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Jageshwar is famous as Abode of Twelve Jyotirlings (12 Jyotirlings) also known as the temples town. It is religious town having more than 124 temples, dedicated to Lord Shiva.
Jageshwar is situated at an elevation of 1,870 mts above sea level at a distance of 37 kms from Almora. Jageshwar is an important tourist destination of Kumaon and receives thousands of visitors every year. It is situated amidst dense deodar forest with a stream flowing at its backyard.
The mystical and tranquil setting of Jageshwar makes it an ideal holiday destination to explore and rejuvenate the body and mind. Many years ago, Jageshwar used to be a pilgrim halt en-route to the famous Kailash-Mansarovar pilgrimage. Today, due to easy access from Delhi via train to Kathgodam and then just a two-three hour drive along beautiful Kumaoni villages and deodar forests makes it a popular off-the-beaten track kind of destination.
The surrounding deodar trees and the Jata Ganga which flows through the temple lends to the beauty of the place. The place also acts as a meditation center due to the calm, fresh and beautiful environment surrounding the temple.
Jageshwar Temples Guide
The cluster of Jageshwar temples depicts the ancient culture and design. The beauty of the place is enhanced by the deodar trees and the Jata Ganga which meanders its way into the temple complex. It is also acts as an important center for meditation because of its tranquility and calm environment.
The main temples of Jageshwar include Dandeshwar Temple, Chandi-ka-Temple, Jageshwar Temple, Kuber Temple, Mritunjaya Temple, Nau Durga, Nava-grah Temple, a Pyramidal shrine, and Surya Temple. Maha Mrityunjaya Temple is the oldest and Dandeshwar Temple is the largest shrine of Jageshwar.
Architecture: Most of the temples have the stone lingams and very impressive stone images around the altar. A carved doorway leads you to the square sanctum sanctorum. There is a tall curvilinear spire shikhara, surmounted by an amalaka (capstone) and a kalasha crown. Some ashtadhatu (an alloy of eight metals) images are outstanding. One of the rarest specimens in northern India, the Ekamukhalinga can also be seen here.
History of Jageshwar Temples
There is no definite dating of the construction of Jageshwar group of temples but according to the ASI, they belong to the post-Gupta and pre-medieval eras and are estimated to be about 2500 yrs old. These temples range in the period from the 8th century (early Katyuri Dynasty) to the 18th century (Chand Dynasty). The temples were renovated during the reign of Katyuri King Shalivahandev. There is an inscription of Malla Kings on the main temple premises indicating their devotion to Jageshwar. The Katyuri Kings also donated villages to the temple priests for its maintenance. The Chand Kings of Kumaun were also patrons of the Jageshwar temple.
Over 25 inscriptions of different periods are inscribed on the walls and pillars of the Jageshwar temples. Most of these belong to the period between the 7th century AD to 10th century AD. The dialect of inscriptions is Sanskrit and Brahmi.
(Main temple of Jageshwar temple complex)
Jageshwar Legend (Mythology)
It is believed that Guru Adi Shankaracharya visited Jageshwar and renovated and re-established many temples before leaving for Kedarnath. The Samshan ghat of Jageshwar is also the cremation ground of the erstwhile Chand Kings. It is possible that sati, the act of self-immolation, may have been performed here. The main temple in the temple complex at Jageshwar Mahadev is dedicated to Bal Jageshwar, or the Child Shiva.
As per Legends, it is also believed that Lord Shiva have came down from his abode and meditate here, surrounded by the thick Deodar forest.
Jageshwar Weather and Climate Updates
The temperature of Jageshwar between April and September is around 25-30C (max) 10-15C (min). The temperature falls through October and until March there may be cold frosty nights with slight change of snowfall. The monsoon occurs during July-September when heavy rainfall should be expected, heavy prolonged periods of rain are also possible from April-June.
Best Time to Visit: Jageshwar is all season pilgrimage and adventure destination. Summers are cool as surrounded by forest, winters are cold with chances of snowfall as well.