Tuesday, January 5, 2016

A sojourn in the Kumaon and Garhwal Himalayas : Divine Dhams - Kenchi dham and Jageshwar dham - (Part 3)

Day 3 - Oct 4th , 2015

We departed from Nainital in the morning, and proceeded towards Choukori. Our next pitstop was at Chaukori, a place that offers magnificent views of Mt. Nanda devi and Mt. Panchachuli.

Chaukori is around 250km from Nainital, but the time taken was almost 10-12 hours. This time included temple visits , photo sessions enroute and refreshment breaks.

Kainchi dham

Enroute, we happened to cross this beautiful ashram/temple at Kainchidham. This was purely unexpected, as we did not know that the ashram was situated on the same route as we were travelling. 

We had heard about this temple earlier, and the visit of Steve Jobs and Mark Zuckerberg had made this place even more popular.

Kainchi is placed at an altitude of (1400 MT) on the Nainital – Almora Road, at a distance of 9 Km from Bhowali and 17 Kms from Nainital, is a modern pilgrim centre. This place has achieved recognition owing to the ashram of the famous Shri Neem Karoli Baba Maharajji.

Hundreds of people visit these temples  every day, in season. Each year, during the June 15th Bhandara, reportedly, more than one lakh (100,000) people are fed.

Kainchidham is a peaceful temple which has offered spiritual realizations to many people across the world.

After the holy darshan of the temple and the residing deity, we proceeded further towards Jageshwar.

A beautiful river called Gauriganga was flowing besides us for a major part of the journey. At one point, we could not resist the emerald-turquoise waters of this river and decided to have a dip in it. The water was very cold, but the warmth of the afternoon sun made a good balance overall.

Jageshwar dham :

We then reached the temple complex of Jageshwar by noon. 

Jageshwar is a Hindu pilgrimage town in Almora district, Uttarakhand, believed to carry the Nagesh Jyotirlinga dedicated to Shiva, located 36 km northeast of Almora, in Kumaun region. 

The temple city comprises a cluster of 124 large and small stone temples, dating 9th to 13th century AD, with many preserved by the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI), which include Dandeshwar Temple, Chandi-ka-Temple, Jageshwar Temple, Kuber Temple, Mritunjaya Temple, Nanda Devi or Nau Durga, Nava-grah temple, a Pyramidal shrine, and Surya Temple, amongst which the oldest shrine is the Mrityunjaya Temple and the biggest shrine is the Dandeshwar Temple.

The Jageshwar Monsoon Festival, held between 15 July to 15 August takes place at Jageshwar during the Hindu calendar month of Shravan and the annual Maha Shivratri Mela (Shivratri festival), which takes place during spring has an important place in the calendar of the entire Kumaon region.

Most Hindus believe that Jageshwar is the place of Nagesh, 8th among the Dwadasa Jyotirlingas (the twelve resplendent lingas of Shiva established by Vishnu), which is stated to exist in the forest of Deodar or daruka

It is believed that Jagadguru Sri Adi Shankaracharya visited Jageshwar and then renovated and re-established many temples before leaving for Kedarnath

 Listening to the tales
 Tourists at the temple


 Shiv Ling

The deodar forests of Jageshwar and the Pine forests enroute to Choukori makes one wonder about the vast vegetation of the Himalayas. A constant transformation between Deodar and Pine is a treat to watch.

 Pine forests

Plumbeous redstart

The spectacular layers of the majestic mountains on the way offered some great vistas which is etched at the back of my mind always.

 Layers of hills


Getting there 

Nainital to Kainchidham : 20 kms
Nainital to Jageshwar : 105 kms

Both these places are easily accessible by road, and many cabs or small buses plying to Almora can be taken.

Next pitstop -> Chauokori ....

Part 2 - Nainital

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