Temples In Uttarakhand

Top 7 Temples of Uttarakhand You Must Visit

Neha RawatLast Seen: Apr 12, 2024 @ 1:17pm 13AprUTC
Neha Rawat
@NehaRawat

4th April 2024 | 3 Views
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Ever since the Satyug, gods, sages, philosophers, and other divine energies have found a place in Uttarakhand. Devbhoomi is home to several ancient temples. From Kedarnath and Badrinath to Jageshwar Dham to Tungnath Mahadev Temple, the entire state is dotted with holy shrines that hold immense value. No matter which Uttarakhand Tour Packages you choose a temple visit should be a must-visit that adds a sense of deep-rooted spirituality.

1. Badrinath Temple 

Badrinath is a famous holy town in Chamoli district in Uttarakhand state. The name of the holy place originates from the local word, Badri which is in fact a type of wild berry. About the history of the Badrinath temple, it is famously said that when Lord Vishnu sat in repentance in the mountains of this place. Goddess Laxmi then existed in the form of a berry tree to shade Him against the harsh Sun. Besides being the dwelling place of the Lord, the place has also been home to countless pilgrims, sages as well as saints; who come to meditate here in search of enlightenment. 

Being the habitat of Lord Vishnu, Badrinath is one of the four dhams across four directions of India. The temple is positioned between two mountain ranges called “Nar” and “Narayana” with Neelkanth peak in the background. Standing in a beautiful valley on the bank of the Alaknanda River in Himalayan heights, the temple looks immensely beautiful and serene. The present temple was originally built by Garhwal rulers back in the 16th century, from where the deity later got moved to the present temple. There is more to the history of Badrinath temple that mentions, Jagath Guru Shri Adi Shankaracharya found the Badrinarayan idol and restored that from the Narad Kund, and sanctified it in a cave near Tapt Kund. It has become a ritual for pilgrims to take a holy dip in the Tapt Kund before going to the main shrine. 

It is a well-known fact that the temple has faced so many earthquakes ever since there were just 20 huts, but the site drew thousands of pilgrims each year at different festivals. Apart from the shrine value of the site, Badrinath is also known for being a gateway to several mountain climbing voyages for mountains such as Nilkantha. The temple remains open for six months a year (between April and November), due to the extreme weather surroundings in the Himalayan region. Besides the Badrinath temple, there are some other holy places to visit in Badrinath, including Hot Springs, Neelkanth Peak, Charanpaduka, and many more that have been acknowledged for their spiritual values; which also makes the place one of the most visited pilgrimage sites in India. 

Temples In Uttarakhand

2. Dhari Devi Temple 

Located at Dang Chaura on the Srinagar-Rudraprayag road, Dhari Devi temple is just a few kilometers away from Pauri Garhwal district. Situated in the famous Dev Bhoomi Uttarakhand, on the bank of the Alaknanda River, Dhari Devi temple is believed to be the protector of the pilgrims of Char Dham. Dhari Devi temple has an idol representing Goddess Kali with her upper half body in a fierce image. The lower half of the Goddess’ idol is positioned in Kalimath, the place where she is offered prayers in Kali Roop. Precisely, Goddess Kali is the dark as well as the dangerous form of the Goddess Parvati who protected Gods by drinking the blood of demons. Goddess Parvati took to the dark form (Kalirup) while fighting with the demon King Mahishasur and his entire arm force. Goddess Parvati needed to kill Raktabija, the demon whose single blood drop falling on the ground would turn it into a fierce and gigantic demon like him. By chopping off the head of Raktabija and drinking his blood, Goddess protected all Gods along with heaven and set peace everywhere. This story related to the Dhari Devi has one more side to it Maa Parvati had turned into a strikingly beautiful lady bathing in the spring near the demon Mahishasur’s palace in order to attract the demon King and kill him later.

Among famous beliefs about the temple, a local legend states that at the time of a huge flood in the Alaknanda River, everything was swept away. Upon hearing a woman’s cry near the River’s site, locals reached there only to find the upper half of the Goddess’ idol that got attached to a rock. Locals then implied it as her wish to be installed at the same place which later on became popular as Dhari Devi. 

Ever since the Goddess’ idol has settled here in Dhari Devi temple, it is believed that the Goddess changes appearance during the entire day. Going by the local lore, the deity keeps changing its appearance into a girl, a woman, or an old lady. Among the most important festivals celebrated in the Dhari Devi temple are the Durga Puja and Navratri, when a huge number of devotees gather to attend special puja amidst the beautifully decorated temple. 

3. Panch Kedar Temples 

Panch Kedar is the main reference to the five holy places dedicated to Lord Shiva. Situated in the Garhwal Himalayan area of Uttarakhand state, these holy shrines are subject to different legends that straightly link their existence to Pandavas, the heroes of the epic Mahabharata. Kedar Khand region is home to the five temples of Panch Kedar named as Kedarnath, Rudranath, Tungnath, Kalpeshwar, and Madhyamaheshwar. Due to heavy snowfall during the winter season, the temples are unapproachable and thus worshipped at Makkumath Gopeshwar and Ukhimath. The state is also famous for Panch Prayag, where five rivers and a group of seven sacred Hindu temples unite, which is dedicated to Lord Vishnu to be found in the Garhwal Himalayas.

Go through the following five tourist destinations of Panch Kedar in Uttarakhand: 

Among all temples of Lord Shiva, the five shrines’ holy cluster is the most famous in the country, which is also known as Panch Kedar. As the story goes in Mahabharata when Pandavas were searching for Lord Shiva, He avoided detection by turning himself into a bull. However, when Bheema; one of the Pandavas tried to detain the bull, it disappeared and then reappeared in five locations that have been famously known as Panch Kedar ever since.

Kedarnath Temple: Kedarnath Temple, the holiest Hindu shrine of Lord Shiva near Mandakini River is one among twelve Jyotirlingas in the country. The temple is also counted among the four major sites in the country’s Chota Char Dham pilgrimage of the Northern Himalayas.

Tungnath Temple: Located in Rudraprayag, this temple is the highest temple of Lord Shiva across the globe, which is also renowned as a trekking destination in the Himalayas.

Rudranath Temple: As a natural rock temple located within the dense woods of Alpine pastures and rhododendron dwarfs, it is considered to be the roughest temple to be reached.

Madhyamaheshwar Temple: Located in the scenic valley and one of the essential parts of Panch Kedar, it is the fourth temple you can visit in the Panch Kedar pilgrimage yatra circuit.

Kalpeshwar Temple: Situated in the beautiful Urgam valley in Garhwal, this is the only Panch Kedar temple that can be visited throughout the year.

4. Gangotri Temple 

One of the most pious among the four Char Dham pilgrimage sites, Gangotri, closely associated with Goddess Ganga is situated in Uttarkashi. As the history of the Gangotri River goes on, Goddess Ganga transformed herself into a river to diminish the sins of the forefathers of remorseful King Bhagirath. Followed by this, Lord Shiva gathered Ganga into his heavily knotted locks to lessen the impact of her fall, and ever since the famous Ganges has been associated with Lord Shiva. The sacred river transcends into the earth to release the sins of human beings, which is the prime reason for its importance. The origin of the River, Uttarkashi holds immense significance and is recognized as Shri Gangotri Dham, the shrine where thousands of pilgrims visit to worship Goddess Ganga. The white granite structured temple of the Goddess was made in the 18th century. The divine structure sited at a height of 20 ft attracts devotees in huge numbers, who come to visit the holy glimpse of the Goddess Ganga.

Originating from the Gangotri glacier and also known as Bhagirathi, the river Ganga passes via Devaprayag and merges into the Alaknanda River. Shri Gangotri Dham, also known as Gangotri temple was built by the Gorkha Commander where pujaris of the Semwal family regularly perform religious rituals in the form of Arti ceremony. Naturally submerged rock partially forming a Shivalinga along the Gangotri temple holds immense importance, as it is believed to be the place where Lord Shiva used his matted locks to entangle the wavy waters of the holy river Ganga.

Charm of Gangotri 

A perfect destination to forget the hustle-bustle of everyday life, Gangotri offers the most pious atmosphere and serene views that attract more and more people from everywhere. The remarkable snow-clad mountains in the area and the clean and crystal clear water of the river flowing around add to the sacredness of the pilgrim place. Here, one feels closer to God than never before. At this sacred place, you can find vegetarian food that’s available at the local food joints or Dhabas at reasonable prices. Always make a note that non-vegetarian food and alcoholic drinks are a strict no-no at the pious site. 

5. Yamunotri Temple 

A naturally bestowed River with rich beauty and charm, Yamunotri is situated between the Himalayas in the Uttarakhand state of India. Surrounded by large peaks on all sides, Yamunotri lies just next to the Indo-Chinese border. Originating the majestic River Yamuna, it is one of the most revered pilgrimages in the country that has so many mesmerizing vistas of nature to offer. The place is also famous for many of its thermal springs and glaciers and is considered a significant stopover for a Hindu pilgrim. Yamunotri offers a thrilling location with picturesque backdrops of lush meadows and overflowing cascades. Magnificent trek to Yamunotri, intense forests, and craggy mountains set for an exquisite view. 

Attractions 

Along with Yamunotri, you will also get to see some other attractions when going to visit the main temple. Don’t forget to visit the following locations on your next trip to Uttarakhand. 

Yamunotri Temple: Yamunotri, the source of the Yamuna River is one among the Char Dham, and its importance can be anticipated from the fact that it’s the first place to visit all four dhams. The temple was constructed by the King of Tehri Garhwal, Maharaja Pratap Shah. Opening on the auspicious day of Akshaya Tritiya and closing on the second day after the biggest Hindu festival, Diwali; the temple holds huge significance for Hindus. Thousands of devotees come to visit the holy shrine every year from May to October to seek blessings.

Janki Chatti: This place is located 7 km before Yamunotri; is considered the midpoint of the trek to Yamunotri and is very famous for its thermal springs.

Divya Shila: This rock pillar is worshipped by devotees before entering the Yamunotri.

Surya Kund: Surya Kund is the most famous among a number of natural thermal springs in Yamunotri. Pilgrims use the surprisingly hot water of a temperature of 1900F to tie and cook rice and potatoes and serve as ‘Prasad’ to other pilgrims.

With all these attractions around Yamunotri, you can’t give the place a miss in any case. Get ready to awaken your spiritual senses with a visit to this beautiful and one of the most revered spiritual places in India. 

6. Tungnath Temple 

Tungnath Temple, Rudraprayag is the highest temple of Lord Shiva in the world and also the highest of the five Panch Kedar temples located in the mountain range of Tungnath in Uttarakhand state. Located in the Chamoli district in Garhwal, the temple is believed to have arms as per the Hinduism tradition of Panch Kedar. As all of the five Panch Kedar temples are located at great heights, they become snowbound in winter and thus remain close. Also, pilgrims are required to reach the temple on foot, as it is situated at a great height. Rudraprayag is a small town, from where the walking path for reaching the main temple begins. You are required to walk on a steep path that takes you over 3000 feet in just 3.5 kilometers. However, you can also hire a horse to easily reach Tungnath Temple, Rudraprayag through exotic farms of rhododendrons, shrubs, and wildflowers. 

What’s the story behind the temple’s building? 

Locals are said to believe that the Tungnath Temple, Rudraprayag had been built by Pandavas to win the favor of Lord Shiva, who was infuriated by too much bloodshed during the fight of Kurukshetra. Another popular legend says that Lord Shiva took the form of a bull during His struggle with the Pandava brothers. Thereafter, the bull was chased down by the Pandava brothers, and his body parts were dematerialized at five different places in the valley. These five locations now represent the Panch Kedar temples, where Pandavas built temples of Lord Shiva to confess their guilt, worship Him, and seek blessings. It is believed that Tungnath is identified as the place where Shiva’s arms fell due to this incident. 

The structure of Tungnath Temple, Rudraprayag 

The ancient temple’s structure is largely inspired by the North Indian style of architecture. The design of Tungnath Temple, Rudraprayag looks similar to that of temples like Madhyamaheshwar, Kedarnath, and Guptkashi. As it’s a small temple in size, it can accommodate only ten people at a time in the sanctum. A number of other shrines of many Gods surround this temple. Apart from the form of the arm of Lord Shiva, Arjuna is also worshipped here, for he’s credited for the construction of this temple.

7. Neelkanth Mahadev Temple 

Neelkanth Mahadev Temple, Rishikesh is situated at an altitude of 1675 m and is merely 12 km far from the main Rishikesh. Considered one of the most popular shrines of Lord Shiva in Rishikesh, the temple is located among the snow-capped mountains and forests. As every fold of the picturesque Himalayan Range is covered with temples, Hindu mythology is closely associated with many of these temples.

Legends of Neelkanth Mahadev Temple, Rishikesh 

According to Hindu mythology, Lord Shiva drank up the venom at Neelkanth Mahadev Temple, Rishikesh, which had emerged from the ocean during the famous ‘Samudra Manthan’. He did so in order to save the world from evil, destruction, and death. As Lord Shiva had a huge capacity to stop the venom from entering his body, he reserved it in his throat forever. Though the poison could not harm Him, it turned His throat dark blue, which gave Shiva the name of Neelkanth. This entire episode from history is believed to have happened right at the place where the temple is presently situated. 

Reaching the temple 

The temple is famous for holding two fairs, one during the Shivratri festival and another in the Shravan month (July-August). During these famous fairs, thousands of devotees come to visit this auspicious shrine and seek Shiva’s blessings. Apart from Neelkanth Mahadev Temple, Rishikesh, you can also visit the Parvati temple by climbing up to 2 kms on the top of the hill. You will also find a Cave at another 2 kms up on the hill with a small temple inside it. While it’s a little tough to climb up to the Parvati temple, you will surely enjoy the serene views along the way. 

A beautiful way to the Neelkanth Mahadev Temple, Rishikesh 

Reaching the temple is a thrilling experience for devotees, as it has steep and narrow roads, take them up to the hill. Seeing the river flowing on one side will of the way captivate your mind and heart like never before. As Neelkanth Mahadev Temple, Rishikesh is situated between the beautiful hills of Uttarakhand and the union of Rivers, Madhumati, and Pankaja, it makes for a mesmerizing view. 

Apart from the beautiful path to reach the shrine, the temple complex has a natural spring in which devotees take a holy dip before or after performing the puja. As the main shrine comprises a Shiva Lingam, its spiritual aura fills the hearts of people with devotion. 

Neha RawatLast Seen: Apr 12, 2024 @ 1:17pm 13AprUTC

Neha Rawat

@NehaRawat

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