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Panch Prayag and Panch Kedar Yatra Route Map Information

One of the most fascinating tours one can do is the Char Dham Yatra. Besides its spiritual importance, the yatra offers plenty of unknown areas to explore. There are several relatively lesser-known temples, sacred places and locations where Mother Nature has been extremely plentiful on the Yatra path, with only minor diversions. While travelling to Chardham Yatra, we are going to talk about the Panch Prayag and Panch Kedar attractions here.

Panch Prayag and Panch Kedar of Char Dham Yatra

Prayag means confluence or Sangam in the Sanskrit language. The Panch Prayag is the Sangam of five holy rivers in the Garhwal district of Uttarakhand. The Sangam of the rivers is the second most respected phenomenon after the Prayag of Allahabad.

Five Rivers: Bhagirathi, Mandakini, Pindar, Mandakini and Dhauliganga pour into Alkanda at different places. The Sangam of these rivers takes place at the banks of the Alaknanda River.

Here is the name of Panch Prayag and Panch Kedar places. They are listed below.

Names of Panch PrayagNames of Panch Kedar
VishnuprayagKedarnath
NandprayagTungnath
KarnaprayagRudranath
RudraprayagMadhyamaheshwar
DevprayagKalpeshwar

Panch Prayag

The five sacred meeting points or confluences of rivers in Garhwal, Uttarakhand, are known as ‘Panch Prayag’. In descending order from north to south, they are as below:

Vishnuprayag, Nandaprayag, Karnaprayag, Rudraprayag and Devprayag

Over the centuries, towns with the same name have come up everywhere, except Vishnu Prayag. There is no settlement around Vishnuprayag, which is about 12 km from Joshimath. The more devout visit and bathe in all of these Prayags before visiting Badrinath.

Panch Prayag Route Map

The Panch Prayags are on the route from Rishikesh to Badrinath, with Vishnuprayag a little off the route. This Panch Prayag route is identical to the Pandavas’ Swargarohana (Ascent to Heaven) route, based on stories retrieved in the Puranic and other holy books.

Panch Prayag DestinationConfluenceDistance from Rishikesh
DevprayagAlaknanda & Bhagirathi69 km
RudraprayagAlaknanda & Mandakini140 km
KarnaprayagAlaknanda & Pindar170 km
NandaprayagAlaknanda & Nandakini194 km
VishnuprayagAlaknanda & Dhauliganga265 km

Route Map of Panchprayag

Rishikesh (0 km) – Devprayag (72 km) – Rudraprayag (65 km) – Karnaprayag (32 km) – Nandaprayag (21 km) – Vishnuprayag (68 km)

1. Vishnuprayag

Located at the Sangam point of the Alaknanda and Dhauliganga Rivers on the way from Joshimath to Badrinath. The Alaknanda originates from the Satopanth glacier and the Dhauliganga originates from Niti Pass.

Devi Ahilyabai Holkar built an eight-cornered temple in 1889. A staircase leads to the Vishnu Kund at the confluence. It is believed Sage Narada prayed to Lord Vishnu here. Pilgrims bathe in the Vishnu Kund and pray at the Vishnu temple.

2. Nandprayag

Situated at the confluence of the Alaknanda and Nandakini (not to be confused with the Mandakini) rivers in the Chamoli district of Uttarakhand. The Nandakini River originates from Nanda Ghunghati. The Nandprayag got its name from the Yadav King Nanda because he performed Yagna and sought the blessings of God for the boon of God himself being born as his son

Sangam is 68 km from Vishnuprayag, 21 km from Karnprayag and about 194 km from Rishikesh. Several devotees visited this small temple, which is dedicated to Gopal.

3. Karnaprayag

Located at the meeting point of the Alaknanda and Pindar Rivers, Karnprayag is where Karna worshipped the Sun God. It is said that Karna did the penance and thus, the name is derived from the name of Karna. Karnaprayag is 21 km from Nandprayag and 32 km from Rudraprayag.

Another legend says Lord Krishna cremated Karna at this place. On the river bank, there is a big field dedicated to Badri Narayan that only cows can use.

Swami Vivekananda meditated here for 18 days. Two temples grace the town: the ancient Karna temple and the Uma Devi temple. Once every twelve years, the Murti of Uma Devi is taken out in a procession around the town and a few villages.

4. Rudraprayag

It is located at the meeting point of the Alaknanda and Mandakini rivers. It is believed that Lord Shiva appeared here to bless Sage Narada. Narad Muni worshipped this place to learn music from Lord Shiva. Lord Shiva, in the form of Rudra, taught the music.

It is also the gateway to the two holy pilgrimages, Kedarnath and Badrinath. Rudraprayag is 32 km from Karnaprayag and 65 km from Devprayag.

Rudraprayag has many temples. Some of them are Rudranath Temple, Chamunda Devi Temple, Koteshwar Temple, Hariyali Devi Temple and Kartik Swami Temple. The sheer beauty of this town attracts visitors all around the year.

The last one mentioned, Kartik Swami Temple, is a major attraction. At a height of 3050 metres, it is dedicated to the elder son of Lord Shiva and Parvati Mata. Fabulous views of the Himalayas can be had from the temple.

5. Devprayag

Situated at the meeting point of the Alaknanda and Bhagirathi rivers, Devprayag is also a popular spot for tourists and pilgrims. These two rivers, the Bhagirathi and Alaknanda, are known as Heavenly Rivers and make up the mainstream of Ganga. Devprayag is 72 km from Rishikesh and 65 km from Rudraprayag.

The River Alkanda meets Bhagirathi after going through the confluences at Vishnuprayag, Nandprayag, Karnaprayag and Rudraprayag. Thus, the sacred river of Ganga finally comes to life.

It is believed that Lord Ram and Laxman did penance over here to atone for their sins of killing Ravana, a Brahmin. People undertake the Panchprayag Yatra to get their souls blessed.

Devprayag also has a Raghunath temple, dedicated to Shri Ram and one of the three in India. The temple has carved idols of Ram, Sita and Lakshman.

Other places to see are Brahm and Vashisht Kunds at the convergence of the rivers and Betal Shila, a small water spring with curative properties. Also, Pandit Chakradhar Joshi established the observatory Nakshatra Ved Shala in Devprayag in 1946.

Panch Kedar

The Pandavas wanted forgiveness for their wartime sins. The Mahabharata’s author, Rishi Vyas, advised them to go to Mahadev and ask his forgiveness. At that time, Mahadev was hiding from the Pandavas in Guptkashi as a bull, as he was not happy with them.

The Pandavas first went to Kashi (Varanasi), known to be Mahadev’s abode. They did not find him there. After much searching far and wide, the Pandavas managed to locate Mahadev in Guptkashi and tried to catch him.

The bull (Mahadev) dived into the ground to escape, but Bhim managed to catch its tail. When he tried to pull it out, the bull disintegrated into five parts. The five parts landed in different places.

The Pandavas built temples in each of those places to pacify Mahadev. Now pleased, Mahadev forgave and blessed the Pandavas. These five temples are now collectively known as Panch Kedar.

Panch Kedar Route Map

Gaurikund – Kedarnath – Tungnath – Rudranath – Madhyamaheshwar – Kalpeshwar

Kedarnath, Tungnath, Rudranath, Madhyamaheshwar and Kalpeshwar

1. Kedarnath

Perched at an altitude of 3580 metres above sea level, Kedarnath Jyotirling Mandir is the first of the Panch Kedars and the most prominent. Kedarnath is where the hump of the bull landed.

The present temple, amidst spectacular snow-clad Himalayan peaks, is built of stone slabs. As per belief, Adi Shankaracharya built this in the 8th century. The Shivling here is conical in shape.

Kedarnath is one of the Chhota Char Dhams and a Jyotirling Temple. The 16 km trek to Kedarnath begins in Gaurikund.

This is a slightly challenging trek, with some steep patches to overcome. Horses and palanquins are available for those who are not inclined or unable to walk the distance. Helicopter rides to Kedarnath are also available for those with deep pockets.

2. Tungnath Mahadev

The second of the Panch Kedars is high up in the Himalayas, at an altitude of 3680 metres (12,073 feet) above sea level. Tungnath is the spot where Mahadev’s arms (Bahu) landed.

The temple is made of stone and has an ‘Ashtadhatu’ idol of Mahadev. At the entrance, there is an idol of Nandi, Mahadev’s beloved bull, facing Mahadev. Atop the temple is a wooden stage with 16 openings. Inside the temple, there are images of the Pandavas and the remaining Panch Kedars.

Adjacent to the temple are various shrines dedicated to Rishi Vyas, Bhairav and Ganeshji. The 4 km trek to Tungnath begins from Chopta, which is 45 km from Guptkashi. This is the easiest of all the Panch Kedar treks. Chandrashila Peak, at an altitude of 4130 metres (13550 feet), is a short distance from Tungnath.

3. Rudranath

At an altitude of 3600 metres (11800 feet) above sea level, Rudranath is the third of the Panch Kedars. This is the place where Mahadev’s face landed.

Rudranath can be loosely translated as ‘Angry Lord’. Rudranath is also known as Neelkanth Mahadev. With Nanda Devi and Trishul Parbat in the background, this ancient temple is surrounded by the sacred Surya, Chandra, Tara and Mana Kunds.

The holy Vaitarni River flows near the temple. This river has great relevance as a place to offer ‘Pind Daan’. It is said that one offering here is equal to a hundred million in Gaya. It is the ‘River of Salvation’.

The trek to Rudranath can be started either from Mandal or Helang village. It is a rather challenging trek, involving a distance of over 20 km with some steep inclines.

At the same time, it is an exhilarating and unforgettable experience that takes you through beautiful rhododendron forests and lush green alpine meadows while crisscrossing numerous streams.

4. Madhyamaheshwar

At an altitude of 3490 metres (11450 feet) above sea level, Madhyamaheshwar is the fourth of the venerated Panch Kedars. This is where the navel or middle part, of Mahadeva fell.

Bhim, the second Pandava, is believed to have prayed and built the temple here. There are two smaller shrines in the temple. One is dedicated to Mata Parvati and the other to Ardhnarishwar.

On one side is a temple dedicated to Saraswati Mata. The entire village gathers here for the evening aarti and guests are welcome. The idol of Madhyamaheshwar is taken to Ukhimath for the winter.

Located in the Rudraprayag district of Uttarakhand, the 16 km trek to Madhyamaheshwar begins from Ransi Village, which is 21 km from Ukhimath. A shorter trek of 2 km from here takes you to Vriddh (the elderly) Madhyamaheshwar temple.

5. Kalpeshwar

Kalpeshwar is the fifth and last of the Panch Kedars. It is situated at an altitude of 2200 metres (7217 feet) above sea level. This is the spot where Mahadev’s Jata (hair) fell.

Kalpeshwar is also known as Jatadhari or Jateshwar. This is a small temple that is approached through a cave. Many great saints, including Arghya Rishi and Durvasa Rishi, have meditated here.

It is believed that Arghya Rishi created Urvashi, a famous Apsara, here. The Kalpganga River flows nearby. There is a Kalpavriksha tree here that is believed to grant the wishes of devotees.

The trek to Kalpeshwar is the easiest of the Panch Kedar treks. It is the only one of the Panch Kedars that is accessible throughout the year.

From Helang, which is on the Badrinath road, one can avail of taxis or jeeps to Urgam. From Urgam, it is an easy 1 km walk. As with all the other Panch Kedars, this too is amidst idyllic and enchanting surroundings. On the way from Helang, one can catch sight of the Dhyan Badri temple in the distance.

How to Reach Uttarakhand?

Rishikesh is the starting point of your Panch Prayag yatra as well as your Panch Kedar yatra. One can also reach Haridwar. Here is how one can reach these places:

You can take a bus or hire a car or taxi to visit these places. They are easily available.

Also, check

Where to Stay in Uttarakhand?

Are you planning to visit Chardham and looking for options to stay with family? Then don’t wait! Choose from our selected Dharamshalas on the Chardham Route and book your vacation with YatraDham.Org.

Here are the places of accommodation:

HaridwarRishikeshDehradun
SrinagarRudraprayagUkhimath
GuptkashiPhata Kedarnath RoadGovindghat
ChamoliJoshimathUttarakhand
KedarnathHarshilChopta

Hope you like this information on Panch Prayag and Panch Kedar Yatra. For further queries, please reach us in the comment section.

Thank You!

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Pooja
Pooja
2 years ago

“Great read”, this is the most important list for every travel blogger When you travel live freely and enjoy every moment of the journey-:)

Last edited 2 years ago by Pooja
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