High-Altitude Temples In India Guaranteed To Give You A Spiritual High 

Tripoto

If Hindu mythology and hills are some of your interests then I have compiled a few famous temples in India that are a perfect intersection of the two. The Himalayas are scattered with beautiful temples with fascinating myths about them.

So, if you want to go to the hills and not be rewarded by just a beautiful scene, visit these temples and behold their architectural and narratorial brilliance.

How to Reach: Bus or taxi from Manali

Mythology: This ancient temple in India is built around the cave wear rakshasi Hidimbi performed meditation. And don't freak out over a temple built for a rakshasi. The term 'rakshas' was used to define people living away from civilisation, in forests, leading a tribal life. Hidimbi would go on to marry Bheema (the Pandava) after he defeats her brother, Hidimba.

How to reach: Go from Mussoorie to Sankri, then trek or taxi to the temple

Mythology: One of the most famous temples in India, this is built in the same place that Duryodhana tried to burn down Pandava's home in exile, Lakshagriha. But the valley continues to worship Duryodhana as their king and follow age old polyandrous culture. The women here enjoy liberation unknown to us in metropolitan cities and can divorce/choose their partners without societal pressure. The people are in fact some of the nicest you will meet in the country.

How to Reach: An auto ride away from Old Manali bridge, also an easy hike from there.

Mythology: Of all the temples in India, this is the only one dedicated to Indian sage Manu, who, according to Hindu mythology, was the first man and with him came the civilisation. It is believed that Manu tied his boat to the Hampta mountain to protect the few species and humans he was saving from the Great Flood.

How to Reach: Located 36 kms east of Almora, the place can easily be reached by bus and car/taxi.

Mythology: This group of famous temples in India date from 8th century to 18th century. According to locals, "Shiva selected this place to be his abode. During the tapasya by Shiva, demons obstruct his penance. Then God "Sam" come into being as Trinetra and send his ganas to kill the demons. It is believed that Sam will come to Kot Linga temple premises to save humanity and Jageshwar in Kalyuga. Adi Shankacharya tried to build the maim temple at Kotlinga but to no avail as Sam wanted Kotlinga to be specifically reserved for the meditation of Shiva. Old ruins of a temple structure can be found near Kotlinga. Local people still believe that Sam or Lakulisha, the Lord with a stick shall come and built the real Jageshwar temple near Kotlinga and thus save the mankind from adversities of Kalyuga." (Credits Wikipedia)

How to Reach: Reach Kathgodam by train, 88 kms till Dwarhat can be covered through taxi or bus.

Mythology: Dwarhat stands for "door too heaven". This one of the famous temples in India was once the seat of Katyuri Dynasty. The small town has over 55 temples scattered all over, giving it's visitors a brilliant rendezvous with history.

How to Reach: 14 kms from Gangolihat in Pithoragarh District. Motorable roads stops half a kilometer before.

Mythology: The cave is mentioned in Manas Khand of Skand Puran and is said to be created during the creation of universe by Brahma. It is also believed that water from shivalingas of all four dhams reaches the cave and creates miniature formations of them. All of 33 koti (ten million) of gods are inscribed through natural formations in this limestone cave. The way inside is guided through metal chains, and it is well lit. The pandavas are also said to have visited it during their exile, and Adi Shanakaracharya established the current temple site.

How to Reach: Just reach Guwahati and everyone will help you reach.

Mythology: Considered the most powerful of all 51 Shakti Peethas, Kamakhaya Devi, most revered temples of India, is formed where Sati's yoni (vulva/womb) fell on earth. If you don't know that story here is how Wikipedia explains it,

"The origin of worship 'Shakti' at the site is associated with the legend of Sati, who was the wife of the ascetic god Shiva and daughter of the Puranic god-king Daksha. Daksha was unhappy with his daughter's choice of husband, and when he performed a grand Vedic sacrifice for all the deities, he did not invite Shiva or Sati. In a rage, Sati threw herself onto the fire, knowing that this would make the sacrifice impure. Because she was the all-powerful mother goddess, Sati left her body in that moment to be reborn as the goddess Parvati. Meanwhile, Shiva was stricken with grief and rage at the loss of his wife. He put Sati's body over his shoulder and began his tandava (dance of cosmic destruction) throughout the heavens, and vowed not to stop until the body was completely rotted away. The other Gods, afraid of their annihilation, implored Vishnu to pacify Shiva. Thus, wherever Shiva wandered while dancing, Vishnu followed. He sent his discus Sudarshana to destroy the corpse of Sati. Pieces of her body fell until Shiva was left without a body to carry. According to various myths and traditions, there are 51 pieces of Sati's body scattered across the Indian subcontinent. These places are called shakti peethas and are dedicated to various powerful goddesses."

How to Reach: A 4 km trek from the road to Chopta. Taxi can be taken from Dehradun to reach the road. You can even do a 5 day trek from Deoriatal to Chandrashila peak and meet the temple en route.

Mythology: One of the panch kedar and most famous temples in India, Tungnath is set to be built by the pandavas when they found Shiva's bull form (which he took to escape from desperate Pandavas chasing him to redeem themselves of the sin of murdering their cousins) re-materialized in five locations across Himalayas. The hands were found here near the Chandrashila peak.

How to Reach: Located 16 kms from Palampur, the temple can be reached by bus or taxi.

Mythology: Before two merchant brothers established the building around the shivalinga over 1000 years ago, the shrine was a place of worship for Ravana. Known as a devout worshipper of Lord Shiva, Ravana came here in satayug to meditate. The water at Baijnath is said to have medicinal properties and people travel from all over the country for it.

How to Reach: Easily reached from Anantnag main market (about five miles).

Mythology: (More like history) The temple was built by King Lalitaditya of Karkota Dynasty. The temple has been described in scriptures as a sight to behold. It stood grand and glowed in the snow with all it's valour. Now it stands ruined (but not completely) as Mughal emperor Sikander Butshikan completely destroyed it. I is said and noted that many rulers tried to wipe out Martand's structure before Sikander, but were unable to. Built in an estimated period of 370-500 A.D., the temple (as per local legend) has been given a boon to stand until the apocalypse and now human power will ever be able to completely erase it.

(The sight is heart breaking. Especially when you imagine the glory in which it must have stood, the sheer grandeur is overwhelming. And now I am overcome with grief that my eyes will never have such privileged.)

How to Reach: Go to Pahalgam and ask for a 900 year old temple on the banks of Lidder river.

Mythology: It's just another Shiva temple at first look but what makes it interesting that two Muslim brothers have been taking care of it ever since the Kashmiri Pandit flee to save his life. Mohmmad Abdullah and Ghulam Hassan kept the doors of the Mamalaka temple open and bells continued to toll. Just before leaving Pandit Kishen gave the keys of the temple to his friends Abdul Bhat, asking him to do whatever he felt was right. Ever since the temple has been taken care of.

How to Reach: Located at the Sulaiman Hill close to Srinagar market

Mythology: Adi Shankaracharya visited the temple whose foundation is said to date back to 200 BC. You know long back that is? The Great Wall of China was completed in 200 BC.

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