The Milieu of travelling in the hills is incomparable; the continuously changing scenery, the hide and seek with clouds and the charm to reach the top. Simply Amazing! But imagine while returning from this wonderful bliss an unexpected snowfall closes all the known ways. The only option left is a route which is not on Google map but the people tell there is a way, though, a dangerous one. Would you take that? “Jab ghoomne nikal gaye toh darna kya?”, we too chose to add more thrill to our journey. However, we didn’t know there was one more twist coming ahead. Right when the roads were covered with snow and everything in the environ turned white, a lady stood under a shade where no human presence could be detected. She was asking for a lift. What we should have done? My road trips to Jageshwar Dham from Delhi had all the essences of travel. It wouldn’t be an exaggeration if I said, Jageshwar Dham as the road to soul.
The Temple of Bells and Letters
Bidding adieu to the beautiful valleys and lakes of Nainital as we reached Almora, Chittai Golu Dev Temple amazed us. In the time, when we don’t even write letters to our loved one, I was awestruck to find a temple where people wrote letters to the presiding Deity. Chittai Golu Dev Temple in of the unique temples I have seen. Here the devotees write down their wishes and tie it with a red chunni in the temple premises. The most stunning part is that you can even find many fastened stamp papers too, seeking justice from God. Yes, he is even referred to as the God of Justice in Kumaon region. And the surprise doesn’t end here.
The tradition is when the wishes are granted the devotees come and hang a bell in the temple. Seeing millions of bell dangling from the ceiling and on the wall, I had to believe that Chittai Golu Dev truly reads those letters. What next, I too wrote a letter to this incarnation of Lord Shiva.
Think Before You Curse
After the exhilarating blind turns, the daunting combes, and unending merry-go-round with the mountains, when we reached Jageshwar Dham, we could feel the sacred aura there. The first in the prime league among 125 temples of Jageshwar Dham was Dandeshwar Temple. We all know how heartbroken Lord Shiva was after the death of Goddess Sati. His rage had shaken the world but when he realized the destruction from his tandava, he settled in Vridh Jageshwar (the other name of Jageshwar Dham) for meditation. The mesmerizing environs, the swinging Deodars and Lord Shiva meditating, the picture comes out majestic even in imagination. So when the wives of Saptrishis came to the forest to take wood for fire they were charmed by his divine aura and turned unconscious near him.
When the seven wives of the rishis didn’t return in the evening they came looking for them. Seeing them unconscious near Shiva their eyes seethed with exasperation. They roared with fury and cursed him for their plight. But as they had acted in haste without knowing the truth, Lord Shiva cursed them to hang in the sky.
Now whenever you see the saptrishi stars up there, you know you should not act in haste.
Jageshwar – The ancient land of temples
The whispers of Jatganga on the banks of which Jageshwar temple complex is made, seem to be telling the ancient tale of its birth from the hair-locks of Lord Shiva. The towering Deodar guarding the temples also seem to be coming from the time when Lord Shiva meditated amongst them. Especially, the tall Ardhnareshwar Deodar near the Tarun Jageshwar Temple whose trunk is split into two as an epitome of devotion for its Deity. The Jageshwar cluster includes many temples but among them, the most ancient is the Maha Mrityunjay Temple. It is believed that it is here, from where the worshipping Shiva in the form of Linga started.
Mystery of Jageshwar Dham
Apart from the pristine aura and the sacred chants, the air of Jageshwar Dham blooms with the enigma. It is said that these temples were built between the 7th and 11th century though the architecture style resembles the styles of the 5th century. I even got to know that these temples were first built with wood but who built them is unknown.
But the present stone form is said to be built mostly by Katyuri Kings. The folklores tell that they used to build the temples in one night. Strangely, they worked during the night so that nobody sees them. I wondered what was so secretive but nobody knew the answer to my curiosity. Not only this, but there is also said that few of the temples here are arranged as per the size and arrangement of the solar system. Isn’t it splendid? This clandestine work of the builders of Jageshwar Dham truly needs to be researched!
Before I end this blog let me complete the story I told about in the intro. Yes, we gave the lift to that lady and we were not bugged. She just tricked us in taking a route which was 100 Kilometre long to reach her home. But I couldn’t blame her. Who wouldn’t take advantage of the freaky travellers who have lost their way! The gist is all’s well that ends well. I am going back again soon. First, to hang the bell as I am sure Golu dev will read my letter and second the mesmerism of Jageshwar Dham is hard to break.