Bagnath Temple Bageshwar

By Sanjeev Nayyar | 2012

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We drove into Bageshwar from Chakouri about an hours drive. Bageshwar is a valley at a height of 960 metres and is 90 kms from Almora. As we drove into the town, you get a view of the town from a higher level. Right of pic is a road that takes you to the starting point for trek to Pindhari glacier.

Another view of Bageshwar. It is situated at the confluence of two sacred rivers, Saryu and Gomti an important place for Shiva devotees. According to tradition Markendaya Muni lived here and Lord Shiva wandered in the form of a tiger in this holy tract. The present BAGNATH (bagh means tiger) temple is located here.

On the banks of the Saryu river. Bageshwar Dham is highly revered in the region. Water was very clean. Number of good hotels and eating places here.

A view of the Bagnath Temple from the other side of the river. I last visited Bageshwar in 1989 and could not believe it is the same place.

Board outside the temple. At the Sangam of Gomti and Surya rivers is Bageshwar. It is said to be the land where Markendaya Muni did tapasya (penance). Lord Shiva wandered here in the form of a tiger. In memory of Shivji form a temple was established here known as Bagnath. The present temple was made by King Laxmi Chand in 1602. Various statues in the temple date back from the 7th to 16th century A.D.

Entrance to temple. Also visit the Kot Brahman temple, Gauri Udiyar temple at a distance of 8kms large cave with images of Lord Shiva, Chandika temple dedicated to goddess and Shikhar temple after God Mool Narayan at a distance of 18 kms followed by a 5 kms trek.

Close up of temple - top portion. In centre is the Bagh or Tiger.

Rear side of temple is quite similar to the temple at Kedarnath.

Another board close to temple exit. Reads ''Jai Sri Bageshwari Ji. Gauri Shankar Shri Bagnath aap ki manokamna (what you ask for) fulfill karee.'' The board has a set of requests to all devotees to follow certain procedures to retain the sanctity of and cleanliness in the temple.

The big black stone in the centre is Shiv Shakti. Devotee makes offering. Note the stone image of Lord Shiva''s face in rear part of pic.

This stone has face of Lord Shiva on all sides, quite unique. In mid January every year the Uttarayani fair is held which has also become a important trade fair today. Bageshwar is a base camp for treks to Pindhari, Kafani and Sunderdhunga glaciers.

A view of the Shiv Shakti. In Jan 1921, the movement against the Coolie Begar (under this system, hill people had to work in for the officials on tour without payment) reached its acme and finally the oppressive system was established) started here.

Centre of pic is river Saryu. Right of pic is river Gomti. The point at which they meet is called Sangam ie at Bageshwar. Immersing ashes at Bageshwar Sangam is considered auspicious.

Across the river and opposite the temple is this mosque. In various places be it here, Baijnath, Udaipur have noticed that the Muslims always make a mosque opposite a temple esp when it is a prominent one. Wonder why! Locals told me earlier one could not distinguish between Hindu and Muslim Pahadis (hill people). However, during the last 10-15 years things have changed. Muslims become Islamised with long hair and typical kurta short pajama.

A view of the ghats on the river Saryu. Extreme right you can see a Gurudwara. Something very special about Bageshwar, the place stirred me.

Another view of the river Saryu. Quiet and serene. To click pictures of the Durga Puja festival I ran across the bridge that you see in the picture. Lots of caption words borrowed from brochure published by the Kumaon Mandal Vikas Nigam Ltd.

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