh who wanted to marry her, she had to kill the demon chieftains Chanda and Munda before killing the two brothers, after the battle was over the Ma Chandi took rest at this place known as Neel Parvat , near by there are two peaks known as the Demons Shumbha and Nishumbha peaks, here  is another  temple dedicated to Ma Anjana mother of lord Hanuman .

Mansa Devi Temple

It is said that Chandi Devi and Mansa Devi are two forms of Ma Parvati and the temples didicated to each one is always be in close vicinity . The Mansa Devi ( Wish) temple is across the river Ganga on a Bilwa Parvat , Mansa Devi is sister of Nag devta Vasuki and it is a form of Shakti emerged out of the Muni (Sage) Kashapya. It is a Sidh Peeth and people tie a thread to get their wishes fulfilled and return to untie it .

Maya Devi Temple

The ancient name of Hardwar is Mayapuri , the Maya Devi is the Adhisthatri deity of Hardwar , it is said that the Naval and heart of godess Sati fell here and it is a Shakti peeth. It is one of the oldest temple built about one thousand years ago, The goddes Maya with three heads and four arms is in the center the other deites are Ma Kamakhya on the right and Ma Kali on the left .

Saptrishi Ashram

It is said that seven Rishis (sages)  Kashyapa, Vashisht, Atri, Vishwamitra, Jamadagi, Bharadwaja and Gautam. meditated here , the river Ganga never wanted to distrub the meditating Rishis thus splited into seven streams .

It is from here the Yatra Chardham starts with a holy dip at river Ma Ganga and ends with the Aarti at Har Ki Pauri.

 

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