Alice Guram, Travel @ The Hush Post: Named one of the most spiritual and mysterious places of Uttarakhand is Patal Bhuvaneshwar falls in Pithoragarh District and is close to 500kms from Delhi. Worship at Patal Bhuvaneshwar is equivalent to worshipping at the Char Dhams of Uttarakhand.
This hidden pilgrimage is situated about 1350 mt above sea level and is dedicated to Lord Shiva. Patal Bhuvaneshwar is a limestone cave 160 m long and 90 feet deep where limestone rock formations have created various stalagmite figures. Almost every Hindu God is said to reside in the cave. Forms of Sheshnag, Kal Bhairav, Ganesha and others can be found here. It is believed that the cave is the abode of 33 crore gods and goddesses. The cave is electrically illuminated. Built by the flow of water, Patal Bhuvaneshwar is not just one cave, rather a series of caves within caves.
The motorable road ends half a kilometer away from the cave entrance. You have to descend nearly 100 steps into this narrow cave, to reach the sanctum sanctorum, which gives an overwhelming feeling that you are entering the centre of the earth.
How to get there:
Owing to the harsh terrain, Patal Bhuvaneshwar is well connected only by road. Regular bus services ply to and fro Patal Bhuvaneshwar, connecting it to the main cities such as Dehradun, Rishikesh, Haridwar, Mussoorie. There is no direct flight, or rail connectivity. Jolly Grant Airport at Dehradun is the nearest airport, around 370 km away from Patal Bhuvaneshwar, while Kathgodam junction is the nearest railway station, approximately 190 km away.
A well-maintained network of road and state owned and private bus services connect this quaint mystical town to many major cities of Kumaon Region as well as neighbouring states. Buses usually terminate as Pithoragarh, Lohaghat, Champawat and Tanakpur from where one can hire a taxi or ride the bus to reach the desired destination.
Places to See:
Berinag: Berinag is a small place surrounded by hill on all sides. Originally known as Bedi-Nag, it houses about 9 temples all dedicated to Lord Nag or snakes. Once known for its tea plantation and factory, this place is named after King Bedi Madhava. The town is all about mysteries and hidden beauty and is a must visit for the inquisitive travellers.
Patal Bhubaneswar Temple: An ancient temple belonging to 12th century was constructed under the Chand and Katyuri dynasty. Located in the center of the town, the entrance of the temple is guarded by two idols of Jai and Vijay both holding weapons in their hands. The residing deity of the temple is Lord Shiva, Goddess Parvati and Lord Hanuman. The carving on the roof of the temple shows the intricate designs and craftsmanship of old times. Temple of Chandika Devi also lies in the proximity to this temple.
Haat Kalika Temple: Located 13 km from Patal Bhuvaneshwar, Hatt Kalika Temple was created by Adi Shankaracharya. The presiding deity of the temple is Mahakali Shaktipeeth and it is believed the idol of the goddess was shifted here from West Bengal. Apart from the temple, this place also offers some mind blowing panoramic views of nature’s bounty.
Patal Bhuvaneshwar Caves: One of the most mystical places, Patal Bhuvaneshwar Caves is a mesh of limestone in form of stalactites and stalagmites. These natural wonders resemble the tongue of Kali Bhairav, hair of Lord Shiva, Aravati or Indra and many others.
Best time to visit:
Oct-Jun is the best time to visit Patal Bhuvaneshwar