The Land of Faith - Uttarakhand

Posted by samaun The Himalayan Treasure on

Uttarakhand is well known worldwide as the land of the Gods, the place of penitent for the sages, the point of origin of the Ganga-Yamuna River from the Himalayas, the four Dhams, etc. This place is the land where Lord Shiva practised his penitence, and also the place which Mother Nanda Parvati identified as her workplace. There are several temples and places of worship here, with each place of worship having their own religious and mythological significance backing it.

Haridwar: The journey of the Four Dhams, originates and commences from Haridwar. Every year, believers and faithfull’s from the country and outside, from all over the world make their way to the River Ganga to immerse themselves in the Holy waters. Every 6 years, a religious fair by the name of Ardhkumbh takes place here. And every 12 years another religious fair takes place which is the Kumbh Mela.

During the month of the monsoons, the Kavadia people throng this place. There are thousands of monasteries and temples and hermitages are scattered around here. Amongst the most important temples here is the Mayadevi Temple, Mansadevi Temple, Chandidevi Temple, Bilwakeshwar Mahadev Temple, Bheemgoda, Saptarishi Hermitage, Ankhal, etc. 

Kankhal: Kankhal is located in the South side of Haridwar. According to legendary beliefs, this place was the capital of the minister Daksh. This is also the place where Sati gave her life by jumping in to the well of fire to save her dignity when the capital was invaded. In Kankhal, the Daksheshwar Mahadev Temple is very well known.

Har Ki Paidi: In the middle of Hridwar, by the shores Ganga, is the prime bathing valley located. During the times of various festivals and fairs, the Har Ki Paudi has a special significance for its Holy Bath through immersion in the holy waters.

Mansa Devi: The Mansa Devi Temple is situated at the Vilwa Mountain in Haridwar.  One can take a journey by foot to get here through the Haridwar route. There is also a provision to get here via a rope route.

Chandi Devi: This temple is positioned on the Neel Mountain right in front of the Mansa Devi temple in Hridwar. This also has a grand temple in honor the Devi. You can choose between getting here by foot or with the help of the rope route.

Mayadevi: Mayadevi is the place ancient theology of Devi, the goddess. This temple has vital significance.

Piran Kaliyar: In the Haridwar district, close to Roorkee, there lies the Shrine of Hazrat Alauddin Ahmed Sabir, which is an incredible example of the unity of Hindus and Muslims in this place. This place witnesses a vast number of believers and Faithfull’s that visit throughout the year. 

Rishikesh: Hrishikesh or Rishikesh has thousands of Temples and monasteries. It is also home to Tapovan, the Laxman Jhoola (swing), Triveni Valley, Bharath Temple, Kailash Niketan Temple, Shatrughan Temple, many religious and scenic points along with a Swargashram.

Tapkeshwar Mahadev: Built inside a cave, this particular temple in Dehradun is a famous temple of the Lord Shiva. By the shores of the Tamsa River, this cave has the Shivlinga, the symbol of Lord Shiva, that has water dripping on it miraculously. A Fair takes place here during the festival of Shivaratri.

Laxmansidhdh: Siddhipeet is located at about 10 kms from Dehradun  and it s believed that it is one of eighty four Siddhs of Sage Dattatrey.

Lakhamandal: The Lakhamandal Temple, standing tall at a height of 3650 feet, is situated by the Purola-Chakrata way, where the rivers Yamuna and Rikhnaad converge to meet.

Gangotri: Gangotri is located in the Uttrakashi district where the Bhagirathi Temple is also located. This temple has the statues and idols of Gods Ganga, Goddess Laxmi, Goddess Parvati and Annapoorna Devi.

It is said that this is the same place where Bhagirathi had done severe penance to have the river Ganga flow from Heaven to earth. And it is also the place where from heaven, when the Ganga river flowed down to earth, Lord Shiva harnessed the waterbody with his long dreaded hair. This temple was constructed by the Gorkha Commander, Amar Singh Thapa in the 18th Century.

Yamunotri: This particular temple is situated at a distance of about 131 kms from Uttarkashi. During the winters, owing to the excessive cold and snowfall, the way to yamunotri is closed down. Every year in the summers, on the third day of the Baisakh, the gates are opened again. On this day, the chariot of Mother Goddess Yamuna travels from the Kharsali village to the dwelling place in Yamunotri. At Yamunotri, when the chariot reaches the abode of the Goddess, through the chanting of Vedic mantras the Mothers place is reinstated.

Vishwanath Temple: This temple in the town of Uttrakashi has mythological significance. In the year 1857, Garwal Naresh Sudarshan Shah’s wife, the Queen Khaneti,  got the Vishwanath Temple renovated.

Mahasu Temple: At about 150 kms away from Uttrakashi is Hanol, where the famous temple of the God Mahasu is located. Mahasu is also known as Mahashiv. Every year during the months of Bhadrapad which falls in August and September, at the sighting of the New Moon, a three-night-long prayer is conducted known as jagran.

Vishwanath/ Vashishth Cave: In the Tihri district between the stripped road of Hindaaw and the Kedarnath pathway, one can find the Vishwanath Mountain where the Vishwanath Cave is situated. It is the penitentiary of Adi Shankaracharya. People believe it was here that the genesis of Vishwanath took place. This cave is famous and well known in the Puranas as Guru Vashishtha’s place of penance, and forms the centre of several supernatural experiences.

Tapovan Laxman Temple: In the town of Tehri in Garwal, this place by the name of Tapovan is well known for the Laxman Temple situated here. Legend has it that Lord Ram’s brother Laxman had offered his prayers at this temple.

The Sun Temple at Palethi: This is at about 18 kms from the Tehri motorway near Hindolakhal there is a cluster of five temples which is believed to have been constructed in the 12th century. This temple was discovered during a mass excavation that took place here.

Chandrabadni: At the Tihri- Srinagar motorway is the town of Kandikhal, and about eight kms from here lays a footpath that leads to the Chandrabadni Temple seated atop the famous Shaktipeeth Chandrakooth mountain.

Surkanda Devi: On the Mussoorie-Chamba motorway, at about 2750 meter above the sea level one can find the famous Goddess Temple of Surkunda Devi.

Budakedar: There is an ancient temple of Lord Kedarnath at the confluence of Balganga and dharmganga, which lies at a distance of 31 kms from Ghansali.  

Kilkileshwar Mahadev: This  mythological temple is situated in the Tihri district. It is exactly by the southern shore of the Alaknanda river, in Chauras, which is about 4 kms from Kirtinagar. It is the prime Sidhpeet amongst the five main Sidhpeet’s of Lord Shiva. It is further believed that the counts disguised in the ancient form of Lord Shiva, had waged a war against Arjun to test  him in this place.

Kartikeya Temple: This temple which is the temple of the son of Lord Shiva, Lord Kartikeya, holds its place atop the Kraunch Mountain. Kraunch mountain is in the district of Rudraprayag, specifically, 3 kms via the Pokhri route in kanakchauri. At a height of approximately seven thousand feet above sea level, this temple is known as a major tourist attraction amongst the believers and travellers.

Kalimath: It is a Sidhapeet. By the right shore of the Kali river, is located the Kalimath or Kali Monastery  which has the Goddess Mahakali, Mahalaxmi, Mahasaraswati and Lord Shiva.

Guptkashi: This forms the main point of halt for the pilgrims on the Kedarnath journey. It is equal in important and relevance to kashi.

Ukhimath: This place is known as the winter resting or sitting spot of Lord Kedarnath.  It also has the tombs of Lord Kedarnath’s Rawal’s.

Vanasur Temple: The Vanasur Temple lies at Lamgaudi, which is on the motorway from Myali to Guptkashi. It is believed to the capital city of Asur Vanasur, and that this temple was built by Vanasur himself.

Basukedar: In the Rudraprayag district is located Basukedar that has the ancient group of temples of Lord Shiva, by the Mayali Guptkashi Motorway. History has it, that it was here that the Pandava’s gave  ′Tarpan′ to their ancestors, the Eight Vasu, the Son’s of Ganga.

Agustyamuni: This temple is dedicated to Sage Agustya, and is situated by the river Mandakini, about 18 kms from Rudraprayag. It is the temple of Lord Mahadev.

Shaneshwar Temple: This ancient temple is built near the temple Agustyamuni, in a place called Silla.

Rajrajeshwari Temple: In the Kedarnath valley is Kandra, Parkandi and Andrawadi. Very close to these, lies a place called taltoli, where the Rajreshwari temple is. It is believed to be the Kuldevi of Kandargarh’s Kandari Dynasty.

Hariyali Devi: The temple situated in the Rudraprayag district in Jasoli, is the main temple of Goddess Hariyali Devi. It is about 8 kms from Soli. The height of this particular place is at 8000 ft. During the festival of Krishn Janmashtmi that celebrates the birth of Lord Krishna, a three day fair is conducted in this place.

Dhari Devi: In the Paudi district, at about 20 kms from Srinagar, along the Badrinath motorway is located the ancient Cluster of temples, which we commonly refer to as Sidhpeet, dedicated to the Goddess Kali. It is said that it is only through the visit to the Goddess Dhari Devi, that the pilgrimage of the Char Dham or or Four Dham is considered to be fruitful.

Kamleshwar: This temple is situated by the river Alaknanda, in the city of Srinagar. There is a belief amongst people that Lord Ram had offered prayers to Lord Shiva in this place, and worshipped Him with one thousand lotus flowers.

Kanwashram: Kanwashram is located in the Paudi Garwal district, near the city of kattordwar, which is enveloped by densely populated jungle of trees. It is thus believed that Lady Shakuntala had delivered Bharath in this forest.  During the Vedic period, this was also a famed University.  A fair is organized here during the spring festival of Basant Panchmi.

Sidhbali: Near to Kotdwar nagar, at about 2 kms away, by the side of the Khoh River, on a small mountain top is the famous temple of Sidhbali.  A few decades back Mahant Sevadas had built a new temple here.

Jwalpa Devi: Sitauted on the Paudi Kotdwar motorway, this Shaktipeeth or shrine, is dedicated to Goddess Ma Durga. It is about 35 kms from Paudi.

Neelkanth: Atop the Manikoonth mountain, this temple is located in the Paudi Garwal district behind the Swargashram or heavenly abode. The temple of Lord Shiva is also around here. Every year during the Shrawan Month or the month of respiration, believers and faithful souls gather here to worship and offer their prayers. This place is at a distance of about 11 kms from Swargashram.

Joshimath: Located in the Chamoli district, this famous Jyotirmath or shrine is known as the place of seat of Lord Badrinath during the winters. This place also has the ancient temple of Lord Nrisingh.

Umadevi Temple: This temple is located at the confluence of river Alaknanda and Pinder, where the Mahamrityunjai temple is also situated. During the 1803 earthquake, this temple was completely devastated and was renovated later.

Chandika Mai Temple: This temple is about 7 kms from Karnprayag, in a place called Simli, under a Peepal tree, commonly known as the sacred fig or Ficus religiosa.  This temple has ancient significance as well historic significance.

Hemkund Sahib: Placed at a dizzying height of 4529 meters above sea level, by a lake, is a Gurudwara – a place of worship for the Sikhs, that literally translates to “the door of the Guru”. Also in this spot is the Lokpal Temple. This is one of most famous religious pilgrim place of the people of the Sikh faith.

Gopeshwar: The capital of the Chamoli district, Gopeshwar has an abundance of natural beauty. This place has the ancient Gopeshwar Temple and religious and spiritual places like vaitarni, along with various other places to pay a spiritual visit to. Just a few kms away from Gopeshwar lies the Mandal Valley that is famous for its beauty and traditions and cultural heritage.

Anusuya Temple:  The Anusuya Temple is based in Gopeshwar, in the middle of the naturally beautiful fields of Mandal. This temple is known popularly as a place of prayers for childless couples, who come to offer their devotion here to get the gift of a child.

Nagnath Temple: In the Chamoli district is a place called Pokhri, and 3kms from Pokhri is Nagnath wherein lies the Pushkar Nag Temple or Pushkar Cobra Temple. This place is related to the Gorakhpanth Kanphat sages. During the festival of Janmashtmi there is a fair that is conducted here. Janmashtmi is a Hindu festival that celebrates the birth of Krishna, the eighth avatar of Vishnu.

Kataarmal Surya (Sun) Temple: Near the town of Almora, Towards the western side is located a temple that is similar to the style of Uttrakhand temples. It was built in the 12th century by King Kataarmal. The main statute in this temple is that of Sun, which is in a yoga posture.

Gananath: On the Almora-Bageshwar motorway is a place called Takula, and about 5kms from here is a cave, inside which is located the Gananath temple. There is a Shiva Linga or the symbol of Lord Shiva that is inside this temple with water dripping on it naturally.

Thalkedar: On the South West side of the Pithaurgarh market is the Thalkedar temple that has immense significance in the area. It is also referred to as Kedar Jyu.

The Golu Temple of Chittai: The Golu Temple is near the town of Almora and garners great respect and devotion from the local residents. This temple, people believe has the power to fulfil wishes and desires of the people praying here. It is also said to have the God of Justice residing in it.

The group of Jageshwar Temple: At approximately 36 kms from the town of Almora, by the shores of Jata Ganga lies a cluster of temples both big and small. Between the 8th and the 10th century.

These temples were built between the 8th and the 10th century by the Katyuri King Shaliwahan. This place has major temples like Jaagnath, Mahamrityunjai, Panchkedar, Dandeshwar, Kuber, Laxmi and Devi temple. On the northern end is situated Vriddajageshwar.

Tripura Sundari: This temple is located at the Almora, in the vicinity of the Talla Kasoon locality. It is believed that Devi Tripura Sundari had appeared to Lord Shiva as his aid and help.

Kasar Devi: Near the town of Almora is the kashyap mountain on which is built the Kasar Devi temple. This temple is quite popular amongst faithful and tourists who come here, for tits religious and other significance.

Nandadevi: Based in Almora, Kumaon and the Nandadevi premises are famed for their excellence in the medieval arts. The premise also three Gods. When Commissioner Trail took the Nanda Statues from the Malla Palace, which was earlier a court, and kept it in the Pateshwar temple, this temple acquired the name of the famed Nandadevi. Every year during the months of August September, that is known as the Ashtmi of Bhadrapad in the Hindu calendar, there is conducted a grand fair and fest in honour of Goddess Nandadevi.

Bagnath (Bageshwar): The Bagnath temple is built at the confluence of rivers Gomathi and Saryu, and was constructed in the year 1602. Apart from the Bagnath Temple, this place also has the well known temples of Baneshwar and Bhairavnath. A King from the Kartikeypur lineage, King Bhudev, had engraved a tablet in the ancient Devnagri script, which was discovered and shed light on the fact that Bageshwar was also known Vyaghreshwar.

Baijnath: The Baijnath Temple lies close to the Almora Bageshwar motorway, about 71 kms from Almora, on the shores of the river Gomathi. This temple is built and exudes the style of the Northern Katyuri art form. It was built in the 11th century. In the main temple, one can find the statue of Goddess Parvati. Amongst other temples in and around the area, the most important ones include the Laxmi Narayan Temple.

Someshwar: King Somchand is credited with the building of the Someshwar Temple which is 40 kms away from Almora that lies on the Almora Kasauni motorway. This temple is famous for its devotion and worship of Lord Shiva and even has an ancient navy.

Dunagiri: The Dunagiri Temple is 5 kms away from Dwarhaat and can be reached by walking through a steep climb. It is believed to be one of the fifty one Ungrapeeth of the Goddess Shakti, also referred to as Goddess Devi. There is a belief amongst people here that in ancient times there existed here, the monastery of Sage Drona. One can access this place via a motorway as well.

The Group of Dwarahaat Temples: This group of temples was built in the 12th and the 13th century by Katyuri Kings. These temples are on the Ranikhet Ganayee motorway. The biggest and the grandest deity in this temple is that of Lord Gujardev.  Amongst the other prominent temples around here are the temples of Lord Badrinath and Lord Kedarnath. The three part of the temples are famously known as the Kachahri (Court), Maniya and Ratndev.

Nainadevi: The Nainadevi temple is situated in Mallital in the city of Nainital.  It was established in the year 1882. Every year during the months of August and September, this according to the Hindu calendar is called the Ashtmi of Bhadrapad, a carnival fair is organised in devotion to Goddess Nandadevi.

Girjiya Devi: In the Nainital district is a place called Ramnagar. About 14 kms from Ramnagar by the shores of the river Kosi, is situated an ancient temple by the name of Girjiya Devi. Believers throng this place during festivals like Shivratri – the annual Hindu festival that is celebrated in honor of Lord Shiva; Karthik Poornima- a festival celebrated by the Hindu and the Jain communities on a full moon night or on the fifteenth lunar day of Karthik (which is November and December). Also celebrated here is the festival of Navratr – a Hindu festival celebrated in the autumn of every year.

Pataal Buvneshwar: Near Gangolihaat is a cave by the name of Pataal Buvneshwar that has several natural carvings of gods and deities like Surya (the Sun God), Lord Vishnu, Uma Maheshwar, Mahishasurmardini and many more. This is also known by the names Rani (Queen), Nrisingh ( An avatar of the Hindu God Vishnu, Sheshnag ( the five headed snake), Dharm ( the hindu word for religion, duty, virtue, etc.), Mokshdwaar (the door to attaining nirvana), etc.

Varahi Temple: In the capital of Janpad  is Champawat, and about 45 kms from here is Devidhura where the Varahi Devi Temple is. This temple is said to have been built in the 12th century.  Every year during the auspicious occasion of Rakhshabandhan, a festival that celebrates the bond of a brother and sister, a grand fair is organised that witnesses the traditional worshipping of Bagwal (Pashan war).

Vibhandeshwar: This temple which is 5 kms from Dwarghat and towards the southern side, is popularly known amongst the locals as the “Kashi of the North”.  During the occasion of Vishuwat Sankranti, the famous Syaldey Bikhoti fair is conducted here.

Somnatheshwar: In the Gewar valley, by the shores of the river Ramganga, lies this temple that is dedicated to Lord Shiva. In earlier days, a month long fair in honour of Lord Somnath would be organized here.

Sri Purnagiri: About 30 kms from the town of Tanakpur one can find a path of vertical climb that leads to Sri Purnagiri temple. This place and temple particularly this temple, witnesses a throng of believers not only from India but from various countries, who make their way here. Every year during the months of Chaitra and Maah as per the Hindu calendar, which is March and April and December respectively, this place is crowded with thousands of believers who come here to worship and offer prayers.

Haatkalinka: The Haatkalinka Temple is located in Gangolihaat and is dedicated to the brave soldiers who go to war. The temple is believed to be the protection for those from the area who go to the war fields.

Nanakamatta: The Nanakamatta shrine is situated in a district of the Udhdham Singh city. It is a very famous and well known Gurudwara, which is the holy place of worship of those belonging to the Sikh faith. It is believed among the followers of this religion, that the leader of the Sikh faith, Gurunanak Dev had taken shelter and stayed in this place for some time.

Prince Nawab Ali Khan of Awadh was impressed by Guru Govind Singh and presented this land to him.

Reetha Sahib: 64kms from Lohaghat, this is a holy land for the Sikhs. It is believed that Guru Nanak Dev rested under the Retha (Sapindus) tree while returning from his Mansarovar journey. It was also believed that post this event, the fruits from one of the branches from this tree turned sweet.


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