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Patal Bhuvaneshwar Overview

Patal Bhuvaneshwar – 
 
Located 91 kms from Pithoragarh on the way to Berinag, at an elevation of about 1350 m, this highly revered shrine is dedicated to Lord Shiva. The subterranean shrine of Lord Shiva is situated with  sprawling interiors. Limestone rock formations have created various spectacular stalactite and stalagmite figures. The way to the cave temple is through a long, narrow tunnel. Inside the cave, the limestone formations have taken the shape of many Gods and Goddesses of Hindu pantheon. The forms of Ganesha, Sheshnag, Garurh, Shivling etc are distinctly visible to the believers. Its popularly believed that the holiest cave is the abode of 33 crore Gods and Goddesses, amidst the absolute Himalayan isolation Patal Bhuvaneshwar is not just one cave, rather a cave city. Caves within caves, steps leading to another, each one unmasking deep secrets from within. The motor-able road ends half a kilometer away from the cave entrance. You have to descend nearly 100 steps into this narrow cave, to reach the sanctum sanctorum, which gives an overwhelming feeling that you are entering into the center of the earth
Each stone, each stalagmite within each cave or doorway in a magnificent erection reveals the story of Hindu pantheon in the shapes of Gods, Goddesses, saints and known mythological characters.
 
According to the belief, King Rituparna of the Sun dynasty (Surya Vansha) discovered the cave in Treta Yug. It has been described in the Manas Khand of Skand Puran. Adi Guru Shankaracharya visited this cave in 1191 AD. That was the beginning of the modern pilgrimage history at Patal Bhuvaneshwar.
 
The journey inside the cave has to be carried in feeble lights, holding protective iron chains. The stone formations of Sheshnag can be seen, holding earth, heaven and the work beneath. Haven is performed in a dimly lit solemn atmosphere, under the spell of holy chants. You will also be impressed by the huge stalactites called Jatas of Lord Shiva, located at the different locations inside the cave.
 
It is believed that Pandavans, the Mahabharata’s heroes proceeded towards their last journey in the Himalayas after meditating here, in front of Lord Shiva

 
The priest families, the Bhandaris, have been performing religious rites at Patal Bhuvaneshwar since the time of the Adi Guru Shankaracharya. More than 20 generations in the line! They are a treasure house of legends, lores, anecdotes and information about this holy place.

 

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