Purushottam Lord Rama, the emperor of Sapta Sindhu and his three brothers Lakshman, Bharat and Shatrughna were meditating. The lush green mountains, the chirping birds, the gurgling hymn of the Bhagirathi and Alakananda and the very presence of Lord Rama, the incarnate of Vishnu made the aura heavenly and special. Lord Rama and Prince Lakshman had defeated and slain Ravana the demon King of Lanka and had saved humanity from the ghastly demonic aggression of the asuras. The King of Ayodhya and his brothers were praying for their beloved departed father Emperor Dasaratha. The brothers could hardly figure out what emotions were going through their elder brother Lord Rama. He looked peaceful and deeply meditated. His eternal smile was missing.
Devaprayag – The Holy Confluence of the Bhagirathi and the Alakananda
Well readers, in this episode of mytravelnama, I am going to narrate you our recent trip to one of the most holy places in India – Devaprayag, the confluence of rivers Bhagirathi and Alakananda. This is the place from where river Ganga flows down traversing thousands of miles before meeting the Bay of Bengal at the Ganga Sagar. Several ancient texts and recent books had spoken highly about the importance of Devaprayag (Deva meaning God; Prayag meaning confluence) in Hindu religion. Devaprayag is the gateway to Kedarnath and Badrinath – the heavenly temple abodes of Lord Shiva and Lord Vishnu. We thought nothing could have been a better destination than Devaprayag during this year’s autumn vacation.
Lakshman Jhula – Unplugged
How it happened
The trip to Devaprayag was not initially on the cards when we left Delhi for Lakshaman Jhula via Haridwar. We dropped into Haridwar well before 12 noon taking on the early morning Shatabdi Express from New Delhi. The cab which we had booked the day before by phone was already waiting for us at Gate No. 6 of the station and it hardly took an hour to reach our destination Hotel Ishan at Lakshman Jhula.
Lakshman Jhula View from Hotel Ishan
We fell in love with Lakshman Jhula at the very first sight of it which was the strongest attraction of our Hotel. We were absolutely spellbound and mesmerized by the very first view of Ma Ganga and the magnificent Lakshman Jhula at the east facing open lobby of our room. Ma Ganga was gracefully flowing down towards Rishikesh.
Evening in Lakshman Jhula
The murmurs of her Godly waters and the aura of the green mountains was truly captivating. A couple of lone tourists on Lakshman Jhula were feeding a shoal of busy fishes way down in the river. A small group of exhausted rafters were rowing downstream. The lethargy in their tired arms was visible. For us a cup of hot coffee made the mood for the early evening. And this was the opportune moment when I explored on Google maps that we were only 2 hours away from Devaprayag.
The 65 Km Journey to Devaprayag from Lakshman Jhula (Courtesy: Google Maps, 2021)
The Road Trip next day
We started sharp at 10 am. Entering the outskirts of Lakshman Jhula through NH 7 was mostly hassle free as there was hardly any tourist commotion in around Tapovan. It was a 65 Km North-East Climb with the mighty Ganges on our right. I thought that considering the mountain roads the car ride would take more than 3 hours to reach our destination which was surprisingly not the case (as it hardly took 1 hour and 50 mins to reach Devaprayag). But to my surprise the road was absolutely gorgeous, spacious, well-maintained inspite of the several mountainous turns and twists. I had to admit that most of the highways in this part of Uttarakhand were well maintained whether it was the Haridwar-Dehradun highway or the NH 7 on which were now travelling.
The Road Trip to Devaprayag (From our YouTube Channel)
The outskirts of Lakshman Jhula were green, calm and had the surprising aura of solitude inspite of having so many resorts and adventure camps around. There were several SUVs and jeeps carrying huge inflated rubber rafts on their tops parked on the right side of NH 7. Tourists are mostly inclined to have a taste of adventure rafting rides on the shallow rapids of the Ganges.
The Rapids on River Ganga at the outskirts of Lakshman Jhula
We crossed the Neelkanth Bridge Road to our right (4.7 Km from Lakshaman Jhula) and climbed further up in the North-East direction. The highway was running exactly parallel to the Ganges. As we were climbing higher, the smooth flow of the river was bumped now and again by the rapids on which the river water frothed, jumped and rushed downstream. The youthfulness, the vigor of the green waters of the Ganges was so adorable that I lost track of what else were around us on the highway.
Valley View from the Highway
River Ganga View: On our Way to Devaprayag
The climb became more difficult from Tota Ghati. The Ganges disappeared way down beyond the deep gorges. The views around us were breathtaking. It was difficult to fathom the beauty of lush green mountains cut down by the deep gorges of the river Ganga.
The river was looking like a narrow stream
The river was looking like a narrow stream way down far below the highway. We captured some memorable snaps of the amazing views that unfolded around us with a new turn in the highway.
Breathtaking View of the Gorge way down
A Memorable shot
We reached Devaprayag by 11.50 am and the first aerial view of the landscape ahead was an absolute wonder.
Devaprayag: Wow the view was really mesmerizing indeed
Devaprayag – The view
The very first view of Devaprayag from NH 7 mesmerized all my senses. The green waters of Bhagirathi flowing from the North met with the greyish Alakananda flowing from the North-East direction. It is from here the Holy Ganga flowed southwards leaping and dancing through the turbulent rapids towards Rishikesh and Haridwar. There was a heavenly calmness everywhere – except the hymn of the youthful river waters.
Our Road Trip Landscapes
There were hardly any vehicles around us on the highway. The far-off lush green mountains bore the pinnacle of serenity. A lone kite was shrieking and hovering its way up over the river gorge. Perhaps it was also enjoying the gorgeous aura of Mother Nature at her full exuberance. There was pure Divinity what we were witnessing right in front of us.
River Ganga flowing towards Rishikesh from Devaprayag
Trek towards the Sangam Ghat
Our car was parked near the Devaprayag market. We walked into the narrow paved market lane lying to our right taking us down towards the Sangam Ghat. The market was populated mostly by local buyers who were busy shopping for the upcoming festivity. We had to cross a narrow stream and suddenly heard the loud murmurs of the Bhagirathi hiding behind a turn.
The Holy Confluence of River Bhagirathi and River Alakananda
The river was an absolute beauty which exploded into its full glory the moment we stepped on the hanging Bhagirathi bridge. This bridge took us to the other side of the gorge which further led to Sangam Ghat. To the tight side of the bridge we had the first view of the Sangam Ghat with the greyish waters of the Alakananda joining the green Bhagirathi. Together they flowed down the gorge as the Holy Ganga. The left side of the Bhagirathi bridge showed the flow of the river from the North.
The Bhagirathi River flowing into Devaprayag from the North (left hand view from Bhagirathi Bridge, Devaprayag)
View of the Holy Confluence (Right side view from the Bhagirathi Bridge, Devaprayag)
I wondered the Holiest of all rivers in our country – the Ganga had been flowing through these gorges for centuries – perhaps even well before the very dawn of the human civilization, enriching our culture, mesmerizing our senses and teaching lessons of divinity and bliss which had made our country one of the greatest civilizations in the history of mankind. This is why Devaprayag had been so dear to the Gods, dear to Lord Rama, dear to the Maha Rishis. Mankind had always been blessed with the spell of sheer divinity of these Holy Waters. Prayers from the souls are heard by the supreme Almighty.
The Bhagirathi River, Devaprayag
People come here for penance and seek forgiveness. A holy dip in the Sangam waters ensures emancipation. Lord Rudra and Lord Vishnu – who are believed to be creators of this Universe had blessed sages and devotees with peace, happiness and prosperity. Lord Rama – the mightiest of all emperors of the Sapta Sindhu, the God of Virtues, Knowledge & Courage had loved this place. We could feel the aura of His divine presence. We could feel the divine aura of Lord Rudra and the blessings bestowed by Mother Ganga.
The Bhagirathi Bridge
We crossed the Bhagirathi Bridge and landed up on the other side of the gorge. The Devaprayag market was extended on this side of the river and it led us to the Sangam Ghat.
The Sangam Ghat
We had to climb a fair number of stairs before we reached a paved plinth bordering the Sangam Sthal. To our left was the Alakananda in her youthful vigor flowing all the way from the mountains of Badrinath. The greenish waters of Bhagirathi could be clearly distinguished from Alakananda which was greyish.
The Sangam Ghat, Devaprayag
River Alakananda flowing into Devaprayag
The Bhagirathi meeting Alakananda at Devaprayag Sangam Sthal
The gurgling cacophony of the river waters and the loud shrieks of the chilled gush of winds blowing from the distant snow-capped peaks of the Himalayas made it difficult for us to hear our own words. The Ganga emerging from the confluence of these two mighty rivers flowed gently through the gorge. There was a heavenly calmness in her waters – it appeared as if Ma Ganga was there standing in her omnipotent form to bless her devotees.
The Ganga flowing down towards Rishikesh from Devaprayag sangam Sthal
A lone Pandit Ji was chanting the Holy mantra and a family was offering prayers at the Sangam sthal. The hymn of the mantra chants created a spell which immersed my senses. I was lost in this Divine aura. I was mesmerized.
The Busy Mahasheers (Mahashols) of River Bhagirathi
The Mahsheers of River Bhagirathi
Two local kids sprang out from above to the ghat at my right. They were carrying a plastic packet containing small cubicles made from wheat. The moment one of them sprinkled one or two cubes in the green waters of the Bhagirathi – out of nowhere a shoal of atleast fifty huge mahsheers or mahasheers (also known as Mahashols) appeared from the depths of the river water. The fishes were jumping in ecstasy and were quickly devouring the food offered to them.
The Mahsheers of Bhagirathi
Being an ardent lover of aquarium – it was a sight I had never seen in any mountain river. I wondered how come such big fishes survived in these ice cold freezing turbulent waters. Mahsheers found in upper streams of the Ganga are nowadays considered as an endangered fish species and seeing them by person in their very natural habitat was a sheer pleasure. Today many natural species of fishes and aquatic life are endangered by human encroachment and increasing pollution levels in river waters. Time has come to preserve the natural habitats of these rare species and protect them from extinction.
Staircase leading towards Raghunath Ji Temple, Devaprayag
Epilogue: The Sangam of Mother Nature & Divinity
Devaprayag is the Sangam of Mother Nature and the Divinity. Our culture, the rich heritage of our country and the cradle of the Hindu Civilization had shaped on the Holy banks of Ma Ganga. Devaprayag had remained the gateway to the Heavenly abode of the Gods and it would continue to remain the same for ages to come. The holy waters of the last of the five Prayags of Alakananda at Devaprayag would remain forever to bless mankind with the virtues of truthfulness, justice, peace, prosperity. It would inspire many a soul to adore the principles of “Dharma and Karma” for achieving salvation in the earthly days of our living.
How to Reach Devaprayag
- New Delhi to Haridwar by train (Recommended Shatabdi Express: Scheduled arrival at 11.26 am, Haridwar)
- Travel to Rishikesh from Haridwar by Cab or State Transport Bus/Take a Cab directly to Lakshman Jhula
- Night Stay at Lakshman Jhula (Hotels are available nearby Lakshman Jhula or Tapovan): Recommended stay: Hotel Ishan – A Riverside Retreat
- Next Day Trip to Devaprayag by Cab (65 Km journey; Fare Around: Rs 3000/- as per November 2021 rates) & same day return to Lakshman Jhula