Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Jageshwar Temples. Almora. The first Jyotirlinga


Hidden deep in the Jataganga valley, Jageshwar, one of the 12 Jyotirlingas of Shiva is one of those approachable spots on earth where heaven in all its glory and calm still retains a toe hold on Earth. I accompanied my father three decades back and returned with family and friends twice in the last decade, the most recent in 2008 with Abhimanyu firing the 'Canon'. Thankfully, not much has changed except that the Pujaris this time had cell phones and email addresses! Instant Nirvana can now be home delivered for a consideration, and online at that!!

Most of the 124 large and small stone temples were built from the 7th to 13th century AD by the Ghand dynasty and built/renovated by the Gurjara Pratihara dynasty. The earliest temples were built in the 4th and 5th century AD by the Katyuri kings. The temples include the Dandeshwar Temple, Chandi-ka-Temple, Jageshwar Temple, Kuber Temple, Mritunjaya Temple, Nanda Devi or Nau Durga temple, Nava-grah temple and Surya Temple. The oldest is the Mrityunjaya Temple and the biggest is the ' Dandeshwar Temple'. Jageshwar was once the centre for Lakulish or Nakulish or Pashupat Shaivism that united and revived the various Shaiva sects in the 1st century AD.

A story goes that Shiva appeared at Jageshwar and settled in meditation. The women from the neighboring villages flocked to the place and sat transfixed in prayer. The men were concerned about a Sanyasi attracting their womenfolk. Shiva then assumed a child's form to make the men comfortable. He is worshiped here as a child ever since.

Shiva's love for this place is understandable the moment one turns on the Artola-Jageshwar road that snakes by a small stream through a narrow and lush valley to the spot of the temple complex at the confluence of Nandini and Surabhi, the streams that carry in their clear waters, the nectar of innumerable Himalayan herbs. the whole region is covered with Rhododendron and Oak. People are simple. The air is fresh and calm pervades at all times except when villagers descend from all around for the festivals.


  • Lakhudiyar Cave Paintings
  • Jageshwar Group of Temples
  • Vridh Jageshwar


  • Walk the trails through forests of Oak and Rhododendron
  • Sit in calm contemplation/ meditation in the temple, by the stream, under the trees
  • Daily 6pm Arti
  • Jageshwar monsoon festival (Shravan Mela) in Shravan (Approx July15 to Aug 15)
  • Mahashivaratri festival, Shiva's wedding day (Feb 20, 2012. Dates differ each year)
  • Pooram festival at Vadadakkunath temple with all night fireworks and elephant procession
  • Onam (Harvest festival) Aug-Sept


View Larger Map
  • Delhi to Almora 278 Km
           Via Moradabad-Rampur-Rudrapur-Kathgodam-Bhimtal-Almora-Artola-Jageshwar
  • Almora to Artola on Almora-Pithoragarh road, 34Km
  • Artola to Jageshwar, Walk, Drive, Share Jeep 4Km

  • Nainital to Jageshwar 100Km
  • Nearest Railhead Kathgodam 135Km from Jageshwar
Rail links with Lucknow, Delhi, Kolkata

Nearest airports Jolly Grant, Dehradun; Pantnagar


  • Almora 1638m
  • Binsar 1800-2700m
  • Jageshwar  1870m
  • Vriddh Jageshwar 2200m

  • Day Trek to Binsar National Park
  • Short Trek to Vridh Jageshwar 4Km
  • Short Trek to Jakersam temple from Artola
  • Short Trek to Kunjakhali
  • Six Km trek to Dholchina on Almora Sheraghat road
  • Steep six Km from Dholchina to Bineshwar through dense forest
  • 1km from Bineshwar to Binsar


All Basic

  • KMVN Guest house
  • Forest Rest House
  • Dharamshalas
  • Raj Mahal hotel

Hardly except the accomodation is basic