10 Top Pilgrimage sites in Uttarakhand

Uttarakhand is often referred to as the abode for the Gods. This is because this place has an innumerable number of temples. Each mountain, each rock and each stream is someway related to the background of mythological India. Some of the sacred places here include Lord Vishnu's Panch Badri, Panch Prayag, Char Dham, Lord Shiva's Panch Kedar and others.

If you are interested to know about the pilgrimage sites of Uttarakhand in details, you can go through the discussion given below:

Here is the list of 10 Top Pilgrimage Sites in Uttarakhand

1. Bageshwar

Bageshwar is a very small town in Uttarakhand that is situated in the Kumaon region of the Himalayas. This town is situated at the confluence of river Gomti and also river Saryu with the Nileshwar and the Bhileshwar mountains. Bageshwar is quite popular because of the beautiful temples, the rivers and also the mountains.

The Baghnath temple is dedicated to Lord Shiva and you will find the mention of this temple in the Puranas. A number of tourists are attracted to this place.

The Uttrayani Fair and also the Shivratri fair are celebrated here with a lot of pomp and show. If you love the colorful festivals and the fairs then this is certainly the ideal option for you. This place also provides you with the option of trekking and also hiking. This is certainly not the place where you would want to sit back and relax. Here there is a lot of adventure and there is a lot of life in each and every lane of this particular town.

This place is connected to the rest of the country by road. There are private bus services that run regularly to and from the town and there is no flight connectivity here as well. The nearest airport is the Jolly Grant Airport that is situated in Dehradun and this is located at a distance of 297 kilometers from the town of Bageshwar. The nearest railway station is Kathgodam that is situated at a distance of 150 kilometers from the town.

The nearest bathing ghat here is the Triveni Ghat and the three rivers, Ganga, Yamuna and also the Saraswat flow together here. An aarti is organised during the dusk and this is a sight that you simply cannot afford to miss.

During this time, the devotees release the leaf boats that are filled with flowers and that carry very small oil lamps. These float on the river and this is regarded as a ceremony of hope, remembrance and also worship.

This place opens at 5 AM and closes at 6 pm. In order to tour the entire place, you would take around 30 to 40 minutes. Other places that are nearby and are worth visiting include Bharat Temple, Gita Temple, Laxmi Narayan Temple etc.

2. Guptakashi

Guptakashi is a temple town and is located at a distance of 47 kilometers from Kedarnath. This is situated at an altitude of 1319 meters from the sea level. This is a place that has the back drop of the beautiful snow covered peak of the Chaukhamba mountains.

There are a total of two ancient temples here- the first one is the Vishwanath temple and this is a temple that is dedicated to Lord Shiva and the other is the Ardhnareshwar temple. The Manikarnika Kund is also a very popular place of visit here. This is the perfect place to stop and take some rest for people who are travelling to Kedarnath. This place has the most fantastic weather condition with beautiful lush green forest and also the attractive views of the Chaukhmana range. This place is also popular for a rich cultural heritage and this is the perfect place for the people to spend their vacation.

This place is located at a distance of 47 kilometers from Kedarnath that is believed to have the most holy shrine of Lord Shiva. This town has a great spiritual significance as well. This is there at an altitude of 1319 meters above the sea level and houses the Vishwanath and the Ardhnareshwar temple.

3. Uttarkashi

This is also called Devbhoomi and this is also called "Kashi of the North". This is considered to be one of the most religious places of the Hindus and it has two of the four most popular holy shrines. This is a very popular religious city and it provides you with the option of increased divinity and also an out of the world experience.

Initially this place was more of a religious hot spot, however, now it also draws a number of people interested in adventure activities and also trekking. This place is full of mandirs and ashrams and therefore you will get a spiritual vibe in this town. This place boasts of mesmerizing natural beauty, divine heritage and also the wonderful irenic atmosphere and scenic panoramas.

This is the one of the youngest portion of Uttarakhand that was formed in the year 1960. You will find a lot of purity in this place. This is a place that is completely untouched by industrialization. There is no over alteration and it will help in simplifying the existence.

There are lakes and temples throughout the place and whole aura of this place is simply something that will make you feel extremely positive. This is a place that will provide you with a heightened sense of divinity. You will be able to experience this sense of divinity even when you are trekking.

4. Haridwar Tourism

This is a place that is referred to as the Gateway to God. This is one among the 7 most holy cities of the country. This is situated on the banks of the river Ganga and is quite an old city. You will find it in the Garhwal region. This is a place that is filled with ashrams, temples and also narrow lanes throughout the city.

Haridwar is a very famous Hindu temple and there are millions of devotees visiting this place each year. The devotees also take a dip in the holy ganges. It is believed that if you take a dip into the holi har ki pauri, then it will relieve you from all your sins and make your pure.

Every evening there are a number of rituals taking place here and the Ganga Aarti here is something that you cannot miss. Every 12 years the Kumbh mela takes place and during this mela there are millions of devotees visiting this place. Haridwar hosts the Kumbh mela along with Ujjain, Nashik and also the Prayagraj.

Haridwar is also a base destination for the people who are travelling to Devprayag and also Rishikesh. This place is quite well connected with roads and also trains. Haridwar is also developing as a spiritual center where you get to meet people with a multi faceted culture. This place has some awesome dishes and some of the dishes that you cannot afford to miss are kachoris and also the aloo puri.

Suggested Haridwar tour :

5. Bharatha Temple

This is a temple that is dedicated to Shree Vishnu and in this temple you will also get to see a number of images of Lord Shiva and this is also one of the oldest temple in Rishikesh. Adi Sankarachariya renovated this temple. This ancient temple has a charm that is absolutely irresistible. The story goes this way. The mother of Bharata, Kaikeyi wanted her son to become the king of Ayodhya and therefore she took a boon from Dasharatha where she asked him to send Rama to an exile for 14 years.

But unfortunately for kaikeyi, Bharata did not accept the throne and therefore the population of Ayodhya started regarding Bharata as God. It is for this reason that the tem

ple has been named after him. There are a number of penances that Bharata has done and the place where he has done the maximum number of penances is in Lakshman Jhoola. This place had a hanging jute rope bridge till the year 1889. Then this got replaced with an iron rope. This place is situated in the heart of the old town that is there on the bank of the river Ganga.

There are also other temples present in Rishikesh and the temples of Shatrughan and Laksman are also quite famous. The other shrines that are also quite popular here are the Raghunath temple, the Pushkar temple, the Chandra Mauleshwaran temple and also the Venkateshwar temple.

It is true that Rishikesh is considered to be the heavenly abode for Lord Shiva, however, this temple is a Vaishnav Temple. There are a number of people who are of the opinion that this temple has been able to survive through the invasions due to the power of this temple. The oldest temple of Rishikesh is the one that has the black statue of Lord Vishnu  and this is believed to have been consecrated by Sri Sankaracharya.

This event is co-memorated at the time of Basant Panchami and during this time, it marks the coming of the spring season. This was constructed during the 12th century by Adi Guru Shankra Xharya and this is situated in the heart of the Old town that is there on the bank of the river Ganges.

You will be able to see the detailed account of the temple in the ancient record of Kearkhand. Inside the temple there is a statue of Lord Vishnu that is constructed out of Saligram. The actual temple was destroyed by Tamur in the year 1398 AD. The temple was recently excavated and there were a number of statues, pots, coins and also other things of historical importance found here.

6. Gita Bhavan temple

This temple is situated just across the Lashman Jhula and this is a newly constructed building that is famous for the statues and also the attractive paintings. This was founded in the year 1950 and this temple also has a free Ayurvedic dispensary center. There is also a branch of the Gita Press in Gorakpur.

There are also special rooms for the pilgrimages who are visiting this place. The best part of this temple is that both the Mahabharata as well as the Ramayana are there described on the walls of this temple. If you are interested in buying clothes and bed sheets then this is certainly the best option for you. You can visit this temple every day between 7 am and 9 pm.

7. Gangotri

This is situated at a distance of 98 kilometers from Uttakashi, 242 kilometers from Dehradun and 264 kilometers from Rishikesh, 483 kilometers from Delhi and 288 kilometers from Haridwar. Gangotri is a very popular pilgrimage town in Uttarakhand. It is situated at an altitude of 3100 m in the Garhwal Himalayan Range on the holy Bhagirathi river. This is one of the most popular places of visit in the state of Uttaranchal.

Gangotri is referred to as the place where the sacred river Ganga originated. This is one of the four sites of the chota chardham. The other three sites are Kedarnath,Badrinath and also the Yamunotri.

As per the legends, Goddess Ganga changed her form to river Ganga in order to forgive the sins of the ancestors of King Bhagiratha. In order to impact the high flow of the river Ganga, Lord Shiva received river Ganges in his hair locks.

Gangotri is extremely famous for the religious significance and also ancient temples. Amar Singh Thapa, who is the Gorkha General built the present Ganga Temple in the early part of the 18th century. This is one of the most important temples and the river is Bhagirathi at the beginning and then acquires the name of river Ganga from Devprayag. It is here that it meets Alakananda.

The sacred stone is located very much near the temple and king Bhagirathi is believed to have worshipped Lord Shiva here. Gangotri is quite a popular place for the adventure tourists and also the pilgrims. There are a number of Dharamshala present in Gangotri and these are managed by the government. These provide quite comfortable accommodation. There are a number of hotels also that provide the pilgrims and the tourists with a decent accommodation.

The temple opens in the month of May and gets closed in the month of October November, during diwali. This temple remains closed during the winter season because there is a very heavy snowfall during this time.

8. Tarkeshwar Mahadev Temple

This is a temple that is located at a distance of about 37 kilometers from Lansdowne and 69 km from Kotdwar. This is quite an ancient temple that is situated on the Pauri Garhwal district in Uttarakhand. This is a temple that is located on the top of the hill and it is believed to be quite an ancient holy site. This is called the Siddha pits and it is dedicated to Lord Shiva. This is also quite a famous temple of Uttarakhand. It is believed that Tarkasur, a demon used to meditate and also worship Lord Shiva here in order to receive a boon.

Lord Shiva was very much impressed with Tarkasur and gave him a boon of immortality, however, this would not work for Shiva's son. Then Tarkasur became evil and started threatening the Gods and the sages and also killed a number of priests.

Lord Shiva was extremely disturbed by the evil acts of this demon and so he married Goddess parvati and their son, Kartikeya was born. Then Kartikeya killed Tarkasur. On his death bed Tarkasur asked for forgiveness from Lord Shiva. It was then that Lord Shiva attached his name to the place where Tarkasur meditated and therefore the name Tarkeshwar Mahadev temple.

This temple is located in the middle of the dense forest where there are pine, Cedar and also Deodar trees present. Initially there was a shiv ling present in the temple that was worshipped but now there is an idol of Lord Shiva performing tandav here. The Shiv ling is placed under this deity.

Just adjascent to this temple, there is also a temple dedicated to Goddess Shakti is present. There is another legend that says that Goddess Parvati transformed herself into 7 deodar trees in order to provide shade to Lord Shiva. All the other deodar trees of this region originated from this particular tree. The groove of the deodar tree has a shape that is similar to the word "Om".

Here you will also come across open pools where you can take a bath before entering the temple. There are also closed pools for the ladies to take a bath. There is also a kund inside the temple and holy water from here is offered to the Shiv linga, which is there beneath the idol of Lord Shiva.

On the special occasion of the birth of new borns or during the weddings in the Hindu families, bells are also offered to Lord Shiva. There is a lot of pomp and show arranged during Shiv ratri and during this time, the temple is surrounded with thousands of bells that are offered by the devotees. There are just 2 Dharamshala near the temple and the tourists can choose to stay here.

9. Rudranath Temple

This is a temple that is located at a distance of 25 kilometers from the Gopeshwar and around 14o kilometers from Kedarnath. This is also another pilgrimage site that is also dedicated to Lord Shiva. This is situated in the Chamoli district of Uttarakhand. This is the third temple that needs to be visited in the Pach Kedar pilgrimage circuit. This place is not only a famous pilgrimage site but is also quite famous for the various adventurous activities including trekking.

This is a temple that is believed to have been built by the Pandavas. It is believed that the Pandavas came to the Himalayan mountains in search of Lord Shiva in order to forgive them for the sin they had committed by killing the Kauravas. But Lord Shiva did not want to meet them and escaped from there by taking the form of a bull. He entered into the panch kedar places.

The arms appeared in Tengnath, the hump in Kedarnat, the hair in Kapeshwar, the face in Rudranath and the stomach and the navel in Madhyamaheshwar. The Rudranath temple is situated in the middle of the forest and here the face of Lord Shiva is worshipped and is referred to as " Nilkanth Mahadeva". The deity that is present here is a self manifested shiv linga that is in the form of a human face. There are a number of water bodies around this temple and these include the Mana Kund, the Surya kund, the Tara Kind and others. Nandaghunti and Trishul are very famous mountain peaks here and they provide a wonderful background to this beautiful temple.

This temple opens every year in the month of April or May and closes somewhere in the mddle of November. During the winter season, this idol is taken to Gopeshwar and then it is returned when the temple is opened again. Here in the sravan month the full moon is celebrated. This normally takes place near Rakshabandhan in the months of July and August. The best time to visit this place is in the month of September and October.

10. Kainchi Dham

This is located at a distance of 17 kilometers from Kainchi dham and 8 kilometers from Bhowali. The word "Kainchi" means "two shard hairpins". This is also quite a popular place in Nainital and people visiting Uttarakhand should not miss visiting this place. This is quite a beautiful shrine that is secluded and is also quite famous for the temple of Hanumanji. This ashram is situated a height of 1400 meters above the sea level.

In the year 1962, a platform was built around a place by Neem Karoli Baba and here two spiritual gurus by the name of sambari Maharaj and Sadhu Premi Baba performed yogyas. The Hanuman Temple was built on this platform. This was the first Hanumanji temple and it was inaugurated by Neem Karoli Baba on the 15th June, 1964.

On the 10th of September, 1973, Neem Karoli baba passed way and a temple remembering him was also built here. Several devotees throughout India visit this place and the birthday of Neem Karoli Baba is celebrated with great pomp and show here.

There are a number of other pilgrimage sites in Uttarakhand, however, the ones that are mentioned above cannot be missed.

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