Holy Pilgrimage – Temples in Uttarakhand State ( Divisions )- 7

Holy Pilgrimage – Temples in  Uttarakhand State


The original land of legends, there’s a stirring saga and a tantalizing tale wafting behind every cloud, rustling in every wood, and hidden under every rock, in the holy terrain of the Himalayas.

The Mahabharata mentions the region explicitly. So do writings and inscriptions from the Kushan and the Gupta eras. Considered the Dwelling of the Gods, the holy rivers like Ganga and Yamuna have their origins in the Himalayas.
Lo! And Behold! The beginning, and end, of all things grand and mighty!”
When geologists tell us that the Himalayan mountain range is ‘growing’ at a rate of about 20 mm a year – they merely recount something Indians have always known  : that these mountains - that are the essence of our culture, our identity and our very being - are thriving, breathing, forever alive. Near infinite in every direction – be it physical majesty or spiritual elevation -  the Himalayas provide a sense of history, sustenance and thrill in endless measure to those looking to raise the bar of excitement and adventure to an altogether higher plane.

The creamy lather of snow that covers the Himalayas extends from the Indus river valley to the Brahmaputra river valley, forming an arc of 2,400 Kms. The average width of the Himalayas is about 200-Kms. From these snow covered ranges rise the big glaciers, which in turn beget the historic rivers of the Indo-Gangetic plain - one of the most fertile in the world, and the heart of the ethos called India. The variety of altitude, climate, rainfall and soil conditions translates to a phenomenal diversity of forests and plant communities – from moist deciduous forests to Devdaar vegetation to tropical jungles to verdant valleys.


As the elevation changes, so does the Alpine climate of the Himalayas, changing rapidly with altitude. Sudden occurrence of monsoons, floods, high gales and snowstorms are both common, and dangerous, in this part of the world. Mild summers and harsh winters – a time when the area is plastered in snow – are the two major seasons.

Nature has traditionally occupied a central position in the Indian mythology, ethos and psyche - resulting in age old customs of conservation and care for the environment that have been handed down through generations. Today, civilization’s reckless advance threatens the delicate balance of ecology – a state of urgency that is being seriously tackled by some individuals and groups. Awareness and consciousness is gradually on the rise, yet, plenty more needs to be done – a responsibility not simply ours or yours, but everyone’s. 

The term ‘Himalaya’ is a Sanskrit word meaning ‘the above of snow’. The history, mythology, mysticism, romanticism, beauty, and above all, spirituality, of the Himalayas have evoked deep reverence and uninhibited awe from travellers since ancient times. A thrilling diversity of flora and fauna, a remarkable cultural pot-pourrie that comprises warm hospitality and exotic culinary surprises, and unending opportunities of outdoor adventure make the Himalayas a hot favourite with every class, age and genre of traveller. 

HIMALAYAS – the abode of Lord Shiva
Lord Shiva – the ascetic Indian deity who represents the transcendental aspect of human life – is immortally depicted as seated in trance, on his abode in the Himalayas. Not surprisingly, Mount Kailasa is regarded as the centre of the universe in Hinduism. The entire region is considered to be the dominion of Shiva, who is worshipped as a lingam in legendary shrines such as Amarnath (Kashmir) and Kedarnath (Garhwal). The famous poet Kalidas aptly described the himalaya as the dazzling laughter of Shiva.

At Badrinath resides the other deity from the Holy trinity of Hinduism – Lord Shri Vishnu.

Unique Experiences@ Mystic Mountain
“Elevation for the soul, Exhilaration for the heart.”
We all know about Himalayas. What we don’t know, is how little of the Himalayas we really know. And that’s where Mystic Mountain Camps was born. The idea was to set up base camp where most travel odysseys end, de-plug the palmtops, and ask ourselves, “So what lies beyond?”.

Plenty, as we discovered. Where the road ended, lay ancient trails known only to experienced shepherds. Where the resort cuisine ended, lay the lure of a herbal, home-cooked meal rustled up by a local family. Where the designer trek ended, lay the childhood pleasure of plucking a plum or apricot right off the tree for an unplanned snack. When you shut the iPod down, you could hear the Grey Hooded Warbler engage the Himalayan Bulbul in a haunting, chart-topping duet. When the rains came, you could see the landscape smile in a way that would make the Mona Lisa envious. And finally, when the bonfire lit up the river bank, you could see the stars eves-drop on your party from above, waiting their turn to tell the timeless story of the Himalayas, for who knows it better than them.

Mystic Mountain is our opportunity to share these incredible, indescribable experiences with you, your family, and your friends. It is also your opportunity to discover many more, on your own. 

Himalayas is like a new book by your favourite author. You can’t wait to begin, yet you don’t want to rush it. The good news is, the Himalyas is like many books rolled into one, an endless climax of joy where one surprise is followed by another, and then by one even more fantastic. Savor it slowly, or dash through from start to end. Either way, mesmerize your senses, nourish your soul and escape to beauty. Check-in to the Himalayas. Magic awaits

Kumaon division

Kumaon (Hindi: कुमाऊं) or Kumaun is one of the two regions and administrative divisions of Uttarakhand, a mountainous state of northern India, the other being Garhwal. It includes the districts of Almora, Bageshwar, Champawat, Nainital, Pithoragarh, and Udham Singh Nagar. It is bounded on the north by Tibet, on the east by Nepal, on the south by the state of Uttar Pradesh, and on the west by the Garhwal region. The people of Kumaon are known as Kumaonis and speak the Kumaoni language.
It is home to a famous Indian Army regiment, the Kumaon Regiment.
Important towns of Kumaon are Haldwani, Nainital, Almora, Pithoragarh, Rudrapur, Kashipur, Pantnagar, Mukteshwar and Ranikhet. Nainital is the administrative centre of Kumaon Division and this is where the Uttarakhand high court is located.[1
The Kumaon region consists of a large Himalayan tract, together with two submontane strips called the Terai and the Bhabhar. The submontane strips were up to 1850 an almost impenetrable forest, given up to wild animals; but after 1850 the numerous clearings attracted a large population from the hills, who cultivated the rich soil during the hot and cold seasons, returning to the hills in the rains. The rest of Kumaon is a maze of mountains, part of the Himalaya range, some of which are among the loftiest known. In a tract not more than 225 km in length and 65 km in breadth there are over thirty peaks rising to elevations exceeding 5500 m.
The rivers like Gori, Dhauli, and Kali rise chiefly in the southern slope of the Tibetan watershed north of the loftiest peaks, amongst which they make their way down valleys of rapid declivity and extraordinary depth. The principal are the Sharda (Kali), the Pindari and Kailganga, whose waters join the Alaknanda. The river Sharda (Kali) forms the international boundary between India and Nepal. The pilgrim route currently used to visit Kailash-Mansarovar, goes along this river and crosses into Tibet at Lipu Lekh pass.
The chief trees are the Chir Pine, Himalayan Cypress, Pindrow Fir, alder, sal or iron-wood, and saindan. Limestone, sandstone, slate, gneiss and granite constitute the principal geological formations. Mines of iron, copper, gypsum, lead and asbestos exist; but they are not thoroughly worked. Except in the submontane strips and deep valleys the climate is mild. The rainfall of the outer Himalayan range, which is first struck by the monsoon, is double that of the central hills, in the average proportion of 2000 mm to 1000 mm. No winter passes without snow on the higher ridges, and in some years it is universal throughout the mountain tract. Frosts, especially in the valleys, are often severe.


Kumaon is believed to have been derived from "Kurmanchal", meaning land of the Kurmavatar (the tortoise incarnation of Lord Vishnu, the preserver according to Hinduism). The region of Kumaon is named after as such.


In the ancient period between 1300 to 1400 AD, after the disintegration of Katyuri kingdom of Uttarakhand, eastern region of Uttarakhand (Kumaon and Far-Western Region of Nepal which was a part of Uttarakhand then), divided into eight different princely states i.e., Baijnath-Katyuri, Dwarhat, Doti, Baramandal, Askot, Sira, Sora, Sui (Kali kumaon). Later on, in 1581 AD after the defeat of Raika Hari Mall (maternal uncle of Rudra chand) with the hand of Rudra Chand all these disintegrated parts came under King Rudra chand and the whole region was as kumaon.

Kumaonis have been famous for their valour, their courage was legendary, their honour indomitable. The Kumaonis were never fully subjugated by the powerful Muslim dynasties of Delhi. Kumaonis were observed by the British, their valour was thus given recognition by the British and were included in the British Army. 

Kumaoni is one of the 325 recognized Indian languages, and is spoken by over 2,360,000 (1998) people of Indian states of Uttarakhand - Almora, Nainital, Pithoragarh, Bageshwar, Champawat, Rudrapur (Udhamsingh Nagar) districts; Uttar pradesh; Assam; Bihar; Delhi; Madhya Pradesh; Maharashtra and Punjab, besides being spoken in some regions of Himachal Pradesh and Nepal.
Amongst its dialects, the Central Kumauni is spoken in Almora and northern Nainital, North-eastern Kumauni is in Pithoragarh, South-eastern Kumauni is in South-eastern Nainital, Western Kumauni is west of Almora and Nainital.

Garhwal division

Garhwal (Hindi: गढ़वाल   is the north-western region and administrative division of the northern Indian state of Uttarakhand which is home to the Garhwali people. Lying in the Himalayas, It is bounded on the north by Tibet, on the east by Kumaon region, on the south by Uttar Pradesh state, and on the north-west by Himachal Pradesh state. It includes the districts of Chamoli, Dehradun, Haridwar, Pauri Garhwal, Rudraprayag, Tehri Garhwal, and Uttarkashi. The people of Garhwal are known as Garhwali (गढ़वाली) and speak the Garhwali language (गढ़वाली भाषा). The administrative center for Garhwal division is the town of Pauri.


Garhwal the land of many ‘GAHRS’ meaning forts. This region was made up of many small forts which were ruled by chieftains. Therefore, the history of Garhwal before the dynastic rule of the ‘Panwar’ rulers is very obscure. Kanak Pal was the first ruler of the state of Garhwal in 823 AD


The Garhwal Himalayas appear to have been a favorite locale for the voluminous mythology of the Puranic period. The traditional name of Garhwal was Uttarakhand and excavations have revealed that it formed part of the Mauryan Empire.
The earliest reference regarding Garhwal and its pride spots are cited in the Skanda Purana and the Mahabharata in the Van Parva. Skanda Purana defines the boundaries and extend of this holy land. It also finds mention in the 7th-century travelogue of Huen Tsang. However, it is with Adi Shankaracharya that the name of Garhwal will always be linked, for the great 8th-century spiritual reformer visited the remote, snow-laden heights of Garhwal, established a Joshimath and restored some of the most sacred shrines, including Badrinath and Kedarnath. The history of Garhwal as one unified whole began in the 15th century, when king Ajai Pal merged the-52 separate principalities, each with its own garh or fortress. For 300 years, Garhwal remained one kingdom, with its capital at Srinagar (on the left bank of Alaknanda river). Then Pauri and Dehradun were perforce ceded to the Crown as payment for British help, rendered to the Garhwalis during the Gurkha invasion, in the early 19th century.
The earliest ruling dynasty of Garhwal known is of the Katyuris. The Katyuri Raja of Uttarkhand (Kumaon and Garhwal) was styled, Sri Basdeo Giriraj Chakara Churamani, and the earliest traditions record that the possessions of Joshimath Katyuris in Garhwal extended from Satluj as far as Gandaki and from the snows to plains, including the whole of Rohilkhand. Tradition gives the origin of their Raj at Joshimath in the north near Badrinath and subsequent migration to Katyur Valley in Almora disctrict, where a city called Karthi-Keyapura was founded.
Katyuris ruled Uttarkhand up to the 11th century and in certain pockets even after their decline.In Garhwal their disruption brought into existence many independent chiefs, fifty-two in number. One of the important principalities in that period was that of Parmars, who held their sway over Chandpur Garhi or Fortress.  Katyuris ruled Uttarkhand up to the 11th century and in certain pockets even after their decline. In Garhwal their disruption brought into existence many independent chiefs, fifty-two in number. One of the important principalities in that period was that of Parmars, who held their sway over Chandpur Garhi or Fortress. Kanak Pal was progenitor of this dynasty. Raja Ajay Pal, a scion of the parmars in the 14th century is credited with having brought 52 of these chiefs under his rule After his conquest Ajay Pal's domain was recognised as Garhwal owing to exuberance of forts. It is possible that after annexing all principalities, Raja Ajay Pal must have become famous as Garhwala, the owner of forts and with the passage of time his kingdome came to be known as Garhwal


The region consists almost entirely of rugged mountain ranges running in all directions, and separated by narrow valleys which in some cases become deep gorges or ravines. The only level portion of the district was a narrow strip of waterless forest between the southern slopes of the hills and the fertile plains of Rohilkhand. The highest mountains are in the eastern Chamoli district, the principal peaks being Nanda Devi 7,816 m (25,643 ft), Kamet 7,756 m (25,446 ft), Chaukhamba 7,138 m (23,419 ft), Trisul 7,120 m (23,360 ft), Dunagiri 7,066 m (23,182 ft), and Kedarnath 6,940 m (22,769 ft). The Alaknanda River, one of the main sources of the Ganges, receives with its affluents the whole drainage of the district. At Devprayag the Alaknanda joins the Bhagirathi, and thenceforward the united streams bear the name of the Ganges. Cultivation is principally confined to the immediate vicinity of the rivers, which are employed for purposes of irrigation.

Garhwali People and Language

Garhwalis are an Indo-Aryan ethno-linguistic group who primarily inhabit the Garhwal Himalayas. Any person who has ancestral Garhwali roots or lives in Garhwal and has a Garhwali heritage is called a Garhwali. They include all those who speak the Garhwali language or any of its numerous dialects.
The culture of the present Garhwal is an amalgamation of influences from the indigenous population coupled with traditions superimposed by various immigrants who settled in the region from time to time. Majority of the people are involved in the agriculture, tourism and the defense industry.
Garhwali people are divided into three castes- Garhwali Brahmin, Garhwali Rajput and Shilpkaar. Their surnames are based either on the names of their villages (Bahuguna, Pant, Hatwal, Juyal, Uniyal, Painuly (Panuly), Semwal, Nautiyal etc.) or according to their professions (Bagiyal, Bisht, Negi, Joshi, Rawat etc). Shipkaars, on the other hand, are composed of various sub-castes and are classified as Scheduled Castes in the Constitution of India. Even with the wave of migrations the ancient culture survived and was adopted by incoming people.
he Garhwali language (गढ़वाली भाषा) is a Central Pahari language belonging to the Northern Zone of Indo-Aryan and is native to Garhwal.




Om Tat Sat

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


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