This temple complex situated around thirty kilometers from the city of Almora, sits in the lap of a narrow valley, set in an expanse of undenuded deodar forest, encompassing around one hundred and twenty four temples. The two streams of Nandini and Surabhi that flows down from Artola village meet near this sacred complex. This temple complex is guarded by giant Deodar monarchs that welcome the devotees of their isht – Mahadev – with affectionate might and majesty of their ages.
The three of us decide to explore the place on foot and we walk towards the royal citadel. After walking just a few hundred meters, the first structure we come across, at a small distance from the main road, is a sixteenth century Shiva Temple – the ChandraSekhar temple.
Soon we were on a scenic road lined up with shrubs laden with a rich harvest of juicy berries, the golden Hisalu (Rubus Ellipticus), the purple Kilmoda and the red Kafals (Myrica Esculenta). Even the desire to reach Jageshwar well in time, before the downpour starts, could not stop us from taking a break here and there; accepting nature’s bounty of delicious offerings.
Bukka replied with an awe, “So this is the land of Lord Shiva. The numerous lingas etched on the rocks and equally high number of Shiva’s shrines affirms Shiva’s association with the place”.
The sage Vidyaranya refuted him, “Don’t differentiate holy places as the land of Lord Vishnu or of Lord Shiva. This mythical landscape is imbued with the presence of many God and Goddesses. Follow me.”
I belong to Hampi, a place with abundance of spectacularly shaped boulders in grey, ochre and pink tones, precariously placed on top of its surrounding hillocks. Tungabhadra River traverses this […]