Guptkashi is situated 47kms before the holiest shrine of Lord Shiva, Kedarnath. It is located on the route to Kedarnath on a ridge on the west side of the Mandakini river valley at an elevation of 1,319mts above sea level. Guptkashi is a religiously important town of Uttarakhand as it houses ancient temples like Vishwanath temple and Ardhnareshwar temple. The centermost attraction of Guptkashi town, Manikarnik Kund is a place where two streams of the Ganga and Yamuna meet. Gaurikund, the town from where trek to Kedarnath commences is situated 34kms ahead of Guptkashi. Guptkashi is situated on the mountain facing Ukhimath town.
The name Guptkashi means ‘Hidden Benares’ and the town's mythological history is associated with the epic Mahabharata. When the Pandavas were searching for a glimpse of Shiva, Shiva first concealed himself in Gupt Kashi but later fled from them further up the valley to Kedarnath. The hereditary pilgrimage priests of Kedarnath temple live in Guptkashi. The main temple of Guptkashi is dedicated to Lord Shiva as Vishwanath - "Lord of the Universe". It is built by regional stones and is situated in an enclosed courtyard. The small temple to its left is Ardhanarishvara.
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