Guptkashi on way to Sri Kedarnath

Guptkashi is a village situated at the height of 1319 meters above sea level famous for its Vishwanath temple. The Guptkashi means the Hidden Kashi , it is on the way to Sri Kedarnath, legend is after the Mahabharat war was over the Pandava brothers wanted to wash their sin of killing their own relatives in the war , they were searching the Lord Shiva , Lord Shiva hide himself at this place . It is also said that Lord Shiva proposed to  Parvati here at the confluence of river Son Ganga and Mandakini at Triyuginarayan ( 48 kms) . It is also said that during the Mughal King Aurangzeb period when he ordered to construct the mosque at Vishwanath temple at Varanasi ( Kashi) or Kashi Vishwanath, the original Shiva Lingam was removed from there and brought here to be in safe hiding .

According to the old texts the Purans of Hindus the Kashi and Kanchi are the two eyes of Lord Shiva and there are six more Kashi  sacred and of equal importance as main Kashi the Varanasi or Kashi Vishvanath , those who can’t travel to main Kashi can reach the nearest one , these are Uttarkashi and Guptkashi in Uttrakhand , The Dakshin Kashi in South India, the Bhubneshwar in East of India , Nashik in Western India ( also called Paithan) and Mandi in Himachal Pradesh.

Vishvanath Temple Guptkashi

Vishwanath Temple

It is built of stone with high tower and a wooden frame with sloping roof , at the entrance there are two guards and walls are painted with flowers , main entrance is also guarded by the Bhairov, on the one side is a temple of Ardhnarishvar the half man and half woman form of lord Shiva , outside this temple is the Nandi bull statue made of metal.

Ukhimath

It is the temple across the river Mandakini at Guptkashi , it is the winter seat of the Sri Kedarnath  , there is a small water pond the Manikarnik Kund two water sources the water is coming out of a mouth of cow  is called Ganga  the water is coming out of a elephant trunk  is called Yamuna , the water falls on the Lingam. There is a Stupa which according to the local legends is a grave of Nala one of the characters in Ramayana , The legend also says that the Anirudha the grandson of Lord Krishna  and Usha the daughter of demon King Banasur had affair at Ramgarh ( Ronitpur) this affair led to the war between Banasur and lord Krishna  which resulted in as  end of the Banasur dynasty.

Guptkashi is becoming more important for a night stay on trip to Sri Kedarnath as there are good hotels, guest houses and camps , it is also because of the Phata , Sita Puri and Sirsi helipad ,  people prefer to stay here.

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Nandi Temple Khajuraho Temples of Love Madhya Pradesh

Nandi Temple is dedicated to Nandi Bull the vahan ( mount) of Lord Shiva , situated opposite the Lord Vishwanath Temple of Love in Khajuraho, as a common architect plan any temple of Lord Shiva is having Nandi as protecting the gates sitting facing the temple, this temple was constructed in 11th century along with the Vishwanath Temple of Love ,  by the Chandela King, Dhanga Deva .

Nandi Temple opposite Vishwanath Temple of Love

The temple stands upon a rectangular platform the main structure is combinations of cross and rectangles with a small hall with three side balconies .

Nandi the Bull , opposite the Vishwanath temple of Love

The main Monolithic  idol of  richly harnessed the Nandi is 2.2 mtrs. long and 1.8 mtrs. tall the roof is resting on plain sand stone pillars ,The beautifully carved exteriors of the temple are decorated with images of Apsaras , Elephants and soldiers are  the charm and beauty of this temple.

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Yatra Chardham – Sri Kedarnath

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Sri Kedarnath Dham  is situated at a height of 3584 meters above the sea level on the head of river Mandakini surrounded by snow capped mountains , it is a plateu having the most popular Hindu pilgrimage in the Chardham. The temple here is dedicated to Lord Shiva and worshiped here of his back which is conical  in shape. This place is accessible from April till October , rest of the year the idol is kept and worshiped at Ukhimath near Guptkashi . Out side the main entrance there is a big stone statue of Nandi Bull facing the temple , upon entering the hall there are statues of five Pandava brothers , Lord Sri Krishna , Vidharba the guard of Lord Shiva. It is said that one who pays the visit here and bows his head is relived of Sorrows , it was from here onward towards the Swargarohan the Pandwa were blessed and relived of guilt and sorrow of killing their relatives in the Mahabharata war.

Sri Kedarnath Temple main entrance

Legend

This land was once ruled by the King Kedar who is also father of Vrinda , she had worshiped for sixty thousand years , to honor him this region was called as Kedarkhand. It is said the  Pandu the Pandva King died here while trying to  love  Madri .

When Bhim tried to stop the Lord Shiva who had disguised as bull had a fight with mace which hit the Lord Shiva , Bhim having guilt of hurting the Lord massaged the body with Ghee , today the pilgrims follow the ritual by applying the Ghee at the triangular Jyotirlinga along with offering of Bel leaves and milk in the puja .

Their existed a temple of Mahabharata time before this temple was constructed  in Eight centenary by the Adi Shankracharya .

Adi Shankarachrya took samadhi at this place in Sri Kedarnath Dham

When to travel

This temple opens along with the other temples of Chardham on Akshya Tritiya and closes on Depawali for winters , mid June till August is monsoon period , there are land slides and roads blocks quite common and during this period journey is not recomended.

What to see

The main place is the Sri Kedarnath temple , just behind it is the Adi Shankaracharya Samadhi , little above at a small distance on the left side of the temple is the Bhairo temple . Chorbari is a crystal clear snow water lake about a kilometer trek from Kedarnath with floating ice in the water. Vasuki Tal  is 6 km at a height of 4150 meters in the snow caped mountains , one can have a beautiful view of Chaukhamba peaks from here.

Where to stay

There are many guest houses and dharamshalas here but all are with basic facilities only.

How to reach here

There are Buses and trains available up to Hardwar or Rishikesh connections from all over India , one can also reach Dehradun by air onward journey could be performed by buses, cars and jeeps , opening of Helicopter service is a big relief for old age people , the helicopter service is available till Kedarnath from Guptkashi ( Phata) and Dehradun . There is a good road till Gaurikund from here the 14 km trek can be done by walking or hiring the mules or palkis .

Delhi to Rishikesh                      230 km

Rishikesh to Guptkashi            201 km

Guptkashi to Gaurikund            32 km

Gaurikund to Sri Kedarnath      14 km

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Shiv Khori near Katra, Jammu & Kashmir Pilgrimage

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Shiv Khori is situated in Jammu & Kashmir state and one can combine it with Mata Vaisno Devi Pilgrimage, it is located about 80 Kms from Katra, 140 kms from Jammu and 120 kms from Udhampur upto Ransoo village and then 3 Kms trek to the holy cave. Regular buses and taxis are available at rates approved by the J&K Tourism Department, from Katra, Jammu and Udhampur. Pilgrims may also travel from Jammu on Akhnoor-Bhambla Road, Ransoo is 6 kms from Kanda More (turn) on Reasi- Rajouri Road.

The Starting Point of Shiv Khori Pilgrimage Trek
The Starting Point of Shiv Khori Pilgrimage Trek

The Cave

This cave which was discovered about 100 years ago by the local shepherds is more than a kilometer long but pilgrims are allowed upto 150 meters, it has two chambers, outer chamber is little large and after crossing a narrow and low passage, one enters the inner chamber which is comparably smaller, the cave is illuminated and pilgrims take help of ropes to walk and even at places one has to crawl to move ahead in the chamber, there  is four feet tall natural Syambhu Shiva Lingam which bathes in a milky water dripping from the ceiling of the cave,  just above the Lingam is a structure which gives impression of Kamdhenu Cow, one can even recognize the structure near the Lingam Goddess Parvati, the other deities are Lord Ganesha, Lord Kartikeyen, Lord Hanuman, Lord Ram, Laxman and Sita even one can recognize Sheshnag here, in the center there is a hollow structure giving impression of Lord Shiva’s Jattas, all these are sourrounded by self made Shaligrams in the cave, pilgrims call it a Home of GODS, it is a miracle.

The Shiv Khori Cave
[quote]The Shiv Khori Cave[/quote]

The View from the Outside, Shiv Khori Cave
The View from the Outside, Shiv Khori Cave

Legend

The demon Bhasmasur meditated and pleased Lord Shiva,  received the blessings that “If he put his hand palm on any ones head, that person will die“, to test this Bhasmasur wanted to put his palm on Lord Shiva’s head, and had a battle, Lord Shiva to save himself  threw his Trident ( Trishul) which created this cave, along with Devi Parvati and Nandi Bull entered , leaving behind Bhasmasur,  Lord Vishnu who visualized the ill designs came here, disguised as Apsra, lured Bhasmasur to dance to her steps, each step and move was so planed that finally Apsra (Lord Vishnu) made him to put his palm on his own head thus killing the Bhasmasur of his own powers, after this dance and killing, Lord Vishnu entered the cave along with other Devtas, it is said that 330 million Devtas are in this cave lying as Shaligrams and Pindis.

Around Shivkhori

Around Shivkhori one can visit the shrine, Dera Baba Banda Bahadur, the army commander of Shri Guru Gobind Singh Ji about 20 kms from here on the banks of River Chenab.

Nau Pindian, this is about 9 kms from Katra on same road to Reasi, there is a natural formation dedicated to the Nine incarnations (Avatars) of Maa Shakti in the form of Pindi.

Dhansar Baba, this place is about 10 kms from Katra , 17 kms before Reasi , off the main road trek for 1 km, it is a natural formation of Shiva Lingam and natural dropping of water on the lingam.

River Chenab and The Bridge over it near Reasi Village
[quote]River Chenab and The Bridge over it near Reasi Village[/quote]

Other Places

Siar Baba situated on the banks of River Chenab near Talwara about 6 kms from Reasi, famous for its beautiful waterfall.

Kalka mandir is just near the bus stand of Reasi.

Bhimgarh Fort, it is also known as Reasi Fort, originally constructed of clay but later it was reconstructed using stone, the main entry gate is having Rajasthani carvings, there is a statue of Goddess Maha Kali and Lord Hanuman Ji, there is a water pond and a temple in the fort and rooms. This fort though small in size was built by Maharaja Gulab Singh in 1817 when he was the commander of Sikh Maharaja Ranjit Singh under the supervision of General Zoravar Singh who was responsible for driving the Chinese out of Ladakh.

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About the Author

[author]
[author_image timthumb=’on’]wp-content/uploads/authors/anil-rajput.jpg[/author_image] Anil Kumar Rajput – Managing Director Promark Travel , is in the travel trade since 1980, has worked in India and abroad. A boxer, a Rifle Shooter and a Para Jumper in his college days, as a Boy Scout and NCC cadet, attended camps at many places which developed his interest in traveling and to explore new places, trekking and photography, loves driving to adventurous places , owns a business (promarktravels.com) which caters all the travel needs of it’s clients. Connect with him on Facebook (htttp://www.facebook.com/anil.k.rajput) and Twitter (@PromarkTravels)
[/author]

Some Shots on The Way

[tabs slidertype=”images” auto=”yes” autospeed=”4000″] [imagetab width=”500″ height=”375″]../../uploads/2011/04/shiv-khori-hills-on-the-way-small.jpg[/imagetab] [imagetab width=”500″ height=”375″]../../uploads/2011/04/shiv-khori-scenary-small.jpg[/imagetab] [imagetab width=”500″ height=”375″]../../uploads/2011/04/trek-to-shivkhori-small.jpg[/imagetab] [/tabs]

Sri Badri Kedar Do Dham Yatra by Helicopter

 

24th April 2012 first helicopter flight for Yatra Char Dham

Day 01: Sahatradhara Helipad (Dehradun/Haridwar) to Badrinath and Kedarnath

Yatra starts early in the morning from Shatradhara helipad for temples Kedarnath and Badrinath. Return same evening.

The Abode Of Lord Vishnu

 In the twin mountain ranges of Nar and Narayan is the holiest of the four main shrines, Badrinath along the left bank river Alaknanda with the splendid Neelkanth mountains in the backdrop, it is an important destination on the scared itinerary of every devour Hindu. Once the spot was carpeted with ‘Badris’ or wild berries and hence was famous as ‘Badri Van’.

Mythological Legend of Badrinath

 Legend has it, when the Ganga was requested to descend to earth to help suffering humanity, the earth was unable to withstand the force of its descent. Therefore the mighty Ganaga was split into twelve holy channels. Alaknanda was one of them that later became the abode of Lord Vishnu or Badrinath. The temple of Shri Badrinathji on the banks of the Alaknanda river, dates back to the vedic times. Situated at an altitude of 3,133 mts., the present temple is believed to have been built by Adi Guru Shankaracharya- an 8th century’s philosopher-saint, who also established a ‘math’ here. Also known as ‘ Badri Vishal ‘, Badrinath is one of the Panch Badris.

The Celestial Jyotirlingam

Amidst the dramatic mountain scapes of the majestic Kedarnath range stands one of the twelve ‘Jyotirlings’ of Kedar or Lord Shiva situated at an altitude of 3584 mts. on the head of river Mandakini, the shrine of Kedarnath is amongst the holiest pilgrimages for the Hindus. Kedarnath is a majestic sight, it is in the middle of a wide plateau surrounded by lofty snow-covered peaks. The present temple, built in the 8th century by Adi Shankaracharya, stands adjacent to the site of an earlier temple built by the Pandavas. The inner walls of the assembly hall are decorated with figures of various deities and scenes from mythology. before the main entrance of the temple door a large statue of the Nandi Bull stands as guard. Dedicated to Lord Shiva, the exquisitely architecture Kedarnath temple is said to be more than a 1000 years old. Built of extremely large, heavy and evenly cut gray slabs of stones, it evokes wonder as to how these heavy slabs were handled in the earlier days. The temple has a “ Garbha Griha” for worship and a Mandap apt for assemblies of pilgrims and visitors. A conical rock formation inside the temple is worshipped as Lord Shiva in his Sadashiva form

Helicopter capacity: 04 adults with weight not more than 300 kg

  • Baggage: only hand baggage

Helicopter services from Delhi is also available

For more details contact Promark Travel Services 09810506646