Dedicated to Lord Shiva, the Vishwanath Temple of Guptkashi is a popular religious site, which is situated on the Rudraprayag-Gaurikund National highway in the Rudraprayag district of Uttarakhand. It is believed that Lord Shiva came here from Varanasi and concealed himself, so this place came to be known as Guptkashi. Another famous temple of Aradhanarishewar is also located here, in which Lord Shiva is enshrined in the form of half-man and half-woman. There is also a Manikaranika Kund in front of this temple.
The two water streams from different directions fall in Manikaranika Kund, where people enjoy holy bath. Guptkashi is also considered as a place of four mini Dhamas among Hindus. Situated at an altitude of 1319 m from the main sea level, the Sacred Dham of Kedarnath is just 47 km away from Guptkashi. Pilgrims visiting Kedarnath take halt at Guptkashi, which is surrounded by cultural heritage and greenery of the Chaukhambha hills. Doubtlessly, this place is a perfect tourist destination.
A mythological legend is prevalent about this religious site. It is believed that after the great war of Mahabharata, the guilt-ridden Pandavas wanted to attain salvation from the sins of killing their own family members and gurus during the War. Therefore, on the advice of Lord Shri Krishna, Pandavas arrived at Varanasi to seek forgiveness from Lord Shiva. But Lord Shiva was unhappy with Pandavas over the unjust tactics used by them during the war and was not willing to meet them. So He left Varanasi and reached Guptkashi. While chasing Lord Shiva, Pandavas also reached Guptkashi, but Lord Shiva took the form of Nandi, the holy ox.
When one of the Pandavas tried to catch the tail of the Nandi, the God disappeared from Guptkashi as well. According to the legend, after disappearing from Guptkashi the upper part of His body appeared in Kathmandu. Today a famous temple of Pashupatinath is located there. Also, other body parts of Lord Shiva including his arms, head, navel and hair tresses happened to appear at Tungnath, Rudarnath, Madhyamaheshavar and Kalpeshwar, respectively. So these places, including Shri Kedarnath, are called Panch-Kedar.
How to reach
Guptkashi is very well linked to the adjoining towns and states through road route. From Delhi you can go to Rishikesh by bus. The bus and taxi facility is available for Guptkashi from here. The nearest airport from Guptkashi is situated about 197 kms at Dehradun whereas the nearest railway station is 170 km away at Rishikesh. Guptkashi is 415 kms from Delhi and just 43 kms from Rudraprayag.
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