Uttarakhand, the land of gods or popularly called as “Devbhoomi” is dotted with a plethora of holy sites and ancient temples among which the shrines of Lord Shiva hold unique significance. Lord Shiva is being worshipped with great pomp and enthusiasm in every single corner of Uttarakhand. Lord Shiva, the god of destruction and the third of the holy trinity of the Hindus is idolized in different forms in the state. In the Puranas, he has been referred as the destroyer of evils and is one of the deities of trinity and on the other hand according to the legends and the folklores, Shiva has been represented more as a householder and a common man with flaws and follies. However, there is one thing common in both of his avatars and that is his residence, on the Himalaya.
List of 10 Famous Shiva Temples in Uttarakhand
- Kedarnath Temple
- Madhyamaheshwar Temple
- Mukteshwar Temple
- Neelkanth Mahadev Temple
- Tungnath Temple
- Triyuginarayan Temple
- Rudranath Temple
- Kalpeshwar Mahadev Temple
- Baijnath Temple
- Gopinath Temple
01. Kedarnath Temple
One of the most eminent destinations of Shiva worshippers, Kedarnath Temple is nestled beautifully in the Garhwal Himalayan Range near Mandakini River. There are numerous legends stated behind the origin of this temple and the most popular and interesting one is associated with the Pandavas. The legend states that the Pandavas were burdened with the guilt of doing fraternity and in order to seek blessings from Lord Shiva, they had performed a deep penance but the god didn’t want to forgive them easily so he hid himself and submerged into the ground. While he was submerging himself into the earth, the Pandavas tried to catch him but couldn’t do so and in this way, Shiva body shattered into different forms. During the winter months, the pilgrimage is closed for the public visit as the region gets covered with thick sheets of snow blanket and this makes it inaccessible for the visit.
02. Madhyamaheshwar Temple
Tucked beautifully in the Mansoona Village amidst the Garhwal Himalayas of Uttarakhand, Madhyamaheshwar Temple looks astonishing and admiring and is visited by thousands of tourists every year. Lord Shiva is being idolized in the form of a navel of a bull as when he was diving into the earth, his whole body shattered and fell at different places so the navel and the stomach were found here. Established at a distance of almost 46 km from Rudraprayag, Madhyamaheshwar Temple is one of the most significant holy pedestals of Panch Kedar circuit. Tucked at a huge elevation of almost 3265 meters above the sea level, this gorgeous Shiva shrine is adorned with panoramic landscapes and on the right side of the destination; you can witness the incredible view of snow-capped Himalayas.
03. Mukteshwar Temple
Another gorgeous Shiva Temple in Uttarakhand, Mukteshwar Temple is located at a distance of almost 51 km the lake town of Nainital and welcomes a huge number of tourists every year. Besides getting spiritual experience, if you want to gain a different experience like you want to add adventure and thrill to your travel then proceed towards Chauli Ki Jali, a perfect platform to get indulged in rock climbing activity. However, Lord Shiva is the main deity of the pilgrimage yet there are many deities idolized inside the temple including Lord Brahma, Lord Vishnu, Ganesh, Nandi, and Goddess Parvati.
04. Neelkanth Mahadev Temple
Nestled almost 32 km away from the main town of Rishikesh and 22 km ahead of Laxman Jhula, Neelkanth Mahadev Temple is established in the Pauri Garhwal Himalayan range. Standing tall and closer to the mountain ranges of Nar and Narayan, this magnificent temple is encircled by thick dense forests and welcomes thousands of tourists from all across the globe. As per the Hindu mythology, at the time of Samudra Manthan, performed by several demons and deities, huge amount of poison was released and it was difficult to take control of it so then Lord Shiva as a savior consumed all the poison and this made his throat completely blue. There are beautiful carvings done on the Shikharas and representing the same incident as stated in the last line.
05. Tungnath Temple
Reckoned as the highest Shiva Temple in the country, Tungnath Temple is one of the most sought destinations of Shiva worshippers. Despite being located at an astounding elevation of almost 3680 meters above the sea level, this ancient Shiva Temple welcomes thousands of tourists every single year. Located just below Chandrashila, Tungnath Temple is one of the most sacred shrines of Panch Kedar circuit and is visited by the devotees in the urge of getting good fortune. The temple is believed to have been constructed by Arjuna, the third of the Pandavas and the architecture of the shrine is pretty much similar to Kedarnath Temple.
06. Triyuginarayan Temple
Established in the Triyuginarayan village of Rudraprayag district in Uttarakhand, Triyuginarayan Temple is another highly visited Shiva Temple in Devbhoomi. Although the shrine is devoted to Lord Vishnu but Lord Shiva is also worshipped here. There is a belief among Hindus that this is the place where Lord Shiva tied the knot with Goddess Parvati. Also popular as Akhand Dhuni Temple, the temple is famous for its unique feature i.e. there is an Akhand Jyot lit up here that burns continuously and it is believed that this flame is burning from last 3 consecutive yugnas. There is a huge water stream established inside the temple complex and it serves as the feeding point of four nearby ponds.
07. Rudranath Temple
Nestled beautifully in the Chamoli district of Uttarakhand, Rudranath Temple is amongst five interrelated Panch Kedar circuit. However, before planning your trip to this pilgrimage you must be aware of its geographical facts as the location of the temple is quite treacherous and considered to be the toughest of all five temples in the circuit. The face of the deity idolized in the shrine is always covered with a mask and it makes him look angry and if you want to get the glimpse of the complete face of the idol then visit the shrine during the bath time of the god as the priests remove the mask at this point of time so you can easily see the entire face of the deity which is actually quite impressive. Another appealing feature of the sacred site is that the holy Rudraganga River flows by this pilgrimage and makes it more significant.
08. Kalpeshwar Mahadev Temple
Established in the pictorial wonderland of Urgam Valley, Kalpeshwar Mahadev Temple is another popular Shiva Temple in the state where devotees from different corners of the country flock to seek the blessings of Lord Shiva, the supreme god of Hindus. Located almost 2 km away from Auli and 25 km from Joshimath, this holy shrine is tucked at an altitude of almost 2200 meters above the sea level. Being located amidst the gorgeous Himalayan ranges, Kalpeshwar Mahadev Temple offers you a perfect opportunity to spend some peaceful moments with your companions and to capture some amazing pictures for your travel frames. The best feature of this pilgrimage is that it is the only Shiva Temple of Panch Kedar circuit that can be visited throughout the year.
09. Baijnath Temple
Idyllically established on the banks of River Gomati, Baijnath Temple is not only a place to pay your offerings to Lord Shiva but also to spend some special time amidst the serene and tranquil ambiance of its surroundings. Located at the distance of almost 16 km from Kausani, Baijnath Temple is a tranquil abode for the devotees to find peace and immense spirituality. The destination encompasses several other sacred shrines dedicated to different gods and goddesses. After covering a distance of around 2 km from the shrine, you get to visit another temple named Kot Bhramari Temple, a reckoned Shakti seat. One must be aware of the fact that the back side of the deity is worshipped here instead of the face side.
10. Gopinath Temple
A must visit Shiva Temple established in the Chamoli district of Uttarakhand, Gopinath Temple holds several mythological tales and legends associated with its origin. Located at a distance of almost 3 km from the main town of Chamoli, the temple stands apart for its uniquely followed worshipping style. Unlike other Shiva Temple, at this pilgrimage devotees are not allowed to pour milk or water on the Shivalinga and they can only offer Belpatra on the Linga. There is a legend stating that during the ancient time, there used to be an elephant who used to pour milk on the Linga to make Lord Shiva bath with the milk. This incident was once noticed by the king of Katyuri Dynasty and so he decided to construct a Shiva Temple here.
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