Guptkashi – The Shadow of Kashi Visyanath
Guptkashi is a large town in Uttarakhand’s Rudraprayag district, in the Kedar-khanda (‘khanda’ means “sector”) of the Garhwal Himalayas. It is renowned for having an ancient Shiva temple called Vishwanath that is comparable to the one in Varanasi (Kashi). The other prominent temple in this area is devoted to Ardhanareshvara, a hybrid of Shiva and Parvati. Legendary importance associated with the Pandavas, the protagonists of the Hindu epic Mahabharata, is attached to the name Guptakashi. Its religious significance is compared to Varanasi, which is regarded as the holiest of all Hindu pilgrimage sites.
Panch Kedar and one of the Chota Char Dhams, Kedarnath, are accessible from the temple town. The Chaukhamba’s snow-capped peaks provide a picturesque backdrop, and the area boasts pleasant weather all year long.
According to a widely accepted tale, the Pandavas sought forgiveness from Shiva for their fratricide and Brhmanahatya misdeeds after the Kurukshetra War in the Mahabharata epic and prayed for his blessings before finding salvation. They did this on the advice of the god Krishna and other sages. Shiva, on the other hand, was unwilling to meet them because he was angry with them for the unfair battle events.He did not want to encounter them at Kashi, so he disguised himself as the bull Nandi and travelled to Guptakashi in Uttarakhand instead. The Pandavas, however, pursued him to Guptakashi and found him there in the appearance of Nandi, the bull’s tail and hind legs, when Bhima, the second Pandava brother, attempted to do so.
Nandi disappeared from Guptakashi into the earth (into a cave for hiding), but eventually resurfaced as Shiva in five various forms, including the hump at Kedarnath, the face at Rudranath, the arms at Tungnath, the navel and stomach at Madhyamaheshwar, and the locks at Kalpeshwar. This location on the Mandakini River bank was given the name Guptakashi (hidden Kashi) as a result of Shiva’s disappearing performance. Another Kashi, known as Uttarkashi, can be found in the upper reaches of the Bhagirathi River (North Kashi).
The Chaukhamba range of hills can be seen from Guptakashi.
The lush, forest-covered Mandakini river valley, where Guptakashi is situated, is part of the Northern Himalayan belt. The principal Mandakini River receives water from a multitude of streams and rivulets. With an elevation of roughly 1,319 metres (4,327 ft), it has a healthy environment. Early in the morning, this location offers a beautiful view of the Chaukhamba mountain covered with snow. The valley is home to enormous champa trees, which are known locally as magnolias, and which give the area a sweet-smelling ambience. 25 kilometres (16 miles) northeast of Guptkashi is where you’ll find the Madhyamaheshwar temple. Chaukhamba, Kedarnath, and Neelkanth’s picturesque splendour may be found on the route from Guptkashi to Kalimath and on the hike from Kalimath to Madhmaheshwar.
TOP TOURIST ATTRACTIONS IN GUPTKASHI:
- The VISHWANATH TEMPLE:
The primary draw of Guptkashi is the Lord Shiva-dedicated Vishwanath Temple. The shrine is a significant Hindu pilgrimage place and shares a location with the original Shiva Linga from Varanasi’s Vishwanath Temple.
- MANIKARNIKA KUND:
Near the Vishwanath temple, two streams that stand in for the rivers Ganga and Yamuna converge, creating the location of this holy water pond. Visitors to the temple frequently stop by the pond, which is revered as being highly sacred.
The 14-kilometer journey to Kedarnath’s hallowed shrine begins in Gaurikund. The elevation of the location is 1,982 metres above sea level. The area has the name Parvati after the wife of Lord Shiva, and nearby lies the Gauri shrine. According to myths and legends, this is the location where Goddess Parvati, Lord Shiva’s wife, performed penance by engaging in ascetic and yogic practises in order to win Shiva’s heart.
A picturesque hamlet named Ghangaria is located in the Chamoli district of the state of Uttarakhand at a height of 3,050 metres above sea level. On the route to Hemkund Sahib and the Valley of Flowers, it is the last area where people live. The Hemganga River, also known as Lakshman Ganga, and Pushpawati River meet near Ghangaria. The walk to Ghangharia starts from Govind Ghat, which is located on NH58 along the Alaknanda River.
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How do you get to Guptkashi?
Motorable highways connect Guptkashi with the main cities in the state of Uttarakhand. From adjacent locations like Dehradun, Rishikesh, Haridwar, Pauri, Tehri, Uttarkashi, and Srinagar, it is simple to get there.
- By Air: The closest airport to Guptkashi, which is located 190 kilometres away, is Jolly Grant Airport in Dehradun. By bus and taxi services, it is well connected to motorable highways from Dehradun.
- Via Rail: At 168 kilometres away from Guptkashi, Rishikesh is the station that is closest. From the train station, there are buses that run on a regular schedule that transport passengers to Guptkashi, as well as taxis (both private and shared).
- Via Road: The road NH 109 connects this area to popular tourist destinations including Dehradun, Rishikesh, Haridwar, Pauri, Tehri, Uttarkashi, Srinagar, and Chamoli. The motorable roads in Gutpkashi are well connected, so tourists seldom have any trouble picking the road as their mode of transportation. In addition to using your own vehicle, there are interstate buses in Uttarakhand that can carry you from other places to Guptkashi.
Where should I stay in Guptkashi?
These locations are quaint, charming, and affordably priced. Accommodations are further offered to guests in Rudraprayag and Ukhimath, both of which are close to Guptkashi. Like,
Guptkashi Nirvana Camp
Char Machan Resort
Char Machan Resort
Places to eat in Guptkashi:
DHABA Restaurant NH-107
Restaurant and Hotel Tridev (Triveni)
Hotel Guptkashi in Uttarakhand (72)
Joshi Love Bird Restaurant
Dewar Vishwanath Mandir
Guptkashi is famous for its beauty, pilgrims, and followers; the holy town of Guptkashi holds a special place in their hearts. There are numerous temples devoted to Lord Shiva, but the most well-known ones are the Vishwanath and Ardhnareswar temples. It is a lovely place to visit once with your family.