Group of seventeen students boarded two cabs to explore the unknown places in the vicinity of the Kumaun hills.
The first day tour begun at Nainital and concluded at a hotel nearby Patal bhubneswar Temple.
The places we visited include Chitai, Lakhudiyar, Jageshwar and Gangolihaat. Lakhudiyar is a site of petroglyphs preserving the scenes and activities of the primitive inhabitants of the region belonging to the stone age.While other places are the prime sites of Hindu spirituality.
1. Chitai Golu Temple
Chitai Golu devta temple is located at a distance of 8.5 kms from Almora and situated at an altitude of 1636 meters.
Golu Devta (Gaur Bhairav – incarnate of Lord Shiva) is worshiped here. He is known as the Lord of quick justice among the people of Kumaun.
On the temple grounds, one can witness thousands of bells, offered here as offerings after completion of the petitions of the devotees. One can also see thousands of drafted petitions awaiting justice in the court of Golu devta.
Lakhudiyar is just 7 kms from Chitai temple and is a place of historical importance as it has the rock paintings which are thousands of year old, depicting the artistic excellence of the rock dwellers who used to stay here to protect them from adverse climatic conditions and weather.
Lakhudiyar is a Kumauni word which means one lakh caves in English. The natural wall and ceiling of the cave contain paintings of red, black and white colour, depicting the lifestyle of the prehistoric people and the scenes of hunting, Kumauni aipan etc.
The paintings in the cave has been restored by the Padma Shree awardee archaeologist and curator Dr. Yasodhar Mathpal. The cave is under the preservation of Uttarakhand State Archaeology.
Jageshwar is 16kms from Chitai temple and is at an altitude of 1870mtrs above sea level. It is situated amidst dense Deodar forest with stream flowing alongside its backyard.
Jageshwar is considered as one of the twelve Jyotirlingas of Shiva. It is situated on the ancient route of Kailash Mansarovar. It is said that Jagatguru Adi Shankaracharya came here and reestablished the sanctity of this place.
The temple group consists of 125 temples of different sizes built between 7th century to 18th century A.D by the then ruling dynasty of Kumaun Katyuri (7-14 century A.D) and Chand dynasty (15-18 century A.D).
The temple follows the Nagara style of architecture which was prevalent in North Indian temple architecture at that time.
It is said that earlier there were four hundred temples, most of which were later dilapidated and decimated and now only one hundred and eight temples remain.
Most of the temples here are dedicated to Lord Shiva. Some of the Temples here include Jyotirlinga Jageshwar,Mahamrityunjay,Batuk Bhairav,Navdurga,Kuber,Surya,Navgraha,Kedareshwar,Lakulish,Mata Annpurna,etc.
The entire group of temples is under the preservation of Archaeological Survey of India.
Archaeological Museum Jageshwar, is situated nearby the temple and has the collections of various idols and statues excavated from Jageshwar from time to time. The artifacts found belong to the period of 8th century A.D to 13th century A.D
In Gangolihat we visited Mata Mahakali Temple which is one of the Shakti Peethas established by Adi Guru Shankaracharya.
I had already covered it in one of my blogs. If u haven’t read it click the link below.
Call from Goddess Mahakali
Thereafter the first day concluded in a nearby hotel.
As 3 out of 4 destinations were temples,it seemed that we are enroute dham yatra…