Aside from the major pilgrimage sites, the Himalayas are littered with smaller sites, which aren't as heavily traveled, but beautiful, charming, and religiously significant.
Among these are river junctions, such as this one at Rudraprayag. On the right is the Mandakini River, and on the left (hidden by the rock spur) is the Alakananda River (Kedarnath is at the headwaters of the Mandakini, and Badrinath at the Alakananda headwaters). At the point is a small platform from which people take their baths, holding on to chains for their very lives, given the water's incredible force. This was taken in May 1986, when the snowmelt in the mountains was just beginning. Just up from the bathing platform is a temple to Shiva in his form as Rudra
|This is further up the Alakanada, and shows the river at Karnaparayag, the confluence of the Alakananda and the Pindari River (the latter comes from the glacier at Nanda Devi). The Himalayas have a sense of grandeur that is difficult to describe, but easier to show in photos--buildings are small, but the land looms very, very large. The small white temple is to the goddess Uma, who is Shiva's wife.|
|This is also Karnaprayag, and shows the temples (under
gigantic trees) at the river confluence itself, and the steps leading down
to the river. All these sites are connected with Hindu mythology,
and Karnaprayag is named after Karna, the tragic hero of the Hindu epic,
the Mahabharata. According to tradition, Karna chose this
place to perform harsh ascetic practices in a quest to gain superhuman
As with all the towns in the Himalayas, Karnaprayag has grown tremendously in the past twenty years, and much of the peace and quiet has disappeared, at least in the summer season.
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Page maintained by James G. Lochtefeld.
Last modified 28 January 2006