The Kartik Swami Temple in Rudraprayag-Uttarakhand is perhaps one of the few temples dedicated to Lord Kartikeya in Northern India. Lord Kartikeya is know as Murugan or Skanda or Subramanya in the Southern part of our country.
Resting at a height of 10,000 feet, the temple is situated looking at the mighty Himalayan peaks at the background. The God of War and the son of Lord Shiva resides here in a naturally carved Marble like rock. Most probably the mineral is Sphatik(Quartz).
The Kartik Swami temple is located in such a way that you are surrounded by highest of the Himalayan peaks. You are literally standing in an amphitheatre with peaks surrounding you in a semi-circle.
The temple is located near the small village of Kanak Chauri which lies in the Rudraprayag district of Uttarakhand. One can reach the village easily by private or public transport. The road is well paved and gives great views of the the pristine and pure Himalayas. The moment you take the turn from Rudraprayag you get the first glimpse of the beauty that lies ahead of you.
I went their on my small Twister motorcycle and the road is a pleasure for any biker to ride on. The Kanak Chauri village is 180 kilometres from Rishikesh so not really very far.
The road really gains height after Rudraprayag and then you are riding on sides of cliffs which have a drop of probably thousands of feet. You can see the villages you crossed looking like matchboxes. The sun though is very bright at this height and it is difficult to take a photo with your eyes properly opened.
The road is the best thing and on the way to Kanak Chauri Village the peaks play hide and seek with you around the corners. And then you finally reach the small settlement of Kanak Chauri village.
There is accommodation available at the village and one veg thaali will cost you around Rs. 60. So things are pretty cheap.
The view from Kanak Chauri village is breathtaking and all thee major peaks are visible. From Kedarnath to Chaukhamba, every peak gives a decent view of itself.
Onto your left is the Kedar dome where Kedarnath temple is situated and onto your right is the iconic Chaukhamba peak.
The temple though is at a trek of 3.0 kilometres from the village. The trek is fairly easy and can be done easily within 2 hours if one is fit. The best part of the trek is that it goes through beautiful Rhododendron forest. I went in the month of December so there were no flowers but in the blooming season the trek path will be very very pretty.
But then I got to see snow on the way and glimpses of the Himalayas that one cannot describe. The air is so pure that it refreshes your body every time you breathe and the silence is meditative. I was really lucky as the day was clear and there were no clouds to spoil the fun.
So I began the solo trek by taking Prasad from the village to offer to Lord Kartikeya, and the trek path was really a pleasure to want upon. The trek path is clear and you really do not need anyone with you so it can be done solo.
It had snowed yesterday so there was some residue snow remaining. If you are lucky you can get to experience snowfall here but then the mountains won't be visible.
Do carry a flashlight with you as if you return and it gets dark then things can get dangerous, so stay safe. I take my safety seriously so I carry a small knife with me as well when I trek solo just in case if I encounter some animal.
The best thing you will see on the way is the waves of mountains stretching till the horizon. There are different shades of green and blue which you can gaze endlessly.
And then at the end of the trek you reach the stairs taking you to the Kartik Swami temple.
There are two temples, one is the Kartik Swami and the other I think is a Devi temple. One needs to first worship the Devi temple and after that go to the Kartik temple. This was told to me by the person from whom I bought Prasad.
And then after climbing the stairs you reach the Kartik Swami Temple. The view from there is simply stunning and you get the feel of standing in an amphitheatre of snow capped peaks. The background and the temple are the perfect location for the devout and the nature lover.
One can easily see the temple and the views and can go back. But the sunrise from Kartik Swami is a must to experience. There is an easy way to view it as you do not have to come back from the village early morning. Just before the temple there are some huts where the Pujaris live. Talk to them as they can provide you with accommodation but it is going to be very basic. But then, who wants to miss out on the sunrise.
I did not know this so I had stayed in the village itself in a room.
I was unlucky as there were clouds present on that next day therefore could not see the sunrise. So basically I trekked twice to the place only to my misfortune. But even then I got to view a very special phenomenon of nature called Lenticular Clouds which look like space ships on top of mountain peaks. They somewhat look like this.
So after doing the pilgrimage and trekking through miraculous nature it was time to go back. My next stop was holy Rishikesh.
On the way back a nice coincidence happened. I gave lift to a small boy to Rudraprayag and on dropping him I asked his name.
He said his name is Kartikeya.