There are two ways to Karanprayag's Nauti village. One is through
Hardwar and second from Kathgodam.
From Hardwar: Important trains connecting Hardwar to other parts of the
country are Ujjain Express from Bombay, Bombay Dehradun Express from
Calcutta and Shatabdi Express, Mussoorie Express from New Delhi and
Dehradun Allahabad Express from Allahabad.
Regular bus services ply between Hardwar, New Delhi, Lucknow,
Moradabad, Bareilly etc. Private tourist taxies and coaches are also
available for onward journey. Garhwal Mandal Vikas Nigam also runs its
coaches and taxis for all major hill destinations.
Due to close proximity of Hardwar to Rishikesh it is easy to stay in
the latter and proceed straight to Karanprayag from there. However if you
want to stay at Hardwar the Govt. Tourist Bungalow has double rooms and
dormitories. Its tariff suits every pocket.
For reservation write to: The Manager, Tourist Bungalow Hardwar.
There are hourly buses for the 45 minute trip to Rishikesh where there
are connections to Karanprayag GMVN Tourist bungalow tourist complex
Rishilok is pleasantly situated close to the Ashrams. It has rooms with
attached bath and tariff is moderately priced. GMVN Ltd, Govt. undertaking
operates conducted tours between Rishikesh and Karanprayag. For details
please contact GMVN office.
Karanprayag is only 174 km from Rishikesh.
Accommodation at Karanprayag: all types of rooms, deluxe, executive,
ordinary, dormitory, family suite are available in GMVN tourist bungalow
Karanprayag. For advance reservation and enquiries for official Nanda Raj
Jat Yatra please contact to the Hotel Manager directly or Yatra office
Muniki Reti, Rishikesh.
From Kathgodam: Kathgodam is the railhead. There are evening trains
from Lucknow, Agra, Howrah and Delhi. Buses ply between Kathgodam and
Almora which is 90 km away. Almora is well connected with all the major
For detailed tourist information write to: Regional Tourist Officer,
Happy Cottage Complex, Almora.
For reaching Karanprayag you have to catch a bus for Gwaldam town which
is 78 km from Almora. There is a tourist rest house at Gwaldam. You can
reach Karanprayag the same evening if you catch the early morning bus at 5
a.m. which goes to Srinagar Garhwal and drops you at Karanprayag.
In case you wish to meet the Raj Jat Yatra midway you can catch the bus
from Gwaldam to Debal to Mundoli (which you can reach by shared jeep) and
drive further north. There are forest rest houses at Debal, Lohajang (just
above Mundoli) and Wan. Your Itinerary can be as follows:
Day 01 Almora to Mundoli via Debal -- 103 km by bus or Taxi.
Day 02 Mundoli to Wan -- 14 km trek.
Day 03 Wan to Bedni Bugyal -- 13 km trek.
Day 04 Bedni Bugyal to Bhagupassa - 9 km trek.
Day 05 Bhagupassa to Shailsamundar via Roop Kund -- 8 km trek
Day 06 Shailsamundar to Hem Kund -- 6 km trek
Day 07 Hem Kund to Bhagupassa -- 14 km trek.
Day 08 Bhagupassa to Bedni Bugyal -- 9 km trek.
Day 09 Bedni Bugyal to Dedna -- 8 km trek.
Day 10 Dedna to Mundoli -- 9 km trek.
Day 11 Mundoli to Almora -- 103 km by bus or taxi.
Nandadevi Raj Jat an Important Religious Event
The otherwise quite & serene mountains of
Garhawal reverberates with a flurry of festive activity
during the Nanda Devi Raj Jat Yatra, a royal pilgrimage
through the precipitous mountains, that has been in
vogue since time immemorial. Seeped in deep rooted
religious tradition, folklore and mythology, the yatra
is associated with the legend of Nanda Devi, a goddess
held in reverence by the local inhabitants of the
region. Perhaps, it is their faith and intense devotion
alone that helps them not only to smile their way
through the tortuous trek but also to survive cheerfully
even in the harsh climatic conditions.
Raj Jat Travel
Nandadevi Raj Jat is an important religious event of
Chamoli district in Garhwal region of Uttarakhand. It
involves a long trekking for taking the area's reigning deity
Goddess Nanda to her divine destination of Gaungati peak which
is believed to be the abode of her consort, lord Shiva. The
Raj Jat (originally Raj Yatra - the royal journey) is taken up
every 12 years, after eleborate preparations by the
descendants of the royal priests now living at village Nauti
and royal class of Kunwars living in Kansuwar. The purpose of
the 280 kms. Long arduous trek under taken by thousands of
devotees is to escort the Goddess to her in - laws place. The
Jat resembles the post nuptial rite of ceremonially seeing off
a daughter as she leaves for her husband's home with all her
personal effects and dowry.
An Ancient Tradition
The event starts
off on an interesting note when priests and patrons associated
with this ancient tradition assemble and put their heads
together to draw a time schedule for the retinue to reach the
scheduled spots on the itinerary on specific auspicious dates.
The objective is to reach Home Kund on Nandastmi, falling
sometime around August - September and Kulsari on the
succeeding new moon for performing special rituals related to
worshipping of the Goddess.
After performing special worship of the other
Bhumial Devi (Goddeess Earth). Utrai
Devi and Archan Devi - all popular deities of the region, he
preserved a meticulous record of the Yatra programme to escort
Goddess Nanda to her in-law's place after every 12 years. He
entrusted his royal priests residing at Nauti the
responsibility to execute the Jat with the help of royal
patronage and local people. The king also authorized his
younger brother settled in the nearby village of Kansava to
represent the royal house in this Yatra and help the priest
perform all rites and rituals connected with this event.
Reverence and Purity
Since then, the
tradition of the Jat has continued to this day. After every 12
years, it originates from Nauti after elaborate rituals. The
image of the Goddess and offerings are taken in a procession,
accompanied by bare footed devotees. The followers observe
self-control. Partaking of food prepared according to
prescribed religious instructions only and participate in
fervent rendition of devotional songs and dances. The
entourage halts at night. People from villages on the way turn
up in large numbers, have darshan and make offerings to the
deity. Many people join the group and remain with it till the
Yatra concludes. The accompanying group of devotees swells
with every passing day.
The priests and devotees at Home Kund offer special preyers
and rituals and load their offerings on the four horned ram.
The goddess is decorated in special bridal make up and is
given a tearful farewell. It is a pathetic scene with all the
devotees in tears, as if they are bidding farewell to their
own daughter, leaving for her in - laws home to meet her
husband. The image of the Goddess is left there. The four
horned ram proceeds towards Kailash ( Trishuli peak), the
abode of Lord Shiva on its own. The peak is a part of Nanda
Parvat which is the highest mountain of the Chamoli district
and is widely revered by one and all. Women of the area
believe that the mist around the Nanda Kot peak is the smoke
coming out of the kitchen of Goddess Nanda. So over whelming
is their feeling for the Goddess that they become incredibly
sentimental and brak into tears while singing the songs
associated with their revered Goddess whom they regard as a
pampered daughter of their own.
Lord Shiva and his
consort, Parvati both have been associated with Himalaya which
is believed to be the abode of Gods. Shiva is be lieved to
reside at Mount kailash while Parvati (Shail Putri) is
mythologically regarded as the daughter of the hills. Parvati
is also known as Nanda in Garhwal & Kumaon area and the
highest peak of the district has been identified with the name
of reigning deity of the area.
Nanda in History
The genesis of Nanda
Devi is not very clear. Folk lyrics suggest that Nanda was
princess of the Chanda dynasty of Almora. Some people
associate the Goddess with Yog Maya, the daughter of Nanda,
who replaced the eighth issue of Vasudev ( father of Krishna)
and who escaped from the hands of her assailant, Kansa and
forwarned him of his impending death at the hands of Krishna.
There is no mention of Nanda in the Puranas or other
scriptures. However, certain later inscriptions mention a
Goddess with names similar to Nanda. The Goddess finds mention
in Sanskrit literature. Some very old statues found in Mathura
show one Goddess as Eknansha. Accordingly, some people believe
that the same Goddess was subsequently regarded as Nanda.
Naini (of Nainital) and Naina (of Himachal Pradesh) also
appear to be variants of the same Goddess. The are ancient
temples of the Goddess at about twenty places all over
Garhwal. Similar temples are found in Almora region also.
The Legend of Nanda Devi
of Kannauj is closely associated with the history of Nanda Raj
Jat. It is believed that Jasdhaval's Raj Jat. It is believed
that Jasdhaval's queen, Vallabha, was the daughter of rulers
of Chandapur (Garhwal). Once upon a time, the queen was cursed
by Nandadevi. Because of this, her kingdom became victim of
draught, famine and many other natural calamities.
The king's irreverence earned the Goddess' wrath, who
caused a very heavy snowfall that night. It was followed a
deadly avalanche in which the entire royal entourage perished.
Some persons are said to have slipped into the nearby Roopkund
lake and died. According to the local legend, the dancing
girls were frozen and tuned into rocks that can still be seen
arranged in a circle. This accident is believed to have
occurred sometimes around 1150 A.D. Jasdhaval is believed to
be an ancestor of the prince of Kansua and thus began the
tradition of offering homage to Jasdhaval at this point.
In some areas, there is a
tradition of organizing annual Jat as Well. These Jats are
slightly different and cover a smaller circuit. Such annual
Jats are common in Garhwal-Kumaon areas. At many places. Firs
are held and special worship is performed in Nanda temples.
Places associated with such celebrations include Danpur,
Katyur, Vadhan, Nainital, Almora, Johan, Kurur and Devrada. At
Kurur and Devrada. At Kurur, the celebrations continue for
several days and Jat is taken upto Vaidnikund.
A Vibrant Culture
Nandadevi Raj Jat is
as excellent example of the vibrant culture of Uttarakhand
pulsating in a land blessed with superb natural beauty with
verdant villages, meandering streams, high mountains, deep
gorges and a rich cultural heritage. The festival offers a
kaleidoscopic view of the colourful lives of the inhabitants.
Visitors are overwhelmed by the feel of the common under -
current of spirituality, love and compassion that manifests
itself in myriad ways in the area.
BRIEF HISTORY of GARHWAL
Through the ages, the evolution of human civilization in
the Garhwal Himalayas has been parallel to the rest of Indian sub-continent.
Katyuri was the first historical dynasty, which ruled over unified Uttarakhand
and left some important records in the form of inscriptions and temples.
In later period after the downfall of Katyuri’s, it is believed that Garhwal
region was fragmented in to more than sixty-four principalities ruled by the
Chieftains, one of the principal Chieftainship was Chandpurgarh, which was ruled
by the descendent of Kanakpal.
In the mid of 15th century A.D.Chandpurgarh emerged as a powerful
principality under the rule of Jagatpal (1455 to 1493 A.D.), who was a descendent
of Kanakpal. In the fag end of 15thcentury Ajaypal enthroned Chandpurgarh
and succeeded in unifying and consolidating various principalities
in the region in to a Kingdom, known as Garhwal.
Subsequently, he had transferred his capital from Chandpur to Devalgarh before
1506 and later on to Srinagar during 1506 to 1519 A.D.
King Ajaypal and his successors ruled the Garhwal for nearly three hundred years
even during this period they had faced a number of attacks from Kumaon, Mughals,
An important event in the history of Garhwal was the Gorkha
invasion. It was marked by extreme brutality and the word ‘Gorkhyani’ has
become synonymous with massacre and marauding armies. After subjugating Doti and
Kumaon, Gorkhas attacked Garhwal and reached as far as Langoorgarh despite stiff
resistance put up by the Garhwali forces. But in the meantime, news came of a
Chinese invasion and the Gorkhas were forced to lift the siege.
However, in 1803, they again mounted an invasion. After capturing Kumaon, they attacked
Garhwal in three columns. Five thousand Garhwali soldiers could not stand the
fury of their attack and King Pradyumna Shah of Garhwal escaped to Dehradun to re-organize
his defences. But his forces were no match to the Gorkha might. Garhwali soldiers
suffered heavy casualties and the King himself was killed in the battle of
Khudbuda in Dehradun.
The Gorkhas became the masters of entire Garhwal in 1804 and ruled the
territory for twelve years.Gorkha's rule in the Garhwal area ended in 1815
when the British drove the Gorkhas to the West of Kali river, despite stiff
resistance offered by them.
After the defeat of Gorkha army, the Britishers
on 21 April 1815, decided to establish their rule over the eastern, half
of the Garhwal region, which lies east of Alaknanda & Mandakini river, later
on, known as ‘British Garhwal’ and valley of Dehradun. The remaining part of
the Garhwal in the west was restored to King Sudershan Shah who established his
capital at Tehri. Initially the administration was entrusted to the commissioner
of the Kumaon and Garhwal with his headquarters at Nainital, but later Garhwal
was separated and formed into a separate district in 1840 A.D. under an
assistant commissioner with his headquarter at Pauri.
At the time of independence, Garhwal, Almora and Nainital districts were
administered through the commissioner of Kumaon division. In early 1960, Chamoli
district was carved out of Garhwal district. In 1969 Garhwal division was formed
with its headquarter at Pauri. After carving out of seventy-two villages of
Khirsu block of district Pauri Garwhal in 1998 for creation of a new district of
Rudraprayag, the district is reached in its present form.
The confluence of the Pindari River, which arises from
the icy Pindari glacier, and the Alaknanda occurs at Karanprayag
Prayag is the name of a place where the confluence of
sacred rivers occures.
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
Karanprayag is on the main highway between Rishikesh
and Badrinath. It is also the starting point for treks to the Pindari
Glacier and Roopkund.