Religious places and temples of Uttarakhand
The temple town of Guptakashi is located at a distance of 47 kms from the holy town of Kedarnath. Perched at an elevation of 1319 m above the sea level, Guptakashi enjoys the mesmerising backdrop of the enchanting snow-covered peaks of Chaukhamba mountains.
It houses two ancient temples namely Vishwanath Temple dedicated to Lord Shiva and Ardhnareshwar Temple. Manikarnika Kund is another popular destination in the town.
Endearingly called as Devbhoomi, Uttarkashi, literally meaning ‘Kashi of the North’, is a quaint little town tucked away in the hill state of Uttarakhand. Revered by the Hindus as one of their propitious religious sites, the townhouses two of the total four holy shrines of Hindu mythology. It is one of the most visited cities of religious relevance in the area and gives you a sense of heightened divinity and an out of the world experience.
Mukteshwar is a small hill town mostly known for adventure sports such as rock climbing, rappelling etc. and the amazing view of Himalayan ranges you get from there.
A small sacred town of Madhyamaheshwar is a place full of mysteries and blessed with bounty of nature. Renowned for its Madhyamaheshwar Temple dedicated to Lord Shiva.
Marked by the confluence point of rivers Alaknanda and Bhagirathi, Devprayag is a religious hub and is quite popular among tourists coming for pilgrimage or seeking some solitude close to nature.
Joshimath is a quaint hill town nestled amid the lap of snow-capped Himalayas in the state of Uttarakhand. This valley is mesmerizingly beautiful surrounded on all sides by picturesque views. If a good trekking trail is your calling, the Valley of Flowers Trek is close to Joshimath.
One of the holiest lands in Uttarakhand, Gaumukh is thronged by devotees mainly for its serenity and pious mythological history. Gaumukh is not exactly a tourist town or city, but a glacial trekking destination located within Uttarkashi district of Uttarakhand.
If spirituality is on your mind and on your itinerary as well, Tungnath is just your kind of place. It is an ancient holy town more than 1000 years old and is popular among pilgrims and devotees. It comprises of Alaknanda and Mandakini river valleys or ‘Lord of Peaks’ as they are referred to.
The Gangotri temple in Uttarakhand is included in the list of the famous Char Dham or the four most revered pilgrimages. The other three temples are Yamunotri, Kedarnath and Badrinath. The Hindus believe that a trip to these four places paves the way to salvation. Thus the devotees from all the corners of the earth fight with each and every adversity that comes across their way and ultimately reach these places. The Gangotri temple of Uttarakhand lies at an altitude of 3200 m. The temple is nested amidst the beautiful surroundings of deodars and pines.
Kedarnath is one of the holiest pilgrimage sites for pious Hindus. Kedarnath Temple is probably the most sacred Hindu shrine in the Himalayas and is one of the major Shiva temples in the country. Kedarnath Temple of Uttarakhand contains one of the twelve Jyothirlingas of Lord Shiva and one of the Panch Kedars. Kedar is a name for lord Shiva who embodies a myriad passion of love, hatred, fear, death and mysticism by his various forms.
Mythology identifies the idol at Kedarnath Temple at Uttarakhand with the rump of a bull, a disguise adopted by Lord Shiva to escape recognition by the Pandavas who sought repentance for killing relatives in the battle of Kurukshetra. When the Pandavas insisted on pursuing him, he dived into the ground leaving behind a hump on the surface. This conical projection is shown obeisance at the shrine.
The Badrinath Temple is the shrine located at Badrinath in the state of Uttarakhand in northern India. It was constructed by the Kings of Garhwal nearly two centuries ago.
In Badrinath Temple of Uttarakhand, Lord Badri Narayan (or Badri Vishal) is armed with Shankh (Conch) and Chakra in two arms in a raised posture and two arms supported on the lap in Yogamudra. The primary image is sculpted from black stone and embodies Vishnu in a contemplative pose. The temple also contains Garuda (vehicle of Lord Narayan) and Goddess Mahalaxmi.
One of the most important centers for the Hindu pilgrimage in Uttarakhand is the Sangura temple. The temple lies on the banks of the river Nyaar and houses a Siddh Peeth of Maa Bhuvneshwari. The region is nearly 15 Kilometers away from Satpuli in Pauri district of Uttarakhand. It is believed that whoever goes to the Sangura temple in Uttarakhand and takes eleven turns or Ekadash parikrama around the Goddess gets his or her wishes fulfilled. It is also said that this place was selected by the Goddess Maa Bhuvneshwari herself as her abode.
Located in the dense forests of the Uttarakhand, the Rudranath temple in Gaurikund is a well known place for the Hindu pilgrimage. The natural curvature of the mountains here is amazing and unbelievably resembles the face of Lord Shiva. This is why it is called the ‘Rudramukh’ or the face of the Lord Shiva.
The Rudranath temple of Uttarakhand is located at an altitude of 2,286meters. There is the wonderful nature all around adorned by the unique mountainous flora. Here Lord Shiva has been depicted as the ‘Neelkantha’. Himalaya is the hoard of peace and eternal bliss to the people who come over here from the different parts of the country as also of the world. The state of Uttarakhand is often described as the “Devbhoomi” or the lands of the Gods and Goddesses. It is so wonderful a place that the deities have themselves preferred to make it their abode. The Rudranath temple in Uttarakhand is also included amongst the sacred places in Uttarakhand which are nested in the lap of the virgin nature.
Naina Devi Temple
Naina Devi temple of Uttarakhand is located in the heavenly place called Nainital. Nainital is a world wide popular hill-station in the state. It houses a vast lake surrounded by mountains on the three sides. There were so many lakes in and around Nainital that this place was often referred to as ‘the city of 60 Lakes’ or ‘Chakta’. But most unfortunately many of these lakes are no more in the present times. The lake associated with the Naina Devi temple at Uttarakhand is however extant, and at present the very life of the town of Nainital is going around it. You will find the few other lakes outside Nainital which are no less attractive and beautiful than the Naini Lake.
Mansa Devi Temple
The Mansa Devi temple in Uttarakhand is an age old temple that is located on the top of a hill called the Bilwa hill situated near the principal city of Haridwar in Uttarakhand in India. The temple enshrines a mother Goddess who is known as the Mansa Devi. The devotees come to this place from far and wide and usually worship the deity with coconuts, fruits, marigold garlands and incense sticks.
One among the famous Panch (five) Kedars, the temple of Madmaheshwar is situated at a height of 10,400 feet (3,289 meters) from sea level, on the slope of a ridge, 25 kilometers north-east of Guptkashi. There is a motorable road from Guptkashi to Kalimath. A towering statue of Har Gauri measuring over a meter high is to be found in the Kali temple at Madmaheshwar. The trek from Kalimath to Madmaheshwar is characterized by wild and amazing natural beauty and encircled by the Chaukhamba, Kedarnath and Neelkanth peaks. Gaundar at the junction of the Madmaheshwar Ganga and the Markanga Ganga, is the last settlement before one finds oneself at Madmaheshwar, the place where Lord Shiva is paid homage to in the form of the belly or the navel.
Lakha Mandal Temple
One of the best temples in the state of Uttarakhand is situated in Dehra Dun and is known as the Lakha Mandal temple. This temple was constructed in the ancient times. It enshrines Lord Shiva. The Lakha Mandal temple in Uttarakhand is especially popular amongst the people who belong to the Shakti Cult. They believe that a visit to this temple shrine will bring an end to all their misfortunes and ill destiny. They gladly accept the trouble to come over to this place from far and wide solely in search of peace and eternal bliss.
Har Ki Pauri
Har Ki Pauri temple lies in Haridwar in the state of Uttarakhand in India. It was constructed by King Vikramaditya. He built this temple in the memory of his brother Bhatrihari’s prolonged spiritual quest that he made on the banks of the river Ganga. Har Ki Pauri in Uttarakhand is situated by the sacred Brahmakund.
The temple of Gaurikund in Uttarakhand lies at a distance of 5 kilometers from Son Prayag. It lies at an altitude of 1982 meters above sea level. Whenever you go to Kedarnath, you will get Gaurikund on your way and it will be the last bus stop. There is a famous hot spring in Gaurikund of Uttarakhand.
Gaurikund at Uttarakhand enshrines the image of the Goddess Parvati. She is one of the many forms of goddess Durga and is supposed to be the Goddess of strength and power. The devotees come here from the remote areas to pray to the Devi and firmly believe that a visit to this shrine will bring an end to their sorrows. They also believe that they will get the adequate ‘Shakti’ or strength from the deity which will help them fight against all the adversities of life.
Hemkund Saheb is in Joshimath, a well known place in the state of Uttarakhand in India. The state of Uttarakhand is aptly called the “Dev Bhoomi” or the abode of Gods. You will find the Hindu temples at about each and every turn that you take along the mountains.
Hemkund Saheb in Uttarakhand is a place situated at around 4329 meters above the sea level. It is a popular site of pilgrimage for the people from both the Sikh as well as the Hindu communities.
The Panchshilas play an exceedingly significant role behind preserving the holy essence of the Badrinath Temple and presenting it with a heavenly beautiful and extremely serene ambiance. Panchshilas in Uttarakhand is the designation that has been awarded to the assemblage of the five mountains namely:-
Garuda Shila: Legend has it that ‘Garuda’, in order to becomie the chariot driver of the Sun God, chose the ‘Gandha Madan’ to carry out a soul-stirring penance so that he could please Lord Vishnu. He succeeded in his endeavor and Lord Vishnu granted him a boon that the piece of stone on which he performed his meditation should be rendered popular by his name.
Narada Shila: It has been illustrated in history that Narada had engaged himself in intense penance for an astounding 62 thousand years on these rocks to please Lord Vishnu. Lord Vishnu finally appeared before him and bestowed him with the boon that the rocks where he carried out his meditation would be given his name.
Varaha Shila: It is believed that Lord Vishnu chose this particular mountain to wait out the period of dissipation in the disguise of a humongous rock after slaying the evil monster named Hiranyaksha in the form of a boar or ‘Varaha’.
Markandeya Shila: Influenced by Narada, a sage known by the name Markandeya engrossed himself in intense penance in order to satisfy Lord Vishnu. Lord Vishnu blessed him that he would remain associated with that rock for all eternity.
Narasimha Shila: In answer to the acute meditation performed by many sages, Lord Vishnu in the form of ‘Narhasimha’ awarded them with the boon that he would bless that venue in the form of a stone.