July 1, 2017

Jageshwar Dham - Abode of Lord Shiva...

While the Sun has already started the return journey behind the hills, however our wandering souls with high spirits were craving to reach the divine land of Jageshwar. With every passing second, our mind was painting a different caricature for Jageshwar Dham. The fresh air was getting fresher and crispier with every turn.

After 40 minutes of drive from the Lakhudiyar Cave paintings shelter, the joyous moment arrived when we entered in to the Jageshwar valley around 5:30 PM in the evening. Staff at KMVN guest house advised us to first attend the evening prayer; check-in formalities can be carried our afterwards.

We could feel the divine ambience as soon as we entered the sacred premises of Jageshwar temples. There were around 15-20 devotees in the temple and almost everyone greeted us with smile. Very soon the prayers started with buzzing of the sacred bells and we were immersed in the holy chants. It was around 6:30 PM when the prayers stopped and we returned to our senses. However, by this time the town had already started planning for a good night as most of the shops were closed and streets were totally deserted. 
Simple, yet delicious food at our night halt was the last item on the day’s itinerary.
This is a place which gets up for work with first ray of sunlight and calls it a day with the receding sun. Next morning, we were again on the way to the Jageshwar Dham and were pleasantly surprised by friendly gestures of the locales. Little we knew that we will make friends with almost everyone in this place during our stay of just 3 nights. Hospitality of the hills had just started to unfold.

As soon as we started moving our feet a splendid world of amazing temples was there to be explored. There are around 500 temples spread across the hills surrounding the Jageshwar Dham. Jageshwar Dham is the 8th Jyotirlinga; known as Nagesh Jyotirlinga, out of the Twelve Jyotirlinga and has immense devotional significance.

Located 36 km northeast of Almora, the main complex in this temple city consists of 124 large and small stone temples, from 9th - 13th century. It was the time to pray and seek blessings of the God almighty in these beautifully carved temples.

The main temple at Jageshwar Dham is 'Jageshwar Mahadev', dedicated to the Child Shiva. Once upon a time, Lord Shiva arrived here to meditate, as soon as news spread about Lord Shiva, the womenfolk of the village gathered around to see Lord Shiva. However, the captivating mystic form of Lord Shiva angered the menfolk. Realising this, Lord Shiva turned into a child and since then he is worshipped here as Bal (Child) Jageshwar.

The temple has two armed guardians at the door, Nandi and Skandi. This is a west facing temple of Shiva. Here, Lord Shiva is worshipped in the form of Nagesh Jageshwar. The Shivlinga deity is divided into two parts, larger one being Lord Shiva and the smaller one is the Goddess Parvati. There is also an Akhand Jyoti, an everlasting flame which burns continuously in the temple. The Chand Kings Deepchand and Tripalchand stand behind the Shivlinga in praying posture.

Sri Mahamritunjaya Mahadev: The Mahamrityunjay temple is the largest and oldest temple in the complex. This temple is east facing and opposite Jageshwar Mahadev temple. Lord Shiva is worshipped as the saviour from death - महामृत्युंजय. The unique deity, Shivlinga has an eye shaped opening. All the pilgrims recite together the all-powerful Mahamritunjaya Mantra (महामृत्युंजय मंत्र) and create a heavenly ambience at the temple.

Mahamrityunjay Mantra:
ह्रौं जूं सः भूर्भुवः स्वः त्र्यम्बकम् यजामहे सुगन्धिम् पुष्टिवर्धनम् उर्वारूकमिव बन्धनान् मृत्योर्मुक्षीय मा मृतात् भूर्भुवः स्वरों जूं सः ह्रौं ।।
Om Hruang Jung Sah Bhurbhuvah Swah Trayambakam Yajamahe Sugandhim Pustiwardhanam | Urwarukmivbandhanaan Mrityormoksheey mamritat Bhurbhuvah Swaraung Jung Sah Hraung Om |
Recite the Mahamrityunjay mantra for self-realisation and freedom from all kinds of evil effects, sudden death, illness and negativity.

Locales told us that Adi Shankaracharya also visited Jageshwar and restored many of the temples before moving ahead for Patal Bhubaneshwar and Kedarnath. Most of the temples at Jageshwar has stone diety Shivalinga in the centre, surrounded by sculptures of various Gods/ Goddesses. Visit to Jageshwar is considered equally pious as the sacred Chardham Yatra. Lets walk through the amazing world of temples.

Tandavkeshwar Mahadev: Angry Lord Shiva in the most devastating form of dance, Tandav dance…

Pushti Devi or Pushti Bhagawati Maa: The temple of Goddess Lakshmi. The temple enshrines the full statue of Goddesses and is worshipped as Goddess of blessings and grace. This temple is situated in the Jageshwar main premises.

Neelkanth Temple: Lord Shiva when drank the poison to save the world, got blue throat (Neelkanth, नीलकण्ठ) due to poison...

Adjacent to the main temple complex is the temple dedicated to Kuber, God of Wealth:

While walking around, we observed that many people from Gujarat are coming to Jageshwar for worship here, even the temple priests told that many people come from Gujarat for seeking blessings of Lord Shiva. While talking to locales got to know about the resemblance between Kumaoni language and Gujarati language. Strange fact for the regions separated by more than 1200 km.
Caretaker at Archaeological museum told about followers of Lakulish Shaivism who got settled around Jageshwar. Lakulish Shaivism originated in Gujarat. According to Linga Purana, Lakulish is 28th Avatar of Lord Shiva and the last one. Meaning of Lakulish (लकुलीश): लगुड (staff) or लकुट (Stick/ mace) + ईश (lord) = the lord with a staff or mace or club or stick. Lakulish temple in premises...

Close look at the carving on the top of the temple dome…

The meaning of Lakulish, also connected us with the Dandeshwar temple (largest temple in Jageshwar), where Lord Shiva stays with a staff and protects the region.

Read more about DandeshwarTemple
The more we were knowing the more we wanted to explore this place. Legend is associated with this place and locales believe that Lord Shiva, in form of a man with a wooden stick in his hand will come to protect this place.

Temples are spread everywhere in tis holy place, be it roads or bridge. All the temples are worshipped and due sanctity has been maintained for every temple.

The temples at Jageshwar appear to be very ancient and there is no definite information on construction of these temples. As per Archaeological Survey of India (ASI), these temples were constructed post Gupta period, from the 8th century (early Katyuri Dynasty) to the 18th century (Chand Dynasty). Seeing the temples, it looks like they were constructed more than 1000 years. Subsequent dynasties/ kings continued renovation and maintenance because of which these temples appear in good shape till date.

The Jageshwar Monsoon Festival which is held every year between 15th July to 15th August and the annual Maha Shivratri festival, which takes place during spring season are two important events in the Kumaon itinerary. Maha Shivratri is one of the major festivals and is celebrated all over India. By this time evening was approaching and Lord Shiva directed me to take some pictures from the top. While searching a location, the locales guided me to a place from where I was able to click...

Small water streams, hills covered with thick deodar forests and foot over walk ways leave visitors mesmerized with the splendour of this place. We kept on walking whole day in these woods and surprisingly did not felt tired at all, divine charm of the Gods and mind free from worries of cosmetic world was doing wonders.

Small market outside the temple has few souvenirs’ shops and a couple of small eateries as well. However, the menu at eateries will contain the items which are available that day, not your choice. The same we experienced in KMVN guest house as well, while enjoying the freshly prepared vegetables.

Dedication and devotion of local people have kept this place sacred and pious. Hats off to the locales. No doubt Uttarakhand is truly God’s Land (Dev Bhoomi). Nearby to Jageshwar are the amazing temples of Jhanker Sam (6 Km.) and Vridh Jageshwar (3 km. by foot/ 16 km. by road) worth visiting.

Keep travelling Guys…



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5 comments:

  1. मैं जब भी किसी का लेख जागेश्वर धाम के बारे में पढता हूँ तो मन में यही ख्याल आता है कि मैं अब तक यहाँ क्यों नहीं गया हूँ

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    Replies
    1. यात्रा प्रारम्भ करें जागेश्वर आस पास भी बहुत कुछ है , जैसे पाताल भुबनेश्वर, कटारमल सूर्य मंदिर और मुंसियारी का रास्ता। 
      जागेश्वर की नैसर्गिक वादियों में कुछ दिन के लिए अपने आप को खो जाने दें ... 

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  2. Very Beautiful series of temples. I came to know about this series when I visited Morena , there is also a line of temples. Jageshwar is really very beautiful place !!

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    Replies
    1. Thanks Yogi for dropping by...Batesar at Morena have a series of temples. Iahve visited Batesar and seen your post too...:)
      Here at Jageshwar temples are scattered around in the region other than in the main complex.
      Rightly pointed out, the architecture has stark resemblance, however carvings at Batesar is class apart..

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  3. Nice article you explored it very well. Explore pilgrimage destinations in India by helicopter.

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