Getting up at Srinagar was one of the best, because after almost a week of getting up as early as 3 am (sometimes even earlier), it was great to wake up leisurely and bask in the early morning sun, watching Alaknanda flow by, and indulge in laziness.
After a good breakfast, we started our journey. By the end of the day, we were expecting to be at Haridwar. On the way, we would visit Devprayag and Rishikesh. Then it would be the time to say goodbye to the Himalayas.
Devaprayag is the holy place where Alaknanda and Bhagirathi meet and from then on, the river is called Ganga. The bus stopped at a higher point and we had to walk some distance down to see the point of confluence. The way there was through a market. It was delightful to see the vibrant market. At the confluence, we can clearly see the two streams of the rivers. Alaknanda, the more wider, sediment laden, fast flowing, coming from the left and Bhagirathi, the slightly narrower, blueish-green, and crystal clear from the right. The meeting of the rivers is heavenly to watch. For some distance, we can see the different colours of the rivers, even after they have merged. They flow together but apart, if you know what I mean! It is only after a few kilometres that the colour of Ganga becomes uniform.
It is possible to take a dip at the confluence. Brother-in-law did that. I simply stood and marveled at the beauty of the hills rising above, and rivers mixing up and forming Ganga. I am grateful that I have been given this opportunity to see this beauty.
Devaprayag is not the only Prayag in Uttarakhand. It is a part of the Panch Prayag. Prayag means confluence or sangam, meeting of rivers. Alaknanda meets 4 other rivers before meeting Bhagirathi at Devaprayag. Each of these confluences is a Prayag.
We did see some of these from afar in our journey through the mountains. These tributaries of Alaknanda form the head waters of Ganga. Originating from different glaciers high up in the Himalayas, they feed the Ganges with pure, life-giving waters. All the water that we see of Ganga, be it at Haridwar, Kanpur or Varanasi come from these beautiful rivers of the Himalayas. Himalayas is as much a giver of life to all of India as are these rivers.
- Vishnuprayag – Here Alaknanda meets Dhauliganaga. Sage Narada is said to have prayed here.
- Nandaprayag – Here Alaknanda meets Nandakini
- Karnaprayag – Here Alaknanda meets Pindar. The Mahabharata warrior Karna had prayed to the Sun God here.
- Rudraprayag – Here Alaknanda meets Mandakini. During the flash floods of 2013, the rushing waters of Mandakini has caused severe damage to the temple, and banks here.
- Devaprayag – Here Alaknanda meets Bhagirathi.
Of course, there is Prayagraj (formerly Allahabad) where Ganga, Yamuna and Saraswathi meet.
From here we started downhill again and after lunch at a local dhaba, reached Rishikesh. Let us leave that for the next post, shall we?