Are you Traveling to Badrinath or Auli? | Must Know Panch Prayag of Alaknanda River | Travel Guide
Updated: Nov 23, 2022
If you are planning to travel to Uttarakhand especially to Badrinath or Auli, you must know about these five beautiful prayags (Sangam) that come on the way from Rishikesh to Badrinath.
Most devotees and tourists start in the morning from Rishikesh or Haridwar for the Badrinath or Auli and stay at the Joshinath for the night. Joshimath is a city located in the Chamoli district of Uttarakhand also known as Jyotirmath. It is a common gateway to the Badrinath and Auli. Even though the distance is around 250km only, It takes 7+ hours to reach Joshimath from Rishikesh due to hilly roads. Badrinath remains only 45km from Joshimath but it takes 2hr. Whereas Auli is just 14km from the Joshimath but may take 45min to 1 hour. It is always recommended to reach the destination before night in hilly areas and so night driving is restricted in most such areas of Uttarakhand.
That’s why most tourists avoid major holds during travel to Joshimath. But by doing so, they missed the mesmerizing views of the beautiful prayags that come on the way to the journey.
Thus, it is worth adding at least one more day to the trip to Badrinath or Auli.
Though it is not possible to cover all the prayags in a single day, make sure to cover two or three during traveling to your destination and remaining while coming back to rishikesh.
Prayag is a word used to represent a meeting point of two rivers. Panch Prayag are the five most beautiful meeting points of the river Alaknanda that comes on the way from Shri Badrinath Dham to Rishikesh. Alaknanda river originates from the foot of Satopanth Glacier and Badrinath Glacier in Himalayan mountain range of India. Various rivers meet and merge in the Alaknanda river on their journey. Starting from Badrinath dham, different meeting points of the Alaknanda river in sequence are Vishnuprayag, Nandprayag, Karnaprayag, Rudraprayag and Devprayag. These are not the name of the meeting point only, but it’s also the name of the village or town where the particular prayag is located.
At last, Alaknanda meets and merges with the river Bhagirathi in Devprayag and is then called a Ganga or more famously known as river Gangesh. Bhagirathi river originates from the foots of Gangotri Glacier of Himalaya in Uttarakhand. The place of origin is known as a Gaumukh which is situated at the height of 4000 meter in Uttarkashi district of Uttarakhand. It got the name Gaumukh after its shape resembling the mouth of a cow; this is what Gaumukh means in Hindi
Let’s start exploring each prayag of the river Alaknanda in the sequence that comes on the way to Badrinath starting from Rishikesh.
Devprayag [74km from Rishikesh | 2hr 30min]
Starting from rishikesh, it takes around 2hr and 30min to reach Devprayag. This is the last prayag of the panch prayag of Alaknanda river which comes first for us on the way to Badrinath.
Here Alaknanda meets and merges with the Bhagirathi and becomes a holy river Ganga. In fact the river Bhagirathi is also known as the Ganga. Thus we can also say that the river Alaknanda meet and merge in the holy river Ganga at Devprayag.
Don’t forget to hold at the sangam viewpoint that comes just before reaching the Devprayag.
This is the best location to take mesmerizing portraits and beautiful landscapes of prayag.
After reaching the Devprayag, you need to walk around 15 - 20 min downhill to reach the Sangam(Point of meeting). Thus, it’s like a mini trek or walk on concrete roads in between the amazing nature. It will lead you through a narrow walkway surrounded by small shops and restaurants. Crossing the bridge on the river Bhagirathi will be your next favorite location for photography.
Reaching the prayag you will enjoy relaxing seating on the colorful steps and accumulating beautiful memories. Watching the two rivers mixing with each other and listening to the sound of the turbulent water will become your favorite thing to do for hours if time permits.
You will find reasonable hotels for night stay or you can also pay for a few hours for refreshment and rest.
Thus you need a minimum of 1-2 hr to count a Devprayag in your list or even more. However due to lack of time, many visitors avoid reaching the sangam point but take the pictures from the viewpoint only.
But it is really worth spending a few hours at this beautiful location at least once in a lifetime.
Rudraprayag [67km from Devpr
Rudraprayag [67km from Devprayag | 2hr]
After driving for 2 hours from the Devprayag you will reach the Rudraprayag. This is a meeting point of the river Mandakini and Alaknanda. Rudraprayag is a city as well as district too. Thus you will find lots of restaurants and hotels here. However Srinagar is also a good location to take lunch that comes on the way to the Rudraprayag. Srinagar is the latest city in this hilly area of Uttarakhand where the NIT (National Institute of Technology) Uttarakhand is located.
The other good thing is that you don’t need to walk through a distance to reach the sangam point unlike Devprayag.But still It requires little walk, few steps up and few steps down to reach the prayag.
Due to the large turbulent river flow, the Rudraprayag (sangam) looks very amazing in the monsoon even though it seems a little bit scary enough to make you feel excited.
Karnaprayag [33km from Rudraprayag | 1hr 20 min]
Karnaprayag is 33km from the Rudraprayag which takes around 1hr and 20min. The river Pindar meets the Alaknanda at this point. To reach the sangam point of the Karnaprayag is easy and It takes only a few steps down from the road.
Nandprayag [21km from Nandprayag | 40 min]
Nandprayag is just 21km from Karnaprayag. The river Nandakini meets Alaknanda at this sangam. To reach the sangam point of the Nandprayag you need to stress your feet a little more. But the good thing is that the Nandprayag is a real nature garden and it is the most beautiful prayag amongst all others without a doubt.
The walkway to the sangam point is not only beautiful but it is the most amazing and unforgettable experience one can have in a lifetime. It does not lead you through shops and restaurants unlike Devprayag, but you will go through the real natural garden surrounded by pink and orange flowers, view of snow mountains, and natural green water of the rivers.
This place will give the most praised memories for nature lovers and obviously also for the travel photographers.
Driving 25km from the Nandprayag you will reach a small town Pipalkoti where you can find a good night stay at a reasonable price compared to Joshimath. This is because the Joshimath remains full of the tourists and devotees most of the time and sometimes it’s possible that you may not find a single vacant room here. Thus if you are traveling during vacation time, better you stay at Pipalkoti. Sometimes it becomes hard to reach the Joshimath before night as you may visit a few prayags and spend enough time in photography too. It takes more than 2hr (61km) to reach Joshimath from the Nandprayag. In such a case also the Pipalkoti will be a good choice to stay.
Vishnuprayag [14km from Joshimath | 35min]
Vishnuprayag is 70km from the Nandprayag which may take 2hr and 30 min. It is just 14km from the Joshimath on the way to Badrinath dham that can be covered in 30min. The river Dauliganga comes from the India-China border region and meets the Alaknanda river at this point.
You can reach the sangam point of Vishnuprayag by going only a few steps down.
You will not find any shops or restaurants near this place. Thus you will feel the more natural and spiritual energy of the place. It is the place where Naradmuni meditated, after which Vishnu appeared before him.
Hope that now you are ready to exercise more in the nature garden as each prayag is like a mini trek in the hills that is always worth walking.
Have a happy journey and healthy life.
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