Guptakashi – Explore the Hidden Kashi of Uttarakhand

The state of Uttarakhand, the Divya Bhoomi or Blessed land as it is rightly called is dotted with countless spiritual marvels and mysteries that would make any devout Hindu bow his head with utmost reverence before those wondrous glorious marvels. Uttarakhand is the land that offers ground to the top four pilgrim destinations of Northern India, the Chota Char Dhams that have special significance for the Hindus. Not only the Main Chota Chardham shrines of Yamunotri, Gangotri, Kedarnath, and Badrinath, but there are also other important Pilgrimage spots and shrines, but this ‘Daivya Bhoomi’ is also famous.

Guptkashi Temple

One such is the Guptakashi, an important temple town that falls in the Kedar ‘Khand’, more precisely at a distance of about 45 Kilometers southward from Kedarnath. The word ‘Kashi’ at once reminds us of Banaras, another very renowned Pilgrimage destination in India. Here Pilgrims line up to get a Darshan of the much venerated ‘Guptkashi’ or ‘hidden Benaras’.

This particular holy pilgrim spot of Uttarakhand is in the Rudraprayag district. The west bank of Mandakini River is glorified by the temple town of GuptKashi which is 1319 meters high from the sea level. The focal points of this pilgrimage destination are the two temples: Vishwanath Temple and Ardhnarishwar Temple. Vishwanath temple is dedicated to Lord Shiva in the form of Kashi whereas Ardhnarishwar Temple is dedicated to Lord Ardhanareshwar in the form of half-man and half-woman. The temple is located at the confluence of two streams namely Ganga and Yamuna. There are numerous Lingams seen at Guptakashi apart from lingams of the main Vishwanath Temple.

Legends on Guptakashi

The Nature in Gupta Kashi is truly mesmerizing with its snow-capped peaks, and valleys carpeted with a mantel of lush green thus it’s really an ambiance to unwind and take in lungs full of fresh air. The myths have it that Lord Shiva had first proposed to Devi Parvati for marriage in Gupta Kashi to which She responded happily and finally Their holy wedding took place at Triyuginarayan, a village.

Places to Visit

Vishwanath Temple:

It is the main temple of Guptakashi. The temple is built in an enclosed courtyard and is dedicated to Lord Shiva, names as Vishwanath which means Lord of the Universe. The architecture of the Vishwanath temple is very typical of this region. The main sanctuary has a high tower with stone construction. There is also a wooden frame on top of the tower.

Ardhnarishwar Temple:

The temple is dedicated to Lord Shiva in its half woman and half male form. Outside the temple, one can see a large cast metal statue of Nandi, which is a Shivas animal associate. The temple has a low entry hall, and a tower at the back of a primary image, which is covered by wood- frames, and a tin-roofed cap.

Manikarnik Kund:

Manikarnik Kund is situated on the premises of Vishwanath temple. Here the Shiva Linga of Lord Shiva is bathed by the two streams of water, one coming in from Ganesha’s head and the other from a cow’s head. It is said that one stream is coming from the Ganges and one from the Yamuna.

Triyuginarayan Temple:

This temple is situated near Guptakashi and is dedicated to Lord Shiva. Devotees visit this temple on a regular basis to seek blessings from Lord Shiva and Devi Parvati.

How to Reach There?

By Air: Jolly Grant airport is the nearest Airport to Guptakashi situated at a distance of 190 kilometers. Jolly Grant Airport is a domestic airport well connected to Delhi with regular flights. Guptakashi is well connected by motorable roads with Jolly Grant airport. Taxis are also available.

By Rail: The nearest railway station to Gaurikund is Rishikesh. Rishikesh railway station is situated 168 kilometers before Guptakashi on NH58. Rishikesh is well connected by railways with major destinations in India. Trains come to this station on a regular basis.

By Road: Guptakashi is well connected by motorable roads with major destinations of Uttarakhand state. Buses to Rishikesh and Srinagar are frequent from ISBT Kashmiri Gate. Busses and Taxis are easily available from almost all major destinations in Uttarakhand.

Accommodation and Food

There are a few deluxe and a lot of medium budget accommodation option in and around Guptakashi. The hotels provide good and cheap food. Being a pilgrimage and religious town, there is a strict no-no to non vegetarian food and liquor.

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