Saturday, June 13, 2015

Tips to Pilgrimage to Prayag-Varanasi and Gaya

 Tips to Pilgrimage to Prayag-Varanasi and Gaya (revised in march 2019)


(THis compilation was done about 10 years back. The telephone numbers may have changed)


(THis compilation was done about 10 years back and now  it has been revised   and  the contact  addresses have been  changed  with new ones  as on  March 2019)

 Every Brahmin in Tamil Nadu and Kerala like people in all other states of India believe that in their life time , they should at least once visit Allahabad, Varanasi and Gaya and give sacred oblations to their ancestors.

 Only people who have started performing Sraddhas to their father can do this. Other people no doubt can visit these places and visit the most holy temples there but cannot do the rites to the ancestors.

 It is essential for the people with such intentions to do it in the proper religious way and go there accompanied by their wife (if she is alive) and do it without being exploited and do it as comfortably as possible. If younger brothers accompany the elder brothers, the eldest brother on their behalf would do most of the ceremonies and the younger brothers need not do these ceremonies again.

First Step: Visit to Rameshwaram

The first step in this pilgrimage is to go to Rameshwaram, perform the Sraddha there, followed by Samudhra and Theertha Snana.

After doing Samudhra Snana, we would be instructed to bring sand from the sea. This is made in to three Siva Lingas-Sethu Madhava, Veni Madhava and Bindhu Madhava.

After pooja the Linga representing Sethu Madhava is put back in to the sea.

The priest then asks you to repeat the Sankalpa to the Varanasi-Prayag-Gaya pilgrimage.

 The sand lingas of Veni Madhava has to be deposited in the Prayag (Allahabad) and that of Bindhu Madhava in Varanasi.

Then Sraddha to the ancestors is performed there. Instead of Pinda (cooked rice balls) in this place the pinda is made of wet uncooked rice.

The  address and telephone   of some   priests  in Rameswaram  who can help us  in this  are

M.R.Kannan Sarma (Sri Rama Sharma)   Undiyal  kuda street   +91  9943545884

S.Radhakrishna  Vadhyar  , Sri Mathre  Gruham   -04573 221943 cell +91  944 3508843

K.R.Venkatrama   Satrigal +91 9943308217

Sri V  Jagannatha  Iyengar    04567  264501

Sri Lakshmana  Sastri   04567  254261
Sri Shanmukha  Nathan   +91 944204 9467

(Most of these  priests  also do Thila Homam  a ritual  to get rid of Pithru SApam . )

Rameshwaram is easily accessible from Madras, Coimbatore, and Palakkad by trains and from Madurai by Bus.  After  doing SRadham you are  not supposed   to eat  in Hotels that day  .Normally   the priests  in Rameswararm   give some packed food for night

Step 2  Pilgrimage  to  Prayag  , Varanasi    and Gaya

1.Journey planning

 It is essential to plan this journey in advance.

Rainy season, late Summer and Winter are not very suitable for doing a comfortable pilgrimage.

The first place to visit according to Shastras is Allahabad, then Varanasi and then Gaya. People coming from the south India can take a direct ticket to Varanasi and break their journey at Allahabad. They can proceed from there to Varanasi after the ceremonies either the same day or next day by another train. Since it is only a few hours journey reservation is not necessary. There are umpteen trains from Allahabad to Varanasi.(since  most  of the  priests  helping us conduct  this pilgrimage  are in Varanasi, normally  , they make  you  do the  Varanasi part  first  and then take  you  to Allahabad. They arrange   , if you can  afford  Taxis to Allahanad)

2.Points to be noted

The ceremonies is then be done in  Allahabad (1 day) , Varanasi(A minimum of two days) and then in Gaya(minimum one day).

It is preferable to reserve the ticket from Varanasi to Gaya and back before the start of the journey or you can book a taxi   from  Varanasi to Gaya and back)
Please note that the ceremonies in Gaya take about 6 hours starting in the morning. given So It is essential to reach Gaya in the morning. People who know Gaya warn us not to leave the railway station before day break. Since theft is rampant in the train, it would be better not to carry any costly ornaments .
Buddha Gaya which is 10 miles from Gaya is a nice tourist spot. If reservation is done by night train from Gaya to Varanasi, this can also be visited .

3. Some  addresses  of priests  in Varanasi

1.Sons   of late  Swami malai   Viswantha   satrigal
Sri V.Ramasesha  sastrigal , Sri Krishna  muthy  Ganipadical   B-5/311 oudghabhi Hanuman ghat Varanasi   0542  22310133-34, +91 93353 33137  , +91   94153 36064

2.Sri Shiva Kumar  sasthri  . Hanuman ghat   +91 9336912058  +91  9335333137

3,Palakkad     R SubrahmanyA(MANI )  vadhyar    05432276268 +91 941522 5039 e mail kashikeralamuttmani vadhyar#

4,Kittu sastrigal   B5/322  , Kedharghat , Varanasi   +919556040809

5, Sri Kanchi Kamakoti Peetam Sri Sankara Matam
Varanasi Branch
B 4/7, Hanuman Ghat, Varanasi – 221001(I could not get   their phone number)

The priests in Varanasi help us to conduct these in a proper way. They also help us to conduct the ceremonies at Gaya where they have to depute a cook with materials to help us perform Sraddham there. It is essential that we come to an agreement on the charges for performing the ceremonies at Gaya and Varanasi with the priest in Varanasi.They also provide us rooms for stay and food (on separate charges) on all the days. And help us arrange for transportation. On all the days of the stay it is essential that we take rice food only once and take Palaharams in the evening.

The charges vary a lot. When we went there , we heard rates from Rs6000/ for a package to Varanasi and Gaya to Rs.30000 to 50000/-. This does not include boat and transport charges and expenses on travel and food.

4.Rituals   to be done   at  Varanasi

 1.Sakalpam and Tharpanam This is done at the outset. It is interesting to know that Varanasi is referred in the Samkalpam as the forest of joy (Ananda Vanam) and Maha Smasanam(great cremation ground).During the sankalpam the possible sins which can be committed by an individual are listed out and prayer is made to pardon them.The remaining sand from Rameswaram is mixed in the Ganges here

2.Mani Karnika snanam After this we are taken in a boat (charges extra) to Manikarnika Ghat.Near Manikarnika Ghat is the Chakra Theertham.After Bathing in Manikarnika Ghat we have to bathe in Chakra Theertham also .It is believed that Lord Vishnu created this Theertham even before Ganges started flowing and did Thapas there for 50000 years. There is the temple of Bindhu Madhava near this Ghat This temple also needs to be visited(you have to put   one part of sand brought   from Rameswaram here).. Also the biggest and holiest cremation Ground in Kasi is adjoining this Ghat.

 3.Hiranya Sradham After this one Hiranya Sraddham is performed. 1-3 are performed continuously and take about 2-3 hours.

4.Pancha Theertha Sraddham Sradham and Pinda Dhanam is performed at the following ghats:-

1.Asi Ghat- Here the river Asi joins the river Ganga
2.Dashwamedha Ghat –The Rudra Sarovar mixes with Ganga in this ghat.
3.Varuna Ghat- The waters which washes God Vishnu’s feet is suppose to merge in Ganga in this Ghat 4.Pancha Ganga Ghat- Here the waters of the five rivers of Dharmanadha, Dhoodhapapa, Kirana, Ganga, Yamuna and Saraswathi is suppose to merge.It is believed that the bath here is holiest.
5.Mani Karnika Ghat After performing the Pinda Pradhanam(preparing cooked rice, forming in to balls and then telling the manthra with sprinkling of Thil and offering it in the Ghat), we are taken to each Ghat .

Like Prayag here also seventeen Pindas are made each time. By the time one reaches the next ghat, the pinda for that Ghat is cooked and gets ready. In each ghat we have to take bath and do Pinda Pradhanam. .This is repeated till we do the ceremony in all the five Ghats. Bathing in some Ghats have become very difficult due to the extreme slippery nature of the Ghat and the depth of water near it. In such Ghats Sankalpa snana is performed.

Rituals   to be done before return after  visit to Prayag and Gaya

(After return from Gaya, Ganga Pooja and Dhampathi Pooja are to be performed in Varanasi. For that we should carry with us Veshti and Uthariyam, Padinettu Muzha Pudavai and Blouse piece, Many people also carry with them Thali, Metti etc for the Dampathi Poojai. In essence the following articles should be purchased and carried with us:- 1.Veshtis and Uttariyams-5 (4 to be given in Gaya and one for Dampathi pooja) 2.9 Yard saree –1 3.Blouse pieces –more than 5 4.Thali. Metti. Bangles, mirror, Bindi for Dampathi Pooja 5.A torch (in these parts good part of the night there will be no electricity)

5.Ganga Pooja ( 5-6 Normally after the Gaya visit) This is the worshipping of the river Ganga.It is believed that before this we visit the temples of Lord Kasi Viswanatha, Goddess Annapurna, Goddess Visalakshi, Lord Kala Bhairava,Lord Dhanda Pani, Goddess Kaudi Bai, Durga Kund, Sankat Mochan Hanuman and other important temples.(Please note that visit to these temples is at our expense and does not come under the contract amount) The pooja is directly performed to the river ,Oblations of Milk , Curd etc are directly poured in to the river besides Coins. It is also a practice to offer new Vasthra (nowadays blouse pieces) to the river.

6.Dhampathi Pooja An old learned couple is worshipped as God and Goddess. Normally Veshti and Angavastram to the male and 9 yards sari to the wife is given. It is a practice to give the Lady whom we worship all the signs of a sumangali like Thali, Bangles, metti, Comb, Mirror etc,This brings to an end the ceremonies at Varanasi , Gaya and Allahabad, .This Pooja is preferably performed after the Sraddha at Gaya .People who can afford can also do Dasa Dhana, Godhan etc because it is considered that done at Varanasi they are very efficacious.

5. Ceremonies in Prayag

The ceremonies in Prayag are arranged by Sri.S.Natesa Sastrigal Shiva Mutt, Daragunj, Near daragunj Police station, Allahabad Phone: 0532-2500799 There are comfortable rooms in the Mutt. Sometimes there may be heavy rush and so it is essential that this organizer is informed about our visit. The other alternative is to request the priest who does the ceremonies for us in Varanasi to inform the Shiva Mutt about our programme . The ceremonies to be performed are

1.Sankalpam, 2.Putting of sand brought from Rameshwaram in the river. 3.Veni Dhanam, 4.Bath in the Triveni Sangamam 5.Taking of pure Ganga Water for taking home 6.Vastra Dhanam 7.Hiranya Sraddham and Kshetra Pinda Dhanam. 8.Visit to Veni Madhava temple 1.Sankalpam After the initial Pooja and sankalpam each wife who has accompanied her husband should recite the Manthras and pray for permission to do Veni Dhanam so that all her sins of being born as a woman are excused and she may be permitted to lead a happy long married life with her husband.She asks for permission to do this from her husband as well as Sumangalis. While asking permission from Sumangalis, theyare normally presented with Blouse piece, mirror, thambolam, comb, Kumkum etc. Each couple doing Veni Dhanam is charged separately for this sankalpam. When we went there recently we were charged Rs.200 per head. 2.Putting of sand brought from Rameshwaram The sand linga of Veni Madhava brought from Rameshwaram is mixed in Ganga 3.Veni Dhanam This is essentially offering a small piece of cut hair by the sumangali to the river. For this the couple have to proceed to the platform erected in the place where Ganga, Saraswathy and Yamuna merge with each other. The Panda who presides over each platform gives the help for the ceremony. Both the boatman and panda have fixed charges. It is better to enquire about this in Shiva Mutt itself. It is also necessary to take a can with us to collect pure Ganges water from River Ganga before it merges with River Yamuna. On the platform there is a very brief ceremony. The scissor used to cut the hair is worshipped and the husband is asked to make the pleats of the hairs of his wife. A small portion at the end is cut and deposited in the river. Unlike normal this hair sinks in the river. After this holy bath is taken in the confluence of the three rivers. As is the practice in all pilgrimage spots the touts try to extract as much money as possible. All are requested to be very careful and follow the instruction of the priest at Shiva Mutt. After return from the river, it is necessary to visit the Veni Madhava Temple near by. The clothes worn by all people who took the threertha snanam are discarded and given as Dhana .After the Veni Dhanam eldest brother of the family performs pinda pradhana and Hiranya Sraddham. Seventeen Pindas are made. They are dedicated to three generation of late ancestors in the fathers side and mothers side (Father, Paternal grand father, Paternal great Grand father, Mother(If she is alive then paternal grand mother), grand mother(If mother is alive great grand mother), great grand mother(If mother is alive great great grand mother), maternal grand father, maternal great grand father, maternal great great grand father, maternal grand mother, Maternal great grand mother, Maternal great great grand mother receive their oblations in the form of one pinda each.(12 in all) Then Karunika Pithrus (that is Persons who become our Pithrus by reason) , those who died in the family without children, those who died in the family in Kasi, those who died without getting water and those who died without getting food all receive their oblations. Once the Pinda Pradhanam ceremony is over the pindas are fed to the cow. Arrangement are made for food in the Mutt on payment. Before leaving  Prayag we have to put one part of the sand brought from sethu   in the Ganges river

 III. Ceremonies at Gaya-  Gaya Sradham
It is believed that once upon a time there was an Asura called Gayasura .He did penance and demanded as a boon that whosoever touches him would directly go to heaven. Due to his boon , the hell became empty and heaven over crowded. Then Lord Brahma requested the Asura for permission to perform Yagna on his body.After this Yagna, he demanded that who ever does Piinda Pradhan there and satisfies the Gaya Brahmins would send all his ancestors to heaven. There are two very holy spots for the Hindus where Pinda Pradhan is done.(47 or 65 pindas are made according to mother is alive or not). They are The Vishnu Padha and the Akshaya Vata.At Vishnu Pada, the rice has to be cooked by ourselves.and at Akshaya Vata the Pindas of the Sraddham done is offered. Since there is no south Indian cook available in Gaya.This cook is sent along with us (at his expense) by the Sastrigal who arranges the trip.He also sends along with the cook all essentials for cooking. In Vishnu padha Pinda dhan is first done. Pindas are dedicted to any of your relatives , teachers, pets and so on. It is better that a list is taken with us because , it would be difficult to remember all of them instantly. The Pindas cooked in the waters of holy river Phalguni after bath in the river are put directly on the Vishnu Padha. Afterwards a full scale Sraddha is performed with homam (Parvana Sradham) and four Gaya Brahmins are fed. Then the pindas of this sraddham are put in The Akshaya Vata. A Pooja also is performed to this tree.One Gaya Brahmin is asked whether he is satisfied by our performance of rites and he answers in the affirmative. It is also a practice to take a vow to stop using a vegetable, a fruit and a leaf below the Akshaya Vata. There is just one south Indian Shastri in Gaya and he does not have any infrastructure .So contract for performance of rites at Gaya has necessarily done at Varanasi. However the help for performance of the rites are available in Sringeri Mutt, Kanchi Mutt in Gaya

4.Revisit   to Rameswaram  

 This pilgrimage is complete only when along with the Ganga water collected from Prayag we again visit Rameswaram and do Abhishekam to Ramanatha Swami there.

    Since seeing  pigrims   who returned    from Varanasi  pilgrimage  is Punya, after  coming back,  arrange for a Ganga pooja  , call all   relatives and friends   , and after pooja distribute Ganga water   as Prasadam.


  1. Varanasi - Holy city (city of Ganges’s)

    Varanasi is the very important city of Varanasi is the very important city of Hindus because Varanasi was found in lord Shiva . The Pandavas, the heroes of the Hindu epic Mahabharata, are also said to have visited the city in search of Shiva to atone for their sin of fratricide and Brāhmanahatya that they had committed during the climactic Kurukshetra War. It is regarded as one of seven holy cities which can provide Moksha; vanarasi as also known as banaras, kashi. it is north Indian city on the bank of holy river Ganga in uttar pradesh Varanasi grew as an important industrial center, famous for its muslin and silk fabrics, perfumes, ivory works and sculpture. The Buddha is believed to have founded Buddhism here around 528 BC when he gave his first sermon, "The Setting in Motion of the Wheel of Dharma", at near by Sarnath. Varanasi Tour has many attraction like Aghor Peeth, the Alamgir Mosque, the Ashoka Pillar, the Bharat Kala Bhawan (Art Museum), the Bharat Mata Temple, the Central University for Tibetan Studies, the Dhanvantari Temple, the Durga Temple, the Jantar Mantar, the Kashi Vishwanath Temple, the Sankat Mochan Hanuman Temple, the Mahatma Gandhi Kashi Vidyapith, the New Vishwanath Temple on the BHU campus, the Ramnagar Fort, the Riverfront Ghats, the Tulsi Manas Temple.

    Delhi Agra Jaipur Varanasi Tour is the most populer Destinations in India.
    Person:- Suman
    Mobile :- +91- 9837332533
    E- Mail :
    website :-

  2. The most famous religious city of Uttar Pradesh, Varanasi is the sacred city and one of the most visiting destination in India. I like it very heartily and have visited many times. Recently, I was visited with Bharat Taxi and enjoyed the entire city and famous destinations there.

  3. Myself big time traveler by nature and loves exploring new places & food dishes and your blog is perfect stop for people like me.Varanasi Tour Packages

  4. Awesome! It is too good post. It helps a lot to visitors. There are number of temples that you must visit. And, some of them are the Durga Temple, the Jantar Mantar, the Kashi Vishwanath Temple, the Sankat Mochan Temple, the Mahatma Gandhi Kashi Vidyapith, the New Vishwanath Temple on the BHU campus, the Ramnagar Fort, the Riverfront Ghats, the Tulsi Manas Temple. And you can easily hire local car rental provider in Varanasi and ride all over the city.

  5. Thanks for sharing information, it help us a lot for our varanasi tour.
    Best Tour Guide for Varanasi
    Tourist Guide in Varanasi

  6. My favorite Destination so far. This blog has an amazing information about the destination. The posts and blogs are very unique. Thank you so much for sharing the details of every travel place you have visited.There is a very popular Travel Agency in Delhi, India by the name of ghumindiaghum they have all current and latest information about different destinations.

  7. Very useful. Excellent writeup.Nameskarames.

  8. At Gaya, Sri Ganapathi Acharya, South Indian vadyar is available @ Prasad Bhawan (can stay, perform sradhdham and boarding),Shmasan Ghat(Vishnu Padam) Rd.,(Near Old Neem tree),Gaya 823001 Mob: 09304060412 and 09470274765. Convenient place. Went in Sep 2017

  9. Varanasi is the best place to visit. This place having lots of temple, ghats. If you want to enjoy your trip then book a trip: Golden Triangle Tour with Varanasi

  10. Golden Triangle Tour with Varanasi is one of the best option to see real india tour at short time period. This tour package cover the three cities and Varanasi also.

  11. Golden Triangle Tour with Varanasiis the way by which you can get the beautiful things or can explore the culture and history of India. Delhi, Agra, and Jaipur these cities are really very rich in culture and history.

  12. In this article you quickly clarify the entire visit guide of Rajasthan. Pleasant article and photographs are additionally astonishing. A debt of gratitude is in order for this astonishing article.
    Andaman Canute
    Holiday packages

  13. superb post, we enjoyed each and everything as per written in your post. Thank you for this article because it’s really informative, I love reading your blog and I hope that I will read some more about this stuff, it’s really informative and very entertaining. Thanks a lot and have a great day.
    Ghum India Ghum
    Travel Agency in Delhi
    tour operator in Delhi

  14. Very interesting post, we enjoyed each and everything as per written in your post. Thank you for this article because it’s really informative. Bharat taxi prides on providing best taxi service in Varanasi as our courteous drivers are extremely polite and professional therefore relax while our chauffeurs drive you around the town.

  15. Prayag or Allahabad the city situated on the meeting point of Ganga, Yamuna and Saraswati River in Uttar Pradesh. This is one of the preferred Indian tourist places where the maximum tourist crosses for various places of India. Prayag or Allahabad is full of heritage spots of India’s history. Allahabad is well-known city popular for Sangam of two big religious rivers of India. Bharat taxi prides on providing best taxi service in Allahabad as our courteous drivers are extremely polite and professional therefore relax while our chauffeurs drive you around the town.

  16. Very useful to us information via blog.Chardham Tour Agents in RISHIKESH .
    We are Chardham Tour Operator in RISHIKESH-Haridwar .Our Best Packages Chardham Package,Teendham Package,Dodham Package,Dodham PackageEkdham Package,Chardham Helicopter Package.

  17. I Read your blog, it’s so informative:
    Explore the Ganges Ghat, Banaras and Great Shiv Temple with the Golden Triangle Tour With Varanasi. Enjoy the Varanasi Tour Package by Pacific India Tour ..
    India Trip Designer


  18. Thanks for sharing this information via blog.Hotel Sunshine is best budget hotels in haridwar.This is the Best Hotel in Haridwar.The hotel is near to railway station and is comfortably reachable.We follow the best hospitality traditions and promise our customers the best accommodation and amenities in Haridwar.

  19. Thank you sharing information. Wonderful blog & good post. Its really helpful for me, awaiting for more new post. Keep Blogging!
    brahmin matrimony in tamilnadu

  20. Special Holiday is Wholesale Tour Operator in India, recipient of National Tourism Award presented by H.E The President of India, International Quality Award from Europe & also World Travel Brand Award, to name few. We have our own transport fleet and offer most attractive deals for tour packages, hotels and car rentals.

    Get best deals on India tour packages at Book India holiday packages or customize your itinerary to plan your trip. Enquire us for more offers. For Holiday Booking Call us on +91 - 9810356126 /

  21. Thanks for sharing such kind of important and valuable information. Keep posting this kind of travel related blogs with wide variety of knowledge. We really appreciate all of your efforts. Kindly contact Ghum India Ghum for the best domestic as well as international holidays deals. One of the leading travel Agency in Delhi .
    travel Agents in Delhi

  22. thanks for sharing this we are from valley trip plannera best travel agency in srinagar offer cheap srinagar holiday tour also we offer you best and cheap leh ladakh tour pacages

  23. thanks for sharing this post sir we provide you the best leh ladakh tour book and get top deals with us