What to Know
Devbhoomi Uttarakhand is home to many legends; some poplar while others not-so- often repeated, like the one about Lord Kartik. Perched on a hilltop near the village of Kanakchauri, Rudraprayag, the Kartik Swami temple is one of the most prominent ones dedicated to Lord Shiva's son Lord Kartik, in the state. Situated atop Kronch Parvat, the temple pays homage to Lord Kartik, also known as Lord Muruga or Lord Murugan in parts of India, and his devotion to his parents.
While there are many legends about this temple, the most popular one dates back to the era when Lord Shiva and Goddess Parvati's two sons - Lord Kartik and Lord Ganesha - were asked to circumambulate the universe seven times. Lord Kartik set off on the expedition, undertaking the challenging task of taking seven rounds of the universe, whereas, Lord Ganesha took rounds of his parents, referring to them as his universe. When Lord Kartik returned and learnt of how Lord Ganesha had completed the task and won the appreciation of Lord Shiva, he was enraged. The Puranas say that an angry Lord Kartik left Kailash, his parents' abode, and arrived at Kronch Parvat. Some legends say that after this, Lord Kartik went to a mountain named Srisailam in Southern India, where he was known as Skanda, one of his many names apart from Lord Muruga, Lord Murugan and Lord Subramanya. Others say, Lord Kartik was so furious, he sacrificed his physical self at Kronch Parvat to appease his parents.
The temple sits atop the mountain, silhouetted against the backdrop of snow-covered Himalayan peaks, painting a dreamy image. When it rains, the ambience becomes surreal and it seems the temple is rising from the clouds. A 3-km trek from Kanakchauri village ending with an 80-step-climb leads to the serene temple adorned with thousands of bells. It is believed that offering a bell here on Kartik Purnima can make one's wishes come true. The sandhya aarti or evening prayers are especially enchanting here, with the entire temple premises echoing with tolling bells and hymns.
Best Time to Visit
The best time to visit the temple is from October to June. A large number of devotees visit the temple during Kartik Purnima, which is usually celebrated between October and November. You can also plan a visit during the Kalash Yatra in June.