Sunday, July 3, 2011
Name : Kalpeshwar
Kalpeshwar the Shiva Temple located at an elevation of 2,200 m (7,217.8 ft) in the picturesque Urgam valley in the Garhwal region of Uttarakhand state in India. The temple’s ancient legend linked to the Pandavas, heroes of epic Mahabharata eminence is the fifth temple of the Panch Kedars (five temples) of Shiva’s five anatomical divine forms; the other four temples in the order of their worship are Kedarnath, Rudranath, Tungnath and Madhyamaheshwar temples; all in the Kedar Khand region of the Garhwal Himalayas.
1) The epic legend narrated on the creation of the Panch Kedar temples is that Pandavas of Mahabharata epic history, while chasing Lord Shiva to seek his pardon for the fratricidal sins committed by them during the Kurukshetra war, realized that Shiva, in order to distance himself from the Pandavas, took the incognito form of a bull. But when this form of Shiva was discerned by Bhima, the second of the Pandava brothers, tried to hold on to the bull's tail and hind legs. But the bull vanished underground at Guptakashi. Subsequently it reappeared in five different forms: His hump appeared at Kedarnath, his bahu (arm) was spotted at Tungnath, his head surfaced at Rudranath, the stomach and navel were traced at Madhyamaheswar and his jata (tress) was divined at Kalpeshwar.
2) Another legend states that this place was much preferred by sages of folklore for meditation. Particular mention is made of sage Arghya who through his austere penance created Urvashi, the famous apsara (nymph) at this place. Durvasa, an ancient sage, son of Atri and Anasuya, considered an incarnation of Shiva, known for his short temper did penance and meditated under the Kalpavriksha, the wish fulfilling divine tree in the precincts of the temple. Further, it is said that Durvasa had given Kunti, mother of Pandavas, a boon that "she could invoke any of the forces of nature and they would appear before her and grant whatever she desired". Once, when Pandavas, were in exile here, in order to test them Durvasa visited them along with his desciples and desired to be dined by them. Unfortunately, there was no food available with in the house to feed the surprise guests. Draupadi, wife of Pandavas, sought Lord Krishna's help. Krishna materialised on the scene and solved the problem
Kalpeshwar is the only Panch Kedar temple accessible throughout the year. At this small stone temple, approached through a cave passage, the matted tress (Jata or Hair) of Lord Shiva is worshipped. Hence, Lord Shiva is also called as Jatadhar or Jateshwar. It is approachable only by 12 km (7.5 mi) trekking from the nearest road head of Helong on the Rishikesh-Badrinath road. On the bridle path from Helang to Kalpeshwar, the enchanting confluence of the Alaknanda and Kalpganga rivers is seen. Kalp Ganga river flows through the Urgam valley. The Urgam valley is a dense forest area. The valley has apple orchards and terraced fields where potato is grown extensively.
The temple priests at this temple also are the Dasnamis and Gossains, desciples of Adi Shankara. At Tungnath also the priests are Khasiya Brahmins. These priests hail from South India; the Namboodiri brahmin sect who worship at Badrinath and Kedarnath from Kerala, the Jangamas are lingayats from Mysore and the Dasnami Gossains belong to Adi Shankara’s group. The priests at the Rudranath temple are Dasnamis and Gosains.
Name : Temple of Jyeshteswara [Shankaracharya]
Shankaracharya Temple is located on the summit of Takht-i-Suleiman (Throne of Solomon), near Srinagar in Jammu and Kashmir.
'The Takt-i-Sulaiman Hill overlooks Srinagar, the capital of Kashmir; standing 1000 feet above the plain, it commands a noble view of the Valley and its surrounding ridges of snow-topped peaks. On its crest, 6950feet above the sea, stands the most ancient in building in Kashmir, the temple of Jyeshteswar, which according to tradition, existed since B.C.220 and to have been built by Ashoka's son Jhaloka. What exists now is possibly a 7th century structure which replaced the earlier Buddhist monument of the third century BC traditionally ascribed to Ashoka's son Jhaloka. Now it is popularly called Shankaracharya after the 9th century Hindu philosopher-sage who visited Kashmir and is associated with it.
The Temple of Jyeshteswara rests on the solid rock, and consists of an octagonal stone basement twenty feet high, on which is supported a square building: on each of the four sides are two projections which terminate in a pediment and a gable, the latter intersecting the main roof half-way up its slope. The terrace surrounding the Temple is reached by a stone staircase encased between two walls, and a doorway , exactly opposite, leads to the interior, which is a small and dark chamber, circular in plan. The ceiling is supported by four octagonal columns, which surround a Basin containing a Lingam encircled by a snake.'
Commanding a panoramic view of the city of Srinagar and Dal Lake, this temple with its square plan, recessed sides and circular inner sanctum is one of the earliest Hindu shrines extant in Kashmir, dedicated to Shiva.