Patal Bhuvaneshwar - The Shrine Beneath
Patal Bhuvaneshwar is one of the most mysterious and spiritual place of Uttarakhand. This hidden pilgrimage situated at 1,350 mts above sea level is mainly dedicated to Lord Shiva.
Patal Bhuvaneshwar is a limestone cave situated 13kms from Gangolighat in Pithoragarh district of Uttarakhand state. The way to the cave goes through a long and narrow tunnel. Other than Lord Shiva the forms of Sheshnag, Kal Bhiarav, Ganesha and several other gods can be seen in Patal Bhuvaneshwar. It is believed that the cave is the abode of 33 crore Gods and Goddesses.
History of Patal Bhuvneshwar
This sacred cave was discovered by the King Rituparna of Sun Dynasty in Treta yug, as mentioned in Skanda Purana. The great explorer Adi Shankaracharya visited this cave in 1191 AD. The priests of Patal Bhuvaneshwar from 20 generations are Bhandaris who live in nearby Bhuvneshwar village.
This mystical cave is 160m long and 90 feet deep where limestone rock formations have created various impressive stalagmite figures. Almost every god that you would have heard of resides in this mystifying cave. It is also believed that worship at Patal Bhuvaneshwar is equivalent to worshipping at Char Dham of Uttarakhand.
One can see the gateway of the great ages in Patal Bhuvaneshwar. There are four entrances inside the cave named as 'Randwar', 'Paapdwar', 'Dharamdwar' and 'Mokshadwar'. The Paapdwar was closed soon after the death of Ravana and the Randwar, literally, the road to war, was closed down after the great Mahabharata war. At present only two gateways are opened. You can see the tongue of Kali Bhairav, Aravati of Indra, hairs of Lord Shiva and several other wonders formed on the rocks, inside the caves of Patal Bhuvaneshwar.