Table of contents for Spiritual Journeys
As I mentioned in my last post (Kaali Mathh), Mother Kali first appeared as Kalyani in Dhari Devi. Dhari Devi is local name of this temple given by Garhwalis because the temple is situated on the fast flowing Alaknanda river.
The temple is dedicated to Mother Kali and a head of black stone, coming out of rocks is worshipped here.
The temple is situated between Rudraprayag and Srinagar and can not be missed because of dozens of shops selling prasad. We parked our car beside the road and went down about 1 Km and reached the main temple.
There is an interesting legend about this temple. As you know sacrificing goats and sheeps is very common in Himalayas, hence this temple was a center for local people to sacrifice animals on occasion of marriage or child birth. The head priest would sacrifice the animal and would keep the most delicious parts as भेंट to Kali and return the caracass as Prasad. Priest was also given a bottle of local whisky to enjoy later. Meat and alcohol is common among brahmins and priests of Himalayas due to, perhaps, scarcity food and need of extra energies needed in such a cold place.
So one night the head priest was awakened by someone and he saw Mother kali standing near his bed, eyes red with anger. She asked the priest to stop sacrificing the animals in her name, otherwise she would destroy his family. The priest woke up next morning in high fever and trembling with fear and announced “No more Balis” in the temple. The locals were infuriated as nobody believed his dream ! But seeing the adamant priest, who himself was enjoying the bali meat, they decided that the sacrifice will not be done at the temple but at Bhairon Gufa, 1 Km ahead the stream. So this Kali temple became the first sacrifice free temple of Devi in Uttranchal. I leave your own mind to judge the story as per your belief.
There is no place to stay at Dhari Devi, so we moved forward and reached Devprayag. Just before Devprayag there is a turning to the right. A Garhwal Tourism hotel is situated on that turning. If you wish to visit next Devi in the series of Kali Math, this hotel is the right place to stay.
Turn right from Devprayag, crossing the Hotel . . this road goes to Tehri Dam. After 22 Kms of journey we reached a place called Jamni Khaal. We left the straight road going to Tehri and turned right towards Chandrabadni Devi after crossing some 8-9 Kms uphil. The road is small but new without potholes.
There is ample parking area with one tea shop. Chandrabadni temple was at a trek of 1.2 Km from parking. The trek is cemented and well railed from sides. After about 45 mnts we reached the top. Earlier there was no facility of night stay here, but now they have some 4 rooms to stay at night and a restaurant, cheap and with OK food. Water is scare here so dont waste it. Since Chandrabadni is on top of the hill and highest point in that area, we can see Chandrabadni clearly from afar after leaving Srinagar for Devprayag. The clouds are far below our level and there are high speed winds. The temple is very clean and is well maintained.
There were only a few visitors in the temple and the Dhol walas were beating it mercilessly to get their last tip of the day and go home. We had a quick puja, enjoyed some paranthas with hot tea and came down to the parking.
We further continued upto Tehri Dam and had a look at this wonderful structure. The road was very bad. 2 Kms tar road and then Kucha road for 5/6 Kms. In the way there are some tiny villages where we can have some refreshments.
The intial programme was to go to next temple of Surkanda Devi from here, but all of us decided to leave it for next trip. More over we had to stay at our favorite spot at Kaudiyala and serve Awasthiji with some carbon hydrogen oxygen compound to remove his fatigue. So we turned back and reached DevPrayag again.
Another view of Dev Prayag from Bridge over Bhagirathi.
Camp of rafters across Ganga river
CAMP KAUDIYALA: 35 Kms from Devprayag on Rishikesh road comes Camp Kaudiyala. I became fan of this place in 1982 when we came to Devprayag from Delhi on scooters. Then this was a camp site for the road maintenance staff and Garhwal Tourism put some tents on the banks of Ganga river. We had then stayed first time in tents and this place became our favorite spot to stay on our journeys to further places. Whenever we come to this side, we always spend a night here before reaching Delhi.
The place is now a big tourist camp with log huts, paved ways, a well managed Dhaba but they have still kept some tents as reminiscence of the past. The Ganga create so much sound here that it is difficult to listen to each other.
But sitting in the open, besides roaring Ganga and remembering your past journey… gives you such a satisfactions that you feel re-energised and ready to face the traffic jams of NCR.
Route for all these places is Delhi – Meerut – Haridwar -Devprayag-Srinagar-Rudraprayag-Augustmuni – Guptkashi -Kali Math. Dhari Devi is on the way between Srinagar and Rudraprayag. Chandrabadini is 22 Kms right from Devprayag. Camp Kaudiyala is on the way back from Devprayag to Rishikesh.