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Showing posts with label Uttarakhand. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Uttarakhand. Show all posts

Temples of Dwarahat

Dwarahat in local language means “Way to Heaven”. You will have no doubt on it, once you reach here. Nestled amidst hills of Kumaon, this ravishing town of Dwarahat boasts of ancient holy temples built by the Katyuri Kings. Temples of Dwarahat are the main attraction here.

It took us around 75 minutes of driving from Ranikhet to reach Dwarahat. Temples are spread all around this town, so asking the locales about which temple to see first was a good idea. Mrityunjay Temple and Badrinath group of temples is on the main road. However we were guided by locales to see the Ratan Dev, Kachahari group and Golu Devta temple at first.

A small walk from the main road took us to Ratan Dev group of Temples. 


There are 6 temples present at this site, 2 temples can be seen in broken state and one more temple must have existed to make 3 temples opposite to 3 temples of right hand side to take the total to 9 original temples. There are a few broken pieces of the temples lying around in the premises define the grandeur of the past times.

Timeline of construction these temples goes back to around 11th century and stark resemblance with Jageshwar temples further reinforces the timeline.

Now this was the way ahead in front of us for 10 minutes’ walk to Golu Devta Temple. Perfect harmony with the hills -

Golu Devta is an incarnation of Lord Shiva, in form of Gaur Bhairav and is one of most worshipped God in the hills. Being the highest point in vicinity, enjoy 360 deg. view of the nearby areas.  

Few minutes’ walk from Golu Devta took us to Kachari/ Kachahari group of temples. Kachari group of temples has 12 temples. 9 temples are at one site and 3 temples are located opposite and at elevated platform. 

Check out the stark symmetry of the Kachari Temples. Temples are dedicated to Lord Vishnu and Shiva. Presence of a well inside the premises ascertain this fact as water inside the temple premises is used for offerings to the Gods. Design is quite similar to Ratan Dev group of temples. Temple has been well taken care of the government and the locales as well. Kids will enjoy every minute spend here.

Getting down from the Kachari group of Temples, we came to Badrinath group of Temples. Out of 3 temples in the premises, main temple is dedicated to Lord Vishnu and dates back to 11th Century.

Out of other 2 smaller temples, one is dedicated to Goddess Laxmi and other one dedicated to Banasur has no deity.
 
Last and the final stop was the most prominent, most sacred temple in Dwarahat, Mrityunjay Temple. Meaning of Mrityunjay is Vanquisher of Death and so temple is dedicated to Lord Shiva.

Temple has been constructed in Nagara style of architecture and consists of Garbhgriha, Antarala and a huge Mandapa. There is also a small temple dedicated to Bhairava, however which is not in very good condition. Timeline of this temple goes back to 11th century.

Now the drive from Ranikhet –

Follow the road signs and confirm with the locales because at times network is not there to support google maps and you will come across more than one turn going in similar direction. Do not take chance, ask the locales.

Road is in fairly good condition and in the way you will come across splendid natural settings to reinforce the fact that Nature is the best artist. Just before Dwarahat we stopped at this temple decorating the skyline of nearby hills.


From this spot we anticipated little that the place is indeed Gate to Heaven. Keep exploring Guys...
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Mystery of Lakhamandal Temple

It was a delightful misty morning that started with music of birds chirping, which soon turned into a wonder morning with lakeside breakfast.
With whole day at our disposal and only 100 km. between us and Lakhamandal, there was no hesitation in taking the seats in our vehicle. Soon misty hills began to disappear as we started driving our car to reach out for the mysterious Lakhamandal temple. With connection going back to the times of Mahabharata, Lakhamandal temple is picturesque and fascinating at same time. Little we knew that we are about to visit a temple so sacred/ miraculous that even dead people come back to life for a while.
Enjoying one spot after another, we continued towards Lakhamandal. Road is in reasonably good condition, however is narrow at some stretched due to ongoing widening work. 
Lakhamandal temple is located on Yamunotri road in Jaunsar-Bawar district. With a couple of pit stops, it took us approx. 4 hours to reach the temple. 100m. walk from the parking, we were at the temple premises. 
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Asan Barrage - Waterfront stay with Nature

Along the scenic confluence of the river Asan and Asan Barrage, there stands a resort that feels like a world away from the hustle and bustle of the cities. The journey to get here includes a drive amid the scenic hills, incredible valleys and dense forests setting a perfect stage to disconnect from the fast lane and reset your soul at this secluded spot.

Garhwal Mandal Vikas Nigam (GMVN) started this "Asan Conservation Resort" in 2016 and provided four beautiful waterfront cottage suites for wonderful lifetime memories. It also offers 18 dormitories at the back side of the resort.

As the resort is located alongside a lake created out of the Barrage, there is a facility where guests can paddleboard good looking boats and enjoy lovely evenings. 

The resort is accessible throughout the year and is a much sought-out destination for bird watching in the months of January-March.

About the Resort:
Budget: 
Waterfront Cottages (SUDLX) ~ Rs. 2800
Dormitories ~ Rs. 350

Please check GMVN website for prevailing prices.

The Accommodation: Cottages consist of two rooms, one each on ground floor and first floor, connected by a spiral staircase. One cottage can comfortably accommodate a small family of three to four and is ideal for those coming in a small group for picnic.

The View
The cottages are sitting pretty along the shore of the lake, the guests taking full advantage of the beautiful natural setting. To check-in, they need to follow a lovely landscaped path, picnic tables and chairs perfect for quiet mornings with or a more jovial gathering in the evening. 

After the necessary formalities and before you head to your room, please take the front desk number for ordering tea, coffee, lunch, snacks and dinner.
The cottage has a convertible sofa-cum-bed on the ground floor which is like a living area with television. There is a spiral staircase connecting the first floor. 

The first floor and is equipped with a bed, tea table for two, slanted V shape ceiling, and balcony on both sides.

The Ambience
The property, which is off the popular tracks from Dehradun, is all about putting brakes to the rat race of a life and giving yourself a much-needed break. With flowered lawns to walk around or laze about on a sunny day, summers here are as enjoyable as winters. 
For kids, these lawns are like an extended play area.
Enjoying your food alongside lake will be one of the best memories to cherish:

 As will be standing in the balcony in the misty morning.

You will Love It –
Couples looking for a romantic escape and families trying to find a place for a calm vacation will love this property. Those who love to walk around in the gardens and dine alongside the lake in open air will come back here again and again.

You might Not
If you like to be surrounded with fancy restaurants, shops, late night activities and a lot of sightseeing options, better stay at Dehradun. 

Amenities:
Exploring the tranquil water of the lake on paddleboats with hills surrounding it.

Booking amount includes Parking and Breakfast only. Consumables are charged as per the prevailing menu, which is present in every room. Meals choices have to be informed well in advance as the feedstock need to be arranged by evening.

How to reach:
Dehradum is the nearest Airport and Railway Station, 50 km. from Asan barrage.
By Road: 270 Km. from Delhi.

You will love driving to these nearby Attractions (distance mentioned from Asan Barrage):
  1. Ashokan Rock Edict, Kalsi – 20 km.
  2. Lakhamandal – 100 Km.
  3. Renuka Lake – 51 km. (and on way - Poanta Sahib Guridwara, 8 km. and Citrus fruits' orchards at Dhaula Kuan, 24 km.)
  4. Dehradun
  5. Mussourie – 70 km.
  6. Chakrata – 65 km.
To Summarize:
If you love to connect with nature along with relaxation and that too in lake front accommodations, the resort is the perfect place. Also you may carry your e-books to enjoy reading from this waterfront wonder.

Keep Travelling Guys.
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Ashokan Rock Edict at Kalsi

While driving around Dakpathar (40 km. from Dehradun) came across a signboard showing way to “Kalsi”. Totally unaware about this spot we asked the locales about Kalsi. What we heard was “There is one stone with some ancient inscriptions”. We had some time in hand so started driving for Kalsi.
It took us around 45 minutes (approx. 21 km.) from Asan Barrage on Vikasnagar - Chakrata road, to reach the entrance gate of Kalsi.
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List of Best Treks in Uttarakhand that you must try

Uttarakhand often referred to as Dev Bhumi or Land of the Gods, is no less than heaven for all the nature buffs and adventure lovers out there. Uttrakhand is surely one of the most fantastic places in India, which is all covered with ethereal beauty. Situated in the foothill of Himalayan Ranges, Uttarakhand comes with an ample number of opportunities of trekking and camping, and with every new place, there’s something different and interesting present there to gain a whole new experience. Well, now summers are approaching and there could be no better excuse to take a leave from your work and make your way towards the mighty mountains. If you too wish to experience that adrenaline rush, take a look at some of the best treks in Uttarakhand and go on the trek you feel like trying out.

Bali Pass Trek
Let’s get started with the very famous trek to Yamunotri, which is situated there inside the Govind Wildlife Sanctuary and allows you to take a closer look at rich flora and fauna. You need to start your trek from Sankri and continue walking along the Supin River. After this, you need to climb up slowly to the Dhatamir and Osla Village. While walking through the pathway, you’ll come across River Tons and Siyan Gad. Go on and reach Har ki Doon, a cradle shaped valley full of a large variety of flowers, mind-blowing views, and amazing wildlife. Then you need to continue to the Ruinsara Tal that passes through mesmerizing grasslands and conifer forests. Walk slowly and reach the base of Bali Pass. After you cross the path, you’ll go downhill through the pastures and open forests to the Yamunotri shrine. After this, the route will take you to Janak Chatti and Hanuman Chatti. 
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Trek to Laxman Temple/ Hemkund Sahib

Laxman Temple/Hemkund Sahib, at a height of 4300 meters above sea level, lies in the Chamoli district of Uttarakhand state. Challenging trekking route and spectacular beauty of the mystical valley has always tempted botanists, nature lovers, foreign tourists and adventure lovers. Valley boast off over 500 species of wild flowers of unparalleled appearance and fragrances.

This is the place where Guru Gobind Singh, the tenth guru of Sikh community, did intense meditation to please Lord Brahma. Please by the austerity Lord Brahma commanded Guru Gobind Singh Ji to take birth in Kal-Yuga in order to kill demons and protect holy people. Undoubtedly, the Hemkund Trek is a steep challenging trek and you will often hear from the locals there that – “Mountains are for FIT not FAT”. You trek from 9,600 ft to 15,000 ft in just 6 Kms and that’s what makes it a tough trek.

Place remains open to the world from June to October and for rest of the year it remains snow clad. Journey to the Hemkund starts from Haridwar, where you can easily hire a cab for your entire trip. 

 

Drive to Govindghat around 300 Kms, which would take 10 – 12 hours of time to reach depending on the road conditions, please expect land sliding at various points throughout the drive.
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On Nainital and Mukteshwar: A Lake, Deodars and Maple Leaves - part 2 of 2

We left for Mukteshwar at around 11 AM. Somehow it got cloudy again and the roads got under thick white mist. It took a while to drive out of the town since there were many people on the road. Soon it started to drizzle and it felt good. Mukteshwar is at a height of about 7200 ft and is right in the middle of Banj Oak and Deodar forests. The forest is evergreen and mostly covered in mist. You can see that green moss and lichens have taken over the whole forest since it rains here almost every day, even in summer. 


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On Nainital and Mukteshwar: A Lake, Deodars and Maple Leaves - part 1 of 2

We left home while it was still dark. Dark clouds were high up but it was not going to rain. The morning was warm and there was no wind. I woke up at 4 and was out on the road by 5 AM. The drive started pretty smooth and we were in Haridwar by 6:30 AM. The road is mostly wide with little traffic in the morning. The most interesting and exciting thing about this route is that it runs through Elephant corridors. The area has a large population of deer, wild elephant and leopards. You can see roadside signs with jumping deer, crossing leopards and elephants.
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Mystical Caves of Patal Bhuvaneshwar

After snaking around for most part of the day, travelling from Jageshwar in search of that coveted mysterious limestone cave temple, we were about to reach the place from where we would have got a chance to go under the earth.
14 km from Gangolihat in the Pithoragarh district of Uttarakhand is the mysterious place known as Patal Bhuvaneshwar, (पाताल भुवनेश्वर). The meaning of “Patal” is place under the earth. Small walk of 5 minutes and we were at the entrance of this cave, which is 160 m long and 90 feet deep from the point of entrance. But we had to wait as entry to the cave is permitted only in batches along with a dedicated guide. Those suffering from high Blood Pressure and breathing problems (Asthma) are advised not to go down.


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Trek to the Enchanted - Valley of Flowers

Valley of flowers, at a height of 3046 meters above sea level, lies in the Chamoli district of Uttarakhand state. Challenging trekking route and spectacular beauty of the mystical valley has always tempted botanists, nature lovers, foreign tourists and adventure lovers. Valley boast off over 500 species of wild flowers of unparalleled appearance and fragrances.

 

Although the picturesque valley remains open to the world from June to October, but it’s great to visit the valley around June, July and August, when the flowers are in abundance. For rest of the year valley remains snow clad.

 

Journey to the valley starts from Haridwar, where you can easily hire a cab for your entire trip. Below is the entire itinerary in brief. 

 

1. Haridwar to Govindghat - Around 300 Kms

2. Start from Haridwar - Cab is recommended. Very less frequency of buses.

3. Route: Haridwar – Rishikesh – Devprayag – Jayalgarh – Srinagar – Rudaprayag – Karnaprayag – Nandaprayag – Chamoli – Pipalkoti – Joshimath – Vishnuprayag - Govindghat

4. Govindghat – (Motorable-4Km) – Poolna (Trek 10 km) – Ghangaria – Total 14 Kms

5. Split routes from Ghangaria for Valley of Flowers Trek and Hemkund Sahib Trek

 

Drive to Govindghat around 300 Kms, which would take 10 – 12 hours of time to reach depending on the road conditions, please expect land sliding at various points throughout the drive.

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Jageshwar Dham - Abode of Lord Shiva...

While the Sun had 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.

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Painted Shelters of Cavemen at Lakhudiyar, Almora

After crossing Almora town and driving for approx. 16 km. towards Jageshwar, we came across a signboard of Archaeological Survey of India saying painted cave shelters at Lakhudiyar.
None of the passing vehicles were stopping at this point, however putting aside our hesitation, we decided to move ahead and explore this point.
Situated on the Almora-Barechhina road, along the banks of river Suyal, we were just about to check into the secrets of the Stone Age. It is believed that early man or cave men during the stone age used to dwell inside these cave shelters to protect themselves from animals and weather.
While staying here the cave dwellers have expressed themselves by form of artistic portraits on the walls and roofs of the caves. With colours like white, red and black they have depicted their daily life activities like hunting. Red colour is still very distinctly visible, need to appreciate the composition of these colours which have withstood since stone age.
The main subjects which figure prominently in these paintings are human figures, animals, and trees. Going closer we can make out that Deer, fox and lizards are appearing as animal paintings and human resembling figures are like dancing in a row. Paintings are at a height of 3.75 metres. In one group 34 human forms can be identified while in the other group there are 24.
Lakhudiyar means “One Lakh Caves” and has been acknowledged as the best in terms of illustrated scenes and activities of the primitive men in this region. Such cave shelters are also found in some other locations of Uttarakhand and measure up to such paintings found in other parts of the world.
Spending around 15-20 minutes here visualising the times and lives of early men, we continued our voyage to Jageshwar Dham
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Exploring divine Almora...Day 3 & 4

After a wonderful exploration of Almora and Pithoragarh district, Day 3 was reserved for counting the numerous temples in Jageshwar Dham and visiting nearby temples and spots.

First in the list was the Jhanker Sam temple, located 6 km. from Jageshwar. Lord Jhanker Sam is an incarnation of Lord Shiva. The legend associated with this place is that Lord Shiva was meditating when lot of demons gathered to spoil his prayers. Furious Lord Shiva then opened his third eye and Lord Jhanker Sam was born out of it. He created an army of his Ganas (followers) to kill those demons. It is believed that Lord Jhanker Sam will return again to Jageshwar Dham to save humanity.

Next spot was the Vridh Jageshwar temple (Old Shiva Temple), 3km. uphill trek in the hills or 16 km. by road from Jageshwar Dham. It is older than Jageshwar temples and is considered to be an abode of Lord Shiva prior to coming down to present Jageshwar. 

As told by the locales once King Chand saw a cow milking itself on a stone while he was going for a battle. On further checking the place a ‘Shivling (holy symbol of Lord Shiva)’ was revealed. After returning victorious from the war, King Chand constructed this temple. Temple is dedicated to Lord Shiva, also houses a status of Lord Ganesha.





Try taking road to Vridh Jageshwar to cherish the vibrant natural beauty of the place.

Being situated on the topmost point in the Jageshwar valleys, the spot offers fascinating views of the nearby hills. If there are no clouds the snow-capped Nanda Devi peaks are clearly visible from this point.

Heavenly peace and beautiful landscapes; pilgrimage as well as adventures…Amazing Almora. Trekking enthusiasts can take a trek back to Jageshwar, this is the 3 km. trek from the back of Vridh Jageshwar temple…

And the last nearby spot was the Dandeshwar temple complex, dedicated to Lord Shiva. This is the biggest shrine of all the 500 temples in Jageshwar. Contrary to custom the Shivling here is a natural uncut rock. Flowing water steam and adjacent hills provide a fantasy tale setting to this temple.

Read more about DandeshwarTemple…

By late afternoon we were back at Jageshwar, the evening was totally reserved for exploring the Jageshwar temples and take part in the evening worship, AARTI at the temple.

There are around 500 temples spread across the hills surrounding the Jageshwar Dham. Keep on exploring the beautiful surroundings, keep on counting the temples. This is the most beautiful complex of temples in Almora or temples in India, I have come across.

Uttarakhand is called as देवभूमि, Land of the Gods. At Jageshwar there is no doubt Gods must have stayed or still are staying at this place.  There is also a museum, 50 m. from the Jageshwar Dham, which carries an intricate treasure of beautiful statues. Do take some time to visit this, you will be astonished by the art... 
Photography is strictly prohibited inside the museum...

The Aarti finishes by 6:30 PM and thereafter the Jageshwar town goes to sleep. That finished our Day 3 as well in Jageshwar. Perfect harmony with nature at Jageshwar. Read more about Jageshwar...

Day 4: After early morning worship at the temple, we set out for return journey to Kathgodam. We had night train from Kathgodam, so we had sufficient time to cover the Katarmal Sun temple and Bhimtal.

Katarmal is 16 km. from Almora town and hidden inside cluster of hills. Visit here is all joys and curiosity how such a gigantic construction took place at this spot. Once in year, the first ray of sun falling on temple enlightens statue of Sun God in the temple and many devotees from the nearby places visit this temple. Katarmal is one of the perfect offbeat attractions in Uttarakhand.

It will take around 1.5-2 hours to cover. Read more about Katarmal…

While cruising via Almora, do try the delicate sweets of this region. Bal Mithai (बाल मिठाई) is a brown chocolate-like fudge, made with roasted khoya (thickened/ dried milk by heating), coated with white sugar balls. Singori or Singauri is a sweet made with fresh Khoya and wrapped in maalu leaf.

In the way we came across a spot called “Frog Point”. Out of curiosity we stopped the car and went ahead on the suspension bridge to see this place. A huge rock resembling the shape of frog is lying at the river bed and most of the visiting vehicles stop at this point. Check out…

Finally, towards the end of our journey we arrived at Bhimtal. Prominent attraction here is the Bhimtal lake which is named after Bhim, the most powerful of the Pandavas. A huge lake with an island at the centre is a major attraction. One can enjoy boating in the lake, horse riding, mountain biking and hang gliding at Bhimtal.

Bhimtal is the place which connects Kathgodam to the Kumaun region and to Nepal and Tibet. It might have been the part of the famous ancient silk route. There is a big market nearby to lake and one can enjoy every cuisine in this market.
After Bhimtal, Kathgodam railway station was in sight and it was the time to cherish some amazing memories which we accumulated during 4 days of exploring undiscovered Almora and Pithoragarh districts of Kumaun region.

About Kumaun:
State of Uttarakhand consists of two regions Kumaun and Garhwal. Kumaun region is made up by districts of Almora, Bageshwar, Champawat, Nainital, Pithoragarh and Udham Singh Nagar. It is bounded on the north by Tibet, on the east by Nepal, on the south by the state of Uttar Pradesh, and on the west by the Garhwal region.
People of Kumaun are known for their bravery, valour and indomitable spirit. They carry the title of martial race and Kumaun regiment is one of the most decorated regiments in Indian army.

To reach Almora:
Nearest major centres and railway stations are Haldwani (88 km.) and Kathgodam (85 km.). Regular bus services are available from Haldwani to Almora. If you are coming by train get down at Haldwani station as most of the buses start from Haldwani.
By Train: Haldwani/ Kathgodam are connected to New Delhi with regular train services.
By Road: Almora is well connected by bus services from Delhi and other nearby cities.
By Air: Nearest airport is at Pantnagar, 149 km. However very few flights operate for Pantnagar.

Keep travelling Guys...

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Exploring Kumaun... Almora & Pithoragarh (Day 1&2)

Almora is a hill station in the Kumaun region of Uttarakhand. Unlike many other hill stations in India, Almora remained unknown to British. It has been preserved and developed solely by natives of Kumaun region and as a result, it is totally devoid of usual crowds at other hill stations. Almora district offers an ideal option to those looking for solitude in the arms of mighty Himalayas. Almora is also called as land of temples and the temples are located in some of the most stunning landscapes.

To enjoy the spiritual vibes along with unspoiled beauty of the undiscovered Kumaun region, we took early morning train from Delhi and landed at Kathgodam railway station at 11:40 AM. The objective was to explore the road to Almora to Jageshwar and Patal Bhubaneshwar.

 
Our Itinerary:
Day 1: Delhi - Kathgodam - Kainchi Dham - Chitai Golu Devta Temple - Almora-Lakhudiyar-Jageshwar Dham
Day 2: Jageshwar – Pithoragarh (Gangolihat – Patal Bhubaneshwar) – Jageshwar
Day 3: Jageshwar Dham and nearby temples
Day 4: Jageshwar – Almora – Katarmal Sun Temple – Bhimtal–Kathgodam -Delhi

Outside the Kathgodam railway station there were many taxis available for Nainital, few to Jageshwar (120 km. from Kathgodam) but very less if Patal Bhubaneshwar is also included in the itinerary as well. Some negotiation and we were on the way to Jageshwar Dham. Estimated time for the drive was approx. 5 hours including halt at enroute attractions in order to attend the 6 PM “AARTI” at Jageshwar Dham. This started our Day 1.

First spot in the way is Bhimtal (21 km. from kathgodam), but we skipped to cover during return as we had to reach Jageshwar by evening.

Next spot in the way is Neem Karoli Kainchi Dham, which is 37 km. from Kathgodam and is dedicated to Lord Hanuman. Kainchi Dham was established in 1962 by the sage Shri Poornanand Ji of Kainchi village. Devotees can stay in the ashram and practice meditation.

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Dandeshwar Temple, Jageshwar Dham - Almora

Dandeshwar temple is where Lord Shiva stays with a staff and protects the region. Dandeshwar Shiv temple complex (दंडेश्वर मंदिर समूह) is situated slightly upstream, 1.9 km. from the Jageshwar temple complex and can be easily reached on foot from Jageshwar Dham. Jageshwar is a small pilgrimage town in Almora district, Uttarakhand. Lord Shiva resides in Jageshwar in form of Jyotirlinga, so Jageshwar is also popularly called as “Jageshwar Dham”, residence of Lord Shiva.


Temples at Jageshwar Dham are considered to be dated back to 9th - 13th Century and are being preserved by the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI). Out of all the temples in the Jageshwar Dham, Dandeshwar Temple is the biggest temple structure. Dandeshwar temple complex is being restored by ASI, and the condition of the temples has been improving gradually.


Last day of our stay at Jageshwar was solely dedicated to explore numerous nearby temples to Jageshwar main temples complex. After Vridh Jageshwar temple and Jhanker Sam temple, we started on a cosy walk alongside the flowing water stream to enjoy the Dandeshwar temple. Occasionally we were also enjoying going down to the river bed. Word Dandeshwar is formed by coupling of Dand "Staff" and Eshwar "The God". In line with the meaning of staff; the Dandeshwar temple is so tall that you may risk a camp in your neck. It is believed that Lord Shiva resides in this temple with a staff and keep a guard over this region.

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