This is the third day and we are right now in Jageshwar. Even today I got up early at 5.30AM. To my surprise I didn’t feel that cold in the morning when compared to last night. By the time I woke up all my group was awake and were getting ready for the temple darshan. The main concern for me was the cold water. Luckily the hotel guy got us hot water which was like a boon from god. I took my bath and again started off with my camera. I took some pics of the deodar trees which were forming the background of my hotel room. I was also lucky to get some pics of the sunrise. The temple was around half a kilometer from where we stayed.
How can I explain the beauty of the place? We were at an altitude of 5000ft in Kumuan hills. As we approached the temple it seemed we have come into some other mythical world. The temple here was a Cluster of 124 Ancient Shiva temples made of gray stone built centuries ago (considered to be one of the oldest temple), stood silently surrounded by the mesmerizing natural beauty. The whole place gave me a feeling of spiritual calm and peace. Embellished with the tall deciduous deodar trees and winding river Jata Ganga, which finds its way to the side of the temple complex.
Jageshwar is the 8th Jyotirling among the twelve and has great religious value. Giant deodar trees stand as guards all across the area .the temples are of archaeological importance and one can spot signs put up by ASI everywhere. Below is the list of 12 Jyothirlings. The highlighted one is the Jageshwar. Daruka Vane means Forest of Deodar Trees and the Lord here is also called as Nageshwar.
SAURASHTRA SOMNATHAM CHA
SHRISHAILE MALLIKARJUNAM ||
OMKARE MAMMALESHWARAM ||
PARLYAM VAIJNATHAM CHA
DAKINYAM BHEEM SHANKARAM ||
SETU BANDHE TU RAMESHAM
NAGESHAM DARUKA VANE ||
VARANASYA TU VISHWESHAM
TRIBAKAM GAUTAMITATE ||
HIMALAYE TU KEDARAM
GHURMESHAM CHA SHIVALAYE ||
AETANI JYOTIRLINGANI SAYAM PRATAHA PATHENNARAHA ||
SAPTA JANMA KRITAM PAPAM SMARANEN VINASHYATI ||
The architecture of these temples especially the Mritunjaya and Jyotirlinga temples is worth a look the carvings. There are trees which were more than 100 year old. We had a small pundit who started being our guide. He explained about the whole place. He also hinted us about the old Jageshwar which is called the Virddha Jageshwar. He said we can see the Himalayan range from there. After that he took us into the main temple. God has blessed us to perform Abhishekam at the main deity Jagaeswarnath. It took 40 minutes. Everybody was immensely happy with the abishekam and darshan. I took some pics of the temple and the group along with the temple.
While coming out I tried taking the pic of a swamiji who seriously told me this:
“Bacha bhool ke bhi mera photo nahin lena. Agar liya hain tho delete kardo”.
Hmmm but you know we normally tend to do things that are said not to do :p. There was other swamiji who was very friendly and gave a pose for the photograph. So in one of the pics other swamiji was also captured. We finished the darshan, photos and videos and started back. On the way we came across the archaeological museum which has idols and exquisite statues dating 10th century. But we did not get as me brother and bhabhi were more curious to go to Virddha Jageshwar which is worth a look because of the scene view that pundit told us. We were supposed to start by 11AM from Jageshwar. The distance by walk was 3KM within the mountains or 14KM on road. As bro and bhabhi were interested to come we spoke to a Taxi guy and he said he would take us there for Rs.350. We thought deal was good and agreed for it.
We were feeling hungry and the breakfast was not ready for the group. So we approached a near by hotel and asked if he can prepare Parathas. It was available and he prepared it before us. Bhabhi took a whole interview of this guy and learned how to prepare parathas and Dal ka tadka. That guy started giving us the Parathas (Makkan marke) and we were eating continuosly. We ate more than 10 parathas. As there was not time we thought we will start off to Virddha Jageshwar.
The guy who was about to drive us to this place was just a kid. He didn’t even have his license. But still he drives pretty well. We went all the way from kacha road to Vriddha Jageshwar. We stopped the vehicle at a place where normally we can see the Snow Mountains. But to our bad luck the clouds once again played the spoil sport. Dejected & disappointed we entered the Vriddha Jageshwar temple and had darshan. We came back and started the ride back to Jageshwar. In between there was a 118 year old baba whom we went to meet. We saw the ashram and met him and took photos. We then rushed back as it was almost 1030AM and we were supposed to leave by 11AM. On the way back we could see some old wooden houses pained carefully with vibrant colours and exquisitely carved panels all add to the glory of this place.
We came back and had our lunch at 11.30 AM along with other group members. We had Dal, Capsicum curry, Sambar, Curd and Sweet in the menu. Drinking water was not provided by organizer. So we had to buy loads and loads of mineral water bottles through the journey. We then helped the driver in tying the luggage on top of the vehicle. At last we left Jageshwar at 12.10 AM for next place called Gangoli Hat. It was 52KM from Jageshwar. We traveled all along the river and its tributaries adjacent to the hilltops and slopes with valleys. They appeared very dangerous, as they were as deep as 1000 ft depth. At some points it was scary to many. But the drivers were bindaas and took us safely. On the way we stopped 3 or 4 times for some nice views and to take photographs. We also stopped once for snacks.
We reached Gangoli Hat by 4.30PM. It was drizzled a little. The climate was cool and pleasant. But mom dad insisted on me taking a sweater. When I refused from doing so Sheshagiri Rao uncle bought me a sweater which looked like a T-Shirt. He also bought me one Scarf. Dad and Gopal uncle also bought Sweaters. Mom, Dad, Uncle and Aunt in Qualis chanted Sri Vishnu Sahasra namam, Lalithasra sahasra namam stotram in the vehicle before reaching Gangoli Hat. Here we and the other group divided. The other group was accommodated at Gangoli Hat. We were told that we were having a better accommodation. On the way to the hotel we all went to Kalika Mata darshan. There everybody chanted Mata Lalithamba Sahasranamam in the temple. I took some nice pics of Swamiji there and the temple and the monkeys.
After darshan we were being taken to the hotel. We were already in the hilly region and we were very much unaware as what was there for us. Out of no where driver suddenly turned his vehicle into the premises of a valley resort located 8 km away from Gangoli Hat 2KM on the way to Patala Bhuvaneswar. The resort was called as Shaiasha Resort. Let me tell you, this was the best accommodation one can ever ask for. It was located on a hill top in isolated place between the mountain ranges. From here we had a complete 270 degree angle view of the Himalayas. I just jumped out of the vehicle and ran to the edge of the hill and started clicking the pics. I took the video camera and took the video of the whole place. We entered into the hotel and were given 3 bedrooms which were very spacious.
Everybody was excited about the accommodation because of the wonderful view we had before the resort. We ordered coffee and meanwhile I took my tripod and the camera to take the pics. I took many pics of the surroundings and also took the pics of the couples and families separately and some group photos. One of the best was a photo which I took by using timer. The picture had me, my brother and bhabhi in it with the background of hills and moon on the top. There were many good pics even at 8PM. The night mode worked perfectly for me the way it should work. Later we sat in the spacious dining hall and chat for sometime. We had dinner which once again included rotis and curry. We also had some rice item. Food was really good.
After dinner we sat and saw the match of Bangalore Royal Challengers vs Delhi Dare Devils. The match was one sided so was not interested in it. So I, brother and bhabhi went out to see the hills at night. There Subash and gang were having a booze. After seeing us they immediately kept their glasses aside and came to us and spoke about the trip. We discussed about the trip and the other group etc for more than an hour. They told us the speciality of the Pathala Bhuvaneshwar temple. We asked them not to tell too much of it as we may lose the excitement about the temple.