Temples of Kumaon
The Lord of Justice and other interesting journeys
It seems the ancestors of the people in Kumaon (Uttrakhand) had anticipated the slow and log drawn process of justice a very long, long time ago.
Perhaps that’s why, way back in the 12th century, they established the Golu Devta Temple at Chitai in Almora. The walls of this temple are covered with court stamp papers posted by devotees who do not get justice in courts. You see, this temple is dedicated to the local deity Golu - an incarnation of Lord Shiva and also the god of justice. The temple is also filled with numerous brass bells of all sizes which are hung by the devotees as thanksgiving for their fulfilled wishes.
Temples like this dot the entire mountain-scape of Kumaon. Each offering fascinating legends, architecture, and experiences that visitors take back with them.
A visit to Jageshwar (Distt. Almora) puts you inside a cluster of 124 small and big stone temples built during 9th – 13th century. Dedicated to Lord Shiva these temples are surrounded by lush Deodhar forests with the Jata Ganga flowing through – an enchanting combination that make this place a meditator’s delight. The cluster includes one of the Swayambhu (Jyotir Linga) Lingas found in India and is home to the famous Dandeshwar Temple, Chandi-ka-Temple, Kuber Temple, Mritunjaya Temple, Nau Durga Temple, Nava-grah Temple and the Surya Temple. While in Jageshwar, it’s almost a must to visit the Jhanker Sam Mahadev Temple, for its fascinating stories and beliefs.
Within the Almora district is the famous Kot Ling Mahadev Temple. This place is believed to have been chosen by Lord Shiva himself for meditation.
Equally fascinating is the cave temple Patal Bhuvaneshwar, Pithoragarh. Considered as old as the earth itself, Lord Shiva is believed to reside here along with 33 crore Hindu Gods.
Other temples worth visiting in Kumaon include famous shrines like the Naina Devi Temple, MukhteshwarDham (Nainital), Bhadrakali Temple, Baghnath Temple (Bageshwar), Nanda Devi Temple (Almora) and Bhramari Devi Temple (Kausani).
Besides religious reasons, the temples of Kumaon are a must visit for anyone interested in exploring history, archaeology, and architecture that has outlived many centuries.
- Navneet Kapoor