Jageshwar: The abode of gods

Alice Guram, Travel @ The Hush Post: Devbhumi Uttarakhand famous for its many temples also houses one of the 12 Jyotirlingas in India dedicated to Lord Shiva at Jageshwar. Settled at an elevation of 1870 m in the lap of Kumaon hills amid Deodar forests with the sacred Jata Ganga flowing, Jageshwar has almost 124 temples and hundreds of statues. This offbeat destination in Uttarakhand is a must visit for the spiritually inclined.

Jageshwar Temples are dated between 7th and 12th century. The valley has a number of temple clusters such as the Dandeshwar and Jageshwar sites. Some locations have attracted construction of new temples in the 20th-century. Together these clusters over the valley consist of over 200 structural temples built from cut stone. They predominantly illustrate North Indian Nagara style of architecture with a few exceptions that show South and Central Indian style designs, many are dedicated to Lord Shiva, while others in immediate vicinity are dedicated to Lord Vishnu, Shakti goddesses and Surya traditions of Hinduism.

How to get there:
The closest town is Almora, which has frequent connectivity by road. Pant Nagar is the nearest airport while Kathgodam is the closest railway station.

There are no direct flights or trains or buses between New Delhi to Jageshwar. The distance is 392 kms. The convenient way to reach from New Delhi to Jageshwar is by car from New Delhi to Jageshwar. The fastest way to reach Jageshwar from New Delhi is to take a flight from New Delhi to Pantnagar then take a taxi from Pantnagar to Jageshwar. The cheapest way to reach Jageshwar from New Delhi is to take Ranikhet Express from New Delhi to Kathgodam then take State Transport Bus from Kathgodam to Jageshwar.

Places to see:
The valley has two major clusters of Hindu temples, and a number of roadside shrines. Of these around 151 temples have been numbered by ASI as protected pre-12th century monuments. The two largest groups are locally called as the Dandeshwar group temples housing 15 temples, and the Jageshwar group temples housing 120 temples.

A must visit is the holy ‘Mrityunjaya Temple’ and the other temples dedicated to Lord Shiva. The Jageshwar Monsoon Festival held from 15 July to 15 August is also one big attraction. The annual Maha Shivratri Mela which takes place during spring has an important place in the entire Kumaon region.

Activities:
Nature walks, bird watching, trekking, exploring caves, meditation and yoga, splendid view of Himalayan snow mountains from Vriddha Jageshwar, pre-historic paintings at Lakhudiyar.

Best time to visit:
April to June and September to November

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