In Uttarakhand, religion and rituals are deeply entrenched in the fabric of society. While there are temples dedicated to several gods from the Hindu pantheon, the state is popularly known as the land of Lord Shiva, with several temples dedicated to the God, who is worshiped in many forms here. As you travel across Uttarakhand, here are some prominent stopovers.
Ekeshwar Mahadev Temple, Pauri Garhwal
One of the most important siddh peeth dedicated to Lord Shiva, the Ekeshwar Mahadev Temple is located near Satpuli town in Pauri Garhwal. Surrounded by solitude, the temple, also known locally as Igasar Mahadev, attracts devotees all through the year.
Kedarnath Temple, Kedarnath
One of the most important Shiva temples in Northern India, Kedarnath is a part of the char dham circuit in Uttarakhand. The temple is one of the 12 sacred jyotirlingas of Lord Shiva. Situated on the banks of the Mandakini river, high up in the Himalayas, this temple is known as Lord Shiva's dham (abode).
Madhmaheshwar, in Ukhimath, is the second most prominent holy abodes among the five such holy sites dedicated to Lord Shiva, also known as Panch Kedar . Here, the navel of Lord Shiva is worshiped.
Tungnath Temple, Chopta
The third of the panch kedar, is Tungnath temple, Chopta, where the arms of Lord Shiva are worshiped. Located at an altitude of around 3677 m, this is said to the highest Shiva temple in the world. Near the temple is the Ravana rock, about which it is believed that Lanka King Ravana, mentioned in the epic Ramayana, prayed to Lord Shiva on this rock.
The fourth kedar is the Rudranath Temple in Chamoli, where the Lord is worshiped in the form of Raudra. The temple is surrounded by sacred water bodies called Suryakund, Chandrakund, Tarakund and Manaskund.
Koteshwar Mahadev, Narendranagar
The Koteshwar Mahadev temple stands on the banks of River Bhagirathi at Chaka in Narendranagar, Pauri Garhwal district. Devotees flock to this temple to pray for children.
Kashi Vishwanath, Uttarkashi
Vishwanath Temple or the Kashi Vishwanath Temple is one of the most well-known ancient temples dedicated to Lord Shiva. Located in Uttarkashi town, it is visited by pilgrims on the chaar dham yatra. Said to have been built about 150 years ago, this temple stands on the bank of river Bhagirathi. Next to it stands the Shakti Temple, dedicated to the goddess of strength.
Daksha Prajapati, Kankhal
The Daksha Temple located in Kankhal, a suburb of Haridwar district, is an important pilgrimage site for devotees of Lord Shiva. Kankhal is known as the sasural (abode of in-laws) of Lord Shiva. It is believed that Daksha Prajapati, the father of Lord Shiva's wife Sati, performed a yagna (fire ritual) at this place.
Timbersain Shiva Temple (Timmersain), Chamoli
This temple dedicated to Lord Shiva is located inside a cave in the Niti village of Chamoli district with a natural ice Shiva Linga. Also known as Baba Barfani, the cave is flooded by devotees during summer.
Binsar Temple, Binsar
This Shiva temple in Binsar, Pauri Garhwal, is also known as Bindeshwar Temple. A fair is organised here every year on Vaikunth Chaturdashi and Kartik Purnima. It is believed that this temple was built by Maharaja Prithvi in memory of his father Bindu.
Tadkeshwar Mahadev (Lansdowne)
Tadkeshwar Mahadev temple in Lansdowne is a religious site located in Lansdowne area of Tehri. The temple is one of the revered siddha peeth.
Lakhamandal Shiv Temple, Dehradun
This ancient Shiv Mandir is located at a place called Lakhamandal in Dehradun district. According to beliefs, during the Mahabharata period, Duryodhana built a laksha griha (house of lac) here to burn the Pandava princes. It is also said that the eldest Pandava prince Yudhishthira established the Shiva Linga here, which is also known as Mahamundeshwar.
Jageshwar Mahadev, Almora
Jageshwar Dham, located around 38 km from Almora, is the main religious and natural tourist destination of this region. According to local belief and ancient texts, Jageshwar is one of the 12 Jyotirlingas established by Lord Vishnu.
Binsar Mahadev Temple, Ranikhet
This temple in Ranikhet dedicated to Lord Shiva was constructed in the 10th century. Inlaid with statues of Hindu deities like Maheshmardini, Har Gauri and Ganesha, the architecture of this temple is magnificent. Binsar Mahadev Temple is popular for its archaeological importance and the natural beauty of its surroundings.
Kapileshwar Temple, Almora
The Kapileshwar Shiva temple located near the village Simulti, about 12 km from Almora town, is considered to be one of the grand temples of Uttarakhand. Its height is estimated to be about 37 feet. The special attraction of this temple is its ornate creations, on which many animal deities are inscribed.
Patal Bhubaneshwar, Pithoragarh
The Patal Bhubaneshwar cave located in Gangolihat of Pithoragarh is nothing short of a surprise. It is said the temple is “as old as Earth itself” and it also finds a mention in the ancient scripture of Skanda Purana. The natural stream of water in this cave continuously anoints the Shiva Linga installed inside.
Thalkedar Temple, Pithoragarh
Devotees throng this temple located atop the Thalkedar hill to offer prayers to the Shiva Linga, which is considered to be thousands of years old. Located around 16 km from Pithoragarh town, this temple is very popular among locals.
Bagnath Temple, Bageshwar
The ancient temple dedicated to Lord Shiva, known as Byagheshwar or Bagnath is very popular. Located at the at the confluence of Sarayu and Gomati rivers, the temple complex has several ancient statues, including of Uma-Mahesh, Vishnu, Parvati, Surya, Dashavatar, Chaturmukhi Shivalinga, Ganesh and Karthikeya dating back to a period between 6th and 10th century.
Kranteshwar Mahadev, Champawat
The temple of Kranteshwar Mahadev is situated on the summit of Mount Kurma, east of Champawat Nagar. It is said the word Kumaon has been inspired by the name of Mount Kurma. Local residents address the Kranteshwar Mahadev temple as Kanadeva and Kuramapada.
Risheshwar Mahadev, Champawat
This temple of Lord Shiva, situated on the banks of the Lohawati river, was once a halt on the Kailash Mansarovar Yatra route. Risheshwar Mahadev Temple is a major center of faith for the people of Lohaghat. A visit to Lohaghat is considered incomplete if this temple is not visited.
Siddha Narasimha Temple, Champawat
Located at an altitude of 2,050 m and surrounded by thick trees of oak, this temple is surrounded by natural beauty. Though there is a crowd of devotees at the Siddha Narasimha temple throughout the year, but more devotees can be seen here during Navratri.
Bhimeshwar Mahadev, Bhimtal
The Bhimeshwar Mahadev Temple in Bhimtal stands on the banks of Lake Bhimtal. And ancient temple, it is said the temple was established by the Pandavas.
Mukteshwar Mahadev, Nainital
Mukteshwar Mahadev Temple is situated on the hill of Mukteshwar in Nainital district, which is located at a distance of 52 km from the city of Nainital. The temple is built in Katyuri architectural style.
Moteshwar Mahadev, Udhamsingh Nagar
This unique temple is very popular for the rounded Shiva Linga, which is also the 12th sub-Jyotirlinga. Devotees say the name Moteshwar is inspired by the girth of the Shiva Linga. Said to have been existing since the time of Mahabharata, people believe that anyone who pours water from river Ganga in Haridwar on the Shiva Linga here, has all wishes fulfilled. A reason why devotees throng this temple during the annual Kanvad yatra to pour Ganga water.
Baijnath is a spiritual retreat for the devotees of Lord Shiva. It is situated on the banks of River Gomti. The temple here was built in the 13th century and is home to Vaidyanath or the Lord of physicians, who is a form of Lord Shiva. The temple reflects the North Indian style of architecture called the Nagara style. The temple has idols of Goddess Parvati, Lord Ganesha, Lord Surya, Chandika, Kuber, Mahishasur Mardani, etc.
Dandeshwar Temple, Bageshwar
A part of the Jageshwar group of temples, Dandeshwar Temple is among the biggest shrines dedicated to Lord Shiva. It lies in the foothills of the meeting point of Doodhganga and Jatganga rivers, surrounded by dense deodar forests. The temple is surrounded by nine small shrines and can be dated back to the 9th century CE. Inside the temple is a lingam.