Sourced with thanks from timesnownews.com
Pilgrimages are quite a usual part of the schedule of many households in India. While visits to temples nearby happen often enough some of the more difficult to access temples are always lying pending in lists. Himalayan shrines India and across the border in Nepal do find themselves in such lists. Take a look at some of the Himalayan shrines listed out by the author in the article below. Team RetyrSmart
Himalayan temples in every devotees’ list
In the Indian subcontinent, one gets to witness all seasons in full glory. Summer, winter, monsoon and even spring have their own sets of festivals. But there are regions in India and Nepal where extreme weather conditions, such as snow in winter, force the closure of temples, shrines, and monasteries.
It is not just pilgrims, but adventure tourists as well who love to explore the best temples in Indian Himalaya walking on its undulating treks. Most of these temples are accessible through long, arduous treks. The mighty Himalayas beckon the tourists who chase the innumerable myths and mysticism of these gigantic mountain ranges – often called the doorway to Moksha or liberation of the soul. Let us take a look at the ancient Himalayan temples, mystical and beautiful, those that beckon tourists.
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Nepal’s temples in the Himalayas:
Nepal may be a small country, but it packs a punch a with its sights, ancient temples and shrines that nestle amid the snow-capped mountains
Kalinchok Temple of Nepal
Kalinchowk Bhagwati Temple is located in the hilly eastern region of Nepal in Dolakha district is famous for Kalinchowk Bhagwati Temple. Situated at an altitude of 3,842 m (12,605 ft) from sea level, this shrine is a part of Gaurishankar Conservation Area from where the two Himalayan rivers Sun Kosi and Tama Kosi emerge. In winter, this temple witnesses heavy snowfall.
Famously known as the monkey temple, this tourist destination is located on a small hillock named Swayambhunath. It nestles in the mountains located to the northwest of the Kathmandu Valley. It is one of the holiest Buddhist religious sites of the country. The hillock is assumed to be created from a primordial lake, which was present in the region, around 2000 years ago. Swayambhu means ‘self-occurring’. Before sunrise, you can find thousands of pilgrims walking up the 365 steps to the top of the hill. There are numerous other temple structures around it that you must involve in your itinerary. They are Harati Devi Temple, the box-shaped temple of Shantipur, the bullet-shaped temples of Pratapur and Anantapur, the monastery of Shree Karma Raj Mahavihar and the Dharmadhatu mandala with a gold-plated Vajra – the symbol of Vajrayana Buddhism’s symbol.
India’s temples in snowy Himalayan ranges:
India too has a rich tradition of temples in the Himalayan snowclad mountains. Key among them is the Panch (5) Kedar Dham Legend. Out of all the temples dedicated to Lord Shiva, this cluster of temples is known as Panch Kedar. According to Mahabharata, when Pandavas were searching for Lord Shiva, he turned himself into a bull to avoid detection. However, when Bheema tried to capture the bull, it disappeared and later reappeared in body parts at five locations, presently known as Panch Kedar. The hump reappeared at Kedarnath, the arms appeared in Tungnath (Tungnath and Chandrashila temples), the navel appeared in Madhyamaheshwar, the face showed up at Rudranath and the hair and head appearing in Kalpeshwar. The Pandavs built temples at these five places in obeisance to Lord Shiva.
This temple is one of the most important temples in the Hindu pilgrimage circuit. A part of the quartet (Kedarnath, Badrinath, Yamunotri and Gangotri) of the famous ‘chota chardham’ pilgrimage, Kedarnath is considered to be blessed by the presence and blessings of Lord Shiva and is said to have been named after the famous King Kedar. Every year, the temple opens on the day of the Akshay Tritiya on the month of April-May and closes on Bhai Duj on the month of October. As the fall of snow starts getting heavier from October end, the idols are taken to a place near Guptkashi called Ukhimath. For the next six months, the Utsava Murty is worshipped there. The scenic beauty of this temple is enhanced by the cascading river Mandakini that snakes through the foothill of the mountain on which the temple is located. Best time to visit this shrine is between May and June, and September and October. While on this circuit, it is advised to also visit
- Yamunotri Temple
- Kalpeshwar Temple
- Rudranath Temple
- Tungnath Temple which has the world’s tallest seat of Lord Shiva (Tungnath and Chandrashila).
Surkanda Devi temple:
Surkanda Devi is an ancient temple – a Hindu shrine that is located at an altitude of about 2756 metres from msl. This temple is dedicated to Goddess Sati and is one of the 51 Shakti Peeth. It is believed that Sati was the wife of Lord Shiva and daughter of the Puranic god-king Daksha. Daksha was unhappy with his daughter’s choice of husband, and when he performed a grand Vedic sacrifice for all the deities, he did not invite Shiva or Sati. In a rage, Sati threw herself onto the fire, knowing that this would make the sacrifice impure. Sati died but as she was Shakti (the energy of the Universe) she was reborn as Parvati later. But on Sati’s death, Shiva was stricken with grief. He put Sati’s body over his shoulder and began his tandava nritya or cosmic dance. Surkanda (actually Sirkhanda) is the place where Sati’s head fell.
The ice Lingam of Shiva that forms naturally with frozen ice in this temple that is located on a gorge in the outskirts of Lidder Valley (Jammu and Kashmir) at an altitude of 3,888 m above sea level is a wonder of science. Also called Baba Barfani, Amarnath shrine is a place every Hindu pilgrim wants to visit at least once. According to holy Hindu scriptures, here in this place, Shiva shared the secret behind immortality and the creation of this universe with Parvati. The pilgrimage is regulated by the government of India. The pilgrimage starts only when the route is cleared completely of the snow.