Considered to be one of the “Panch Prayag” (five confluences) of the Alakanand River is a sacred city in Uttarakhand called Karnaprayag. This city is located in the Chamoli district, and is supposed to be the site where Karna (a key character from the epic Mahabharata) is supposed to have worshipped the Sun God. In addition, this city is also located at the confluence of the Alakanand and the Pindar River. Furthermore, a temple dedicated to Goddess Parvati is also situated in this pious city.
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a. Best time to visit Karnaprayag
The ideal time to visit this town is either during the months of May to June or from September to October as a result of the climate being pleasant with, the temperature ranging from a maximum of 18 degrees Celsius to a minimum of 7 degrees Celsius.
b. How to reach Karnaprayag
1. By train:
The railway station closest to this sacred site is located in Rishikesh. The Rishikesh Railway Station is well connected to major cities in the country.
2. By road:
If you intend to drive to this temple then the ideal starting points would be New Delhi, Haridwar, Rishikesh, Gurugram, and Dehradun.
- Via New Delhi
There are three routes from New Delhi to this temple, and they are via NH334 and NH7, via NH534, and via NH7.
- Via Haridwar
There are two routes from Haridwar to this temple, and they are via NH7 and via NH34 and NH7.
- Via Rishikesh:
There are two routes from Rishikesh to this temple, and they are via NH7 and via NH34 and NH7.
- Via Gurugram:
There are two routes from Gurugram to this temple, and they are via NH334 and NH7, and via NH534.
- Via Dehradun:
There are two routes from Dehradun to this temple, and they are via NH7 and via Chamba-Mussoorie Road and NH7.
3. By air:
The nearest airport to this town is located in Dehradun at a distance of 213 km. The Jolly Grant Airport in Dehradun is well connected to major cities in the country.
c. Religious significance of Karnaprayag
A popular folklore states that it was at Karnaprayag that Karna the heroic character in the epic Mahabharata was eventually cremated. According to this myth during great “Kurukshetra” war Arjuna was finding it difficult to kill Karna. It was Arjun’s charioteer Lord Krishna himself who realized that Karna could not be killed since he was being protected by Lord Dharma (God of Justice) because of his charitable nature. So Krishna then taking the form of Brahmin appealed to Karna to sacrifice his life knowing fully well that he would readily agree given his nature. In response as expected Karna agreed to give up his life by submitting to Krishna his blood. This magnanimous gesture by Karna resulted in Lord Dharma removing the protective shield he had cast over Karna, which in turn helped Arjun in eventually slaying Karna who was a major thorn in the flesh for the Pandava’s in winning the battle. Furthermore, it was Krishna who then cremated Karna himself in this city called “Karnaprayag”.