Dev Prayag is the confluence of the two holy rivers, the Bhagirathi and the Alaknanda to evolve as the mighty Ganges, the holiest river for Hindus. It is the last prayag (confluence) on the way from Badrinath. Beyond this confluence, the river is known as Ganges till it meets the sea in the Bay of Bengal.
At Devprayag the colour of the water from Alakananda is blue and crystal clear, while the colour of the water in Bhagirathi is pale yellow and muddy, evidencing the territory the two have traversed before reaching Dev Prayag.
The confluence of the Bhagirathi, and Alaknanda has been vividly described by a British Army Officer, Captain Raper as:
“The contrast between the two rivers joining here is striking. The Bhaghirathi runs down a steep declivity with rapid force, roaring and foaming flowing over large fragments placed in its bed, while the placid, Alakananda, flowing, with a smooth, unruffled surface, gently winds round the point till, meeting with her turbulent consort, she is forcibly hurried down, and unites her clamours with the blustering current“.
The confluence got the name tag ‘Dev’ from a poor Brahmin called Deva Sharma who performed “rigorous religious austerities” here.
The legendary king Rama did penance here were, to atone for his sin of killing the demon-king Ravana, a Brahmin. A famous temple dedicated to Rama called the Raghunath Math is located above the confluence (seen in the upper left portion of the picture). It is believed to be installed in the temple about 1250 years ago, though ancient stone inscriptions traced here, dates the temple’s existence to the first century AD. Vaishnavites consider it as one of the 108 Divya Desams (sacred abodes of Vishnu) for undertaking a pilgrimage during their lifetime.
The holiness of this place is considered equal to the famous Triveni Sangam confluence at Allahabad where the Ganges, Yamuna and Saraswati rivers merge. For Hindus who wish to offer “pindas” to their forefathers, offering them at Devprayag is considered holier than Gaya.
Contributed By: Dr. Amitava Mukharjee
(He is the most renowned world economist on poverty alleviation and empowerment today. He has long association with United Nations for launching their initiatives on fight against hunger and providing micro assistance to most marginalised societies. He is a great scholar and has been teaching in University of London and Stanford University. He has travelled over 130 Countries and written numerous books. Deeply religious he has visited various holy shrines. We bring you glimpses of his travelogue.)
The customary tradition of tying a Mauli on the wrist during any religious ceremony has usually been witnessed by us. In the beginning or at the end of the ceremony, pandits tie a mauli on the right hand of males and on the left hand of females. The ceremonies are considered incomplete without the mauli and it holds various religious and scientific significances.
Relevance of the thread (Mauli):
- The auspicious blessings of Tridev- Brahma, Vishnu and Mahesh and Tridevi- Lakshmi, Saraswati and Durga; are bestowed upon the devotee by tying mauli.
- Mauli acts as a protecting shield against the evil energies and worldly problems.
- To receive the grace of the Gods which are worshipped during the puja or havan.
- The thread signifies the unconditional promise of serving and surrendering ourselves in the feet of God Almighty.
- The pious thread provides the strength to fight against diseases, enemies and other dangers.
- It is believed that Lord Vishnu during his incarnation of Vamana tied a red thread on the hands of King Bali to grant him immortality.
- As per Ayurveda, our entire body is processed through veins so when we wear a mauli, it helps in creating a balanced blood circulation and proper body functioning.
- The mauli on the wrist helps in controlling the blood pressure.
- It is beneficial in controlling the Vaat (Wind), Pitt (Bile) and Cough (Phlegm) s, when they are in a disordered state.
- It also acts as a commitment of love and care, when tied by a sister on her brother’s wrist.
||Yen baddho bali raja danvedro mahabalah
Ten tvamanubadhnaami rakshe maachala maachala||
Contributed By: Meenakshi Ahuja