Rudra Prayag Tourism
Rudra Prayag is a charming little town located at the juncture of National Highway 58, which runs from Delhi to Badrinath and National Highway 109, which runs from here to Kedarnath. Consequently, this town is a prominent stopover on the Kedar-Badri pilgrim circuit. Pilgrims visiting these two holy sites invariably stop at Rudraprayag for a day’s rest. On top that, the town is also one of the five confluences of River Alakananda and therefore, it has its own religious importance. Many also come here just to enjoy its natural beauty and soak in its serenity.
Natural Beauty of Rudra Prayag
Rudraprayag is located at the confluence of rivers Mandakini and Alakananda in the lap of Shivalik mountain range. This makes the town especially attractive for nature lovers. The two rivers that make their way through the green hills present an awe inspiring beauty. The confluence, where the blue water of the River Mandakini merges with the muddy water of River Alakananda, is especially enchanting. One can easily spot the exact confluence because of the variation of the colors. Although the 2013 Uttarakhand flood has changed this confluence to a large extent its natural beauty remains equally awe inspiring.
If you are adventurous types, Rudraprayag offers great scope for river rafting. There are also many trekking trails that you may explore. We will however, visit two beautiful temples at the confluence first.
Rudranath Temple at Rudra Prayag
Rudranath temple, located at the confluence of rivers Mandakini and Alakananda, is dedicated to Lord Shiva. Here the Lord is worshipped as Rudra Avatar. Sage Narada is said to have meditated here and received blessings from the Lord. There is a beautiful tale concerning this.
Once Narada became little conceited about his own musical capability and felt that none cou calledld play veena better than him. One day he decided to go to the abode of Lord Shiva and play before him. As he came to Rudra Prayag, he saw a few Raginis (musical notes) writhing in pain. He asked them the reason for their misery. At this, the Raginis replied that the culprit was none other than the sage. They are suffering because of his wrong notations. Narada was so humbled by this that he sat on a rock at the confluence and began to meditate on Lord Shiva. Pleased with his devotion, Lord Shiva appeared before him in the form of Rudranath and taught him the correct notations. The temple was later built at this site and was dedicated to Rudranath. The rock on which Narada sat was known as Narada Sheela. However, this rock is not visible since 2013 Uttarakhand flood. It has totally disappeared.
NB: The Rudranath temple of Rudrprayg is not be confused with Rudranath temple belonging to the Panch Kedar group of temples.
Devi Chamunda Temple at Rudraprayag
The temple of Devi Chamunda is located close to the temple of Rudranath. Here the goddess as worshipped as the consort of the Lord.
It may not be out of place to add that the place is also related to Mother Parvati, the consort of Lord Shiva. Many believe that she was born here as the daughter of the Himalayas after her self-immolation as Sati. Many are also opinion that this is where she underwent penance so that she could have Shiva as her consort.
Koteshwar Mahadev Temples near Rudraprayag
Koteshwar Mahadev is a cave temple located at a distance of 3 km from Rudraprayag. It is situated on Koteshwar Chopta Road on the bank of River Alakananda. It houses many idols, which have been formed naturally. One can also see drops of water falling automatically on the Shiva Lingam throughout the day. This is in spite of the fact that River Alakanada flows a few meter below this temple. Thousands of devotees visit this Shiva temple during the month of August and September.
Like most other temples of this area, there is an interesting tale about Koteshwar Mahadev temple. It is said that certain demon called Bhashmasur underwent great penance to please Lord Shiva. In due course, Shiva appeared before him and told him to ask for a boon. At this, Bhashmasur said, if he placed his hands on somebody’s head that person should turn into ashes. Trapped, Shiva had to grant this boon; but he had to pay a heavy price for that.
To test the power of the boon, the demon tried to place his hands on Shiva’s head. Frightened, Shiva kept hiding from place to place. He ultimately took refuge in this cave while Lord Vishnu tricked the demon into placing his hands on his own head; thus killing him. Shiva then left for Kedar Dham.
The Man Eater of Rudra Prayag
The spot where this plaque stands today was the place where Jim Corbett killed the notorious leopard. It roamed over an area of 500 sq km and nobody knew where he was going to strike next. There have been instances when the leopard had clawed into homes and drag people away. Thus for eight years, it terrorized the residents killing as many as 125 people. Several attempts to kill it failed miserably. Ultimately, Jim Corbett killed this animal at this very spot in 1926.
Tourist Places near Rudra Prayag
In addition to the above mentioned places, following are few other must-visit places near Rudraprayag:
Palasi, located 15 km to the north of Rudra Prayag, is one such place. It has an ancient temple dedicated to Lord Shiva, which goes by the name of Tungeshwar Maharaji. Legends say that this is where the Pandava brothers of Mahabharata fame, worshipped Lord Shiva. Chopta, located nearby is famed for its natural beauty.
Agastamuni, located at a distance of 18 km from Rudrarayag, is the place where Sage Agasta is said to have meditated. The Agasta Mahadev Temple in this town is said to have considerable archeological significance.
The temple of Lord Kartikeya is another must see places from Rudraprayag. It can be reached by 3 km trek from Kanak Chouri village. The later is located on Rudraprayag Pokhari Road at a distance of 38 km from the town.
Other Places from Rudra Prayag
In addition to the above mentioned spots there are many more places of tourist interest near Rudra Parayg. Some of these fall on known pilgrim routes. Among them, we can mention Kedarnath, Badrin Nath, Son Prayag, Deva Prayag, Ukhi Math, Gupt Kashi, Guri Kund, Joshi Math, Valley of Flowers etc. In addition, there are few other places, which are famous more for their natural beauty than for any religious connection. Deora Tal, Vasuki Tal, Gandhi Sarovar, Khirsu etc fall under this category.
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