Jageshwar Temple

By Sanjeev Nayyar Sanjeev@esamskriti.com | 2012

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Jageshwar Jyotirling is one of the 12 Jyotirlings. It is 32 kms from Almora and a lovely drive. Entire area is surrounded by Deodhar trees. We reached around 7.45 pm in month of Oct. Was very cold perhaps due to the dense forest all around. Many small hotels, negotiate hard. 3 temple groups to see. 1 is Jageshwar, 2 is Dandeshwar app 2 kms away, 3 is Vridh Jagheswar ie about 12 kms away from Jageshwar. U see overview of temple, is a pic of a pic.

Board outside temple. It was on the earlier Kailas-Mansrovar route. It is said that Adi Shankracharya came here & reestablished the sanctity of these temples. Complex consists of 125 temples made between 7-18th century a.d. Temples are dedicated to Shiv, Yogeshwar, Mrityunjaya, Navdurga, Surya, Navagraha, Kedareshwar, Baleshwar, Pushti Devi, Kalika etc. The Katyuri rulers are said to have restored these temples. It is said that earlier 400 temples existed here.

Overview of temple complex. Left is Bal Jageshwar temple or Shiva the child. On right is the Mahamrityunjaya temple. In Jageshwar fairs are held during Shivaratri and in the month of Sravan (July-August). It is at a height of 1900 feet above sea level. Although the presiding deity at Jageshwar is Shiva a strong Buddhist influence is visible in the carvings.

I wanted to attend the morning Aarti, reached the temple at 4.45 am. Temple was yet to open. Met with this Naga Sadhu who made some lovely herbal tea for me (without milk). I had earlier only seen Naga Sadhu pics in the Kumbh, 1st time was meeting one. Spent nearly 30 minutes with him n quite enjoyed it. Left of pics is a local elder who came in later.

We present pics of the various temples individually and a group as you see in this pic. Big temple on right of pic is Mahamrityunjaya Mandir is said to be the oldest mandir 8th century A.D. Note the Deodhar trees in the background.

Close up top part of Mahamrityunjaya Mandir. Top is Bagh (tiger) symbol of Katyuri kings. Centre images could be Buddhist. Carvings below that centre cannot figure out but on left and right of it is Ganesha.

Rear side of the temple. It is a plain shikara but has its own design at different levels. Possible there were images at lower levels. Went in Oct - realised in hindsight that the best time to see and click pictures is between 11 and 3 not early morning when sky is not clear. To know more visit state govt site click here

Inside the Mahamrityunjaya Mandir. Since was the first to reach at 5am the Pandit did a personalised pooja for me. Dhanyavad and thoughtful of him.

In centre is the Bal Jageshwar Mandir and small temples surrounding it. Background you see Deodhar trees.

Entrance to Jageshwar Jyotirling with Dwarpals on either side. One gatekeeper has a moustache other does not. Can someone analyse this pic please. Its Swayambhu Linga is named Nagesh. Temple is dedicated to Bal Jageshwar or Shiva the child. ''Both Jageshwar and Nageshwara shrine in Gujarat are Dakshina Mukhi Lingas''. To read more Click here

Girl on left was making chandan ka paste and putting tikka on devotees forehead while the one on the right was playing around the temple. Took some effort to get the younger one to pose for a pic but worth the effort, love their smiles.

Various smaller temples form part of the complex. This is Nau Durga temple 9th century a.d.

This is Parvati mandir known locally as Pushti Mata Mandir. Temple is behind the Mahamrityunjaya mandir.

Next are two smaller temples behind the Baleshwar Mandir. Overview of temple. Centre top is bagh (tiger) symbol of Katyuri kings. Belong that carvings see close up next pic.

Top centre carving could be Buddhist not sure. Trishul in one hand and snake in another indicates Shiva image. Right is Ganapati, below that is person playing the flute. Left is Shiva''s son Karthikan in his vehicle peacock. Below that are musicians. Right is lady with a flute in her hand.

Overview of second temple. Centre top is bagh (tiger) symbol of Katyuri kings. Belong that carvings see close up next pic.

Top centre carving could be Buddhist not sure. Below is a Yogi sitting in padmasan in meditation being disturbed by Apsaras shown as hanging in the air.

Group of local Pandits who were getting ready to perform a Yagna. A dip in the Jat Ganga and Brahmakund is of great religious significance.

Just behind the Jageshwar group of temples, at a slightly higher level are the Kubera group of temples. Board explains it very well.

Overview of the three Kubera group temples. Note deodhar trees behind the temples. They make Jageshwar all the more special.

I think this is entrance to the Surya Mandir.

Few minutes away from main temple is Tara Photo Studio. Pic no 1 was clicked at his shop. Lovely pics from earlier times. Also has an Internet Café. U see me with owner. Has a decent guesthouse by the name Tara Guest House nos 9411544736, 9401311600 or email mesutara@hotmail.com

I was walking to the temple when saw this Pandit talking on the phone. Natural pose so clicked.

Dandeshwar is a couple of kms before Jageshwar jyotirling. It is probably one of the tallest and biggest temple in the Kumaon region built between 9-10th century a.d. by the Katyuri rulers consisting of 14 subsidiary shrines. Apart from an 18th-century icon of the dancing Shiva, there is a huge iron bell at the gateway of the temple. The bell forms an important link between the local deity known as Gollu Devta and Lord Shiva

Amidst Deodhar trees are the Dandeshwar group of temples. Left is main temple, to right are smaller ones. Some caption content from Uttarakhandtourism site.

Dandeshwar Temple. Top has Bagh (tiger) symbol of Katyuri rulers. It has a highly pronounced Sukanasa which crowns a small portico. The Shikara (spire) of the temple design is different from other temples in the region. Shikara is completely plain unlike Mrityunjaya Mandir one which had design.

Side temples in the Dandeshwar temple complex. The whole area is peaceful, serene, strong vibrations. Just loved it.

U see driver Manoj who did a super job of driving me for 18 days during the Kumaon Yatra. Shall always remember him fondly and be grateful to him.

U see Vridh Jageshwar mandir ie by car about 12 kms from Jageshwar Jyotirling. From here take a 2 kms trek to Mritola Ashram - a centre of spiritual and natural beauty. Missed doing the trek. Per tradition that as Lord Shiva was meditating at this spot, the village women left their household chores and walked to watch him, as if a trance. The temple is said to be the abode of Shiva, before he came down to Jageshwar. The Mritola Ashram was established in 1929 by Yashoda M, wife of Dr G N Chakravarty, the 1st Chancellor of Lucknow University and her disciple Krishna Prem.

Enroute to Vridh Jageshwar get a view of the Himalayan Peaks left to right Trishul, Nanda devi, Nanda kot , Nanda Ghunti and Panchachuli (centre of pic). There is a hotel close by to stay. Lovely place, quiet and cool. Recommend spend a night. To see pics of Almora Click here

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