Uttarakhand, the name that reminds us of images of the snow-capped Himalayas, beautiful valleys, frozen rivers and rolling beds of meadows covering in undulating landscapes, is way more than its natural beauty. This abode of many spectacular hill stations, is also home to quite a few sites that offers us insight into the history of the state.
Uttarkhand is also often visited by tourists of India for a good pilgrimage in the arms of nature, due to the enormous number of temples found all across the state. Some of these temples hold not just religious but also historical significance.
Katarmal Sun Temple
Built in the 9th century, Katarmal Temple is dedicated to the Sun God and is located in the Almora district of Uttarakhand. This monumental temple is one of the most popular tourist attractions in Almora. The temple rests at a height of about 7000 ft and was built by Katyuri King Katarmalla.
The complex of the temple consists of 45 small temples that are beautifully carved. It faces east; therefore, the first sunrays falls right on the temple. Idols of Lord Shiva, Goddess Parvati, etc. can be seen in this temple along with an image of Sun God that dates back to the 12th century.
The temple remains open from 9 am to 6 pm.
The city of Bageshwar is msotly known for its picturesque natural beauty that includes rivers and glaciers. Since the city is nestled in a river confluence, on one side you may see the river flowing while on the other, you can see the majestic mountains.
Bagnath Temple is a popular historical site where it is believed that Sage Markandey met Lord Shiva. Other temples of historical significance found in Bageshwar include Shitla Devi Temple, Nieshwar Temple and Ram Ghat Temple, to name a few.
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Dwarahat, which literally translates to "Door to Heaven", is a beautiful place that is perfect for a pilgrimage. It houses 55 temples altogether, visiting which may not be completed within a day. The small town of Dwarahat is 34 km from Ranikhet and is a significant place since it used to be the seat of Katyuri dynasty.
You may visit temples like Dhwaj Mandir Gujardev, Mutyunjay Temple, Kalika Devi Temple, Badrinath Mandir, etc.
Baijnath was an important town in the past since it used to be the capital of the Katyuri dynasty. Baijnath Temple is the most famous temple of all in the town, which is dedicated to Lord Shiva. It was built by the riverside in the 12th century.
Idols of Lord Shiva, Ganesha, Goddess Parvati, Chandika, etc. can also be seen in the Baijnath Temple since it is a complex of other smaller temples. The architecture of the temple is simply stunning, which houses a beautiful black idol of Goddess Parvati.
Narendra Nagar used to be ruled by the Shah rulers for a very long time. In fact, in 1919, Maharaja Narendra Shah shifted the capital of his dyansty to Narendra Nagar due to which it is now a site of historical importance.
Palace of the King Narendra Shah has now been turned into a brillant spa destination. However the palace retains most of the original work of art on the walls and gateways. The view of the sun setting is one of the most spectacular parts of the royal palace.
The popular hill station of Nainital is filled with breathtaking blue lakes. The place is perched at an altitude of 6837 ft and is well known for lakes, scenic spots, peaks and valleys. However what may be overlooked is the classic British architecture that can be seen till date.
On a closer look, you will notice many buildings, that are adorned by wooden architecture and have now been turned into houses or government offices. In fact, the Governor's residence has a resemblance to the world-famous Buckingham Palace of England.
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Patal Bhuvaneshwar Cave
The limestone caves of Patal Bhuvaneshwar is situated in the Pithoragarh district of Uttarakhand. A popular myth about these caves is that it is home to not only a shrine of Lord Shiva but also 33 crore other Hindu gods.
The caves are believed to have been discovered by the King Rituparna in the Treta Yuga. Another myth tagged with the cave is that it is believed to be the underground connection to Mount Kailash. The series of caves are well-lit and well maintained for the purpose of tourism.
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