The Himalayan mountains are divided into various mountain ranges, Garhwal Himalayas, Central Himalayas, Annapurna ranges and so on. They stretch from Jammu up to Nepal. The Himalayas are the abode of Gods and innumerable saints contemplate on the Lord at this place.
“PRAYAG” means confluence of rivers. Panch Prayag means “Five Confluences” referring to the five confluences of the holy river Alaknanda with Dhauli Ganga, Nandakini, Pindar, Mandakini and Bhagirathi . The rivers join at Vishnu Prayag, NandaPrayag, KarnaPrayag, RudraPrayag and Devprayag respectively.
From Rishikesh, Devprayag is the first destination among Panch Prayags. Devprayag is 73 kms uphill and will take 3 hours by car. Devprayag is the most important of all prayags where rivers Bhagirathi, Alaknanda & the mythological river Saraswati (flowing underground) meet to form Ganga. The Alaknanda flows from the left, and is an eye-catching shade of light blue whereas the Bhagirathi light shade of green. However, in the changing weather, the colours seem to alternate. The Alaknanda has its origins in Alkalananda glaciers at Alkapuri, beyond bhadrinath ,where the demigod Kuber settled. Alaknanda is calm and flows gently, whereas Bhagirathi river flows with much vigor .
When the two merge and flow as one, the colour of Gangaji turns into a beautiful emerald. From here one road goes by the side of river Bhagirathi to Yomunotri ( via Tehri ) and other road along the side of river Alaknanda goes to Kirtinagarg, Srinagar and Kedarnath.
There is a small suspended bridge that connects the prayag to the river bank where the highway (more like a lane) is situated. We have to walk a few hundred meters down the hill, in a narrow lane, to reach the prayag .
Proceeding further we climb 106 steps and enter Lord Sri Raghunathji temple.
This Srivaishnava divya desam is glorified by Azhwars
as “KANDUM ENNUM KADINAGAR” .
There are 4 Sri Vaishnava divya desams in the Himalayas itself. “Kandam ennum Kadinagar” popularly known as Dev Prayag is one among them. Periya Azhwar has glorified the LORDSHIPS here with divya prabhanda pasurams . Azhwar recollects the pastimes enacted by the Supreme Lord as Trivikraman, Raman, Krishnan in his pasurams. Azhwar elaborates how the Lord who is “Purushottaman” (the best among purushas) approached Bali for 3 measures of land and grew gigantically in size to measure the Universe. While doing so, when the Lord’s lotus feet reached Satyalokam, Brahma washed the feet with water from his kamandalam which became the Ganges. ParamaShivan the foremost Vaishnavite adorned this water on his head and released the flow of water in different directions. Referring to Lord Sri Rama avatar, Azhwar says that the Lord who disfigured sister’s nose and brother’s head (referring to Soorpanaka and Ravana) resides here. Referring to Lord Krishnavatar, he cites how child Krishna killed Kuvalayapeetam, wrestlers and finally killed Kamsa now resides at this place. The Lord who holds various weapons like conch, sudarshna chakram, gada, saarngam-the bow, kadgam-the sword to reassure the devotees of HIS protection doesn’t have any work with these weapons as because of holy bath in Ganges, the sinners get cleansed of their innumerable sins. So these weapons are like ornaments to the Lord. Peria Azhwar declares that the one who recites these pasurams will be absolved of all sins by the “Sreepaadha theertham of Lord Vishnu” which is known as Ganges and will be blessed to render service to the Lotus feet of the Supreme Lord , Vishnu on the banks of Ganges at this divya kshetram. The context says when Azhwar was glorifying the Lordships here the kali purusha quietly moved away ….
The Moolavar ( main deity ) is worshipped as Neelamega Perumal , Purushothaman, .The locals worship the Lord as Sri Raghunathjee and the goddess vimala, pundarikavalli thayar .The holy theertham is ganges herself .It is believed that to atone the brahmahathi dosha committed in killing the demon Ravana , Lord Rama came to this place for doing penance .
The place where Lord Rama did penance is in the temple premises and is worshipped as “RAM GADDI”(the place where Lord Rama meditated).On special festivals such as Vijayadasami, Basant Panchami, Sriramanavami the utsavar deity arrives at this holy spot and give darshan to the devotees assembled . This temple is surrounded by hills on three sides. The hill in front is known as Dasaratanchal, right side is known as Narasimachal, the temple itself is located on Giridhachal.
There is a banyan tree near the temple which is supposed to be immortal . The Priest clarified that the Trinities-Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva reside in this tree and hence it is considered to be very sacred. It is also believed that during Pralayam which Lord takes out of his own will , he will rests on this banyan leaf as sung by Thiruppan Azhwar
“AALAMAA MARATHINMEL ORU BALAGANAAYE
The Priest further informed that Anna dhanam is of great significance in this temple .
The Main deity (Moolavar) gives darshan is in Nindra Thirukkolam ( Standing pose ) with chathurbhujam . He is the Perumal described by Periazwar in his pasurams but locally He is worshiped as “Raghunathji”. He is seen holding Panchaayudhams and his height is more than 6 and a half feet.
A bow and arrow which doesn’t form part of the Moolavar is kept near the Lord. To His right, Thayar who is addressed as Goddess Sita graces the devotees. Everyday Abhishekam (Thirumanjanam) with sacred Ganges and milk is performed to the Lord at 6 AM in the morning .Lord is adorned with new clothes every day and in a specific colour .Interestingly the priests also wear the same colour dress adorned by Lordships.
||COLOUR OF VASTRAM
Detailed Travelogue to Saptha Bhadri is appended in the below mentioned post
video credits : sri dhanya
Adiyen Ramanuja dasan