A laid back town in the Garhwal Himalayas, Rudraprayag is more popular as the junction where the road coming from Haridwar bifurcates into two, travelling onwards to Badrinath and Kedarnath. But stopping for a day or two at Rudraprayag will help you to recharge your mind’s batteries.
Leave the town and cross over to the countryside. The slopes of the lower Himalayas will please you with their verdant glamour. Go down the flight of stairs beside the temple of the ruling deity and you’ll reach a tiny headland that overlooks the confluence of the rivers Alakananda and Mandakini. The ripple of the water over the boulders will tell you stories of their long journey down the mountainside. At night, as the stars twinkle overhead, Rudraprayag goes to sleep, comfortable in the thought that the divine spirits are always hovering protectively over the town.
The confluence of river Mandakini originating from Kedarnath Dham and river Alaknanda originating from Badrinath Dham is a beautiful sight to behold. The confluence has a great religious significance and thousands of people come here to take a holy drip.
Koteshwar Temple At a distance of 3 km from Rudraprayag and on the holy bank of the river Alaknanda is situated the Koteshwar temple in a cave. There are many idols, which have been formed naturally. It is believed that before going to Kedarnath, Lord Shiva meditated here. During the months of August and September, thousands of devotees come here to worship Lord Shiva.
Hariyali Devi On the way to Karanprayag, a road diverting from Nagrasu (16 km from Rudraprayag) leads to the Siddh Peeth of Hariyali Devi (1,400 m), 22 km away. It is 38 km from Rudraprayag surrounded by high peaks and thick forests. The temple houses a regally bejewelled idol of Maa Hariyali Devi who is also worshipped as Bala Devi and Vaishno Devi. It becomes home to festivities during Janmashtami and Deepawali. Around it, for miles together, one witnesses captivating view of forested land and a majestic range of mountains.
About 23 km from Rudraprayag, in the glorious valley of Mandakini lies the popular town of Agastyamuni – a miniature paradise. Here, on the banks of the murmuring deep blue Mandakini sat the great sage Agatyamuni in deep meditation. The Agastya temple honours the great sage, is an ideal place to relax and for fishing on the banks of the river.
The town is also a base for Pawan Hans helicopter services to Kedarnath temple and back during the summer months.
Guptkashi Steeped in legend and lore, the scenic town of Guptkashi is an important town on the routes to Kedarnath and Madhyamaheshwar. Here, in sylvan surroundings came Shiva to hide from the Pandavas who were following him to seek redemption for their sins. To escape detection, the Lord lived incognito and the town has been named Gupt (hidden) Kashi ever since. The ancient temples of Vishwanath, Ardhnareshwar and Manikarnik Kund are the main places of attraction in Guptkashi.