Holy Pilgrimage – Temples in Uttarakhand State - 5

Holy Pilgrimage – Temples in  Uttarakhand State

Daksheswara Mahadev Temple, Kankhal (Haridwar)


Daksheswara Mahadev (Hindi: दक्षेश्‍वर महादेव मन्दिर) or Daksha Mahadev temple is a Hindu temple dedicated to Lord Shiva, located in the town of Kankhal, about 4 km from Haridwar in the Haridwar district of Uttarakhand, India. Named after King Daksha Prajapati, the father of Sati or Dakshayani, Lord Shiva 's first wife. Daksha is one of the fourteen Prajapatis, creator deities, presiding over procreation, and protector of life, in Hindu mythology.
The present temple was built by Queen Dhankaur in 1810 AD and rebuilt in 1962, and is a place of pilgrimage for Shaivaite devotees on Maha Shivaratri


The legend of Daksha

The mythological story as mentioned in the Mahabharata and other sacred texts of Hinduism, details the episode when King Daksha Prajapati, the father of Sati, Lord Shiva 's first wife, performed Yagna at this place, he did not invite his son-in-law Lord Shiva, thus Sati felt insulted. Nevertheless she arrived, when she found her husband being spurned by her father, she burnt herself in the yagya kunda itself. Shiva burned with anger, sent the terrible demi-god Vīrabhadra, Bhadrakali and also his ganas.
On the direction of Shiva, Virabhadra appeared with Shiva's ganas in the midst of Daksha's assembly like a storm wind and waged a fierce war on the gods and mortals present culminating in the beheading of Daksha, and later being bestow the head of a goat, at the behest of Brahma and other gods. Much of the details of the famous Ashvamedha Yagna (Horse Sacrifice) of Daksha are available in the Vayu Purana

Other structures

Standing next to the main temple is the Das Mahavidya temple, dedicated to the Mahavidyas, a venue for devotees of Devi to congregate for special pujas, during the Navratri celebrations. Also within the complex, there is a temple dedicated to Ganga. Next to the temple is the Daksha Ghat on the Ganges and close by is the Nileshwar Mahadev Temple.


Haridwar is situated at a height of almost 300 meters above sea level and the temperature usually hovers around 35-40°C during summers and can dip to 6-10 °C in winters. The best season to visit Haridwar is between October and March 
BY RAIL - Haridwar is well connected by trains to almost all the major cities in India. Several trains come to Haridwar every day. These two are best trains between Haridwar and DelhiMorning Train :
Every Day
Shatabdi Express - Daily departure New Delhi: 0710 A.M and Arrival Haridwar 1120 A.M. Airconditioned & Tea/ Coffee & Breakfast on Board included in the ticket.
Haridwar to Delhi Departure Haridwar 0610 PM Arrival New Delhi: 10:30 P.MEvening Train: 
Jan Shatabdi Express: Everyday except Sundays
BY ROAD - The National Highway no.45 crosses the city, so it is connected to other cities of the state as well as those in the other states too. 
BY AIR - The nearest airport is the Jolly Grant in Dehradun, but connections are not good. It is preferable to use the roads or rail to Delhi and then take flights to the destination of ones choice.

WHERE TO STAY- There are many places to stay in Haridwar. Most of the hotels and resorts are in the middle range or budget categories. Many of the ashrams and dharmshalas also provide simple and cheap accommodation. The numerous resorts dotting the banks of the Ganges are also good option


Dhari Devi (Uttarakhand)

Dhari Devi is a temple on the banks of the Alaknanda River in the Garhwal Region of Uttarakhand state, India. It houses the upper half of an idol of the goddess Dhari that, according to local lore, changes in appearance during the day from a girl, to a woman, and then to an old lady. The idol's lower half is located in Kalimath,  where mata is prayed in Kali roop.
This shrine is one of 108 in India, as numbered by Srimad Devi Bhagwat


The temple is located in Kalyasaur along the Srinagar -Badrinath Highway. It is about 15 km from Srinagar,Uttarakhand , 20 km from Rudraprayag and 360 km from Delhi.


There are many legends associated with this temple. One legend concerns its location. According to the story, one of the temples of Mata Kali was washed away during a disastrous flood in the Garwhal region. When the Dhari idol struck a rock, it cried out, attracting local villagers to investigate. They were told to place the idol where it was found, and the temple was constructed there to honor it.
The idol is under open sky. Villagers and philanthropists have tried to build a roof but each time it has been destroyed, apparently because the goddess prefersto shower her blessings in the open.


The government has tried to build up dams to overcome the power shortage. This has been opposed by locals and some prominent politicians like Uma Bharti and B. C. Khanduri since it would lead to the submergence of the Shrine, and efforts to construct dams have been delayed indefinitely.  


The total number of Shakti Peeths in India is 108. According to Srimad Devi Bhgwatam.

The following is the list of Shakti Peeth in Uttarakhand:

01. Urvshi Shakti Sthal (Badrikashram).
02. Manibhadr Pur (Mana) Dropadi Peeth.
03. Nav Durga (Joshimath) Purnagiri Peeth.
04. Lata (Neeti Marg) nanda Peeth.
05. Parnkhandeshwari (Paini) Peeth.
06. Umadevi Shakti Sthal (Karnaprayag).
07. Shakti Sthal Nanda Raj Rajeshwari, Kurur Dasholi.
08. Sanbhargdanyini Peeth Kedar (Parwati)
09. Kalimath Shakti Peeth.
10. Rakeshwari Peeth, Rausi, Gaundar.
11. Dhari Devi Shakti Sthal, Kalyasaur.
12. Maithana Devi (Mahish Mardni), Maithana Khal.
13. Haryali Devi (Rudraprayag, Jasoli).
14. Bala Tripuri Sundri Raj Rajeshwari, Dewal Garh.
15. Ansuya Devi, Mandal.
16. Chandravadani Shakti Sthal.
17. Surkanda Devi Shakti Sthal.
18. Kunjjapuri Devi Shakti Sthal.
19. Mahish Mardni (Kanda Shakti Sthal)
20. Jwalpadevi Shakti Sthal, Jwalpa.
21. Chandidevi, Haridwar.
22. Mansa Devi, Haridwar
23. Nanda Devi Shkti Sthal, Almora.
24. Naini Devi Shakti Sthal, Nainital.
25. Garjiya Devi Shakti Sthal, Ram Nagar.
26. Shakti Sthal Kausani.

In addition to these Shakti Peeth in every village there is village goddess and regional goddess. It is the birth place of Parwati, besides this Dksha Kanya Sati in the shape of Adi Shakti is present in every particle of Uttarakhand, with different names and worshiped everywhere.

Alaknanda River

The Alaknanda (or Alakananda; Sanskrit: अलकनन्दा) is a Himalayan river in the state of Uttarakhand, India that is one of the two headstreams of the Ganges which is the major river of Northern India and the holy river of Hinduism. The other headstream, Bhagirathi which is longer, is the source stream.


The Alaknanda rises at the confluence and feet of the Satopanth and Bhagirath Kharak glaciers in Uttarakhand. It meets the Bhagirathi River at Devprayag after flowing for approximately 190 km (118.1 mi) through the Alaknanda valley. Its main tributaries are the Mandakini, Nandakini, and Pindar rivers. The Alaknanda system drains parts of Chamoli, Tehri, and Pauri districts.
Following the merging at Devprayag, the river is known as the Ganges. The Alaknanda contributes a significantly larger portion to the flow of the Ganges than the Bhagirathi. The Hindu pilgrimage centre of Badrinath lies along the banks of the Alaknanda river. The Alaknanda is also known for adventure sports like rafting.
In mythology, the Goddess Ganga descended to earth at Gangotri, the original source of the Bhagirathi before the Gangotri Glacier receded to its current location at Gomukh. The Alaknanda is believed to have split off from the celestial Ganges when it descended from heaven.
The origin of Alaknanda River is of special interest to the tourists who dare to visit the important pilgrimages in Uttarakhand. The Ganges rises in the southern Himalayas on the Indian side of the Tibet border. The five headstreams of the Ganges including the Bhagirathi, Mandakini, Alaknanda, Dhauliganga and Pindar all rise in the northern mountainous regions of Uttarakhand.
At Alaknanda's origin, Lake Satopanth is a triangular lake, located at a height of 4402 meters above the sea level and named after the Hindu trinity Lord Brahma, Lord Vishnu, Lord Shiva.
Nanda Devi is the highest point of the Alaknanda basin.
Near the border with Tibet, the Alaknanda merges with the present Saraswati River at Keshavprayag beyond Sri Badrinath at Mana.


Badrinath, one of the holy destinations for Hindus in India is located near to the bank of the Alaknanda River. This place is surrounded by two mountain ranges of Nar and Narayan and Neelkanth peak is located at the back side.


Alaknanda River origin is of great interest for the tourists who visit the pilgrimages in Uttarakhand. Rise of the Ganges in India is from the southern part of the Indian Himalaya, near the Tibet border. This river is among the best for river rafting in the world due to its high rafting grade.


Kalimath, Uattarakhand

Kalimath (originally known, and still sometimes referred to, as Kaviltha) is a village which is regarded as a divine place and shakti peeth. It lies at an altitude of around 6,000 feet (1,800 m) on the river Saraswati in the Himalayas, surrounded by the peaks of Kedarnath in Rudraprayag District of Uttarakhand, India. Kalimath is situated close to Ukhimath, and Guptakashi. It is one of the “Siddha Peeths” of the region and is held in high religious esteem. The temple of Goddess Kali located here is visited by a large number of devotees round the year and specially during the “Navratras”.  There are 108 Shakti Peethas in India and this holy shrine is one of them as per Srimad Devi Bhagwat. The upper part of Goddess Kali is worshipped in Dhari Devi(Uttarakhand) and the remaining part in Kalimath Religious tradition is that Kalimath is where Kali killed the demon Raktavija and had gone under the earth. Kalimath is only the place where the goddess Kali is worshipped along with her sisters Laxmi and Saraswati. There is a temple of the goddess Kali, which is visited by a large number of devotees throughout the year, and especially during the Navratras. A peculiar thing about the temple is that there is no idol that is worshipped here, instead, the Sri Yantra, is the object of devotion. On one day each year the goddess is taken out and Puja is performed at midnight, with only the chief priest present.  The temple is other ancient temples to Laxmi, Saraswati, Gauri Shankar and many antique Shivlings, idols of Nandi, Ganesh etc. An eternal holy flame always burns in the temple of Laxmi. Bhairava Mandir is also located very near. Barti Baba is credited for preserving the sanctity of this holy shrine.All the people who met him and the locals say that he had direct connection with Maa Kali. The guru and Member of Parliament, Satpal Maharaj, has set up a small Dharamshala very close to the temple. Pilgrims can stay there.



Kālidāsa (Devanāgarī: कालिदास "servant of Kali") was a renowned Classical Sanskrit writer, widely regarded as the greatest poet and dramatist in the Sanskrit language. His floruit cannot be dated with precision, but most likely falls within the 5th century CE.
His plays and poetry are primarily based on the Hindu Puranas and Hindu philosophy.


Scholars have speculated that Kālidāsa may have lived either near the Himalayas, or in the vicinity of Nagpur, central India, where the Kalidas University is situated now, or in Kalinga. The three speculations are based respectively on Kālidāsa's detailed description of the Himalayas in his Kumārasambhava, the display of his love for Ujjain in Meghadūta, and his highly eulogistic descriptions of Kalingan emperor Hemāngada in Raghuvaśa (sixth sarga).



Garjiya Devi Temple


Garjiya Devi Temple is located in the Garjiya village near Ramnagar, Uttarakhand, India. It is a sacred Shakti shrine where Garjiya Devi is the presiding deity. The temple is situated over a large rock in the Kosi River and is one of the most famous temples of the Nainital district visited by thousands of devotees during Kartik Poornima, a Hindu holy day celebrated on the fifteenth lunar day of Kartik (November – December). It is also known as the festival of lights of the gods. The Kartik Purnima festival also coincides with the Sikh festival of Guru Nanak Jayanti. Vatsalya Tandon and his family went there to worship.


Garjiya Devi Temple is situated on a huge rock on River Kosi, 14 km from Ramnagar. A large fair is organized at this Shakti shrine on Kartik Purnima that draws a large number of pilgrims and devotees.


Ramnagar (Hindi: रामनगर) is a small town and municipal board in the Nainital district of Uttarakhand, India. It is located approximately 65 kilometres (40 mi) from Nainital, the headquarters of the district.


Sita Vani Temple

Seeta Bani Temple is dedicated to Devi Sita, consort of Lord Rama. It is believed that she entered into the lap of Mother Earth here. Every year, a fair is held here during Ramanavami. It is located at a distance of 20 km from Ramnagar.

Transportation to Ramnagar


The nearest airport is Pantnagar Airport, 50 km away in the town of Pantnagar in Udham Singh Nagar district. However Indira Gandhi International Airport at Delhi is the nearest international airport.


In 1907, during the British Raj the railway line in Uttarakhand was extended from Moradabad to Ramnagar.[1] Ramnagar railway station is under the administrative control of the Izzatnagar division of the North Eastern Railway zone of the Indian Railways. The station is located about 65 km from Nainital. It has direct rail links to Kashipur, Moradabad, Delhi, Rae Bareli, Bareilly, Lucknow and Varanasi.Code of Ramnagar railway station is RMR


Ramnagar bus station is located near to the Railway station. There are regular buses from Ramnagar to Nainital and Kashipur. National Highway 121 which starts from Kashipur and ends at Bubakhal, Uttarakhand passes through Ramnaga





Ghorakal is the place situated in the Nainital district of the Uttarakhand state of India. Ghorakhal means pond for water to horses. It is the picturesque site at the height of more than 2000 mts.
It is situated near Bhowali and is the seat for Army school, known as Sainik School Ghorakhal, established in 1966 at the Ghorakhal Estate of the Nawab of Rampur. The famous Golu Devta temple is situated on a hill above overlooking the school.



Golu Dev Temple

Golu Devata or Lord Golu (Hindi: गॊलू दॆवता) is the legendary mythological and historical God of the Kumaun region of Uttarakhand state of India and is their deity.
The Golu Devta Chitai, temple is about 4 km from the main gate of Binsar wildlife sanctuary & about 10 km. from Almora
olu Devata is thought to be as an incarnation of Gaur Bhairav (Shiva), and is worshipped all over the region and regarded as the dispenser of justice by the devotees with extreme faith.
Historically, he is considered  as the brave son and General of Katyuri king, Jhal Rai and his mother was Kalindra, and his grandfather was Hal Rai and great-grandfather was Hal Rai. Historically the origin of Golu Devata is accepted at Champawat. His mother Kalindra is believed to be the sister of two other local deities Harishchand Devjyun (the divine spirit of Raja Harish of the Chands) and Sem Devjyun and both these deities are regarded  as uncles of Lord Golu.
Another legend suggests that he was a General in the army of Chand king, Baz Bahadur (1638–78), and died displaying exemplary valour at war, the temple at Chitai was erected in his honour, 8 km from Almora city.
Another legend says that Golu Devta was killed by the king of Binsar due to some false doubt, and he was beheaded by the king and his bdoy fell at Gairad at Dana Golu and his head fell at Kaparkhan, near modern day Binsar, a few km from Almora. At Dana Golu, there is the original and most ancient temple of Golu Devta.
The most popular story about Gwalla talks of a local king who, while hunting, sent his servants to look for water. The servants disturbed a woman who was praying. The woman, in a fit of anger, taunted the king that he could not separate two fighting bulls and proceeded to do so herself. The king was very impressed by this deed and he married the lady. When this queen got a son, the other queens, who were jealous of her, placed a stone in its place and the child in a cage and put the cage into the river. The child was brought up by a fisherman. When the boy grew up he took a wooden horse to the river and on being questioned by the queens he replied that if women can give birth to stone then wooden horses can drink water. When the king heard about this, he punished the guilty queens and crowned the boy, who went on to be known as Gwalla devata.
Golu Devta is seen in form of Lord Shiva, his brother Kalva Devta is in form on Bhairava and Garh Devi is form of Shakti. Golu Devta is also prayed as key deity(Ista/ Kula Devta) in many villages of Chamoli. Normally three days pooja or 9 days pooja is performed to worship Lord Golu Devta also known as Goreel Devta in Chamoli District. Golu Devta is offered Ghee, Milk, Curd, Halwa, Poori, Pakauri and head of Goat sacrificed. Two Male Goat scarifice ( Bali) is performed. Preferred black in colour. One in the temple of Golu devta and the other outside temple in remote location. The sacrificed goat is received as Prasada of pooja. Golu devta is known as God of justice and prayed with great pride and enthusiasm. Golu Devta is offered with White Cloths, white pagari and white shaal.
There are many temples of Golu Devata in Kumaun, and the most popular are at Chitai, Champawat, Ghorakhal. It is popular belief that Golu Devata dispenses quick justice to the devotee.
Devotees in turn offer bells and sacrifice animals after the fulfillment of their wishes. Thousands of bells of every size can be seen hanging over the temple premises. Many devotees file a lot of written petitions daily, which are received by the temple.


Gol-jew or Golu devta is the most admired and worshiped God of Kumaon Hills. His highness adoration is been implored throughout the Kumaon with various names Ratkot-Golu, Goriya, Gwal Devta, Krishn-avtari, Baladhari, Bala-Goriya, Doodadhari, Nirankari, Gollu, Golla, Hariya Gollu, Gol-jew, Chamandhari Gollu, Dwah Gollu, Gorail and Ghughutiya Gollu, etc. He is said to be the incarnation of Bhairav devta alias GAUR BHAIRAV, an embodiment of the Lord Shri Krishna.
His father Haalrai was famous king of Gari Champawat and the only son of brave and generous predecessor raja Zhaalrai, a role model of Chand dynasty. On the words of my AAMA (grand mother), all 7 queens (real sisters) of king Haalrai couldn't give birth to a single successor of the dynasty, in due course raja Halarai prayed hard to his kul-devta (God of extended family) Kaal-Bhairav, eventually with bliss God Kaal-Bhairav took pity on him and rewarded by granting a amazing wish, a brave successor of chanda dynasty, a new birth of his own embodiment. According to Kaal Bhairav Devta, king's all 7 queens were not eligible enough to acquire his new birth, so a new marriage must needed to be bond with Devi Kalinga, sister of PANCHNAAM DEVTA. As per the wish raja Haalrai got married with Kalinga and after a while Rani Kalinga was expecting a baby.

Unfortunately 7 queens were extremely jealous of her, and to the end committed a cruel sin, immediately after birth they replaced the newly born baby with a set of stones (sill-lwada), later packed the baby in a box having seven locks and finally threw him out in the Kali River. Few miles away a fisherman (BHANA DHEEWARA) found a heavy stuff trapped in his fishing net, brought it up, and got surprised to see the baby inside. Bhana Dheewara and his wife were barren, they decided to take a good care of the baby, with immense care and love they let grew him up. This embodiment has started showing his magic since his childhood.

Once upon a time, Raja Haalrai while on hunting saw this child riding on a wooden horse near the bank of river Kali. The King could observe the extraordinary divine power on his face...he was keep gazing at him for a while.....and finally asked about what he doing there. The Child replied he is there to let his horse drink water. Surprisingly king asked about, how a wooden horse can drink water. Innocently child replies back, 'if a queen can give birth to stones then why couldn't his wooden horse drink water". The king was astonished with the reply and earnestly enquired about the child. Detectives of the palace identified him, after knowing the story he brought him back to his palace and declared him the prince of Gadi Champawat.

Later he ruled the whole Kingdom and endows his public with a trustful justice irrespective of the various critical issues. His highness Gol-jew is known to be the God of justice. He was a great warrior and his lore of bravery and justice are still sung by the local folk artistes during various fairs, jagars and baisi.

Although every village of Kumaon has a temple of His-highness Golu Jew, though it is believed that the original is said to be the one located at Goluchaur Champawat. Other famous temples are located at Chaura (Someshwar), Ratkote (Manan), Tarikhet, Manila, Gagrigol, Chuthan, Ghorakhal and the most famous one at Chitai (Almora). People after failing to get justice from other sources used to appeals his-highness Golu Devta and offer bells after they get evenhanded. His-highness Golu Devta does justice and punishes the defaulter in several ways known as 'Chetak' among folks. The defaulter has to compromise with the victim in a live combined worship called Jagar afterward puja is been done at his-highness Golu Devta's temple.


 Gopinath Mandir

Gopinath Mandir is a Hindu temple dedicated to Shiva in Gopeshwar, Chamoli District, Uttarakhand, India.
Chamoli Gopeshwar is a town in Chamoli district in the state of Uttarakhand, India. It is the administrative headquarters of the Chamoli District of Uttarakhand in India. Located 1300 meters above sea level, it is famous for its weather (pleasant most of the year, but very cold in December and January) and its temple
Gopinath Temple  is situated in Gopeshwar village now part of Gopeshwar town.
Gopinath Temple is an ancient temple dedicated to Lord Shiva, located at Gopeshwar, in Uttaranchal. The temple stands out in its architectural proficiency; it is topped by a magnificent dome and the 30 sq ft (2.8 m2) sanctum sanctorum, which is aessible by 24 doors.

The remains of broken idols found around the temple testify the existence of several more temples in ancient times. There is a trident about 5 m high, which dates back to the 12th century, in the courtyard of the temple made of eight different metals. It boasts the inscriptions attributed to Anekmalla, the king of Nepal who reigned in the 13th century. Four short inscriptions written in Devanagri, which dates back to a later period, are yet to be deciphered, baring one.
Legend is that the trident got fixed in this spot, when Lord Shiva threw it at Lord Kama to kill him. The metal of the trident is not weathered by the elements and this is a wonder. The legend goes that the trident belonged to Shiva who threw it at Kamdeva ( The God Of Love) to kill him and it got fixed in this spot. It is believed that while brute force can not move this Trident, the slightest touch by a true devotee can cause a tremor in it. The metal of the trident does not appear to have become weathered by the elements over the century.


Gopeshwar is surrounded by four famous temples: Tungnath, Anusuya Devi, Rudranath, and Badrinath. The holy town of Kedarnath is also nearby.
A famous temple of Lord Shiva, now known as Gopinath Mandir, is situated here. A story tells of a king named Sagar (for whom a nearby village is named) who was there in ancient times. His cow always came to this place and gave his milk to a Shivling; one day Sagar saw it and he constructed a temple there.

Om Tat Sat

(My humble  salutations to the great devotees ,  wikisources  and Pilgrimage tourist guide for the collection )


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