Why is Prayagraj called Tirthraj among all the pilgrimages?

Tirthraj is the name given to Prayag. He is claimed to be the Saptpuris’ spouse, and Kashi is said to be his most significant wife beside him. According to the Puranas, the purifiers of salvation are Ayodhya, Mathura, Mayapuri, Kashi, Kanchi, Avantika (Ujjain), and Dwarkapuri. Tirtharaj Prayag has bestowed upon them the authority to provide salvation.

Ganga Ghat at Kashi
Ganga Ghat at Varanasi

Prayag is the hero of pilgrimages, the king of pilgrimages, and his queens are the seven puris who grant salvation. Kashi is the pride of Patrani among them. Tirtharaj holds Kashi in high regard. Prayag has given them an unrestricted and limitless right to deliver them. “मुक्तिदाने नियुक्ता” has been said for them in the Puranas. She has been given the task of bringing salvation to the world.

 

Markandeya tells elder Dharmaraja Yudhishthira in a Mahabharata episode that Rajan Prayag Tirtha is the slayer of all sins. Whoever spends a month in Prayag, subduing the senses, bathing, meditating, and performing Kalpavas, is assured of a seat in heaven. According to several mythological traditions, Prayag has been praised as the Tirtharaj in the references of Shatadhyayi, Triveni, and Prayag. Temples and ashrams representing all of the shrines and areas can be found in Tirtharaj Prayag.

Triveni Sangam at Prayagraj
Triveni Sangam at Prayagraj

Differences and similarities between the Ganga and the Yamuna – When Bhagirathi (Ganga) met the Yamuna after arriving in Prayag, the Yamuna, an ancient Ganges river, gave the Ganges Ardhya. Mayapuri (Haridwar), like Prayag, is a site where Shaiva and Vaishnavas come together. Gautami Ganga- The Ganges’ noble dignity attests to the connection of these three pilgrimages.

 

In the Puranas, Tirtharaj Prayag, the holy abode of the Tridevas, is known as Vishnuprajapati and Harihara Kshetra. Before the formation of the universe, Prajapita Brahma conducted Dashashwamedh Yagya here. The Puranas contain numerous accounts about Teerthraj Prayag’s greatness.

 

According to tradition, on the orders of Shesh Bhagwan, Brahma measured the merits of all pilgrimages on the scales. Then all of these pilgrimages, as well as the seven seas and continents, were weighed. The other side of the pilgrimage began to touch the pole when Tirthraj Prayag was placed on the second side, however, the pan on which Tirthraj Prayag was placed did not leave the earth.

Ganga at holy city of Prayagraj
Ganga at holy city of Prayagraj

An attempt has been made to illustrate Tirtharaj Prayag’s greatness through mythological references. The world is believed to come from the cosmos, not the universe from the world. Similarly, Prayag is the starting point for all pilgrimages. Prayag could not have come about as a result of a pilgrimage.

 

According to another legend, after Tirthraj’s identification, Kashi Vishwanath himself arrived at Prayag and settled down. In the avatar of Mahavishnu, he got darshan of Lord Veni Madhav. When Shoolpani Shiva appeared to defend Akshayvat, Veni Madhav considered spreading his splendour by taking the form of Balmukund on the leaf of Akshayavat.

 

Shiva is exceedingly dear to Lord Veni Madhav, according to the Padma Purana. While Shiva is due to Kanchi’s noble dignity, the same Shiva is seated in Avantika as Mahakaleshwar. His ongoing presence in Prayag is indicative of Shaivism and Vaishnavism’s compatibility.

 

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