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Sunday, May 6, 2018

UKHIMATH - A DESTINATION IMBUED IN MYTHOLOGY


UKHIMATH - A DESTINATION IMBUED IN MYTHOLOGY

The outer facade of the famed Omkareshwar temple complex in Ukhimath
         After having visited Chopta as the first destination from my so called base camp i.e. Syalsaur, we were ready for our next trip to Deoriatal.  However, being a Tuesday, as per my practice, I had to visit some Hanuman temple, but this time around I chose to visit Ukhimath because of its importance as a pilgrimage destination that finds mention in the annals of ancient scriptures.  Ukhimath is a small little hamlet situated in the Rudraprayag district of Uttarakhand State in India. It is situated at a distance of 41 km from Rudraprayag and is perched at an elevation of 1317 metres above mean seal level and is juxtaposed to another ancient township of Guptkashi, on the Kedarnath route, saddled on the opposite ridge across the valley.  As we started for temple town in the early morning, the weather was clear and very pleasant and we traversed a distance of about 19 Kms. along the same route that we had taken the previous day and reached the temple precincts of the famed Omkareshwar temple. 
As we get ready for the journey - a perfect clear day lights up Kedarnath peaks - view from Syalsaur
This temple popularly known as Omkareshwar Pith is one of the oldest in the country and houses the deities of Kedarnath and Madhmaheswar during the winter months (November to April). During this time the temple of Kedarnath and Madhmaheshwar remains closed. The deities are brought here from Kedarnath after Diwali and from Madhmaheswar in December and worshipped here for six months. These deities are taken back in a procession to their original temples in mid-May and in 2018 the opening of Kedarnath temple is scheduled for 29th of April, 2018. Ukhimath can be used as nodal destination for visiting different Shiva temples of the Panch Kedar fame that are located nearby, i.e. Madhmaheshwar (Second Kedar), Tungnath ji (Third Kedar) and also Deoria Ta l(natural fresh water alpine lake) that we were scheduled to visit later in the day. 

View of the inner courtyard of Omkareshwar temple in Ukhimath
Typical pahari style painted frames in Omkareshwar temple in Ukhimath
            Ukhimath temple dates to the time of Mandhaata, ancestor of Rama.  It is believed that the wedding of Usha (Daughter of Vanasur) and Anirudh (Grandson of Lord Krishna) was solemnized here. This place was named as Ushamath after the name of Usha and is now known as Ukhimath.  Ukhimath is also written as Okhimath and the temple is known as Omkareshwar.  There are quite a few mythological anecdotes associated with this destination and the name of the temple as Omkareshwar is related with story of Mandhaata.  According to one of the legends, the emperor Mandhaata, during his last years of his reign gave up everything, including his empire and came to Ukimath and did penance for 12 years by standing on one leg. At the end Lord Shiva appeared in the form of ‘omnipresent sound of Omkar', and blessed him. From that day onwards this place came to be known as Omkareshwar.  Ukhimath has many other ancient temples dedicated to several Gods and Goddesses such as Usha, Shiva, Aniruddha, Parvati and Mandhata.  The anecdote associated with Mandhaata is quite intriguing, it is written in the ancient scriptures that Yuvanashva, Mandhaata's father, had one hundred wives but no children. So his guru advised him to perform ‘Putrakameshti yoga’ to beget a child. The sacred water that was generated from this yaga was supposed to be given to his wives, the next morning.  But destiny played a different hand or rather a prank with him and that night Yuvanashva, who was feeling thirsty at night, so he got up and drank the sacred water without realizing that it was the holy water and not the normal water that was kept alongwith.   Thereafter, Yuvanshava started having intense pain in his chest and within a few days Yuvanashva's chest got torn open and therefrom emerged a child, was born as Mandhaata.  Normally, whenever a child's birth takes place from the mother's womb, she feeds the infant with her breast milk to satisfy his hunger and then the child becomes calm and quiet.  However, in this peculiar case ast the child that was born from Yuvanashva's chest, it started crying.  Yuvanashva could not feed the infant, so it started sucking its own fingers.  Lord Shiva had blessed that child with nectar (Amrit) in his fingers. Thus sucking his fingers and satisfying his hunger and thirst, the child grew up and in course of time became an Emperor. This emperor, during his last years gave up everything and did penance for 12 years by standing on one leg.  At the end Lord Shiva appeared in the form of ' the omnipresent sound of Omkar', and blessed him. From that day onwards this place, where the present temple stands came to be known as Omkareshwar.
The main temple base of Omkareshwar temple in Ukhimath
The Chatri shading Nandi bull in front of Omkareshwar temple in Ukhimath
The statute of Mandhata inside Omkareshwar temple complex in Ukhimath

             There is another interesting ancient anecdote associated with Ukhimath, Okhimath or so called Ushamath of ancient times.  Ushadevi, was the daughter of the devil king Banasura, who used to reside at Ukhimath.  Ushadevi had a close friend whose name was Chitralekha. Once, in her dreams, Ushadevi saw a very handsome prince and in her dreams she instantly fell in love with him and married him. Not only this, she even experienced a physical relationship with him in her dream.  The next day she described her dream to her close friend Chitralekha and told her to search for this prince as Usha had decided to marry him in real life too. Hence, Chitralekha started making portraits of all the princes on this earth. After observing all the portraits, Usha was able to identify the prince who had appeared her dream.  Usha asked Chitralekha to cast a magic spell to locate his whereabouts and bring him to Ukhimath. The name of the prince was Anirudha, the grandson of Lord Krishna, and he was staying in Dwarika.  Ushadevi with the help of her friend Chitralekha brought him here to Ukhimath, where Anirudha and Usha started living together. When Usha's father Banasur came to know about it he got angry and put prince Anirudha in prison.

The temple spire of Omkareshwar temple in Ukhimath

Close up of the temple top of Omkareshwar temple in Ukhimath
          Lord Krishna came to know about the imprisonment of his grandson Anirudha and attacked Banasur. A fierce battle took place. There was no sign of vicotry on either side and it became a stalemate, because Krishna himself was God and Banasur had the blessing of Lord Shiva. Thus, there was no sign of this fierce battle ending soon.  At this juncture Lord Kedareshwar appeared there and placated the anger of either side by consoling them.  With the blessings of Lord Shiva, the marriage ceremony of Usha and Anirudha took place in Ukhimath.  Even today you can see the place where they got married. In the beginning this place was known as USHA MATH later it changed into UKHA MATH and now it is popularly known as UKHI MATH.
Worn out sculptures of temple pillars that pre-date history
The panoramic view of the old temple complex behind the Omkareshwar temple in Ukhimath 
The bill board displaying historical facts about Omkareshwar temple in Ukhimath

             The temple precincts and the holy shrine therein is built in the North Indian Nagara style of architecture. The temple houses, a navel-shaped Shivlinga, made of black stone and is located in the sanctum sanctorum. Furthermore, there are shrines of both Shiva's consort, Parvati, and Ardhanarishwara, an image of half Shiva and half Parvati. To the right of this temple is a small shrine of Maa Saraswati, the Hindu Goddess of art and learning. It is wholly made of marble.  Ukhimath is dotted with several artistic ancient temples dedicated to Usha, Lord Shiva, Goddess Parvati, Aniruddha and Mandhata. Ukhimath is mainly inhabited by the Rawals, who are the head priests (pundits) of Kedarnath.  Snow-capped peaks of the splendid Himalayan range are distinctly visible from Ukhimath. From Ukhimath on a clear day one can see the beautiful view of Kedarnath peak, Chaukhamba & other green beautiful valleys that sprawl alongside the lower reaches along the enchanting Mandakini River.  Having performed puja at this ancient temple town and especially when both the deities of Kedarnath & Madhamaheshwar were being housed there, made our souls feel blessed and rejuvenated.

Here is the link to the video for the destination -



Sunday, April 1, 2018

Enticing Chopta


Enticing Chopta

Panoramic view of Chopta - the so called mini Switzerland 
         After having rested for the night at Syalsaur, I got up early in the morning and was rewarded with a scintillating view of the Kedarnath peaks lit up in the morning sun.  I wandered around a bit, trudging up to the main stream of Mandakini River and saw some fishermen, who had placed nets across the stream at a few places, go waist down in the icy cold water to collect their catch, really some hard work indeed.   After returning back to the TRH and having had a hot cup of tea, I retired back to my room to have a bath, before embarking upon the days scheduled trip to the famed Chopta village.
Glorious view of Kedarnath peaks from Syalsaur early in the morning
Having had a heavy B’fast, as we did not expect to find many eateries on the way, we commenced our journey for Chopta at around 10.00 A.M.  The sky was a clear blue and the sun had made its grand appearance for the day, slowly warming up the environ that was still laden with the cold ground frost permeated air.  We traversed a distance of 14 Kms. along the Mandakini River upto Kund, wherefrom the road crosses over the Mandakini River and heads towards Kedarnath and the other one heads straight on uphill towards Ukhimath.  We traversed on an uphill drive for another 5 Kms. before we reached Ukhimath, which is the famous temple town housing the Kedarnath deity during the winter months and I will describe in detail in the ensuing blog.  We had to travel another 29 Kms. from Ukhimath before we could reach the destination for the day i.e. Chopta.

The signpost near Ukhimath
A deep gorge with a village home perched precariously on way to Chopta
Flock of sheep being herded along the road to Chopta
         From Ukhimath, instead of heading towards the main township, one continues along the main road and crosses small villages en-route namely Karokhi, Mastura, Dihara and Dhankund before one reaches Makku bend, wherefrom one roads heads for Makkumath.  Thereafter, the road gets steeper and more curvaceous and you traverse through some virgin Oak & Rhododendron forests and as you start nearing Chopta, a multitude of sign posts crop up showing presence of resorts etc., until you reach Dugalbitta that has a small hotel and some campsites strewn across and thereafter, one crosses Baniakund before finally reaching Chopta.  Being winter, snowfall had taken place in the region a few days earlier, hence some parts of the road was still covered in ice and there was snow along the sidewalks of the road.  The journey to Chopta appeared to be more tantalizing now.
Going past Baniakun en-route Chopta
As I have described that it was pleasantly warm when we had started our journey in the morning and there was a lot to rumbling & grumbling, when I had instructed the family members to don proper winter clothes that we were carrying.  However, no sooner we had alighted from the Car that a strong gust of icy cold winds hit us with gale force.  Some of us, who were still skeptical about donning the winter clothes, quickly dived back into the Car and piled on the jackets and caps et al.  Chopta is a small nondescript little village that is dotted with a number of eating joints, to ensure some grub for the ever hungry tourists, albeit everything is sold at much above the marked price.  Still it is a luxury to get the goods made available in these hostile environs by the local traders.
Panoramic view from Chopta village
Panoramic view of Chopta - towards Tungnath - from Chopta village
The starting point of trek towards Tungnath from Chopta
       As we had a sumptuous B’fast before commencing with the journey, we started our climb towards Tungnath immediately.  One has to pay a fee of Rs.150/- per person for entry, as this entire place comes under the Kedarnath Wildlife Sanctuary and this fee is collected by the forest department.  However, if you are a student and carrying a valid ID, there is a fifty percent discount.  Having procured the tickets, we started trudging towards our next target i.e. Tungnath temple.  Tungnath is the highest Shiva Temple in the world (3680m) and is one among the Paanch Kedar Shrines. It is believed to be more than 1000 years old. The temple is closed during the winters and the deity is shifted to Mukku village. Tungnath temple opens its doors to pilgrims in the summer around the end of April and shuts down in November in winter.  As per the mythology, Lord Shiva had taken the form of a bull in order to avoid the Pandavas, who were seeking his blessings for their sin of having killed their own kin.  However, Bhima spotted him and Lord Shiva in bull form went into the ground to escape the Pandavas, but Bhima caught hold of its tail so that it could not escape. Several parts of the bull then cropped out of the ground at five spots and accordingly the Panch Kedars were formed. Kedarnath temple is dedicated to the hump of Lord Shiva and is the most famous Paanch Kedar shrine. The other Paanch Kedar shrines are at - Tungnath, Madyamaheshwar, Rudranath, and Kalpeshwar.  At Tungnath temple, Lord Shiva’s arms are worshipped.

The trudge towards Tungnath begins in the right earnest
Fresh snow scattered all around - on way to Tungnath
Sign of life on a dead looking tree - a single flower
Due to the snow and extreme cold conditions, the snowfall that had occurred a few days earlier had failed to melt away, instead a thick coat of black ice now covered the road at many points and was quite treacherous.  We trudged along cautiously, stopping over here and there to catch our breaths, in the rarified air.  After trudging for about two hours or so, we reached a point where there was a meadow, with a small makeshift house cum tea stall, but due to snow it was closed.  We frolicked in the snow and enjoyed some quality time, trying to rejuvenate our slackening energy levels for further climb upwards.  However, I suddenly spotted ominous looking cloud tantalizing closing over the nearby peak and in no time at all the entire valley started to be enveloped by it.  As such the road was treacherous at many parts because of the black ice and even a slight drizzle would have rendered it unusable and could have resulted in really nasty fall and consequent damage to limbs.  So with a sense of despair, I decided to trudge back, better be safe than never and bid adieu to Tungnath with a small resolve of returning back in near future.  But a word of caution, Chopta is fast becoming a commercial destination and there were hordes of visitors, creating a cacophony of noises, shouting at top of their voices, this does not augur well for a designated ‘Wildlife Sanctuary’, therefore, the issuance of permits is required to be restricted and may be issued online for specific number of persons only and they should also be made to give an undertaking of good behavior, once inside the sanctuary or else in a few years it will lose its charm & charisma.  I could not spot a single exotic bird during the entire trek.

Snow covered slopes all across 
Fresh snow scattered all around - on way to Tungnath
Ominous clouds surrounding the peak en-route Tungnath
The clouds enveloping the entire valley - an ominous sign indeed
        However, for the readers I have made some research on the internet to gouge out some information about Tungnath, so that they do not have to refer to other blogs for information.  The trekking distance between Chopta to Tungnath is 4 kms and usually takes around 2 and a half hours to cover for a young personAround ten minutes before you reach Tungnath, there is a small detour to a peak called Ravanshila. It is said to be the place where the demon king Ravana meditated to please Lord Shiva.  The path to Chandrashila starts from Tungnath temple itself. It is clearly marked and cannot be missed. Distance of Chandrashila Peak Top from Tungnath is approx. 1.5 kms and even though it’s a steep climb, the distance can be easily covered in 1 hour. There is a small temple at Chandrashila and from the top one can savor grand 360 degree panoramic views of the Kumaon & Garhwal ranges.  According to a mythological legend, Chandrashila is the place where Lord Rama performed penance after killing Ravana, so as to absolve himself of the sin having killed a Bramhin.
My watch altimeter showing the altitutde at Chopta village
Photographing myself
As the sun sets - view of Guptkashi - across the valley
By the time we reached back down at Chopta about three & half-hour’ time had elapsed since we had started our ascent and we were a famished lot.  Cold winds had gathered speed and it was bone chilling, we ordered some hot cups of tea/coffee to one’s liking and we had some Maggi tossed in with eggs and fried in butter, but the driver, who too had trudged alongwith us, preferred a ‘thali’ i.e. a complete meal.  I placed my watch on the table and set up the altimeter, which showed that we were perched at an altitude of 2820 meters, the warmth of my hands showed the temperature at 25 degrees Celsius and time 3.38 P.M.   By the time we finished our meals, it was almost 4.00 P.M and the temperature had started plummeting and as we retraced our steps back to Syalsaur, I took a few photographs of valleys and Guptkashi, the sister town of Ukhimath perched just across the valley traversed by Mandakini River.  Thus, ended the day late in the evening, as we gorged in some more ‘pakoras’ (chickpea flour based fried food) and tea on returning back to Syalsaur.


Here is the link to a short video of the destination -


Saturday, March 3, 2018

Syalsaur – the non-existent village


Syalsaur – the non-existent village
(A photo blog)
As the morning sun lights up the Kedarnath peaks - view from Syalsaur
After spending some quality time at Devprayag we headed toward the final destination of the day i.e. Syalsaur.  From Devprayag, the road runs along the right bank of the river Alaknanda for a distance of 29 km up to a small township Kirtinagar, which was founded by one of the former Maharajas of Tehri Garhwal named Kirti Shah. Here Alaknanda is crossed over on a bridge to its left bank and then after traversing a further distance of 6 km comes the town of Srinagar. The road from Devprayag to Srinagar is all level driving without much of climbs or downhill runs.  The road traverses through some small villages namely Bagwan, Maletha and Kirti Nagar.  After crossing Srinagar, which is also a significant and historically important seat of modern learning, associated with the Garhwal University established here by the British in late 1920’s, is still known to be a seat of learning, where NIIT and other modern teaching establishments flourish.  The township of Srinagar is also known for the holy temple dedicated to Goddess Dhari Devi.  The statue inside the temple is said to change its colour in the reflection during various phases of the day.  Despite protest by locals for not disturbing the temple, which was to be relocated from original position due to construction of dam downstream, the relocation was undertaken on 10th June, 2013 and within three days the devastation in form of unprecedented floods shook the entire region on 13th June, 2013 wherein thousands of human lives and livestock perished and caused irreparable loss to property.  The devastation that took place is still attributed by the local people to the wrath of Goddess Dhari Devi. 
As River Alaknanda meanders beyond Devprayag

Green terraced fields on the road side
Approaching Srinagar town
The River Alaknanda widens as we near Srinagar town
Traversing a further distance of 33 Kms. alongside the Alaknanda River, we reached Rudra prayag, which is another confluence on the holy Ganga River.  This confluence is that of Alaknanda River with Mandakini River flowing in from Kedarnath.  I will provide you all with a brief detail about this destination in one of my ensuing blogs, as due to paucity of time, we did not have a stop over here during our journey, so as to reach Syalsaur in time i.e. before the evening set in.  From Rudraprayag, the road again bifurcates, the road that runs along Alaknanda River heads towards Badrinath and the other one that crosses the Alaknanda River heads towards Kedarnath and this road runs along the mesmerizing Mandakini River.   Having gone past small, but well known townships of Tilwara and Agast Muni and after having traversed a distance of 28 Kms. from Rudraprayag we finally reached Syalsaur, which is actually a non-existent village, with only wilderness and a single house and a silk breeding center, parked in between the villages of Chandrapuri and Banswara of Rudraprayag district of the Uttarakhand State.  Having covered a distance of 165 odd kilometres during the entire day, that included a small stop over after Dev Prayag in a small home run café of sorts, where we had some really nice noodles & Coffee, we reached Syalsaur late in the afternoon and as the lunch hour was over, we ordered some pakodas etc. being famished and tired.  Being the only occupants of the TRH, the entire staff was ready to receive and provide for us and we enjoyed our grand stay.
The gate leading upto Dhari Devi temple near Srinagar
Distant view of Dhari Devi temple 
Headed towards Rudraprayag
Going past Tilwara
Going past Agast Muni
Reached Syalsaur finally
This nondescript little destination i.e. Syalsaur, which houses the Tourist Rest House run by the Garhwal Mandal Vikas Nigam Ltd. (GMVN) is perched at an altitude of about 870 meters above mean sea lever (MSL) and provides for accommodation in bamboo cottages that are speckled alongside the pristine Mandakini River, with its turquoise water spluttering on the rocks and the distant Kedarnath peaks looming over the valley.  It is a very beautiful location, calmness and serenity personified and for the tormented souls, to spend a few days in bliss, away from the hustle and bustle of city life. Pilgrims to Kedarnath can stay here, the holy place is about 55 km from Syalsaur.  Being a virgin destination, Syalsaur itself was home to about thirteen odd hotels, constructed in a row facing the serene Mandakini River.   All of them, including the GMVN run one, were destroyed during the ravaging floods of 2013 and I have garnered some photographs from the internet showing the location of the GMVN run TRH then and you can compare the same with my present video.  The only hotel that withstood the ravage and remained standing was built away from the river. 
The Kedarnath peaks - early morning view from Syalsaur
Photo sourced from internet to show the pre-2013 position of TRH at Syalsaur
Photo (2) sourced from internet to show the pre-2013 position of TRH at Syalsaur
Here is the link to the video for the destination


Sunday, February 4, 2018

Divinity of Devprayag



Divinity of Devprayag

Dev prayag - close up of Alaknanda & Bhagirati confluence - where from holy River Ganga flows
             Having enjoyed the serene Ganga aarti on the banks of the holy River in Rishikesh the night before, we were all geared up for our day’s journey heading for our next destination i.e. Syalsaur, which was to remain our base camp of sort for exploring some destinations nearby.
Beyond Rishikesh - view of Ganga River valley - shot in 2001 (using Yaschica FX2000 SLR)
Beyond Rishikesh - view of Ganga River valley - shot in 2018 (using Nikon D5300 DSLR)
            We commenced with our journey at around 8.00 A.M in the morning after partaking our Breakfast.  The weather was clear and the winter sun was bright, its warmth was cushioning in the cold morning air.  The journey towards the destination runs along the holy River Ganga and its scenic beauty can mesmerize and rejuvenate any tormented soul.  Although the road requires some repairs, but apparently the tree cutting spree all along the road i.e. National Highway 58 indicates that it will be done alongwith the proposed widening, for construction of all-weather road in the region, for connecting the Chardham destinations.  I was traversing this road almost after ten long years and there has been a tremendous increase in building activity all along the road, but it still retains it old charm of being a picturesque valley.
Rafting in Ganga River 
Close up of  Ganga River 
             Devprayag is situated at a distance of 70 odd kilometres from Rishikesh and as I had instructed the driver to keep a steady pace, so that we could imbue the scenic fragrance of the hills, we expected to reach the destination in about two hours’ time.  Devprayag is a small town snuggled amidst three mountains, whose peaks are considered sacred, named Giddhanchal Parvat, Dashrathanchal Parvat, and Narsinghancal Parvat. Giddhanchal Parvat is on top of Raghunnath Ji temple. Narsinghanchal Parvat is in front of Giddhanchal Parvat and Dashrathanchal Parvat is on top right side of "Sangam".  Devprayag is one of the five prayags that dot the holy River Ganga and the first one while headings from the plains towards the mountains. Perched at an altitude of about 472 meters, Devprayag is a small but religiously significant township in the Tehri District of Uttarakhand. Devprayag, as the name suggests and literal translation would be ‘God’s confluence’, is the site of the confluence of the two rivers - Bhagirathi and Alakananda and from thence it flows out of as the sacred river Ganga.  The Alaknanda flows from the left, and is an eye-catching shade of light blue or a powder blue from Badrinath side; whereas the Bhagirathi is of a light shade of green that flows in from Gangotri. However, the colours change with the change of weather and the colours seem to alternate. 
Meandering in the upper reaches - Ganga River 
Panoramic view of the Ganga River valley
           Devprayag is also otherwise a significant township, as all the pandas of Sri Badrinath temple hail from this town.  Most of the pandas are Bramhins and are scholars in Vedic scriptures.  Their knowledge of Sanskrit comes as a family inheritance from times immemorial. A local pandit called Sri Chakradhar Joshi had established an elaborate observatory known as Vidya Mandir. This institute is considered to be the seat for astronomical and astrological learning in this area. The observatory has a library with a collection of large number of ancient texts and books and hand written manuscripts dealing with subjects of ancient learnings.   This observatory is open to visitors during particular timings during the day, but is at end of a steep climb upwards and hence not for the faint hearted souls.  Devprayag is 47 Kms from Pauri, 74 Kms from Rishikesh, 80 Kms from New Tehri, 93 Kms from Haridwar, 112 Kms from Dehradun, 150 Kms from Kotdwara, 230 Kms from Ranikhet, 303 Kms from Nainital,322 Kms from Kathgodam
A village perched atop a hill side 
Devprayag finds mention in mythological texts also and according to the Ramayana, Lord Rama and King Dasharatha did penance at Devpraryag, to relieve themselves of their sins of Brahmahatya. It is also believed that the Pandavas also performed ablutions at Devprayag before visiting Badrinath to attain salvation, during their journey towards heaver through Swargarohini valley.  The religious significance of Devprayag is further enhanced, as according to the Vaishnavism, Devprayag is one among the 108 Divya Desams or the sacred abodes of Lord Vishnu. Devprayag holds the fifth place among the five sacred river confluences or the Panch Prayag, the other four being Vishnu Prayag, Nand Prayag, Karn Prayag and Rudra Prayag. The piousness of Devprayag is considered equivalent to the Triveni Sangam located at Allahabad.
Panoramic view of Devprayag - shot in 2001 (using Yaschica FX2000 SLR)
Panoramic view of Devprayag - shot in 2018 (using Nikon D5300 DSLR)
          Devprayag houses many temples within its precincts and the temple of Raghunathji is dedicated to lord Rama. The temple is claimed to be 10,000 years old. It is one of the oldest existing temples of India. Raghunathji temple is built of huge stones, meticulously placed one over the other, in a pyramid shape. The temple was destroyed during an earthquake in 1803, and was later rebuilt by Daulat Rao Scindia. The temple compound also hosts Annapurna Devi temple, Hanuman temple, Shankaracharya temple and Garud temple.  Another temple is of Chandrabadani, which is dedicated to the Goddess of power. As per legends, Sati, a consort of Shiva, who had committed suicide due to insults heaped on Lord Shiva by her father and Lord Shiva had picked up her body and started the tandava, the dance of destruction.  Finding no other way to stop Lord Shiva, the Gods decided to decimate the body of Sati into pieces, as the Gods cut off her body parts, her torso fell at this place. Her weapons got scattered in the locality. There are some old statues and lots of iron trishuls (tridents) outside the temple. A fine view of the Sirkanda, Kedarnath and Badrinath peaks can be enjoyed from here.  The other main temple is that of Dashrathshila, which is supposed to be the place where Dashrath, father of lord Rama, performed penance. A small water stream, Shanta, is named after the daughter of Dashratha. The seat of Dashrath is one a small hillock called Dashrathachal Peak.  Besides these temples, there are many other smaller temples, like the Baital Kund, Brahm Kund, Surya Kund, Vashisth Kund, the Indradyumna Tirth, Pushyamal Tirth, Varah Tirth, Pushpavatika, Baitalshila, Varahishila, the shrines of Bhairava, Bhushandi, Durga and Vishveshvara, and a temple dedicated to Bharata. A bath at Baithalshila is claimed to cure leprosy. 
Here is a short video of the destination -