Gopeshwar - Famous for Temples and Natural Beauty
The headquarters of Chamoli district of Uttarakhand, Gopeshwar is located at a height of 1300 meters above sea level. It is famous for its temples and natural beauty enhanced by its wonderful weather. According to some, the name Gopeshwar is linked with Lord Krishna.
The main attraction of Gopeshwar is an ancient temple of Lord Shiva. Hundreds and thousands of devotees come here to seek blessings and offer prayers to Lord Shiva. Gopeshwar is surrounded by four famous temples of Tunganath, Anasuya Devi, Rudranath and Badrinath. The Tunganath temple is located at an altitude of 3,680mts above sea level. It is the highest shrine of Lord Shiva among all the Panch Kedars. According to legend, it is said that the temple of Lord Shiva was built by the Pandavas to please Lord Shiva, who was angry by the massacre at Kurukshetra during the war with the Kauravas. Badrinath is one of the four dhams at an elevation of 3,133 mts above sea level. It is said that Lord Vishnu visited the place, called ‘Badri Van’, or the berry garden, to meditate after being rebuked by Narad.
According to Narad, Lord Vishnu was immersed in worldly pleasures and nothing else. The main deity at Badrinath is therefore that of a meditating Lord Vishnu. Other interesting places of interest in Gopeshwar are the Vaitarni Kund, a group of temples without idols and Oak view. To reach Gopeshwar the nearest station is Rishikesh while the nearest airport is Jolly Grant in Dehradun. Gopeshwar is also well connected to Almora, Rishikesh and Dehradun by road.
Places to See in Gopeshwar
Gopinath Temple: This famous temple of Gopeshwar was built in the reign of Katyuri dynasty from 9-11 century AD. Gopinath Temple is the home of Rudranath, one amongst panch kedar during winters. The ling is worshipped as ekanan (face of Lord Shiva), and in his mridh roop (in the form of Lord Vishnu) in Gopinath Temple. The temple is dedicated to two greatest gods of Hindus, Lord Shiva and Lord Vishnu. This is the only Shiva temple where the milk and water are not offered up to the shivling and bil patri is the only offering. According to mythology a cow used to give milk on the Shiva Lingam every day at this place. When the king saw the cow performing this activity he decided to construct a temple at this place and since then this temple became popular.
Chamolanath Temple: It is believed that Chamoli is named after the devta Chamolanath, and that his idol emerged from under the ground centuries ago at this spot. This holy site is situated near the Block Development office of Chamoli. According to pujari Anand Singh, the structure of the temple was constructed in 1946. The structure of the temple is hexagonal which brings a strange contrast to the ancient idol inside.
Chandika Devi Temple: This sacred shrine is also known as Ma Mahishasur Mardini as this is the spot where Chandika Devi killed Mahishasur. This temple is also considered as one the eight siddh peeths dedicated to Goddesses in Uttarakhand. Chandika Devi Temple was severely damaged by the earthquake of 1999, now it has been moderately rebuilt.
Saggar: Saggar village is the commencement point of the trek to Rudranath. Rudranath is 4th Kedar dedicated to Lord Shiva. The 22km trek to Rudranath is the toughest one amongst the Panch Kedar. Saggar is located 5kms from Gopeshwar on Gopeshwar - Ukhimath road. There is a small temple dedicated to Raja Saggar at Saggar village.
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