Himalaya has always been the abode of the Gods.
The Vedas and Upanishads tell us fascinating stories about gods and demons that dwelt here. Ancient literature refers to this region as Badrikashram, Himavat, Tapobhoomi, Devabhoomi and Kedarkhand. Every cave, rivulet, brook and valley is associated with the memory of a sage or saint and fascinating legends.
Here, where the individual merges with the microcosm called Chardham.
Uttrakhand, long called Devbhoomi belong to some of the holiest Hindu shrines for more than thousand years; pilgrims have been visiting the region with the hopes of salvation and purification from sin. Gangotri and Yamunotri, the sources of both the Ganga and Yamuna, found in the upper reaches of the state and together with Badrinath (dedicated to Vishnu) and Kedarnath (dedicated to Shiva) these all are known as Chardham of Uttarakhand, is one of the Hinduism most spiritually auspicious pilgrimage circuits.
More than a hundred years ago in 1891, Swami Vivekananda wandered in these hills as a pilgrim.
Perched at an altitude of 1870 meters (6135 feet) sits, as though frozen in time, the Hindu pilgrimage of Jageshwar. Legend has it that Lord Shiva would come down from his abode and meditate here, submerged and undisturbed within the confines of the thick Deodar forest. Jageshwar consists of a cluster of 124 exquisitely put together stone carved temples dating from between the 9th and the 13th Century.
It is believed that when Shiva would meditate, all the women of the villages surrounding the area would flock up to see this ‘handsome’ youth in trance. This infuriated the jealous men but by the time they went to see for themselves, Shiva had taken the form of a child. The main temple is still famous as Bal Jageshwar – Child Shiva.
Just 3 km above Jageshwar is the beautiful temple of Vridha Jageshwar – Old Shiva. This was the abode of Shiva before he came down to Jageshwar to meditate.
Jageshwar is located in the narrow Jat Ganga river valley and the two streams of Nandini and Surabhi slide slowly down the hills, converging near the sacred spots of the temple complex. Though now completely off the beaten track, many years ago, Jageshwar was a pilgrim halt en-route to the famous Kailas –Mansarovar pilgrimage in China.
The entire countryside around the area is dotted with caves, each one with its own story. The most famous amongst these is the Airavat Cave and the Pataal Bhuvaneshwar caves, in case you are feeling adventurous.
Jageshwar…….Has not changed in 1000 years……take your time!