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Guptkashi

Guptkashi, also known as Guptakashi, is a Himalayan village located in Uttarakhand’s Rudraprayag District. Because of its association with Mahabharata, the place is of great religious significance for the pilgrims of India Char Dham yatra. Located on the way to Kedarnath, Guptakashi is famous for many legends and its religious standing is no less than Varanasi (also known as Kashi) which is located in Uttar Pradesh. Both the cities have temples dedicated to Lord Shiva and are located on the banks of sacred rivers (Varanasi on River Ganga and Guptkashi on River Mandakini).

Legends and Religious Importance
Guptkashi gets its name (which means hidden Kashi) from the act of Lord Shiva when he attempted to hide from five Pandavas. The Pandava brothers were seeking the glance of Shiva to get rid of their sins for killing their kith and kin in the war of Mahabharata. Annoyed by their acts, Shiva in the form of a bull vanished in to the ground at Guptkashi. Another legend states that this was the place where Shiva expressed his love for Goddess Parvati.

Guptkashi is counted among 6 ‘kashis’, each revered as sacred in its own right. While Uttarkashi is another Kashi in Uttarakhand, others are located in different parts of India. It is believed that visiting any one of these 6 pious destinations once in a lifetime can bless one with happiness and spirituality. The village is also revered for being located at the confluence of Rivers Ganga and Yamuna.

Reaching Guptkashi
Guptkashi is located in what is known as Kedarkhand (the region of Lord Kedarnath or Shiva) and is visited by pilgrims on Kedarnath yatra (Kedarnath being one of the four char dham destinations). The village can be accessed in three different ways:

  • By air, from Delhi to Jolly Grant Airport in Dehradun and further by road.
  • By rail, from Delhi to Rishikesh and further by road.
  • By road from Delhi, using public transport or with the help of private tour operators.

Chardham tour operators can help family and group tourists to access Guptkashi and other destinations in Uttarakhand. In addition to transportation facilities like buses, tempos, cars and taxis, these companies also book air tickets, rail tickets and hotel rooms on the way to Guptkashi. You can extend your pilgrimage by visiting the picturesque towns and villages around Guptkashi.

Places in and around Guptkashi
  • Lord Vishwanath Temple: The main temple in Guptkashi has earned respect similar to the Kashi Vishwanath Temple of Varanasi. Dedicated to Lord Shiva, the temple boasts of excellent architecture and lotuses painted on its facade. Another small temple nearby is dedicated to Ardhanareeshvara form (half man half woman form) of Lord Shiva.
  • Manikarnika Kund: A beautiful pond near to the Vishwanath Temple, Manikarnika is known for its Shiva Lingam in its centre. Two springs (one representing Ganga and other Yamuna) bathe the lingam, offering a spectacular sight to the visitors. It marks the meeting point of the two sacred rivers. Guptkashi has arrays of lingams located in all parts that enhance the place’s divinity.
  • Trijuginarayan: Another religious place where Lord Shiva is believed to have married Goddess Parvati. The immortal flame (used as a part of Hindu marriage traditions) burning at this place is considered to be the one used for the marriage ceremony of the two.
  • Kedarnath: Home to the holy shrine of Kedarnath Temple, it marks the place where Lord Shiva finally appeared in front of Pandavas and relieved them from agony. The temple enjoys high position as one of the holiest shrines of Shiva in the world. Abundant natural beauty rules the place.
  • Vasuki Tal Trek: Located few miles from Kedarnath Temple, Vasuki Tal is a mesmerizing lake with crystal clear water and floating ice. The trek to reach the lake offers marvellous views of the natural surroundings.
  • Gaurikund: The base from where the trek to access Kedarnath Temple begins, Gaurikund is well-regarded for its natural hot water springs. The place also has high place in the Hindu mythology for being the site where Lord Shiva blessed Lord Ganesha with elephant head.
  • Ukhimath: Known as the winter house of Lord Kedarnath (when Kedarnath Temple shuts down due to heavy snowfall), Ukhimath is the place that offers majestic views of Himalayan peaks covered in snow.
  • Chopta: Riches of natural beauty have helped Chopta gain the designation of Mini Switzerland. Thick forests of rhododendrons and pine bless the place with enticing beauty and one can also savour the breathtaking views of various Himalayan peaks. The famous Shiva Temple called Tunganath is located nearby.
  • Rudraprayag: Resting near the confluence of Rivers Alaknanda and Mandakini, Rudraprayag hosts many popular temples like Rudranath Temple, Koteshwar Cave Temple and Chamunda Devi Temple.
  • Phata: A small village near Guptkashi, Phata is popular for offering char dham by helicopter services. All four destinations of the pilgrimage circuit, including Kedarnath, Badrinath, Gangotri and Yamunotri can be accessed on helicopter from here.

Visit Guptkashi as a part of Kedarnath tour or plan Guptkashi holidays to enjoy the perfect combination of blissfulness and spirituality. The untainted ambiance of the place is capable of reviving the whole lifestyle.


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