Panch Prayag is the confluence of five sacred rivers of Uttarakhand. The confluence of Alaknanda, Dhauliganga, Nandakini, Pindar, Mandakini and Bhagirathi rivers is called Prayag (Sangam). All these rivers originate in the Himalayas and meet at different points, forming five confluences considered particularly sacred and auspicious in Hinduism. Panch Prayag has been an essential part of Hindu mythology. Panch Prayag in Uttarakhand reflects human devotion towards rivers, where hundreds of devotees dip to atone for their sins. Do not connect them with Prayag (Prayagraj Uttar Pradesh). While the confluence of the Ganga, Yamuna and Saraswati rivers occurs in Prayagraj, the confluence of Alaknanda, Dhauliganga, Nandakini, Pindar, Mandakini and Bhagirathi rivers occurs in Uttarakhand. Skanda Purana also mentions these five Prayags, which are seen flowing from the snow-clad peaks.
Image Credit – Ajay Chauhan
Alaknanda River (source-Satopanth Glacier) coming from Badrinath meets the Dhauliganga River (source-Niti Valley) at this place, due to which this confluence is called Vishnuprayag. It is 31 km from Prayag Badrinath and 13 km from Joshimath. According to Hindu mythology, sage Narada performed penance to please Lord Vishnu. As a result of his devotion, Lord Vishnu appeared before him, after which the place was named Vishnuprayag. This Prayag is the main gate of Badrinath, one of the Char Dhams of India.
Image Credit – Deveshwari Bisht
Nandprayag is the second Prayag in Panchprayag, located 70 km from Vishnuprayag and 18 km from Gopeshwar. This Prayag is the confluence of the Alaknanda and Nandakini rivers (source-Chorabari Glacier) coming from Vishnuprayag. The place is named after Lord Krishna’s father, Nanda, who completed his Mahayagya here in the latter part of his life. Major attractions around Nandprayag include Chandika Devi Temple and Gopal Ji Temple. The place is known for its sanctity and is one of the starting points for trekking and mountaineering.
Alaknanda and Pindar rivers (Source – Pindari Glacier) meet at Karnaprayag, which is 20 km away from Nandprayag. It is the third Prayag in the Panch Prayag of Uttarakhand. Karnaprayag is named after the famous character of Mahabharata, Karna, who did penance to Lord Surya by staying in the shelter of Goddess Uma. To the west of Sangam is the penance place of Danveer Karna, and to the east is the temple of Goddess Uma, one of the major attractions near Karanprayag.
Rudraprayag, located 33 km from Karnaprayag, is the confluence of the Mandakini River (source – Chorabari Glacier) and Alaknanda River. This Prayag has been beautified in the name of Rudra, the form of Lord Shiva. This Prayag is also called the meeting place of Lord Badri and Lord Kedar because this place is the meeting place of river Alaknanda from Badrinath and river Mandakini from Kedarnath. According to Kedarkhand, Maharishi Narada worshiped Lord Shiva standing on one leg at Rudraprayag and was pleased with him; Lord Shiva appeared before Maharishi Narad in the form of Rudra.
Devprayag is the last and main Prayag of all Prayags, about 66 km from Rudraprayag and 72 km from Rishikesh. This place is the confluence of the Bhagirathi River, originating from Gangotri Dham and the Alaknanda River. It’s interesting; Since the Alaknanda River was bigger and deeper than the rest of the tributaries of Prayag, it was called the Alaknanda River even after the confluence. But at the Devprayag confluence, the Bhagirathi and Alaknanda rivers are equally deep and large. Hence the river came to be known as “Ganga” after Devprayag.
Haridwar → Rishikesh (26.8 km) → Devprayag (72 km) → Rudraprayag (65 km) → Karnaprayag (32 km) → Nandprayag (20 km) → Vishnuprayag (67 km)
Panch Prayag refers to the five confluence of rivers in Uttarakhand. These confluences are considered sacred in Hinduism. The names of the Panch Prayags, along with the rivers found at each place, are as follows:
Vishnuprayag: This confluence is formed by meeting the Alaknanda River and Dhauliganga River.
Nandprayag: Here, the Alaknanda River meets the Nandakini River.
Karnprayag: This place is the confluence of the Alaknanda river and the Pindar River.
Rudraprayag: The confluence of the Alaknanda River and Mandakini River takes place at Rudraprayag.
Devprayag: It is the most important of the Panch Prayags. It marks the confluence of the Alaknanda River and the Bhagirathi River, forming the Ganges (Ganga) River.
No, Devprayag and Rudraprayag are not the same. They are two distinct locations along the course of the rivers in Uttarakhand.
Devprayag is the confluence of the Alaknanda River and the Bhagirathi River. It is considered the most sacred of the Panch Prayag because it marks the beginning of the Ganges (Ganga) River. On the other hand, Rudraprayag is another confluence of rivers in Uttarakhand. It is formed by merging the Alaknanda River and the Mandakini River.
Devprayag is the deepest Prayag in Uttarakhand's Panch Prayag (five confluences). This Prayag is much deeper than other Prayags. By the way, no proof of the depth of Devprayag has yet been known. But this Prayag is believed to be 30 to 40 meters deep, making it bigger than other Prayags.
Prayag is a term used in India to refer to rivers' confluence or meeting points, particularly in a sacred context. The word "Prayag" is derived from Sanskrit, where "pra" means "before" or "in front of," and "yag" refers to a ritual or sacred offering.
Prayag is significant in Hinduism as these confluences are considered holy and auspicious. They are often associated with religious ceremonies, rituals, and pilgrimage sites. The merging of rivers is seen as a symbol of spiritual and divine union.
The best time to visit the Panch Prayag in Uttarakhand is during the summer and early autumn months, generally from April to October. During this period, the weather is pleasant and suitable for travel and outdoor activities.