If somebody wants to cover all the famous spots of pilgrimage of Hindu religion in India, one life shall not be sufficient to cover them all. And you may need to spend around seven lives to visit all such places. Most of such places are concentrated in the Himalaya Mountains range and therefore almost all the Hindus have their inner heart’s desire to visit some of such vital places of pilgrimage. One of such vital place of pilgrimage is Guptakashi, which is situated in the State of Uttaranchal in India. I have been lucky to visit this unique place of pilgrimage during my last trip to India in October 2006. The said visit prompted me to write this article about the pilgrimage to Guptakashi.
Guptakashi is situated at the distance of around 24 miles from Rudraprayag and around thirteen miles away from the famous Agastya Muni Ashram. It is located at the height of around 10000 feet from the mean sea level. Hence, the weather remains very cold here during most of the year. The best time to visit Guptakashi is during the summer months from May to October. The tourists can reach Guptakashi by bus or the hired cars and taxis, which can be easily available from Haridwar or Rishikesh. The ancient story goes like that when Mogul King Aurangzeb attacked the holy temple of Lord Shiva, Kashivishweshwar Mahadev, situated at Banaras, the Hindus staying at Banaras transferred the original Lord Shiva lingam of Kashi (Banaras) to Guptakashi to save it from the brutal Mogul attack. The lord Shiva temple at Guptakashi has thus the original Lord Shiva lingam of Banaras. This temple is around 500 years old. The two holy Rivers flow at this temple in such a way that water of these Rivers, Ganga and Jamuna, fall exactly on the top of the lord Shiva lingam. The River Jamuna flows through the nose of two elephants placed strategically in the temple. The River Ganga flows through the mouth of a cow, known as Gaumukh. The water flow through both the openings is continuous since last so many years and have never stopped. The pilgrims can visit Guptakashi on their way to famous pilgrimage to Lord Kedarnath. Though, most of the tourists do not prefer to stay here for the night halt, I was an exception to it and had stayed here for one night. I would never forget that stay in my life due to my experience of divine and spiritual environment at Guptakashi, particularly during night time. There are no good hotels available here for the stay. However, one can manage the stay at the temple only after taking permission from the local temple priest. I had to sleep in the temple in an open area during the cold October night. Though, I was provided heavy woolen blankets, I kept on shivering all through the night. My dinner was also made by the local priest and consisted only of Bajri Rotla and the cow milk. I never had such a sweet and lavish dinner in my life. The next day morning bath was in extremely cold and icy River water. Though, recently, some dharmshalas and some food dhabas have been started for the visitors. There are few shops from where the tourists can buy original rudrax after proper verification by an expert. Also, make sure to negotiate the prices prior to finalizing of any purchase deal.
Though, I was able to thoroughly enjoy my night stay at Guptakashi, the similar aspect may not apply to all the visitors, but the persons who are interested in adventure touring, shall certainly find it extremely enjoyable. If any of my readers need any clarifications or further information on this, I would be happy to provide the same. I would still suggest all my readers to include Guptakashi in their tour plan of India.