Monday, 9 November 2015

Alkapuri glacier - Origin of Alaknanda

Ganga, Yamuna, Alaknanda and many other rivers origin from Uttarakhand. Finally all these rivers merge with Ganga at Allahabad. Like Gaumukh which is the source of the sacred river Ganga, the Alakapuri glacier is the source of Alaknanda river. Alakapuri Glacier, in district Chamoli of Uttarakhand state, is located at the base of the Balkun Peak, 6067 mtr above sea level, is 15 km from Sri Badrinath and 3 km from Laxmivan and is the abode of Kuber, the Yakshas and Gandharvas.
          The glacier spreads into two valleys that lead to Satopanth and Gaumukh.  The Narain Parvat almost divides the glacial zones of Alakapuri and Gaumukh.  The entire region between Gaumukh and Alakapuri is a glacial plateau. From the north of this plateau, emerges the Bhagirathi and from the south east the Alaknanda flowing out in different directions.  It is said in the Skand Purana that the Ganga, on descending from the coils of Shiva’s hair was caught on the Sumeru Parvat (Narain Parvat) and flowed out in seven streams—two of which are the Bhagirathi and the Alaknanda.
          The Alaknanda emerges from as many as five snouts, dotted along an ice and rubble wall, one kilometre wide, which is located between two moraines.  Inside the snouts, the stalactites resemble crystal chandeliers suspended above the blue waters.  Four of the snouts are wide cave-like openings and the fifth is just a narrow outlet.  Born of the Alakapuri Glacier, the Alaknanda after touching the feet of Lord Badrivishal, flows on to Devprayag where it merges with Bhagirathi to form the fabled Ganga.
          To the right of the glacier, the Nilkanth Peak and several unnamed peaks can be seen.  Further to the north, one can view the Chaukhamba Peak in all its majesty.  The entire setting—the fabulous glacier, the cradle born Alaknanda and the glorious snow peaks—are really exalting and blissfully beautiful.