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Srinagar

Srinagar

Altitude–     579 Mtr.

Distance–   105 km from Rishikesh

          Nowhere in Garhwal is the horizon wider than at Srinagar and here the cool, placid waters of the Alaknanda flow on unhindered.  Srinagar was founded in the fourteenth century by King Ajayapal of Tehri Garhwal and was its capital until 1803, when a section of Garhwal was given to the British in return for their help in fighting the Gorkhas out of Garhwal.

          The name “Srinagar” is said to have been derived from a Sri Yantra[1] drawn on a huge slab of stone.  According to legend, human lives were sacrificed in front of the Sri Yantra in order to propitiate the divine powers.  Adiguru Shankaracharya, in a bid to stop this sacrificial custom, had the slab thrown into the Alaknanda, and to this day it lies inverted in its waters.

           On the left bank of the Alaknanda, there is the ancient Temple of Kamleshwar Mahadev and on the night of Vaikunth Chaturdashi, which usually falls in November, scores of couples longing for child meditate all night.  This is an endurance test as couples struggle to keep awake and make certain that their ghee-fed lamps kindle until dawn, and so receive the blessings of Lord Shiva.  It is said that their prayers are generally granted.

           According to legend, whilst in exile, Sri Ram Chandra in his ideal human form offered to worship Shiva with a thousand lotus flowers. But on reaching Shiva’s seat here, Sri Ram found one lotus missing.  This one flower, Shiva had secretly removed, so as to ascertain the degree of devotion his worshipper was capable of.  Sri Ram Chandra chose to replace the missing lotus with one of his eyes, and ever since Shiva is worshipped here as Kamleshwar Mahadev.  This Shiva Temple is believed to be invested with super natural powers.  In 1894 a devastating flood caused by the bursting of the Gohna Lake, swept away a major portion of the town, but the temple was not damaged.

           During the days of Maharajas of Garhwal, Srinagar became the home of the Garhwal School of painting, of which Mola Ram was the chief exponent.  He was born in about 1740, and was a descendant of Shyam Das and Har Das (father and son, both painters) who came to Srinagar with the Moghul Prince Suleman Shikoh in the later half of the seventeenth century.

          Srinagar now is a fast developing town with a population of about 40,000 people.  The Garhwal University, its schools and colleges has made this place the centre of Uttarakhand culture. Uttarakhand’s first Government Medical College is housed in a magnificient building complex and the town is becoming an important centre for modern learning. Unfortunately, the valley has not been blessed with a gentle climate, but the cool waters of Alaknanda are the balancing factor.  The place is warm in summer and cold in winters.  On the yatra route, it is an important halting place.   Many hotels have opened up during last few years.

           Srinagar is 35 km from Devprayag, 105 km from Rishikesh and 118 km from Sri Kedarnath.

(Excursions:  From Srinagar a road branches off to Pauri and Kotdwara.  Pauri is a hill station about 29 km from Srinagar, and Kotdwara is a railhead approximately 108 km from Pauri.)

 

Dhari devi

 

Around 16 kms from Srinagar is the famous Shakti Peeth of Dhari Devi. The temple of Devi was earlier on a small hillock on  the bank of Alaknanda. One had to walk  about half a km down to the river bank for Darshan. But now in October 2013  the water of GVK Hydro Project barrage near Srinagar, has submerged the old rock temple and the deity has been re-enshrined in a lifted temple much higher than the water level and is approached by a lifted bridge connecting it to the main land. The GVK for this purpose is understood to have taken the consent of local pujaries and other people.

 

[1] Yantra is a geometrical figure used during puja ceremonies. There are supposed to be many kinds of yantras and each is generally specific in the result that it achieves. The powers of yantras are supposed to be unleashed only if they are accompanied by chanting of the correct mantras.

  Few famous places are shown below:

 

 The Char Dhams of Uttarakhand
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