I read about Nakshatra Vedh Shala (observatory) well written in a blog by a foreign tourist and the day I decided to visit. I hire a Scooty from Rishikesh and reached Devprayag – 70 km approx. distance.
Once you cross Motel Dev (right hand side) at Devprayag on the left hand side of National Highway 58 there is a path that goes towards PWD Dak Bungalow. Follow the left road – This is the first road of Garhwal that ends at Bungalow. Year 1935 the first bus came at this road only.
Near the entrance gate of Dak Bungalow are the steps that will take you to observatory up in the hill. Ask anyone. Everybody knows the house. Few meters of steep climb.
During visit we were welcomed and offered tea and snacks by the family members and then I met Shri Prabhakar Joshi son of renowned astrologer Late Shri Acharya Pandit Chakradhar Joshi – Director of The Himalayan Astrological Research Institute also known as Nakshatra Ved Shala (observatory).
Shri Prabhakar Joshi is a press reporter. His younger brother Acharya Bhaskar Joshi is a sadhak (one who do meditation).
On the way towards observatory Prabhakar ji showed us more than 40 years old two big Christmas trees and a Golden fish pond existing since his father days.
Maybe some astrological reasons? Maybe – a thought within as I walk further.
Established 1946, Latitude 30Â°,08′ 45″ 74′ L, Longitude 78Â°,35′ 44″ 94′ L, Height from Sea-Level – 674 meters (2123 feet) written on an old display board.
We open our shoes and enter the observatory and had a seat on floor. This is the location where Shri Acharya Pandit Chakradhar Joshi ji used to sit.
Upon query Shri Prabhakar Joshi enhanced our knowledge:
‘Joshi’ is the surname because it is said people who were into astrological studies i.e., jyotish vidhya named as Joshi. They arrive Devprayag for the first time in 8th Century with Shri Adi Shankaracharya from South India and later in 15th Century and settled down in Uttarakhand.
Their family were also in astrological studies since father, grand father, great great grand father time.
Shri Acharya Pandit Chakradhar Joshi was one of the most renowned astrologer in India mostly stayed at Altmount Road, Mumbai.
In the year 1946, August month he selected and established observatory and a library for astrological studies. The distance of observatory is equal from all four directions in Devprayag.
Shri Acharya Pandit Chakradhar Joshi was also having sound knowledge of Sanskrit, Vastu and many other subjects.
He also stayed at Shantiniketan with Shri Rabindranath Tagore. Later he meditated in Himalayas and at Charan Paduka, Badrinath. His photos during meditation were clicked by one of his disciple Vidyavrata – a great photographer and a follower from Pondicherry.
A box full of photographs is another story.
Shri Acharya Pandit Chakradhar Joshi also helped to establish many schools and colleges.
He traveled all over India and collected rare manuscripts, Granth, Yantra, paintings for the observatory.
This is the only astrological institute in Uttarakhand having maximum number of rare manuscripts. The oldest one ‘Bhakth Shiromani’ is from the year 1620. There are more than 3000 manuscripts and 25,000 Granth on different subjects available in the library.
Tadpatra Granth written in Telugu language is also present.
The only Ramayan written in Uttarakhand known as ‘Ramayan Pradip’ written by Shri Meghadhar Shastri during the rule of King Pradip Shah is of 17th century also available.
Not only Granth and Manuscript there is one page handwritten 18 chapters of ‘Bhagavad Gita’ 300 years old present in the library and ‘Durgasaptasati’ written on Chakra by Shri Anand Thapliyal in the year 1763.
Bhrigu Samhita, How to make Gold, Books related to mercury (para), rare Tantra-Mantra, Ayurveda, Jyotish, pre – independence newspapers, magazinesÂ also present.
Prabhakar ji was very young when his father died 32 years ago. He and his brother having immense interest in saving the history for the future generation trying their best despite termite, dampness in the house-area.
A telescope from England with Carl Zeiss lens – 1903 make.
Another telescope from Germany – 1950 make to watch Moon and Stars.
And glasses from Brazil to watch eclipse.
Surya Ghati which forecast current time as per shadow, Jal Ghati to watch time in night hours, Dhruv Ghati with 12 planets to tell Ghati, Pal and Rashi. All these are Uttarakhand make.
And a photo resembling Agni Devi (God of Fire).
‘Sampurna Gandhi Vangmay’ – 67 volumes.
First Encyclopedia by Nagendra Nath Basu in the year 1914.
And many eminent personalities visit to the observatory such as Late Shri Jaidev visit in the year 1975 and stayed for 2-3 days and gifted HMV record of ‘Madhushala’ by Dr.Harivansh Rai Bachchan sung by Manna Dey.
Photos of Shri Acharya Pandit Chakradhar Joshi with Swami Muktananda Paramahansa, Hari Om Sharan, Naushad, Jairaj, Ravi.
And he will tell you about his land-line number 32 in those days which was only of two number.
Prabhakar ji also enhance our knowledge about old route of Badri-Kedar and also about much older route from Shivpuri from the era of Tulsidas.
A fruitful visit. I was happy about visiting observatory to know how rich our astrological science is and how good we are in astrology.
Before we leave he requested us for ‘Prasad’. Home-made food was offered. Donations I kept in front of the house temple.
And then he came with another surprise by donating a book to read:
‘Acharya Charkradhar Joshi Smriti-Granth’
I was more than happy. Thank you. I wish more donations for the observatory to save knowledge for our future generation. I have to say if you are visiting Rishikesh or Devprayag or passing via Devprayag you should visit Nakshatra Vedh Shala.