Panch Prayag is an expression in expression in Hindu religious ethos, specifically used to connote the five sacred rivers confluence in the Garhwal Himalayas in the state of Uttarakhand, India. The five prayers – Prayag meaning “Place of the confluence of rivers”. Vishnuprayag, Nandaprayag, Karnaprayag, Rudraprayag, and Devprayag, tin the descending flow sequence of their occurrence. It starts with the Vishnu Prayag on the Alaknanda River, which is one of the two sources of the river Ganges in the Garhwal Himalayas; the other streams are the Dhauliganga, Mandakini, Pindar and the Bhagirathi- the head of the Ganges.
People of Garhwal, in particular, gather at the five prayers during Makara Sankranthi, Uttarayan, Basant Panchami and Ram Navmi festivals for a holy dip in the sacred river confluences.
The Alaknanda River, which originates from Sato Panth glacier is joined by the Dhauli Ganga river near Joshimath (on Joshimath Badrinath route). Alaknanda flows in front of the Badrinath temple, one of the most revered Hindu shrines. Dhauli Ganga originates from the Niti pass, after traveling a distance of 25km from its sources to the Vishnu Ganges.
An octagonal shaped temple located to Maharani of Indore- Ahalyabai. Though originally built to install a shiv linga, it now houses a Vishnu image. A stairway from this temple leads to the Vishnu Kund (Kund means pool or lake) at the confluence, which is seen in a tranquil state.
Nanda Prayag is the second Prayag in the cascade sequence of the confluence where the Mandakini River joins the main Alaknanda River. According to one tale, a noble king Nanda performed Yagnya(fire-sacrifice) and sought blessings of god. Hence, the confluence is named after him.
Karnprayag is the city and municipal board in Chamoli district where Alaknanda river is joined by the Pindar River, below the Nanda Devi mountain range.
At Rudraprayag, the Alaknanda meets the Mandakini River. The confluence is named after god Shiva, who is also known as Rudra.
Dev Prayag is the confluence of the two holy rivers, the Bhagirathi – the chief streams of the Ganges and the Alaknanda. It is the first Prayag on the way to Badrinath. Beyond this confluence, the river is known as Ganges. The holiness of this place is considered equal to the famous Triveni Sangam confluence at Allahabad where the Ganges, Yamuna and Saraswati river merges.