Once the capital of Yadu kingdom and earlier known as Kanvasu after Maharishi Kanva but was later on changed, Nandprayag is a sacred town around one of the holiest confluences in the Panchprayag pilgrimage circuit. Situated in Chamoli and lying at a distance of 22 kms from Karna Prayag, this sacred place marks the confluence of the holy rivers of Alaknanda and Nandakini. Situated on an elevation of 1,358 metres above sea level and nestled amidst the towering lush mountains the ambience of this place is blended in pure spirituality and positivity. The place has been of religious importance ever since ages and holds a lot of religious significance to the Hindu population of India since they believe that taking a dip in the confluence point will grant them moksha. Along with the spiritual aspect the place is also home to a thriving biodiversity of flora and fauna making it the perfect getaway for nature lovers.
Nandprayag is one of the 5 sacred Panchprayag destinations in Uttarakhand which includes, Dev Prayag, Karna prayag, Rudra Prayag and Vishnu Prayag. People take this holy pilgrimage to all the five Prayags in an attempt to wash off all their sins and attain moksha. Another significance lies in the fact that raja Nanda (after whom the confluence is named) had come here to perform a Maha Yajna. People make it a point to also offer their prayer at the Nanda temple located there whose foundation stone is the slab on which the king had performed the Yajna. Visiting Nandprayag will be an experience you will always remember since there is no other place where you can experience the spirituality equivalent to here.
The main significant religious importance of Nandprayag is that King Nanda had come here to perform a Maha Yajna to lord Vishnu so that he would be blessed with him as his son. According to the ancient legend, king Nanda was granted the boon of Lord Vishnu as his son however, Devki, Kansa’s imprisoned sister, was also granted the same boon. In order to make this happen the god’s came up with a smart solution that Vishnu would reborn as Krishna to Devki but would only be brought up by Yashodha, King Nanda’s wife. Yashoda and Nanda nursed and took care of Krishna as their own son and a temple dedicated to lord Krishna is also located there.
Another important historical importance of this place is that the great rishi Kanva had visited to perform his Tapasya here. It is even said that King Dushyant had married Shakuntala here. All these important factors put together makes this place a must visit even if you are not a religious person.
Path of the Rivers
Alaknanda river –the river’s origin point can be traced back to Satopanth glacier and Bhagirathi Kharak glacier and travels over a length of 195 kms. It is one of the two main headstreams of the holy river Ganga and makes its way through the Chamoli district in Uttarakhand. Flowing past Badrinath temple it meets Nandakini River at Nandprayag before finally merging with Bhagirathi River in Devprayag to form Ganga.
Nandakini River –Originating from the Nanda Ghunghati peaks and from the lap of Homkund and Trishul Peaks and travelling over a length of 56 kms before finally terminating at Nandprayag where it merges with Alaknanda. Making its way through the Garhwal Himalayan region of Uttarakhand, Nandakini also forms one of the 5 tributaries of the holy Ganga River. The region developed around this river is lush green and offers a peaceful retreat option.
How to Reach
Nandprayag is well connected with a network of roadways to almost all the nearby big and small villages and towns of Uttarakhand. If you are visiting from outside Uttarakhand then here is how you can visit Nand Prayag:
- By Road – A network of motorable roads connect Nand Prayag to the nearby places like Rishikesh, Haridwar, Delhi etc. Buses and taxis ply regularly between these places and makes accessibility extremely convenient. This is also one of the most convenient way of travelling to Nand Prayag.
- By Rail – The closest railway station to Nand Prayag is located in Rishikesh and it is known for receiving a number of trains from various parts of India like Ahmedabad, Mumbai, Chennai etc. Once you de board here you will be able to hire a taxi or a cab or even go on a local bus and covers a travel distance of 195 km.
- By Flight – The nearest airport is located at a distance of 214 km from Nand Prayag in Dehradun and is named jolly grant airport. People visiting from faraway places can come through this facility and visit this place easily. Outside the airport you will be able to hail a cab service or a taxi heading for Nand Prayag and even visit some nearby interesting tourist attractions.
Places of Tourist Interest
- Chopta – The scenic hill station hamlet of Chopta is situated at a travelling distance of just 2.5 to 3 hours and is visited by all the nature lovers and peace seekers. It is primarily famous for being the home for Tungnath temple (the world’s highest Shivji temple) and also for offering breathtaking views of the surrounding snowy peaks from Chandrashila. It can be visited along with your family if you are looking to have a spiritual with an adventure journey.
- Auli – Located at a travelling distance of almost 3 hours and making its way through Joshimath along with the company of a very scenic route is Auli. Popular especially during the winter for its skiing adventure in summer, Auli is the perfect Bugyal for you and your family to have a peaceful time. The Auli Lake is also a beautiful sight or you can also go further and visit Valley of flowers and Badrinath Dham or Hemkund Sahib.
- Joshimath – Situated at a distance of almost 70 kms from Nand Prayag is the holy Mathh established by Adi Shankaracharya during the 8th The temple here serves as the winter home for the idol of Badrinath during the winter months. The idol is carried off in a Doli amidst great festivities and a colourful procession for 6 months when Badrinath is inaccessible.
- Badrinath – Badrinath Yatra from Nand Prayag is one of the destinations that you should not miss out on. Deemed for being one of the most pious abodes of Lord Vishnu, Badrinath is not only a crucial pillar of Char Dham Yatra of Uttarakhand along with Kedarnath, Gangotri and Yamunotri, but it is also an important part of the Char Dham Yatra of India which includes Rameswaram, Dwarkadheesh and Jagannath.
Best Time to Visit
- Summer – This is the peak season for pilgrims to make their way to the mountains and answer the calling of the lord. The months of April to mid-June are favourable for travel when the air is pleasant and comfortable for making long journeys. It is also a good time to explore some nearby places of attraction.
- Monsoon – Travelling to the hills during monsoon months of July to September can put your plans on a hold due to the uncertainty of the weather conditions on the hills. But if you find a window of sunshine for a few days in between then you can travel carefully by road. The crowd is limited during this time.
- Winter – The months of October to March are the winter months in Nand Prayag. The number of tourists is less but it the spirituality here remains untouched. The temperature during this time can go to as low as 0 so make sure to carry along some heavy woollen clothing items which will come in handy during your travel plans to Nand Prayag.
- Hotels – There are several budget and high priced hotels for stay around the vicinity of Nand Prayag which range from deluxe to super deluxe categories. The prices for these hotels range from Rs.500/- to Rs.2,500/- and above. These hotels have all the basic amenities available and also offer free parking space along with a comfortable stay. You only have to fix your hotel budget accordingly.
- GMVN – The Garhwal Mandal Vikas Nigam has also established a guesthouse for visitors where people can choose to stay between dorm room facilities and private rooms. The per night price here is extremely cheap and is a good option to stay if you are travelling on a budget. They also have a built in restaurant offering food services along with a clean a hygienic stay.
There are a few eating joints like Dhabas and restaurants available here that offer Chinese cuisines and even north Indian foods. Just like any other holy town non-vegetarian food here is banned. You can also choose to indulge in some delicious Pahadi cuisines which will be an even better eating experience. There are several places where you can Give a cup of tea or buy some snacks from.