(Last Updated on : 09/08/2018)
Guptakashi, lying 45 kms south of Kedarnath, is one of the most famous religious sites for the Hindus in India. It is quite a large village located at a height of 4327 feet in the Himalayas. Situated in the Rudraprayag district of Uttarakhand, it is well-known for the temples of Lord Vishwanath and Lord Ardhaneeshwara.
Etymology of Guptakashi
The Pandavas went to Kashi to get the blessings of Lord Shiva. However, Lord Shiva had fled from Kashi and started to live here incognito. Eventually, the Pandavas found him here and Lord Shiva then turned himself into the bull Nandi to hide from them. The act of disguise of Lord Shiva named the place as Guptakashi.
Temples at Guptakashi
There are two temples dedicated to Vishwanath and Ardhanareshvara (half man and half woman form of Lord Shiva and goddess Parvati). The main temple is the Vishwanath temple, dedicated to the Lord Shiva. The temple has been built with stone and has a high tower over the sanctum and a wooden frame. It has a sloping roof at the top of the tower, typical to the architectural style of the region. There are two entrance guards known as Dwarpalakas on both sides of the entrance. There is an image of the Bhairava form of Lord Shiva at the top of the entrance door.
There is a shrine of Ardhanareshvara lying to the left of the main temple. At the entrance of this smaller shrine there is lying a statue of Nandi facing the image of Lord Shiva in the temple and offering worship. Along the side of this statue is painted a Swastika, an auspicious Hindu symbol. Apart from the temples, one can also see a number of Shiva Lingas in and around Guptakashi.
Some other tourist spots near Guptakashi:
Apart from the temples, there are certain other important sites in and around the town which may be visited. These include the Gandhi Sarovar Lake, where the ashes of Mahatma Gandhi have been immersed, and the Vasukital Lake, a popular tourist site.