2 years ago, during my staycation at Parvada near Mukteshwar, I had a wonderful opportunity to visit an alluring temple complex in the land of the Gods, or Dev Bhoomi (Uttarakhand). There was something solemnly attractive about these cluster of temples, surrounded by a thick cover of dark green and tall deodar trees. As I went inside, I was thrilled to see that this popular Jageshwar Valley Temples was not a small group but it had more than 100 temples. Each of them was unique and special in its own way. Various pujas were going on in different parts of the complex which made it evident that people had great reverence for this place. The history lover in me was also delighted to discover that these temples narrate stories of the Katyuri dynasty.
At the height of 6,135 feet, all that one could ask for was peace and serenity. But there is more. Once you are done with the temple visit, don’t forget to visit the small archaeological museum on the same road. This 3 rooms setup is a treasure trove of historical art. It offers a beautiful surprise to art lovers with its rare sculptures, ranging from 8-16th century. 30 minutes is all that you need to see this museum.
How to reach Jageshwar?
Jageshwar is a temple town dedicated to Lord Shiva. It is located at a very short drive from the beautific town of Almora. The town of Jageshwar is about 100 kilometres from the famous Baijnath Temple. If you are staying in Nainital, it is exactly 100 kilometers. You may plan a day trip very easily. I travelled from Parvada, South Gola range ( approximately 80 kms away), and it took me 3 hours to reach there. If you plan to drive from Delhi, it is 485 kilometers away.
The resident villages around Jageshwar valley are Mokshadham, Dandeshwar, Jageshwar and Koteshwar.
Planning a trip to Jageshwar Dham
Some of the scared Hindu texts mention Jageshwar as a pilgrimage site. Due to its tranquil and serene location, this was also the meditating place of many saints in the past. It was also the route to reach the higher parts of Uttarakhand. Most of the temples here, are dedicated to Shiva and thus, this area is called Shiva’s abode. Some of the main temples of this area are Dandeshwar Temple, Jageshwar Temple, Surya Temple, Chandi ka Temple, Mritunjaya Temple, Nanda Devi Temple and the Kuber Temple. The Dandeshwar Temple gets the maximum footfall and Mritunjaya Temple happens to be the oldest in the area.
Jageshwar Dham -There was so many temples (small and big) in one complex, that my eyes had to work overtime. I took a dozen of pictures of the wonderful architecture. It was difficult to decide what impressed me more, God’s handiwork of the surroundings or humans calibre of creating such beautiful artifacts in the lap of nature. This place has Shiva’s blessings by all means.
Jageshwar Archaeological Museum
Anyone who is interested in history and culture of Jageshwar temples will find it a sweet treat. As an art enthusiast, I really enjoyed my time admiring the intricately carved stone statues.
The speciality of this collection is that all these sculptures were found in the region from the temple of the Jageshwar group, Dandeshwar group and Kuber group of temples, and they also speak of the period they belong. Most of them are dated from 9th to 13th century AD.
There are two art galleries, with sculptures placed in pedestals of all sizes. Some of the masterpiece images are that of Uma-Maheshwar, Pona-Raja sculpture and Navagrahas-Surya, Soma, Mangala, Budha, Brrhaspati, Shukra, Shani, Rahu and Ketu.
The artefacts in the museum speak highly of the Uttaranchal art. They also depict some. The carvings on some of the sculptures and the depictions of Gods and goddesses left me overwhelmed. And there is no denying the fact that Archaeological Survey of India must be praised for the preservation and proper upkeep of these valuable sculptures.
Photography is not allowed inside the museum to avoid the risk of theft.
- If you are not driving from Delhi but travelling from other cities, Kathgodam is the nearest railway station to Jageshwar situated at a distance of 125 kms.
- Jageshwar Monsoon Festival and Shivratri Festival are two important events of this town.
- The contact number of Jageshwar Museum is 05962-263108. The opening hours are 10 to 5 p.m. It remains closed on Friday.
- When I visited, there was no entrance fee for the museum.
- Airavat Gufa and Patal Buvaneshwar Caves are added attractions of this area.
Spiritual Tourism is our strength
For millions of travellers, travel happened when they had a desire to visit a ‘place of worship’ in another city. I would like to emphasize on the fact that spiritual tourism is a very promising sector in India and we must talk about it more and more. Even the local bodies must develop the roads and places of stay around the not so popular sites.