Uttarakhand often referred to as the Devbhumi, is among one of those regions which captivate us with its mesmerizing beauty and divine sites. Blessed with beautiful hill stations, snow-capped peaks, quaint villages, World Heritage sites like “Valley of Flower” and “Nanda Devi Biosphere Reserve”, conservation parks, waterfalls, holy rivers and serene lakes, this northern state in the Himalayan region is one of the picturesque destinations in the country.
While there are so many enthralling spots in this region that can catch the eye of the wanderlust, the river confluence of Alaknanda and Bhagirathi i.e. DEVPRAYAG is nothing short of a glimpse of heaven. The green-tinged Bhagirathi river originates from Gaumukh, which is located at the base of Gangotri Glacier, whereas the sediment-laden Alaknanda has its source from Satopanth Glacier. Both rivers mingled at Devprayag along with Saraswati (an underground river in Hinduism) to be known as river Ganges which thereafter flows between Tehri Garhwal and Pauri Garhwal region of the state. The same river flows in Rishikesh, Haridwar and then enters in Uttar Pradesh.
I have been to Devprayag many times but my last visit was really unique as that time apart from Prayag visit I also got the opportunity to visit the Nakshatra Vedhshala (an Observatory), established in 1946 by late Acharaya Pt, Chakradhar Joshi (a scholar in Astronomy and Astrology). It was a weekend trip during the month of October with pleasant weather throughout the journey. We started early morning from Delhi, around 5:30 AM by road, and reached Rishikesh at around 12 PM. Later, we enjoyed a short visit of Laxman Jhula and quick lunch at a local restaurant. Devprayag is about 70 km from Rishikesh, so we continue on the main Badrinath road. The road condition was good but some stretch was really pathetic due to ongoing road work. We reached Devprayag by around 6 PM in the evening. Our stay was in a simple hotel with a view of Sangam from the balcony of the room. Being tired, we finished our supper early and fall asleep quickly.
The next morning, we visited the temple of Raghunathji, built of massive uncemented stones, pyramidal in form, and capped by a white cupola with a golden ball and spire. Thereafter we continue to the Sangam point and spend around 15 minutes overlooking the beautiful surrounding. This place, specially Raghunath Ji temple, and Sangam point is visited by a large number of pilgrims every year. Besides this, visitors can visit sacred places like Brahm Kund, Vasisht Kund, the shrine of Bhairva, Durga, etc along with Mata Bhuvneshwari temple at nearby village Pundal followed by Dhaneshwar Mahadev temple, Danda Nagaraja temple, and Chandrabadni temple.
After the Sangam visit, we visited the home of the late Acharya, Pt. Chakradhar Joshi who established Nakshatra Vedh Shala. This is located on a mountain called Dashrathanchal. The Observatory is well equipped with two telescopes, ancient equipment like Surya Ghanti, Dhruv Ghanti, and many books to support research in astronomy. It also contains numerous manuscripts collected from various parts of the country. Presently Shri Prabhakar Joshi and Acharya Shri Bhaskar Joshi (Guruji) are in charge and caretakers of the observatory. We met both of them along with other family members. The place is really interesting and calm. I remember there was a water tank filled with colorful fishes and a kitchen garden full of local veggies and trees. The observatory has been visited by many famous people such as Shri Hemwati Nandan Bahuguna, Shri Guljari Lal Nanda, Actress Asha Parekh, Ambassador of various countries, and other renowned personalities. By around 12:30 PM, we left the place for our return journey.
Though it was a small trip but the memories are bigger, which always motivate to visit and experience the enthralling beauty again and again.
If you want to read my previous article then click here