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About Garhwal Garhwal Himalayas
Garhwal valley possess stunning perfection in terms of natural
beauty. Surrounded by snowy, cloud bedecked mountains, the valley stands sharply
against the blue sky, the waterfalls flashing white against the mountainsides.
As far as the eye can see, down the length of the valley, up the lower mountain
slopes, there are flowers and flowers, and still more flowers. More than a thousand
Himalayan varieties of flowers, ferns and herbs are massed in the valley in all
their frail beauty and scented sweetness.
The Garhwal Himalayas area
is remote and mountainous, filled with oak forests and alpine meadows. The forests
are home to a number of endangered animal species and have historically been managed
by local community institutions. In recent years, however, overgrazing and overharvesting
in government-controlled forestlands has begun to threaten the area's biodiversity.
The districts of Garhwal are Dehradun, Haridwar, Tehri, Rudraprayag, Uttarkashi,
Chamoli and Pauri.
History of Garhwal
The history of Garhwal is older than that of the Ramayan and Maha- bharata. It
is a land of popular myths, like that of Lord Shiva appearing as Kirat, of Urvashi,
Shakuntala and the Kauravas and Pandavas. Worship of Lord Shiva is pre-dominant
in this region. The Khasas were the dominant race in the Garhwal and Kumaon Himalayas
till the coming of the Rajputs and Brahmins from the plains.
of Interest in Garhwal
A blessed spot, the place seems to have been particularly dear to Lord
Shiva. There are hundreds of shrines dedicated to Lord Shiva, the most important
of all being the shrine of Badrinath. During monsoons, a thousand brilliant blooms
bursts forth in the fascinating "Valley of flowers". Rudraprayag
Named after Lord Shiva, Rudraprayag is situated at the holy confluence
of Alaknanda and Mandakini rivers, at a distance of 34 kms. from Srinagar (Garhwal).
The presence of two separate routes for Badrinath and Kedarnath Dham from Rudraprayag
render great importance to the place. The entire region is blessed with immense
natural beauty, places of religious importance, lakes & glaciers. Dehradun
Dehra Dun lies in a wooded valley with the Himalayan ranges to the
north, the Shivalike hills to the south and the rivers Ganga and Yamuna to its
eastern and Western Flanks. From Dehradun places of religious importance in the
Garhwal Hills can be accessed - Kedarnath, Badrinath Gangotri, Yamunotir, Hemkund
Sahib etc. Haridwar :
It is said that when the Gods left their
footprints on the land of Haridwar. Haridwar stands as the gateway to the four
pilgrimages of Garhwal. Mentioned as Mayapuri, Gangadwar, Mokshadwar in the ancient
scriptures and epics, Haridwar has always remained as a major Shaktipeeth for
the devotees Rishikesh :
is just 24 Kms from Haridwar. Located in the laps of lower Himalayas, this place
is considered to be the access point of three other pilgrim places of Badrinath
- Kedarnath, Gangotri and Yamunotri the four great places which combine to make
Chardham . Rishikesh is surrounded by scenic beauty of the hills on three sides
with Holy Ganga flowing through it.
The whole place is considered to be sacred
as it is believed that meditation at this place leads to attainment of salvation.
There are many temples-some ancient, some new along the river Ganges. The River
side is dotted by the ashrams of Sadhus and sages. Rishikesh is also famous for
ashrams teaching Yoga.
In the 60's even the Beatles could not miss the
charm of Rishikesh and they came here to meet their Guru. The Ganga, which is
known for its strong currents and fierce behaviour up stream, suddenly becomes
slow and gracious here. At Rishikesh, Ganga leaves the mountains and joins the
plains for her long journey.
Rishikesh is not only an attraction for
pilgrims but it also attracts foreigners who want to know about Hinduism, who
want to spend some time close to the Lord, people who love rafting come here to
conquer the rapids of Ganga. Rishikesh is also an ideal base camp for trekking
in the nearby Himalayas.
Prime Attractions of Rishikesh is Lakshman
Jhula,Gita Bhavan,Swarga Ashram,Neelkanth Mahadev Mela,Nilkanth Mahadeo and Triveni
Ghat. Deoprayag :
is 95 kms from Haridwar and is the most sacred Confluence of Alaknanda and Bhagirathi
rivers in the vast network of tributaries that form the Ganges. It is from Deoprayag
that the river starts taking the name Ganga. At a height of 1700 feet above sea
level, 70 km from Rishikesh, Deoprayag is a pilgrimage centre of great significance
and is the second most important confluence in India, next to Prayag (Allahabad).
In Treta-yuga, Lord Rama and Laksmana performed a yajna (sacrifice) here to atone
for killing Ravana, who was a Brahmin. The ancient Raghunath Temple here with
a 15-foot tall deity of Sri Rama (Sri Raghunath) is one of the 108 most important
temples in India. In front of the temple is Garuda. Behind the temple and slightly
up a hill is Vamana's cave and nearby is Lord Rama's stone throne. Karanprayag
Karna Prayag is one of five sites where the confluence of sacred rivers
occurs. The five prayags are Vishnuprayag, Nandprayag, Karanprayag, Rudraprayag
and Devprayag. Allahabad where the Ganga, Yamuna and mythical Saraswati join is
known as Prayag and is one of the holy places of Hindu pilgrimage. The confluence
of the Pindari River, which arises from the icy Pindari glacier, and the Alaknanda
occurs at Karanprayag.
There is a temple dedicated to Karna, a mythical
hero from the Mahabharata, at Karanprayag. Karna was the child of Surya the Sun
god and Kunti. Karna worshipped his father here and received boons from him of
impenetrable armour and protective earrings, which made him unvanquishable.
Karanprayag is on the main highway between Rishikesh and Badrinath. It is
also the starting point for treks to the Pindari Glacier and Roopkund.
The word Jyotirmath the place of Jyotirlinga
of Shiva. Shankracharya founded one of the four piths Centres for
sanyashis here. It is a halting place for the pilgrims bound for Badrinath. It
is considered to be one of the most sacred places by Hindus who believes that
Badrinath (The God Vishnu) resides here in winter.
Joshimath has a temple
dedicated to Narshimsha, an incarnation of Vishnu, an arm of the idol of this
deity (which is install in the temple) is said to be thinning daily and it is
believed that when it breaks off the road to Badrinath will be close by a land
slip. To the south of the big square in front of the temple there is a roofed
building housing a stone cistern with two brass spouts known as Danddhara and
Narshimha Dhara between which there are brass idols of Rama and Sita.
There are several temples here, each dedicated to Haniman, Ganesha, Surya, Gaurishankar
and Naudevi respectively. These temples surround that of Vashudeva the black stone
idol install in it, which is two meters high and stand on a lotus pedestal, being
of fine craftsmanship and being flanked by standing figures of Sridevi and Bhudevi.
In the temple are also the idols of the ten avtars of Vishnu. At a short distance
in front of the temple there is a brass idol of Garud,Vishus vehicle.
Dhanaulti, located amidst thick, virgin forests of
deodar, rhododendron and oak has an atmosphere of perfect peace & tranquility.
The long wooded slopes, lazy outings, cool caressing breeze, warm and hospitable
inhabitants, lovely weather and fabulous view of snow covered mountains makes
it an ideal retreat for a relaxed holiday. Situated on the Mussoorie - Chamba
route, Dhanaulti is 25 kms. from Mussoorie. EXCURSIONS
(10 kms.) The temple of Surkanda Devi is situated on the top of
the mountain. Thickly covered by dense forests, at an altitude of about 2,903m
above sea level, it is place of great religious significance. A fair is held every
year on Ganga Dussehra (May-June) in which thousands of people participate.
For reaching the temple, one has to trek about 2 kms, along the motor road at